Better Service and Website Management (with gModu) Comments

A kind of poor website management consists of "file includes" (that is: one file requests to display and/or execute the contents of another file) having multiple HTML or PHP files and then including multiple other files for headers, footers, navigation, and/or copyright and other things.

As a business we have to add and remove -- or just adjust prices for -- products on multiple pages several times a month. Because of the difficulty of doing this with our current infrastructure, we typically wait until we have multiple changes that need to be made, this way we have to make fewer changes and it's more cost effective to manage our website.

Thankfully we discovered "The gModu Project" a small Free Software project under the GNU Affero General Public License started by TildeHash author Jacob Barkdull, the project exists to develop a PHP-based "modular" web page design. The concept is (and currently implemented on as) one "index" file that holds the website's design, e.g. its header, footer, tables, divs, images, and anything else used for the website's structure, but leaves the title, keywords, description, and body content empty.

This logo is our first contribution.

gModu works differently. gModu works by having one file that has everything you'd want to appear on every page, change this one file and every page changes. Not too dissimilar to Drupal and WordPress. When a page is requested this file includes another file that contains the page's title, keywords, description, and body content to "fill in the blanks" and structure each page's design.

There aren't multiple HTML or PHP files in the gModu design, there is only a series of ".gmodu" files, each represents a page. A visitor doesn't go to "order.php" or "freesoftware.php" to navigate to those pages, they would go to "?page=order" or "?page=freesoftware" or if you'd prefer "?p=order" this is because "?page=" tells gModu which file to phrase to structure the page ("order.gmodu" and "freesoftware.gmodu"). As long as a file for that page exists it includes it and structures a page, if the file doesn't exist it phrases "notfound.gmodu".

Particularly useful is the fact that the ".gmodu" files don't relate to each page's URL, so these files can change locations without page URLs changing.

We find gModu appealing because it's new, it's small, and it's made for only one specific use (for now), this means it will be easy for us to implement it, change it to suit what we need it to do, and contribute our modifications back. Some of the things we want to do are: Make a switch for page comments, modular syndication scripts, traffic logs with easy page count display, user content contribution, mailing list subscriptions, auto-sending mailing list upon new content, auto-updating RSS feeds, and much more.

We've had our website for a few years now, and because of poor management the current design is table-based and each page is an individual PHP file stored on the server. This makes managing and redesigning the website more difficult than it needs to be.

We will be implementing gModu as-is in the next few days, along with the website redesign and from there the InaTux experience will only be getting better.

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