Why WordPress

Historical Reasons for Selection of WordPress

On Tue, 07 Sep 2010 19:52:27 -0400, Jeremy Bishop  wrote:

Committee members,

I have been giving some thought to the President’s recent message about replacing the existing PCUG website with Mediawiki, and would recommend that instead you consider the use of a Content Management System (CMS) rather than a wiki (or multiple wikis) as the primary framework for the website.

After doing a little research and experimenting with a couple of CMS, I would like the Committee to consider using WordPress (http://www.wordpress.org) for use as a CMS-based website for PCUG. Some points to note:

  • Please remember that the appearance and layout can be changed and adjusted (quite drastically if needed) by the use of different themes.
  • See http://wordpress.org/showcase/ for examples of other websites using Wordpress and http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/ for examples of some of the themes available.
  • An important concept for considering WordPress (and other CMS) is the difference between “_pages_” and “_posts_”. In this context, “_pages_” refer to long-lived, largely static information, i.e. information that isn’t time-based and doesn’t change often, for example, general information about PCUG. Conversely, “_posts_” refer to shorter-lived, time-based information, for example meeting announcements, events, etc., and are grouped in “_categories_”. Keeping this difference in mind …
  • Below the PCUG logo/title, and above the banner graphic, are a set of grey tabs. These lead to the _pages_, which (usually) contain the static / long-lived content about PCUG (copied from various parts of the existing website). The pages are also listed in the Index section of the left sidebar.
  • Below the banner graphic are (currently two) menu categories ‘Meetings’ and ‘TIP’ (on a blue background) – these link to (a few) _posts_ which contain time-based content, in this case, monthly meeting announcements, and TIP policy changes (taken from the website and recent email announcements). Additional categories can be created, for example, for training announcements, etc.
  • The ‘News and Events’ page is unusual/different in that it is a page that contains all the recent posts grouped together on a single page.
  • There are a couple of example restricted-access pages for Members-only and Committee-only. With the access-control plugin that’s being used, these will only be accessible / visible once you’ve logged in to the site (and have the appropriate permission to view those pages).
  • The login is HTTPS/SSL protected, and uses our LDAP server, i.e. use your TIP username and password to login.
  • Anyone successfully logging in is a “registered user”, which for these purposes means they are a PCUG member and hence can access the ‘Members-Only’ page(s). After logging in successfully, this will be available as a drop-down menu item from the ‘Members’ tab, and visible in the Index section on the left sidebar.
  • The Committee-Only page(s) will not be visible/accessible until the username is explicitly added to a ‘committee’ group.
  • Editing permissions (i.e. the ability to create, change, and if needed delete, pages and posts) can be assigned to individuals or groups as needed.
  • Lots of additional functionality is available through the use of plugins, e.g. event calendars, image galleries, etc. I am still experimenting with various plugins to add/change functionality, so things might change / break 🙂

There are various pros and cons for CMS and wikis, and some googlingwill find further arguements for and against each. However, here’s a
short comparison (fromhttp://stackoverflow.com/questions/226132/wiki-or-cms):*


  1. A CMS focuses on *content* which is then published through standardized templates — think of an online newspaper as driven by a huge CMS system.
  2. It’s about standardized *publishing information*.
  3. CMS’es usually have a *limited group* of editors.
  4. Useful for *relatively static* content, maintained by non-tech people.
  5. *Much emphasis on style*/presentation: very slick templates so it looks professional.


  1. On the other hand, a wiki focuses on *pages* where each page represents a topic.
  2. It’s much more about *collaboratively improving each topic* (adding hyperlinks to other topics and websites counts as improving the topic).
  3. Wikis are generally *much more open to “the public”* (or everybody in the company, vs. just the “internal communication” department).
  4. Wikis are /meant/ to be *living, dynamic things,* maintained by /everybody/.
  5. Much *emphasis on content:* less slick templates but easier to find and update information.

Finally, I’m not saying that a wiki doesn’t have some place as part of the overall PCUG website. What I am saying is that a CMS-based website is probably a better way of presenting the PCUG, and much of the information about the PCUG, to our general membership and the Internet at large.

If you have further questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer them.