Sunday, 13 June, 2004

Experimenting with PostNuke

I spent a large part of the last 36 hours downloading PostNuke, installing it on my Web site, and then trying to make it do what I wanted it to do.  This was a big mistake, not because of the software quality, but because what PostNuke does and what I want done are two different things.  PostNuke is a content management system for Web sites.  It's geared more towards news or blogging than to generalized content management.  At least, that's what it appears to me.  I installed it here mostly because I want to make Random Notes more blog-like, and because I want the ability to add entries over the Web rather than by modifying the HTML file here and uploading it.  PostNuke looks like it will do the trick, but the conversion is not going to be a weekend job.

PostNuke is very good software.  Download, installation, and basic configuration were simple and painless, and worked flawlessly.  I was able to add articles to my site within an hour of starting the installation.  That includes time to upload everything to the Web server.  After that, though, things got more difficult for two reasons.  First, I was trying to fit my old site design into PostNuke's blog-oriented mentality and second, the PostNuke documentation isn't very detailed.  It's a good reference guide and there are some good installation tutorials, but I haven't yet run across a good discussion of the relationships among Sections, Categories, and Topics or other ways to organize files or articles on the site.

I did download a third party PostNuke module called Static_Docs, which I thought would help me incorporate my static pages into the PostNuke site.  Static_Docs wouldn't install, though, because it expects the mySQL tables to have the "nuke_" prefix, but I used a different prefix when I installed PostNuke.  I'm sure I could have changed the SQL script that updates the tables, but by that time I had determined that the migration was going to take a while.  So I deleted the database and reverted to my old site design.

I think I'm going to get Apache, PHP, mySQL, and whatever else is required running on my Mandrake system here.  I'll install PostNuke there and experiment.  I'll either get my site running, or I'll determine that PostNuke won't do what I want done.