Use Mambo as a blog

on 10 June 2005.

The only blogging tool that I've used so far is Wordpress and really , Wordpress is GREAT for creating sites where blogging is the main purpose. Although, with its latest functionality for creating other pages apart from 'posts' you can build some pretty impressive sites just by making use of this tool.

Mambo is a lot more sophisticated than Wordpress (read - more difficult to learn)! Once you have mastered the Mambo however, you can build VERY impressive sites with it. It has all the functionality that you would need to advertise your company, build a community site, set up a shopping site, maintain a company knowledge base on an intranet etc etc.

I wanted to use Mambo to set up this website advertising and selling our Web Hosting, Web Design and Web Marketing services. But I also want to keep a company blog with latest news of projects, lessons learnt and tips and tricks for various products and tools.

So, let's get cracking at getting Mambo set up for blogging...
Firstly, let's look at the main components of a blog and see if Mambo can provide the functionality:

Blog type functionalityCan Mambo do this?
Post items and let them appear in date sequence. You also want to have the author name and publish date appear at the top of your post.Yes
People (whether registered users or visiting guests) should be able to comment on your postsNo, but there are add-on components that allow you to do this. The two that I evaluated are MosCom and AkoComment.
 The items that you post in your blog should be able to belong to a category or categories. Yes, although Mambo only allows one to link an item to ONE category. Wordpress, for example, allows one to link your posts to mulitple categories. The advantage of doing this is that you can then find an item easily through multiple routes. 
 Wordpress automatically creates menus for you so that you can acces your posts/items by date.   Unfortunately this is not the case with Mambo. The only way in which you can access your items by date is when you archive them.
 Create an RSS feed of your blog so that other people can add your content to their site. Also sometimes called content syndication.Mambo does have syndication functionality, but whether you can set it up specifically to syndicate your blog remains to be seen...

Blogs also sometimes have something called Trackbacks, or Pings. Trackbacks can help you keep track of which other blogs are making references to your blog. There are ways of integrating Trackbacks with the commenting systems, but this involves some programming. 

For now, let's assume that Mambo offers enough to at least set up some basic blogging functionality, so let's make a start!

The most difficult thing to decide on is how to structure your content. In my case, I wanted to have a normal structure (in other words, having Sections, with Categories inside them, and having my content all fit into neatly into each Category. But I also wanted to have a Blog, where I could post items on a regular basis and these items could really fall into any category.  On the other hand, I didn't want ALL my content to appear on the blog. It took me a couple of days of thinking about this before deciding on the following:

I created a section called 'Blog'. (Remember that 'Section' is the topmost level. Each section can have multiple categories).  This Section will be my main blog and will contain all the categories under it that I want to have published as part of my blog. So, for example, will it contain a category called 'Latest News'. It will also have Categories such as 'Mambo tips', and maybe 'Wordpress tips' etc. The problem with doing it like this though is that you really lose the power of having Sections->Categories->Content.

Why do I say that? Well, I now have a category called 'Mambo tips' in the section called 'Blog'. It will definitely make more sense to rather let this category belong to a section called 'Mambo' instead.

What I could also have done was to just have a 'Latest News' category in the 'Blog' section. Then the blog entries would consist of a short introduction to the article, with a 'read more' at the bottom that doesn't go to the full article in Latest News, but to another full article that I wrote in the Mambo Tips category in the Mambo Section.

But for now, this is the way that I am doing it and I will see how it goes.

Watch out for a next post with information on which of the two commenting components, MosComment and AkoComment, I think is better to use.

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Tailormade4you is a web design company that specializes in building websites that offer real value to businesses. This blog contains some thoughts and reflections on the stuff that we deal with on a daily basis - building sites, keeping clients happy and learning all the time.