TXP Make

PHP in templates is so last decade

Well, how did I get here?

Arrived at Textpattern CMS on November 29, 2005, by way of the Nucleus CMS project.

While at Nucleus CMS, I initiated the unified look and feel of the websites, converted the HTML documentation into a new docs website using Nucleus, gathered up all the skins and brought them up to current specs under the new skins website, ported my share of skins, and made the default install look much nicer. You can say I got involved, it’s my nature.

About a year into using Textpattern, I began working on a themes mechanism for the storage and import of templates. Accustomed to how easy it was to import new skins in Nucleus, and seeing Textpattern users having to endure long copy/paste instructions to install their themes, I decided to look into a solution for the Textpattern project.

Here we are over 4 years later, and there is no core developer sanctioned method to handle front side themes. Heck we can’t even agree on what to name them, this site’s slogan makes light of the situation:

“Textpattern Templates, Themes, Designs, Layouts, Skins”

Today there are 4 competing plugins:
mcw_templates, hcg_templates, mem_templates and cxc_templates.

Each plugin does things differently, since we’ve yet to reach a consensus as to how and where to store these template files on your website.

Wish I could point you to the reason why the Textpattern core developers can’t or won’t come up with a plan for end user themes. In forum or mailing list threads that discuss user themes, the developers are guarded when voicing their opinions. Theories abound, from the core devs wanting to just concentrate on their loyal base of web developers, to the fear of seeing their software looking the same across multiple websites as a result of one-click themes.

Whatever the reason for the delay, an elegant template tag system lays virtually undiscovered by the web populace. A templating language that doesn’t require you to learn PHP to create or maintain your personal website’s look. With just a rudimentary knowledge of HTML and CSS, you’ll be empowered to tweak your dynamic website.

In the spirit of the GPL, I plan on making Textpattern CMS as user friendly toward template management, as it is toward themes creation.

Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.