The PHP-Nuke content management system is a popular open-sourceproject, designed to help you get your Web site off the ground with minimumfuss...and if you're a budding Webmaster, or just running on a tightschedule, it can probably make your life simpler. This article discussesdeploying and customizing the system to your needs.
Moving deeper into the guts of the system, let's take a brief look at the other administration options, and what they mean to a site administrator.
Every story published through PHP-Nuke must be linked to a specific "topic" - this is a fundamental feature of the system, and also makes it easier to categorize posted items. The default PHP-Nuke configuration contains a list of topics, all of them related to software and operating systems. Since this is obviously not going to work for everyone - on the two occasions I've deployed the system, neither of the sites was even remotely connected to the software industry - PHP-Nuke offers a "Topics Manager" to help you alter the default topics. You can use this to either edit or delete existing topics, or add new ones.
Similar to the "Topics Manager" is the "Section Manager", which allows you to create special sections on the site. Personally, I've never found a use for this feature - the topics are usually more than sufficient, and the distinction between "topics" and "sections" is fine enough to confuse the average user - but it's good to have the additional flexibility.
Finally, a "Forum Manager" makes it possible to create new discussion boards in the "Forums" section - note that you'll need to create forum categories before you can begin adding new boards. The manager allows you to specify a topic for the forum, a moderator (if you'd like to filter posts), and the access level (anyone/registered users only/administrators only). These settings can be specified on a per-forum basis.
In particular, these kinds of discussion boards would be valuable to businesses in the service industry - for example, Web hosting. A Web hosting company could set up discussion boards devoted to different aspects or features of their service offering - email, Perl/CGI, PHP, databases - and invite their customers to use this forum to communicate with other customers, and with administrators. Properly supported and promoted, and backed by a good search engine (PHP-Nuke comes with a fairly good one), this kind of community-supported support system would end up being a valuable resource to both the business and its customers.
The "Forum Ranking" and "Forum Configuration" items allow you to rank your discussion boards and set up basic configuration parameters; the defaults are usually fine here.
Finally, the "New Article" section is designed to allow administrators to post new stories to the site - this content appears on the main page of the site. Most of the options are self-explanatory, and the online help provides more than enough information on what each of the fields represents.
An interesting feature here is the "Auto Articles" option. This allows administrators to enter new articles into the system, but delay their publication until a specific date. Again, if you have a complete editorial team working on your site, or you don't update it on a regular basis, this option has limited value; however, it comes in handy if you run your Web site as a hobby and work a five-day week (you can spend the weekend putting together new content and automatically release the new material through the week!)
This article copyright Melonfire 2001. All rights reserved.