It’s been a while since I last blogged, but it’s only because I’ve been researching my final year university project with such depth!
My aim is to create a fully functional Content Management System (CMS) so that the second year online journalism students on my course are able to access it (ideally from anywhere) and add their stories to it as part of their module.
Initally, it didnt all go smoothly. I tried the idea of creating and hosting a local server on my laptop, using Apache, MySQL, and PHP, in that order. I encountered several errors, even though I was being ably guided through the process by two books:
I kept encountering errors as Windows Vista (Ultimate) isnt user friendly, and doesn’t like it when you try and go through the back door.
However, during this process, it wasn’t all frustration. I improved my knowledge of PHP and MySQL, and Apache to a certain extent. When I started the project I had no idea of what these programs were, and how and why they are related.
Now I can safely say that these programs, and their languages, are so popular that they make up for 80% of what is on the web today – these stats are according to the PHP site, so don’t quote me!
Back to the drawing board
However, the project has taken another step forward. After being pointed in the right direction earlier by my lecturer, Paul Bradshaw, I now know how this project is going to work.
Later tonight I’m going to buy some webspace and hosting, through GoDaddy!, and start playing around with Joomla! on there. The aim is to get a fully working CMS for the Online Journalism students to play around with, by mid-next week.
Excellent how-to guides
Two guides I will definitely be taking a look at are New.Journalism.Review, and Andy Dickinson‘s. Both attempted to create similar projects to mine, setting up a news website using a CMS, the only difference in the two being their choice: New.Journalism.Review opted for Joomla! and Andy Dickinson opted for WordPress.
My lecturer, Paul Bradshaw, has another website which he has created himself using WordPress – JournalismEnterprise, and from looking at his and Andy Dickinson‘s, it’s quite clear to see that WordPress is extremely user-friendly – but I’m still more tempted by Joomla! as I have come across what seems to be several million websites with additional features, ‘hacks’, and things to do with it. I’m sure there are just as many for WordPress too.
Keep checking back to my blog for updates on how the project is going, no doubt I’ll be venting frustration several times over the coming months!
Hopefully, by the next blog, I aim to:
Purchase a domain/hosting option
Play around with the CMS
Have a basic ‘shell’ of the site, so that the students can play around with it in the lecture.
Have developed a better understanding of CMS’s and how they work.
But for now, the Green light for the Environmental News website is definitely on, and I’m (potentially) on my way to something quite special.