Creative Freedom With MODX

Technical Freelance Writer

Technical WriterIt is the opinion of many website builders that MODX CMS was designed for developers with strong coding skills in PHP and Javascript; therefore they tend to avoid it. However, MODX has many advantages for those with lesser coding skills. It has a great range of usability for all website designers, from beginners to master coders.

With such a variety of powerful components for any level of coder, the most important of them is the creative freedom that MODX provides. MODX exists today because web programmers developed it after being frustrated by creative limitations while using other CMS platforms. Working on systems that have built-in ideas of how a site should look, and where things must go so that they can actually work, is nothing short of artistic licence murder. Now, with MODX, your website can look exactly the way you envision it.

Limiting creativity in CMS platforms is pure torture for an artistic website developer.

Another goal of MODX is to be able to redesign and maintain a website easily, without the hassles associated with this task on other platforms. With MODX, you can now separate the website content from the code that presents it and have a platform that is maintenance and redesign friendly.

Creating Blogs with MODX

MODX is fast becoming a good alternative to WordPress. The Articles feature is a full blog component that is easy to configure and use. It allows you to have comments, tags, moderation, threaded discussions and whatever else you might want for your blog.

MODX Tags

MODX tags represent things that you take out of your template and put somewhere else, and are possibly the main power of MODX. Whatever stays in the template are essentially the MODX tags and the HTML shell. The MODX engine operation is very simple. When a browser requests a web page, MODX identifies the template associated with that page. It simply gets the template, replaces the MODX tags within it and sends it to the browser. It is as easy as that.

The reason MODX can have flexible, dynamic and changeable websites is because of what the tags can represent. There are several kinds of tags and they can all be replaced with something else. They can be placed anywhere in the website and are all optional.

    • Chunk Tags

A chunk tag is a tiny bit of HTML code you wish to use on numerous pages. It could be anything you want it to be, but is most often a header, footer, sidebar or menu. Creating a chunk tag is easy. You simply go to the MODX Manager, type in the HTML code, name it and save it. Then you can place the tag where you wish it to appear and it will be shown on every page and in its location. The chunk tag text or HTML code can be edited, moved to a different place in the template or removed.

    • Content Tags

In MODX, web pages correspond with documents in the MODX database. When new pages are created, you will get a form to fill in with data about the document with the following text input fields:

        1. Title
        2. Longtitle
        3. Description
        4. Summary
        5. Alias (for use in the URL)
        6. Content (main page content)
        7. Menu Title (used automatically in menus)

They each have check-boxes to either publish or hide from menus. They also have date fields for information on when a document is published and to indicate future publication dates.
There are numerous other fields which are all optional, except the Title and Alias. Every page needs a name and a URL, but using the rest is entirely up to you. What you use the other fields for is also your decision. It might help to put the page content into the Content field, but it is not necessary.

MODX tags are very simple. When a tag is identified, MODX replaces it with exactly what it represents. It acts according to what you have done, eliminating any struggle to understand what it wants or why it will not do what you want. This is wonderful in comparison to other CMS platforms that assume they know what you need, and have built-in standards regarding where things should be displayed.

There is absolutely no need for website construction to be a daunting task anymore.

Templates

The goal of MODX is to allow the site designer to easily do what they want. MODX templates are a giant step in ensuring this creative freedom. A MODX template is just a page of HTML code. Should you prefer Javascript or MODX tags, then that will work too. You can choose a page of HTML code from a non-CMS website and simply paste it into a MODX template. Then you can update the URL’s for any CSS files and tell MODX to utilize the template. The MODX page will be a mirror image of the original site when viewed, and it takes less than five minutes to achieve. However, pasting code into a template would be a waste of the powerful features offered by MODX, but it just shows you how easy it is to use.

This article does not even begin to cover the features and benefits of MODX. It will hopefully allow you to understand the freedom you can so easily have when using it. Now you really can create a website using tools that will enable the site to be the one you have envisioned in your mind, and promised your client they will get.

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