Simple online content management from Texty

I found this online Content Management System (CMS) tool today which you can use to maintain the content of a web page without any great knowledge of how to write code.

Texty: The Simplest CMS

The principle here is that you put a script on your page which pulls the information from Texty’s database. You edit the content in that database through a simple online user interface, much like editing a blog post, for example. This is great for small organisations who may be prepared to pay a small amount to a web design firm for a basic site (or an off-the-shelf template) but do not have the skills to maintain well-written HTML themselves. So clubs, societies, and small (or even large) not-for-profits could all benefit from a simple system to help them manage the content of pages which change frequently, such as news or upcoming events listings. Some commercial firms might also welcome the convenience, although I suspect that many smaller businesses simply don’t feel the need to change their website content all that often. The other benefit may be that it is easy to allow multiple people to produce content without fear that they can cause problems for one another.

Why not get a blog instead?

For many people a blog is a handy way to post short pieces of news or information without having to write underlying code. However, the popular free offerings only give limited control over the appearance of the site from a selection of templates.

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How to make WordPress’ new Tags work with Windows Live Writer

Windows Live Writer Beta 3 works really well with WordPress and multi-level categories

Windows Live Writer Beta 3 was recently announced and it works really well. That is to say, it “does what it says in the tin”. Writing well-formed blog posts is really simple, it even downloads styles directly from my WordPress blog and allows to me to do proper previews to see exactly what I will get before I publish a post, even when working offline.

There’s even more rich functionality and interoperability with third-party platforms than you might expect from a Microsoft product. For example, WordPress.com supports hierarchical categories. I find this especially useful as I show my categories as a drop-down list rather than take up loads of the sidebar with lots of choices. Windows Live Writer (WLW) provides me the ability to categorise posts, and to add new categories if I need them, including specifying a parent category so they fit into the multi-level hierarchy. Oh, and it does all this offline as well. This is great, and it’s the sort of attention to detail which I appreciate being in a product I use several times a week.

And now the Bad News: WLW does not support the new WordPress Tags by default

WordPress.com have announced a change to the way they use categories and tags. Windows Live Writer Beta 3 was released before this change and does not know what to do with them, so it does not create any, and removes any that already exist if you edit a previous post. However, there is a way to fix this with a registry change, but I found it caused some instability.

» Click here to find out about WordPress tags and how to make them work with Live Writer »

Windows Live Writer Beta 3 and dictionaries

I thought I should make my last post written using Live Writer Beta 2 one about the new beta 3 release. For the impatient amongst you, you can download Live Writer Beta 3 here.

This is supposedly to be the last of the Beta versions of WLW before a final one is released. There are a few changes over Beta 2, most notably where the program gets installed.

More information about switching dictionaries

If you already followed my post about changing the dictionary to a UK English version you may be interested in this article in which the author has done what I wish I had found time for – a follow up on Graham’s work to find those other language files and perhaps a clue as to the engine being used here.

I’ll do a follow up post about the UK dictionary switch once I have Beta 3 installed.

Using British English spelling in Windows Live Writer

I finally found a way to get Live Writer to stop “correcting” my correct spellings, which makes me really happy. It is so frustrating when my screen is covered in coloured wavy lines because I chose to utilise an English spelling rather than an Americanized one. I’m not saying US spellings are inherently “wrong”, but they are wrong in the context of me being British, and if I were to mix my spellings it would be very inconsistent.

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Why I’m using Foxit reader for Acrobat PDF files

For a while I had been reading good things about Foxit Software’s tools for reading, creating and editing PDF files, but never bothered to actually try them out. I recently switched from using Adobe’s Acrobat reader when I finally got fed up with the oversized, bloated product and it’s constant nagging to go off and update itself online (especially since this causes a UAC prompt on Vista). I used to dig around and kill off the update functionality, but enough was enough – why should I have to struggle to try to make the software behave how I want when it might just be easier to switch to a different product.

So, after a very quick download of the 3MB installation file and a simple, no frills installation, I was ready to go. Compare this with the vast and unnecessary 21MB of Adobe’s Acrobat reader – and don’t get me started on the fact that they force me to first download a download manager before I can finally download the actual setup file, when I could have just used my several highly competent browser plugins to get the install files so much quicker. Foxit also comes as an MSI – so much easier than Adobe’s EXE file when it comes to deployment using standard tools such as Group Policy Software Installation (GPSI) or scripts. These download sizes are reflected in the relative amounts of memory consumed by these two products when opening files to view.

Why do I care about my PDF file reader so much? Well, I actually use PDFs fairly extensively for storing “read-only” copies of my own documents, which I then want to access, print, share or publish as easily as possible.

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Creating better web pages and site design

I have recently been doing some restructuring of my company website at www.meteorit.co.uk – it’s still very plain and simple but I have tried to tick all the appropriate boxes for accessibility, usability, standards compliance and above all giving people clear information about what my company does and does not offer.

Later I may give it a bit more corporate gloss and “pictures of people in smart suits drinking cappuccinos in a meeting, and someone good looking with a headset on smiling at the camera” (to quote a friend who kindly gave me their thoughts on what it was missing).

As regular readers will know, clear presentation of information is a hot topic of mine, particularly when I am delivering software training. As I am a MOS: Master I do a lot of Microsoft Office courses, and try to focus not just on the features of the applications but also advise on good practices. This might include clear layout of a Word document, suitable formatting of an Excel chart, or the whole process of designing a professional presentation to deliver your message clearly and avoid “death by PowerPoint”.

BadPowerPointNews

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Windows Live Writer Beta2 is here

Now, I’m not the most fanatical blogger in the world by a long stretch, but I do like to share titbits of information and interesting things I have found from time to time.

I do read a lot of different websites on a daily basis and often stumble across things I would blog about, but often put this off until I can find a quiet few minutes to comment and expand upon something, rather than write simply “Look at this…”. All too often those quiet moments come when I am out of range of an internet connection so the thought never gets posted.

Windows Live Writer (now in Beta2) now makes this a whole lot easier by allowing me to compose, edit and publish through a single friendly tool, offline or online.

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