How I Built One Of Us with Expression Engine
About One Of Us
My website is a creative writing website called One Of Us. I’ve been managing it using Dreamweaver templates since 1999 (after an initial start hand-coding it in notepad).
The site consists of 3 main parts. The content, the forums and the homepage blog.
This consists of the following sections:
- Writing tips
Each section has pages beneath it in a typical website hierarchy. The hierarchy remains static for the main part but I do like to update and tweak the content as often as I can. For this reason, a system such as EE is ideal as I can log into the site from home or from work and update content easily. All I need is a web browser.
I use Mark Huot’s excellent Static Pages Module (now called Tome) version 3.5.9 to organise these pages into a hierarchy and to provide the dynamically generated navigation. I like dynamically generated navigation as it saves me managing a series of navigation links separate to the site structure.
I use Invision Power Board (IPB) for my forums and have done for a few years now. I didn’t want to use EE forums as I didn’t want to manage the migration from IPB to the EE forums. Neither did I want to pay for the personal edition of EE at the time.
Integration with EE was therefore a key issue. It would have been nice to have a common membership management facility for the forums and the site but that was not a requirement at the start of this project.
Integration was just a matter of using the HTML from the EE templates in the IPB template.
I use the same stylesheet for both my content and my homepage blog. However, I also wanted to use the same stylesheet for use in the code that I wrap around my forum template. The problem I had was that my forums need to reference a proper .css file and EE stores its stylesheets as template which won’t work in my forums. I wanted the ability to be able to edit my stylesheets from anywhere.
The solution was to simply copy and paste the code from my EE template and use the file upload utility in a weblog post to upload the file into a specified location. I then get my forums to point to this location. It’s a hack, but it works.
I’m not a blogger and I really don’t have that much to say most of the time so a blog was not on my list of requirements. I use the homepage blog for announcements and the occasional reference to newsworthy items on the web.
The blog was the last thing that I put on the website. I only put it up because I was running out of space on the homepage for announcements and the archive feature of a blog was ideal for taking care of old news. I had considered pulling in RSS feeds from an “updates” category on my forums but then realised that I was faking a blog so decided to just put a blog on.
How I built the site
Installation and setup was easy so long as you follow the instructions to the letter. I won’t go into detail about how I did this myself as this should be standard across all site builds.
Static pages module
I needed a solution to manage my static pages and their hierarchy. Admittedly, I didn’t grasp the concept of categories and how they could be used to organise my static content enough to consider using them. Also, I did not like the idea of one template = one page. Plus, version 1.6 of EE (which contains a pages module) wasn’t out yet. Based on my Dreamweaver template experience, I wanted to update one template and have it affect the whole site. At this stage, I have to admit that I did not think to use template includes to cater for this. I therefore installed Mark Huot’s Static Page Module (now called Tome).
My pages are organised in the static pages module to mimic the site structure. This lets me visualise my site in EE as I’m editing it and makes selecting a page to edit much easier. The image below shows the page hierarchy in the static pages module:
Posted by oneofus on 27 September at 10:19 AM