Oct 112012

The New SVWM

As you have already noticed, there is a significant new look-and-feel to the SVWM web site. In fact, the entire web site has been completely redeveloped using a blogging software called WordPress. WordPress not only lends itself to blogging but is also a very good Content Management System or CMS. Not only can you create blog posts but also what can be considered to be “normal” web pages. So, what does this mean to SVWM and why was it done.

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Why the Change?

In various conversations between Bill Barry and Ben Charron, Barry voiced concerns regarding the future upkeep of the web site should anything happen to either himself or Charron. This also crossed Charron’s mind as his health began to decline significantly. The ideal would be for Barry, or whomever would be designated as the new “webmaster”, to be able to manage the text content of the web site easily, without the need for a web developer to change the pages. Most pages in the old web site require programming and this programming is embedded in the web pages making it difficult for an non-technical person to make changes to the text content without the possibility of accidentally causing problems with the programming elements.

Using WordPress does not eliminate the programming but separates the programming elements from the text content of the web pages while keeping them within the WordPress programming framework. A good example of this is the Advanced Search page which includes text elements, HTML elements and PHP programming elements. The programming elements are stored in the web site’s WordPress database and are represented in a web page with a simple “shortcode” (in WordPress terminology) that looks like this:


Any one editing the web page will not see any PHP programming code–only the “shortcode”. This makes maintaining the content of web pages much simpler.

Why Was This Not Done Before?

You may be wondering why the original SVWM web site was not created using WordPress two years ago. At that time, WordPress was considered but Charron found that it lacked some important features needed for the SVWM web site. He also investigated other CMS products such as Joomla and Dupral with the same missing features. In the past two years, WordPress has added many features and there are great new themes and plugins that could be used to extend WordPress making it a good choice for the redesigned web site.