Update, Update

Well, I think that the long awaited and much feared Quarto update has successfully transpired. As near as I can tell everything works now, as it should, and as near as all of you can tell, nothing has changed. So I'm going to do a little bit of talking about how TealArt works in part because I want to have some sort of geek post to balance out all the knitting and gender/sexuality things I've been posting, so here it goes.

There's this massive mySQL database that has all of the TealArt information: everything that powers Quarto, plus all the static content pages, and all the style sheets and all the design elements. The files that are saved on the web server are nothing but creatively arranged PHP functions and database queries.

Quarto is the CMS (content management system) that Amy wrote to power a few of her sites. While Amy was writing Quarto, I was writing Circle Games, so we kind of bonded over our ambitious projects, and when Amy was looking for beta-testers. I started jumping up and down. I'd been switching back and forth, and had lost a lot of data, and really liked how Quarto was looking, so I jumped on board and never looked back. At this point it was clear that Quarto was beta software, and frankly, I don't think Amy expected TealArt to remain Quarto-Powered.

Here's how Quarto works: There's this data base structure, and there's an administrative interface that allows us to insert and modify information in the database. (so entries, settings, etc.)

At the same time, a completely different set of functions pulls that information from the database, sorts it out, and displays it in the form that you see here.

That's the thing that makes most PHP/mySQL powered CMS's unique: (and Quarto especially so) the backend (administration) and front end (display) are completely independent of each other, which gives the user (that would be Chris and I) an incredible amount of freedom in customizing output.

This is why TealArt looks exactly the same now as it did before: even though the database has changed a bit, and the admin interface is a bit different: I haven't yet touched the display. Actually, as I look over it, I'm thinking that the display will be Chris' province.

Now here's what we have to do:

  • Make the Archives Page More organized, probably using periodical (monthly) archives, drop down lists and the like. Right now the archive page is just a modified main index page, set to show all the entries.
  • Fix the categories page somehow.
  • Find some way to merge the linkage and main page log into one line of data. This will probably require some hacking to do properly.
  • Implement Trackbacks. This one is for Chris' amusement only. The database has a trackback table, but the support hasn't been written into the file.
  • Update the Entry page, and get commenting to work properly.
  • Get (moreā€¦) links to work so that extended entry text doesn't get shown on the main page.

That list will be updated as we find new things to do, and hopefully as we complete old items.

Now our second option is to ditch Quarto completely and start using Wordpress, which is the only other CMS worth using. Well other than GreySight, which Noah won't even let his bestest buddies use, but that's a non-issue.

The problem with switching at this point is that we have 630+ entries in Quarto, about 200 in the main journal 150 in the Aux Journal (formerly Paradigm,) 150 quotes, and 100 Links. Or something. All of the entries are in the same table (site differentiation are made in a site id field,) and seeing as Wordpress doesn't have separate sites, (but their implementation of Categories, would probably allow us to accomplish the same thing. Where I was going with this train of though, is that writing an import script is going to be one major pain in the rear.

So that's where we are now. Stay tuned (as always)!!

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