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Using WordPress as CMS of news, magazine sites redux

My redesign of Cebu Living, an online magazine on Cebu, is now live. Check it out. It’s using a WordPress theme for news and magazine websites. The new theme still needs a lot of work but if you want to try it out, you can do an anonymous svn checkout: svn checkout http://svn2.assembla.com/svn/cebulivingmagazine. Just go through the template files and see what needs to be changed for your site. I promise a commented version of the template files soon.

Unlike the previous Cebu Living theme, which I ported from an open source CSS/XHTML design, I built this new one from scratch. And it shows. I’m not a designer, in fact, I’m bad at designs. But the new theme incorporates elements I, as publisher, wanted from a site run as an e-zine and using WordPress as content management system (CMS).

I will be releasing the theme as soon as I finalize it. If you have comments on the new design, please leave it in this post or send it as an e-mail so that I can consider incorporating it in the theme.

I would have wanted to give svn write access to anyone who wants to work on it but not right now. The theme will not work out of the box because you need to replace category IDs in template files. Work on the theme is geared toward a specific site and having multiple people with svn write access simply will not do, unless we share the same test WordPress install as reference.

I built the theme using Yahoo UI grids and pieces of code I discussed in a previous article on how to use WordPress as CMS for magazine and news websites. I will be writing a new article on the subject.

The major difference between this version and my earlier template is that I did the homepage customizations in home.php, which I should have done in the first place.

The index.php file is used as default template whenever other template files, say for rendering a single post, archive, or search results, are missing. If you have an index.php file that contains custom queries, it will not be able to render parts of your site whenever a template file for a certain task is missing.

WordPress recently got criticized for being a “blogware, not a content management system (CMS).”

I disagree. I think WordPress is a lean CMS that can be used for more than just a blog. I think it’s a great online publishing solution, especially for independent publishers.

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.