When I introduced Textpattern CMS to you a few days ago I was really excited to be able to share something really cool that I’ve been using for a long time. Every word I said in my capacity as an Arvixe Community Liaison was as a user (and, I will admit, occasional abuser) of an agile, nimble content management system.
I am a consumer insofar as I use the product the Textpattern development team create. I am currently not in a position to offer code-level improvements and fixes, though I have reported some bugs in the past. I’m a sporadic gnome on the Textpattern wiki, too, and I do like to roll my sleeves up to fix typos and grammatical snafus when I spot them, such is the beauty of a collaborative wiki.
My role on the Textpattern support forum is varied; sometimes I see questions being asked and am able to answer them efficiently and accurately, while other times I’m scratching my head on a doozy of a problem and need to ask for help myself.
You should regard everything I say as correct to the best of my knowledge, but this is important: don’t just listen to me. There are many people involved in the Textpattern project, whether they are core developers, plugin authors, documentation wizards, forum moderators or people who hook other people up with some other people to help them out.
That’s a lot of people. These people — coders, authors, helpers — have a vast combined knowledge of Textpattern and can be found in various guises The Textpattern support forum is perhaps the most densely populated area for Textpattern people, as logic would suggest. This forum tends to be an area for discussion and troubleshooting for people already familiar with the fundamentals of Textpattern; there are comparatively few ‘pre-sales’ questions that crop up here, although when they do they are typically answered in a friendly and polite fashion. Nothing Textpattern-related is off limits, although with every Internet forum there are some rules. Crucially, there is very little in the way of spam and other unsolicited junk: a team of moderators from around the world deal with what little spam does creep through. If you’re intending to try out Textpattern to see if it’s right for you, I would suggest creating an account before you need to post questions and information/troubleshooting requests, perhaps introducing yourself beforehand with some background.
Textpattern has an online magazine, cleverly called TXP. It includes tutorials, insights and other Textpattern-related articles that make perfect reading for potential, new and seasoned Textpattern users. TXP is one side-project I have vowed to be involved with in the near future as the people behind it truly believe in what they’re doing. This is the perfect example of how a project can be enhanced by people outside the core developer team. The editor, Destry Wion, is known within the community for his English language skills rather than PHP and MySQL queries, showing that you don’t need to be a code wizard to make a positive contribution. Likewise, you don’t need to be a coder to understand what TXP talks about in its content. Give it a whirl, see how you get on.
Textpattern has a number of Twitter channels to keep abreast of what’s going on. There’s the @txpforum account which acts as an automated service posting new forum threads. There’s also @textpattern, perhaps the most official of them all. There’s also a Google+ Textpattern community, a Textpattern group on Facebook and a whole bunch of other stuff that I’m going to tell you about soon.
For the rest of this month, I’ll be laying out some of the foundations of Textpattern before telling you how to get hold of and install Textpattern on your Arvixe web hosting account next month. It doesn’t matter what level of hosting you have (Personal, Dedicated or anything in between), running on Windows or Linux: you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to confidently install and configure Textpattern to see if it’s your thing.
Thank you for reading. I hope you’ll join me again in a few days when I talk about Textpattern plugs together from an administration and website end user point of view.