Overview of Back-End Administration in Textpattern

As a sequel to my last blog post about the front-end of Textpattern CMS, I’d like to show you around the back-end administration side of things. Like many other content management systems, the administration functionality is accessed using a browser after login details have been supplied and confirmed. In the case of Textpattern, access to the administration is handled from the Textpattern directory. So, if your Textpattern front page is:


…the administration area is accessed at:


Note that there is currently no Textpattern dashboard as such. After login, the default destination is the Write sub-tab to create a new article. The Write sub-tab looks like this:

If you’ve installed Textpattern yourself – and I’m going to show you exactly how to do that in October – and log in as yourself, you’ll have administrator rights over everything. Textpattern defaults to the Classic administration theme during install, but offers an additional two to choose from: Hive and Remora. The image above is what the administration interface looks like for an administrator using the Classic theme. Textpattern is a multi-user content management system and each user has a level of access; this is primarily to ensure the administrators (managers) can keep the site running without the risk of article writers breaking templates, CSS or other important stuff and has the added benefit of not overwhelming/unnerving users with unnecessary options.

The Hive theme is another Phil Wareham creation. It’s ideal for modern devices as it has a responsive design and scalable vector graphics. The write tab in Hive looks like this:

Finally, Remora is a similar to Classic but more compact overall:

I mentioned user access level before the screenshots; I’ll go a bit deeper into user rights in a future article, but a Textpattern user (author) has one of the following roles, ordered by descending level of privilege:

  • Publisher (administrator, full access)
  • Managing Editor
  • Copy Editor
  • Staff Writer
  • Freelancer
  • Designer
  • None (no access)

Back to the Classic administration interface. Each tab across the top represents an area of focus for administration. Clicking on a tab activates it and subsequently changes the sub-tabs available. In the case of the Write sub-tab, it lives inside the Contact tab. Note that not all tabs and sub-tabs are visible for each user, so if you’re missing some or most of the tabs shown above, the chances are you don’t have the appropriate access level.

I could yack on all day about the various components within sub-tabs, their tabs and suchlike, but I won’t because you’d never come back here and that makes me sad. Here’s an overview of what lives where in the Classic admin theme tab tree:


  • Categories – create and manage categories for your articles, images, files and links
  • Write – write new articles and edit existing articles
  • Articles – a list of your existing articles
  • Images – upload and manage your site images
  • Files – upload and manage non-Textpattern site files
  • Links – create and manage links
  • Comments – view and moderate article comments


  • Sections – organizational structure for your site
  • Forms – reusable code chunks to output articles, text, links etc
  • Pages – (X)HTML code structure for your browser to render
  • Styles – CSS for your site


  • Diagnostics – check the details of your technical setup
  • Preferences – manage your site preferences
  • Users – manage your site users and their access
  • Visitor logs – monitor your site access
  • Plugins – extend Textpattern functionality with 3rd-party extensions
  • Import – import your content from a variety of content management systems

The last tab, View site, doesn’t have any sub-tabs and is purely a hyperlink to your Textpattern front page in a new browser window/tab. Different themes handle sub-tabs in their own way. Hive has a dropdown menu-style approach:

Remora does largely the same thing:

To summarize: Textpattern is supplied with three admin themes, Classic being the default one. There are comparatively fewer back-end themes than front-end themes. However, unlike front-end themes, admin-side themes are uploaded to a directory and enabled from the back-end interface.

In my next article I will explain how Textpattern components work together to produce what comes out of a browser, and then we’ll jump into getting Textpattern set up on your Arvixe web hosting server. I do hope you’ll join me.

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

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Author Spotlight

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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