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Typo3 with integrated blog

The situation: a client wants a website with pages in the navigation structure that contain blog posts. These pages should support the same functionality as what WordPress offers:

  • Posts
    • Categories
    • Tags
    • Social bookmarks
    • Related posts
    • Comments
  • Widgetable sidebar
    • Weather forecast plugin
    • Archives
    • Search box
    • Tag cloud
  • Clean permalinks
  • Multilingual
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Pagination
  • Easy adding/editing posts

Solution number 1: Typo3 + WordPress

The power of both systems could be connected to each other to fit the needs of the client. The client will have access to both the Typo3 and the WordPress backend. Normal page content can be added/edited through Typo3, while blog posts will be organized by using the WordPress backend.

The pros and cons of this solution are:

Pros:

  • The client can use the full functionality of WordPress, a dedicated blog system
  • Pages and page content are added/edited by using Typo3, a real CMS
  • WordPress generates very clean permalinks
  • Easy blog back-end
  • Little customization needed

Cons:

  • 2 different back-ends
  • Subdomain or subfolder needed, this will change the main URL when accessing a blog page
  • Double work at developing

Solution number 2: Just Typo3

There are some extensions available for Typo3 that will add blog functionality to the system. The main to extensions are Timtab and T3blog. Timtab is unfortunately very outdated; the latest update is from 2006. T3blog is more up to date. According to the the manual of T3blog, it supports posts, categories, tags and blogrolls.

Pros:

  • Working from 1 backend
  • Easy integration of social media functionality
  • No problems with subdomains or subfolders that will appear in the URL

Cons:

  • For LimeSoda: little knowledge with one of these extensions
  • There is probably missing functionality, like related posts or a search function
  • The combination of little knowledge of the extension and the missing functions will likely cost a lot of money (time) during development.

Solution number 3: Just WordPress

The third solution is that instead of Typo3, WordPress will be used as CMS. WordPress will take over all the work, so every kind of content can be edited/added from 1 backend.

Pros:

  • 1 backend
  • No problems with subdomains or subfolders that will appear in the URL

Cons:

  • Not the best experience with WordPress as CMS for a middle sized website
  • Backend gets unclear when there are many pages to manage
  • Not very good in managing multilingual content
  • Compared to Typo3, WordPress is not a real CMS

Conclusion

WordPress has a very large fan base, and a very large database of plugins. Features like pagination, social bookmarks or related posts are available through downloadable plugins. These plugins work very well, and need little customization. Then there is of course the advantage of adding little blocks with cool functionality as a widget in the sidebar. There are thousands of these widgets available.

Typo3 on the other hand is a dedicated CMS with some very powerful features. The menu system is one of them. Even at large websites with a lot of pages, Typo3 manages to keep the backend clear. WordPress lacks in this region.

WordPress can be customized so that it will behave as a CMS but compared to Typo3, WordPress is bad coded and it can be pretty difficult to extend the website in the future according the needs of the client.

So, using Typo3 as a main CMS with WordPress to manage the blog pages seems the best solution. WordPress will have to be installed on a subdomain, and it will be visible in the URL. This has not a negative influence on SEO or on the usability of the website.

Kommentare

  • Thanks for the overview, I agree with every word! When starting my site, i was fooled with WP popularity and abandoned TYPO3, but now I decided to switch to TYPO3, as WP is no longer catering for the functionality I need.

    Found a great tool CMS2CMS (www.cms2cms.com) that does content migration. I realize this is a whole lot of work to do, with design and extensions, but this is worth trying. Can you suggest the least painless way to convert the template?

    Antworten
    • Hi Mark,

      I had a short look at the tool and if I understand it correct it migrates content + templates. I suppose that this tool will do a good job in database migration, but I am not sure if it does that with the templates/content output.

      All websites I created with Typo3 are using the extension CSS styled content which wraps the content into specific html elements. If you use the classes that are generated by this extension to style your template, you have to make sure that these classes also exist in the WordPress template. I also use userfunctions to add/modify the content output. Then there is Typoscript. There are 1001 ways to configure the website.

      Websites that I created in WordPress contain often custom post types or a modified backend. There are at the moment of writing 24270 plugins in the WordPress library. Each of them will have its own way of modifying WordPress.

      The media handling of WordPress is also different than the one from Typo3 so also here you have to be careful.

      This are all arguments that make me think that a easy migration from WordPress to Typo3 is not so easy by just using a tool.

      In your situation I would try out the tool to migrate the database. Rewriting the templates will be still a lot of work though. I didn’t test the tool you mentioned, but you could setup a simple test website with WordPress with the most important plugins installed and see how the tool does the export to Typo3.

      Anyway, good luck with it. I am looking forward to hear from you what your final solution is, and how the tool worked out for you!

      Antworten
      • Thanks for your response, Marcel. Sorry that I’ve taken so long to reply, I am still in the process of moving my site.

        The cms2cms tool did its job well and now I’m having my whole DB migrated into TYPO3, but as you predicted, template is a tough nut to convert. I’ve been looking for a pro to do this for me and it seems I’ve found one.

