Building a Website with MODx for Newbies – Part 1: Introduction
Today I’m going to start on a new series of tutorials that will teach you how to build a website using MODx CMS. As always, I invite you to add comments and share your knowledge as we learn and build together. I also encourage you, as you follow these tutorials, to work along with me, installing a local copy of MODx on your computer so that you can follow along and see MODx in action.
What is MODx?
MODx CMS is a described as a “Content Management Framework”. Quoting from the MODxCMS website
“MODx helps you take control of your online content. An Open Source PHP application framework, it frees you to build sites exactly how you want and make them 100% yours. Zero restrictions and fast to build. Super-simple templates in regular HTML/CSS/JS (any lib you want). Registered user systems and a killer community. Welcome to web-building nirvana.”
Well that sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? This is just too hard to resist, so let’s give MODxCMS a try. We are going to be building a basic website up from scratch and then adding and implementing features as we go. For starters, to inspire you, take a look at a selection of websites built on MODx CMS at the Made in MODx Site Gallery. Other MODx websites are showcased at MODx it! and at modxclub.
I don’t think I can do this questions true justice but I’ll try. MODx is a flexible, powerful, and highly customizable PHP 5 Web Application Framework. The “templating system” (for lack of a better phrase) in MODx makes adopting any HTML/CSS template into your website a fast and clean process.
Developers can quickly incorporate custom code into MODx to implement features and expand functionality. MODx is SEO friendly, it’s API fully supports Web 2.0 Ajax technology, and supports custom content types.
The MODx project is a dynamic and growing system with an active community that is very responsive and helpful to beginners and to anyone interested in learning and working with MODx. As of this writing, the stable version of MODx is 0.9.6.3, but the next version of MODx, Revolution, is on the way, and promises many good things!
What do you need?
To work through these tutorials, and indeed any MODx tutorials, you’ll need at the very mininum a webserver that supports PHP. I use WAMP for local installs on my computer. If you’re using a mac you’ll need MAMP, and a LAMP setup if you’re on linux. You’ll also need to make a database available for the install. For a full list of what you’ll need to run MODx, see the General Requirements page. You’ll also require an interest to learn and the willingness to work through and discover new stuff. Your favorite beverage and some knowledge of PHP and HTML/CSS will go a long way! If you’re just building a standard website, then you don’t really need to know PHP, but for custom development and such, such knowledge will come in handy. As I mentioned before, content management systems are a good reason to learn PHP.
So strap on tight, stay tuned and get ready for the next installment which will cover installing MODx. For now, visit the MODx website, look around, do some reading, and go ahead and download a copy of MODx to your computer so you’ll be ready when we start the hands-on stuff. Also, make sure to have your development environment ready, whether you’re working locally on a wamp, mamp, or lamp setup, or if you’re building remotely on a hosted webserver.
Go to Part 2: Installing MODx