What's the best CMS for this project on banned books
September 12, 2011 3:28 PM   Subscribe

What's the best CMS for this project?

I wanted to put together a database of books which were actually censored somewhere somehow in the U.S., preferably recently.

Drupal doesn't appeal to me anymore --I have a fair amount of experience with it but am still frequently stumped about why it is or is not doing one thing or another, and I'm consistently unimpressed with how slow it is. So I'd be surprised if Drupal is the answer to this question.

Info to store (at minimum): title, author, cover, plot summary, intended audience, dates censored, locations censored, type of censorship (e.g. removed or restricted), external references, and keywords.

The dates, locations, types of censorship, and external references should all be grouped as individual instances of censorship tied to a given book. (If you know anything about databases, I'm seeing books as a table, authors as a table, and incidents of censorship as a table, with links between incidents and books.) Authors and books would have their own interlinked pages, as would audience and types of censorship.

I'd thought of just using WordPress for this, but where I'm stumbling a bit is in making it automatically update various pages like authors and books. For instance, on a book's page I'd like it to list incidents, keep an automatic account, and possibly map locations. I'm not sure of how these things might be done in WordPress.

Is there anything set up that's not Drupal that can likely do this (even if it's WordPress and a number of plugins), or am I stuck with Drupal?

In case you're curious, the project is in response to the ALA's Banned Books Week, prompted by my belief that challenged is not the same as banned any more than bruised is the same as dead.
posted by johnofjack to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Heh, a similar question was asked about 12 hours ago.

You can definitely do this in Wordpress. I know someone who made this site in Wordpress by basically just using custom post types, custom taxonomies, custom meta boxes and custom templates.

Personally, I tend to add custom posts and taxonomies into the functions.php file, but just use the Advanced Custom Fields plugin to make the meta boxes, which I find rather troublesome to do manually.

I recently found these rather useful custom post type and taxonomy generators, which generate the same code you'd put together manually - a bit of a timesaver perhaps.
posted by Magnakai at 3:49 PM on September 12, 2011

Response by poster: Yikes! Sorry about that--it wasn't suggested on preview, and I did look for relevant previous questions. It might be a problem with language, as the other poster speculates, or maybe just my own search habits.

I think also the answers given there can answer this question, so I'll mark it resolved.
posted by johnofjack at 3:57 PM on September 12, 2011

A suggestion that hasn't bubbled up yet: ProcessWire. It has your custom content types and interlinking covered. As far as automatically updating various pages, I'm not sure what some of your phrases mean (like "keep an automatic account,") but it's worth a try.

Check out the Skyscrapers site example too.

Speaking personally Drupal is too heavy and enterprisy for many projects, Wordpress is going to feel like a kludge and make you fear plugin upgrades, and Django etc. are going to require crazy plumbing compared to just doing it in PHP.
posted by circular at 4:32 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ah, sorry--I meant 'keep an automatic count' (not account) of incidents of censorship for each book.

Thanks for the additional suggestion--I hadn't seen ProcessWire before and will check it out. Based on the skyscrapers site, it looks like it can probably do everything I'd need it to.
posted by johnofjack at 5:06 PM on September 12, 2011

Thanks for posting that, circular. The introductory video was really interesting, and I'm definitely going to take it for a spin when I've got some free time.
posted by Magnakai at 5:21 PM on September 12, 2011

Why are you specifically looking for a CMS for this? This would be much better suited to a (pretty simple) custom application. I don't really see the CMS angle here at all - it's just going to add unnecessary complication.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:56 PM on September 12, 2011

I'd agree with me & my monkey. A CMS is adding complication here where there needn't be any; a [relatively simple] custom application would be the optimal solution here.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:20 PM on September 12, 2011

Response by poster: I thought I'd need a CMS since I don't know how to write a custom application secure enough to go online, and don't have the money to buy one. Is there a better way to do this, free?
posted by johnofjack at 8:03 PM on September 12, 2011

You may want to look into the yii framework.
posted by joshuaconner at 9:20 PM on September 12, 2011

I'm going to second WordPress. Fear not plugin or core updates. If you stick to custom post types and taxonomies, you'll be just fine.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 9:55 PM on September 12, 2011

Response by poster: I tried ProcessWire. First it installed but wouldn't let me log in, though I had the correct password (there's an undeclared limit to the length; if you exceed it you'll fail to log in even when typing it correctly) and then it worked for that night only. Today I can't log in because the login page isn't showing. I can't find anything about this online saying it should be anywhere other than ProcessWire's root. Various tests to see what's gone wrong are all showing that that particular thing isn't what's gone wrong.

I'm about to give up on ProcessWire and try something else.
posted by johnofjack at 7:15 PM on September 25, 2011

Response by poster: Someone in the other thread recommended SilverStripe, which is working wonderfully for me so far. The documentation, at least, is infinitely superior to the documentation for ProcessWire.
posted by johnofjack at 7:44 PM on September 26, 2011

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