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Request for advice: something other than WordPress?

This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by 6 years, 9 months ago.

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    Hello All,

    I am preparing to create an archive of examples of experiments in extra-institutional pedagogy, and I wanted to check in with some smart folks and ask the question: does anyone think I should use something other than WordPress? I’m so used to using WP as a Swiss Army Knife of code, but maybe there is something else I should use?

    Examples of the kinds of experiments I am talking about include: The Public School, Machine Project, Trade School, the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, Hackerspaces (c-base, NYC-Resistor, Noisebrige),, etc.

    The fields for each entry in the archive are project/school name, descriptions, URLs, locations, tags, categories, etc. My goal is to use the aggregated, tagged and geocoded information to try to understand the phenomenon better. I do expect that I would need to write some theme files that will do this, and/or some kind of extension, though does anyone know of a theme/extension that will do the heavy lifting re: displaying the data on a map (I haven’t really worked out what this would look like, hence this query is pretty vague!)

    Because of the tags, a wiki is not viable.

    No complex user roles are necessary, thus no Drupal.

    I would like the ability for people outside the core contributors to be able to contribute entries, which WP can do. The only problem is that in order to allow others to edit entries, I would have to give them pretty robust admin-ish permissions. So that restricts the wiki-like collaborative nature.

    Is there some other obvious platform or tool I should be using?

    And I would be very interested in examples of this type of learning project you may know about.

    Thanks All,



    Steve Brier

    Not sure what you want to use it for exactly, but how about Omeka?


    Bob Kosovsky

    Michael, if you’re used to WP, then stick with it. It is *by far* the best blog software out there, in part because it is so customizable and be used for many kinds of projects. There have many who have used WP as a database (which appears what you want to do). Besides, if you choose another package, much of your time will be spent learning/customizing that package, rather than refining your content. Stay with WordPress.


    Benjamin Miller

    I think you may be ruling out Drupal too quickly. Your content has clearly
    defined fields, some of which may have multiple values; you want to
    generate various kinds of lists, according to different field-based
    criteria, which the Views module was designed to do; and you want
    fine-grained permissions control. Sounds like Drupal to me, almost with a
    basic out-of-the-box set up.

    On Jan 22, 2013 2:21 PM, “CUNY Academic Commons”


    Benjamin Miller

    You can also probably use Wikidot with data forms, which can handle tags
    and which Kimon has a lot of experience using.
    On Jan 22, 2013 2:21 PM, “CUNY Academic Commons”


    John D. Boy

    If there are no constraints on the server side, then go with what you’re most comfortable with, especially if you think you may need to hack things a bit.

    For Occuprint we used PmWiki in large part because it is easy on server resources and does not depend on a database in the background (it just uses flatfiles). If you have any kinds of constraints like that, WordPress or Drupal are out of the running.

    As for mapping, you should be able to write something fairly easily using the Mapbox API.



    Thanks for the feedback all. I know WP and Drupal best, and will probably go with one of those.

    @jboy, PmWiki sounds interesting, as MediaWiki hogs so much server bandwidth, but I think the general consensus (including yours) is work w/ something you know.

    @benmiller314, I agree re: Views, but I wonder if Drupal is overkill b/c I’m not going to use the user roles. When I think Drupal, I think user roles. Maybe that is shortsighted on my part.

    @sbrier, Omeka seems like a good option, considering it is meant for collections of data types like this, though how steep a learning curve will it be? Also, any thoughts on server load? Does it have equivalent drag on resources WP or Drupal? I’m working on a Drupal site right now, and it is such a beast that it runs super slow.


    Sean Scanlan

    Hi Michael,

    You’ve received a lot of excellent options for your query, so my comment might be like closing the barn door after the horse has left.

    I’ve had a good experience with a CMS called Concrete5:
    –which is a wysiwyg interface similar to WP and Drupal, but I have found it to be less prone to crashes and easier for me to use (I do not know programming). I think the learning curve is not too steep if you have experience with those others. I run my journal NANO from it:


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