Postnuke – Beyond CMS (Part I)

Content Management Systems are getting popular by the day, and for good reason too. The first stage of any web site is a simple good looking site which has some simple html pages. These pages are mostly our brochure with an about us and a contact us page. But sooner or later we feel the need to update our site and add more features of it. Enter… Content Management Systems (CMS).  As the name suggests a CMS is a system which helps you manage the content of your site. Your site now becomes dynamic and you are able to change the contents with little of no knowledge of html.

 

There are many CMS available. Some of the open source popular ones being PHPNuke, PHPWebSite , Drupal and so on. Zope too has a content management framework which is quite good. In the past I had tried many but finally I realized the best one for my needs is Postnuke. According to the Postnuke guys it is more than a CMS. It is a community, content, collaborative management system, a  C3MS. And I fully agree with the postnuke guys.
This blog is all about how to install and make Postnuke a bit presentable. Some examples of postnuke sites which I have worked on are
Amarjyoti.com (i.e. this site), Rotary Greater Cochin (my rotary club site) , SunShineEyeCare (my sister’s site) and ofcourse BobCares.com our company site. This might give you an idea about the power of Postnuke.

Installing PostNuke 
Postnuke requires apache, mysql and php. I am not going into the details of installing Apache, Mysql and PHP. It is very simple and if you are using Redhat or any other popular flavor of Linux I am sure it’ll come by default or you can easily download the binaries for it. It would also be a good idea to have something phpmyadmin installed for easier database administration. Now download the latest version of Postnuke from the site http://postnuke.org. I would also recommend downloading some modules for postnuke –

  • content express which is a wonderful content management module for postnuke
  • Gallery which is a top class picture gallery software
  • PNphpBB which is a popular forum

Now that we have downloaded everything let’s start with the installation. Create a new database for postnuke. This can be done using phpmyadmin or in any other method you like. Next unzip the postnuke zip file that you have downloaded and put it up in the site’s html root. For example

$ mv PostNuke-0.726-3.zip /home/user/public_html/
$ unzip PostNuke-0.726-3.zip

This would create a directory PostNuke-0.726-3 which would have two sub directories html and phoenix-sql. Rename the html directory to the name you’ll like to access it or move the contents of the html directory to the public_html directory. In this case we’ll be making the nuke start page as http://domain.com/postnuke.

$ cd PostNuke-0.726-3
$ mv html ../postnuke


This is all we use of the shell.
At this stage the postnuke directory is accessible as http://domain.com/postnuke/
And a database username, password and postnuke database exists.
e.g.

Database Username – postnuke_user
Database Password – postnuke_password
Database Name – postnuke
URL – http://domain.com/postnuke

Take your favorite browser and point it to http://domain.com/postnuke/install.php


The first stage is selecting the language. In our case we select English and proceed.


 Postnuke comes under the GNU GPL We need to accept the license terms and proceed. Click next for the next screen.


The installation would then check for the file permissions. If the permissions are correct you’ll see the two ticks in green. If there is an error, there would be a cross in red in which case the permission for config.php needs to be changed to 666 and config-old.php needs to be changed to 666. e.g.

$ chmod 666 config.php


Now the database settings needs to be put in. In our case the following should work in most cases.
Database Host – localhost
Database Username – postnuke_user
Database Password – postnuke_password
Database Name – postnuke
Table Prefix – nuke
Database Type – MySQL
Database Table Type – MyiSAM



 
Now click on the New install button. This would install the database tables. 

Then set the Admin user name and password and the admin email and the site name.


Finally the installation updates the data and takes us to the credits page. We can then visit our site by pointing our browser to the URL
http://domain.com/postnuke


Postnuke is as easy as it can get. Now we need to log in as admin make the changes. After you have logged in using the Login box as admin.
Click on the Administration link in the Main Menu. This link is http://domain.com/postnuke/admin.php
Given below is a screen shot of the Admin Control Panel.

 

Leave a Reply