        Hoping to have my site ready to go soon.

        Antworten
  • I am consultant for community management and social media and work for a client that works with another agency to have his new website made with Typo3. A change to WordPress is out of discussion (but would be eventually a better choice). The website isn’t very complex and is in the area of Wellness/Physiotherapy/Yoga/Meditation/MBSR

    I job is to teach the client to do social media marketing right from the start and build the necessary infrastructure. The client has written successful books and it is well possible that he will be gaining more popularity via Radio/TV in the future. Therefore he should be prepared and benefit from a blog, Facebook Page, Twitter account, Xing presence and Quora reputation management.

    My initial question was how to integrate all that with Typo3? This blog post above answers this question already. Thank you. We will see if the client accepts to handle a second platform (WordPress) or prefers everything within Typo3.

    But one question still remains. I want to suggest to the client that he should build HIS OWN social network too. The client has potential to build his own community and fan base and should not rely on a Facebook page alone. Working with WordPress makes it easy because BuddyPress is a very good way to do just that. Another option would be to use yet another platform like Ning – but this probably would be to complex and I would rather suggest a system on his own server than a hosted social media platform.

    My question: What are some best practices to build a social network within Typo3 comparable to BuddyPress and Ning?
    http://www.quora.com/What-are-some-best-practices-to-build-a-social-network-within-Typo3-comparable-to-BuddyPress-and-Ning

    Antworten
    • What I can tell you is that Facebook is already there, Facebook has A LOT of users, plugins let you implement facebook functionality in a normal website and Facebook is free. Developing something by yourself, or even making something with Buddypress will cost a lot of money. This is an important thing to consider :)

      I’m also interested in how people implement or create a social network with Typo3!

      Antworten
  • Andriy, you are probably right. I thought of using tt_news before, but I think that it will take quite a lot of time to make the transformation to a real blog system. Think of related posts, tag clouds, archives by category, search by category, seo friendly permalink structure etc.

    I saw that there is a tag cloud extension for tt_news, but it seems outdated. And WordPress has the advantage of widgetable sidebars :)

    Antworten
    • I agree, wordpress is better than TYPO3 as a blog-engine.

      But in this case you limit yourself in possibilities of integration between blog-tings and website things. Like, if you need to put on some non-blog page block like „Latest blog-headers related to this topic“, you will need to compose special solution that will get that information from wordpress and then make it usable in typo3.

      In another way it would be good to have such thing like a typo3 extension that works directly with wordpress database (readonly) and gets out of there some kind of information to display it as typo3 content-element with typo3’s templating possibilities. So you do blogging in wordpress, and have a possibility to use parts of then in typo3 „natively“. :)

      An example of such integration is typogento.

      Antworten
  • By the way, you could use tt_news for blogging, even if it has no word „blog“ in its description.

    Antworten
  • Thanks for writing your post in English! There is not as much info about Typo3 in blogs in English as I wish for, so it is really nice to read yours.

    I would like to know more details about the topic and there is one thing which is not clear for me, and I think more readers will be interested as well.

    Could you please specify what do you mean by „WordPress is bad coded“ – some explanations and examples will be helpful, so we know better what to look for. Otherwise, the statement doesn’t bring any positive validity.

    Thanks in advance!

    Antworten
    • Hi Milena, thanks for your comment!

      I also have difficulties with finding English information about Typo3. It seems that it is more used in the German speaking countries.

      We made the website by combining the strengths of both systems. The navigation points are coming from the 2 databases, and are always up to date. The website is multilingual, so we used for the WordPress part the WPML plugin. First we made the HTML templates for Typo3 and WordPress, and used the same id’s and classes. Both systems use the same CSS file.

      About your second question.
      It is like you said it a quite meaningless statement. What I mean with „WordPress is bad coded“ is that when you really want to customize the functionality, you have to edit core files. This means that you cannot just update every plugin or WordPress itself.

      I also think that WordPress is not made for complex websites with multilingual content. Imagine if you have a website with 5 different languages, and you use wordpress as CMS with content pages and 1 or 2 blog pages that contain posts, like „news“ for example. After a while the backend will be so extremely chaotic, because of the amount of pages and posts, times 5! I think that Typo3 handles this topic much better.

      In my opinion, wordpress is a blog and not a fully grown CMS.

      Antworten
  • In my opinion the solution depends on the specific requirements the client (and his website) will demand. The best bet is always one system with the least possible amount of extensions/plugins. If this is impossible, you have to ponder.

    Say the client only needs some extra pages and no specific features wordpress is not able to provide: No problem with wordpress alone.

    In case the widgetable sidebar is only nice to have, not mandatory, and an integrates system with one backend and one user structure is the clients priority: I would check out T3blog and add other extensions to round up the functionality.

    If the client wants to have it all – offer solution 3. Or offer Drupal, which might be the better CMS for a full-blown website with interactive features.

    Antworten
    • Hi Susanna,

      Thanks for you answer and for your short summary of solutions. :)

      We made the website by combining WordPress and Typo3, and this works great, with synchronised navigation etc.

      Antworten

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