My First SWCMS Modules Released

SWCMS stands for Social Web Content Management System, and it is the social news software that powers JapanSoc.com.

SWCMS is open source, meaning anybody can contribute to its development, and I’ve been busy doing just that. I’m not a professional developer by any means so I usually report bugs and suggest improvements. Recently, I’ve tried my hand at making modules (the equivalent of WordPress plugins) and I’ve come up with two so far:

Smilies Module

The Smilies Module converts smiley text into little faces like this: πŸ™‚ . Smilies are an excellent way to inject some emotion into comments and the occasional πŸ˜‰ is handy to show you’re being sarcastic and prevent any unintended arguments with other users.

RSS Basic Module

Although it started as a simple tool to display an RSS feed on a SWCMS site, the RSS Basic module has grown over successive versions into something quite powerful. The site’s administrator can import multiple feeds, manage them through a control panel and display them anywhere on a page. The best feature, however, is that users can embed an RSS feed into their SWCMS profiles, just as I have done on my JapanSoc profile.

The RSS Basic module really taught me a lot about SWCMS as I had to learn how to create an admin interface and work with the database. I’m hoping that I’ve mastered the basics of module making and will go on to make bigger and better things!

Let me add that I’m enjoying contributing to the open source project so other users can benefit from my modules rather than me selfishly developing for JapanSoc only.

6 comments

  1. Neil Duckett

    Nice work with those Nick, i can see a big use for the RSS Basic Module, looking forward to seeing what else you can come up with in the future.

  2. Danielle

    Congrats Nick, good luck with it and thank you on behalf of all the people who avidly use such plugins but couldn’t code them to save our lives – what would we do without you guys!!?

  3. Nick Ramsay

    Thanks Neil and Danielle. I’m open to suggestions if there’s anything you’d like to see in JapanSoc. I’ve done WordPress plugins before, but I never ventured into widgets or creating an admin interface. I wouldn’t mind learning how to do more advanced WordPress plugins, but with the thousands of plugins already out there for WordPress, I wouldn’t know what to make! Although a bridge between SWCMS and WordPress so that users only need register once would be pretty sweet. Hmmm….

    • billywest

      Why not make a widget that updates as often as somebody in your blogroll writes a post? For example, if Jordan writes a sumo post at his blog, and it’s the most recently-written post in all of the blogs featured in your blogroll, then the widget would display a message like, “Jordan has just written a new post at 11:15 a.m.” or something like that.

      Anyway, great work! Once the weather really cools down and I find myself indoors more often, I will definitely start working on the technical side of site design again. Of course, I’ll be asking you for advice quite a bit I guess πŸ˜‰

      • Nick Ramsay

        What you’re describing is similar to the “Latest” page on the JapanSoc Blog. It would be easy to pull that feed into JapanSoc using RSS Basic. I might be able to do something with that idea, Billy, thanks.

  4. Tori

    Otsukaresama!

    Doesn’t it feel good to contribute to the open source community? I remember my first taste of open source goodness when I started a site using phpNuke cms (in 2003). PhpNuke, I hate to say it, was a nightmare but getting help and giving help on the user forums opened my eyes to the power of open source.

    Keep up the good work!