My final project for the course I’m studying – a Masters in Social Media at Birmingham City University – is a community web site mainly featuring questions and answers submitted by people offering a sort of peer-to-peer support. Here, I’m going to give a quick demo to show how easy it is to install a powerful piece of software to your space on the net (assuming you’ve got hosting). Not only do I want a record of how I built Wagwan?, but I also want some sort of space to discuss other matters relating to the site.
The options for setting up some sort of record for how to go about creating a site like Wagwan? are many. For example, I could have installed a wiki (e.g. MediaWiki and incorporating it into Joomla (see below) with the MediaWiki Auto-Login extension), something I may still add to the site in the future but, for now, WordPress is sufficient for what I need and in my view it’s the best and most powerful blogging software there is, hosted at Wagwan? under ‘About > Diary‘ in the main menu.
How to (easily) install WordPress
The main piece of software I installed for Wagwan? is Joomla, which I mentioned above. Joomla is an open-source Content Management System (CMS) which is great for building a community site. A lot of sites go for a separate blog when using WordPress with something like Joomla, but there is a way of making the blogging software fit better into a Joomla site: I’ve incorporated the WordPress pages into the main site’s Joomla installation by using an ‘iFrame wrapper’, which put simply means that the blog’s pages are squeezed into a frame on the Joomla pages. This is done through the menu’s configuration in Joomla’s administrative (back-end) section. You set up a new menu item, then choose the type of menu item you want, including a link to the page you want incorporated into the frame.
Simple enough process, but it meant that I needed to strip the WordPress theme to its basics. With this site, I’m trying to restrict the use of any coding because I’m not the most patient coder there is and because I want to make sure this is a site pretty much anyone can build without going overboard with detail. That said, I did have to go into the CSS files to make the page render in the frame well. I’m quite happy with the result, or rather the potential of the result. Nice and clean and simple, but powerful, too.
One final thing. I messed up a bit in setting up the blog and had to use the menu name ‘Diary’, since you can’t call a Joomla menu item the same name as a directory within the root directory, which I’d set up with the name ‘Blog’. Not very clever, eh. A lesson learned: think ahead properly. You can see the end result at http://wagwan.org/about/diary.