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:
The Smilies Module converts smiley text into little faces like this: 🙂 . Smilies are an excellent way to inject some emotion into comments and the occasional 😉 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.If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!