Behind the Website
I wanted to explain a little about what goes on behind these websites for those interested or who may want to contribute later on.
We are attempting to replace the old website which relied upon a system called DotNetNuke http://www.dotnetnuke.com/ with a simpler system called WordPress http://www.wordpress.org. Both of these systems and several others are Open Source (meaning nobody owns them and they are communally developed), server side dynamic page engines – also called ‘content management systems’ or CMSs. What this means is that when you come to the site, the webserver builds the page you are about to see out of chunks of data, such as images and articles, and forming them to templates that give it a specific look. One benefit of this is that the content, such as a news update, is kept separate from the pages it might show up on. Another is that complicated features may be added, such as forum, calendar, online store, and just about anything you can think of. Also the look of the site can be changed with a button click. A whole new ‘theme’ can be loaded up and change the way everything looks and is arranged, but the same content that was added in, again such as news updates or blog entries, will show up in this new arrangement without any additional work being done. Also different ‘roles’ can be given to different users so those who should only be able to submit an article can’t change something that will break the system, thus allowing multiple people to manage discreet parts of the site that they are in charge of.
So where DotNetNuke and WordPress differ is that DotNetNuke uses technology specifically on Microsoft Webservers and WordPress is built on top of Open Source webservers. WordPress, is also more of a Blog tool and is usually used by an individual or a group of individuals to write journal entries or independent news sites. However, due to the popular usage and open source nature of this tool, many people have developed more advanced features that can be added in as plug-ins very easily thus turning it into a fully functioning website platform. The paradigm is still a little blog-centric, but once you understand a couple of things and know where to look it becomes fairly easy to create a site that moves away from the blog world yet retaining those features when needed.
The hope is that this tool will enable news updates to be posted in the blog entries showing up on the front page (like this post) and also to have an event calendar which can also update the news blog when something is added, and lastly some static pages that have information less temporary such as the contact information, services etc. Other features like downloads, store, picture gallery, etc., can be added in as we progress but I’ve learned to keep it simple at first for my sake and the sake of those will be learning to use it.
Insha’allah this will become a more useful tool for the passing of important masjid information. Feel free to contact me with comments or questions, or talk with Aasim Shabazz who is working with me on this project and has been heading up the organization of getting the new one running. If you register with the new site you can also leave comments under the posts.
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