Understanding the Textpattern Content Tab

If you’ve been following my recent posts about Textpattern CMS and you’ve installed it to your Arvixe web hosting, this is a great time to start learning about the admin interface. In this post, I’m going to introduce you to the Content tab and explain how the various sub-tabs and components work. In an upcoming article, I’m going to explain the Presentation tab in the same way and then finally the Admin tab. Let’s go.

The Content tab is located in the Textpattern administration interface. In order to do anything with the Content tab, you need to ensure you’re logged in with sufficient privileges. As a reminder, you can login to the Textpattern administration interface here:

http://example.com/textpattern/

In the URL above, example.com represents the website you installed Textpattern to, and is the location of index.php and the textpattern directory. If you installed Textpattern to a subdirectory of your website, you may find the URL to login is different. For example, if you installed to:

http://example.com/testing/

…then your Textpattern login URL would be:

http://example.com/testing/textpattern

Regardless of the URL, the login screen looks like this:

Enter your login username and password that you used when you ran the installation. If you’ve forgotten what your login details are, no problem: just follow the Forgot Password route and you’ll have an email come through with a link to reset your password.

When you have logged in, you’ll be taken to the administration interface. Out of the box, the admin interface defaults to the Write tab, which is a sub-tab of the Content tab we’re going to look at today. The Content tab comprises the following sub-tabs:

  • Categories
  • Write
  • Articles
  • Images
  • Files
  • Links
  • Comments

The names above are the English terms used. If you’re using a non-English language, they will have the equivalent or appropriate names in that language.

A fundamental thing to understand about Textpattern is that the term ‘content’ in the administration interface context covers:

  • Articles written using the Write sub-tab
  • Images uploaded using the Images sub-tab
  • Files uploaded using the Files sub-tab
  • Links managed by the Links sub-tab
  • Comments left using the browser front-end

Articles, links and comments are stored in the MySQL database. Items on the Files and Images sub-tabs are stored as files in the filesystem and have references in the database which glue them to the administration interface. If you upload files and images using FTP, they cannot be managed using these tabs. You have more control over files if you use FTP, but the administration interface provides a straightforward method of uploading should you prefer that.

Starting from the left, the first tab is Categories. It looks like this:

*** Categories image

Most types of content (Articles, Images, Files, Links but not Comments) can optionally have a category assigned to them. Articles can have two categories. Categories can be created and managed from this tab. I’ll go into Category management in more detail in an upcoming post, suffice to say that assigning a category to your content can help both you and your website viewers, should you choose to have links to view articles/files/images of a certain category.

The Write tab is where articles are written and published:

You can write articles in another application or word processor, but you need to paste the contents into this tab should you decide to draft or write offline. I tend to write my articles in IA Writer or Scrivener, for example, then paste the final copy into this tab and enter some article specifics before hitting the red publish button. The right hand side of my Write tab includes drop down menus for Category 1 and Category 2, both of which are managed in the Category tab we just looked at.

The Articles tab is an overview of all your articles. Each article is listed, along with salient info, in a table. Clicking on the title of each link will take you back to Write tab, but it is populated for that specific article. Articles have a unique numerical identification, starting with 1. The database keeps track of the last ID, so you won’t have two articles with the same value. For example, if the last article written was ID 50, the following article will be ID 51. If you subsequently delete article ID 51, the next article will have an ID of 52; that is to say, article IDs are not used more than once.

The Images sub-tab and Files tab are very similar in layout. First, the Images sub-tab:

…and now the Files sub-tab:

Both allow you to upload images and files to your website and manage them from the interface. I will admit I have never used the Images or Files sub-tabs to manage my content. Not for any sinister reason, I might add, but I’m very familiar with FTP and my web hosting providers have always allowed it. Despite this confession, I know of multiple advantages for using the Images and Files sub-tabs, including:

  • Each file and image has an ID which can be included in articles
  • Images and Files can be replaced, retaining their respective IDs
  • Download counts are available for files
  • Thumbnails can be uploaded or created for each image

There are more reasons to use these tabs, I suggest trying the functionality out for each sub-tab and then choose whatever method is most natural to you. One word of advice: when you choose your preferred route (sub-tabs or FTP), bear in mind that if you change to the other you’ll have files and images in both places, so some files/images will be managed by FTP and some will be in the administration interface.

Next, the Links sub-tab:

This is a tabular list of links, each having their own unique ID (like articles, and files/images if you use the sub-tabs). Each link can have a category, should you want to assign one. Like articles, the content and metadata can be edited and managed; clicking on the link name will take you to an editing screen on the Links sub-tab.

Finally, there are comments. Should you choose to enable comments on your site, or chosen articles, this is where they are managed:

Control and management of comments is a little different to articles, images and files. Clicking on the comment ID (the first of which is 000001, rather than 1 for articles, images and files) allows you to control the status and edit the content of the comment, should you wish to correct typos, links and so forth.

Donald Swain is a harmless, mythical character in Textpattern folklore, and he’s always the first to comment on the default article in a new Textpattern installation. He does this because his comment is included in the Textpattern setup routine, not because he’s a spammer. You can safely delete his comment. He won’t mind.

In my next post, I’ll be explaining about the various components of the Presentation tab, which – as the name suggests – controls the look and feel of the Textpattern front-of-house proceedings. I do hope you’ll join me.

Looking for quality Textpattern Hosting? Look no further than Arvixe Web Hosting!

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Author Spotlight

Pete Cooper

Pete Cooper

Pete Cooper has been using Textpattern since 2005. Textpattern is his preferred CMS weapon of choice. Its logical and flexible approach to content management makes Pete happy, as does its lightweight core and helpful user community. Pete's website - petecooper.org - runs on top of Textpattern and chronicles his day-to-day experiences from his home near the Atlantic in north Cornwall, United Kingdom.

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