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Basic Preferences

From Textpattern CMS User Documentation

Figure 1: The Basic Preferences tab.

The Basic Preferences tab is the first most important panel in a new Textpattern site; it (along with Advanced Preferences and Language Preferences) is where you configure just about every aspect of how you want your site to function on a regular basis.

The Basic Preferences panel is organized into two regions: "Publish" and "Comments". Both regions control the global site settings for article publishing and article commenting, respectively.

Note: You can also control comments at the article level in the Write panel, which effectively overrides the global setting on that given article.

Contents

Publish

The Publish preferences are an important aspect of site configuration and used by Textpattern in other instances of your site, not the least of which will be proper diagnostics monitoring, and how certain information is presented to site visitors. There are a number of different settings (Figure 2), which are discussed below.

Figure 2: The Publish region of the Basic Preferences view in the Preferences admin panel.

Site name

The "Site name" is simply the title of your website. For example your personal blog called "The Big Bamboozler" or your business site called "Willie Web Design". By default, Textpattern fills this field with "Your site", which of course you should change.

Site slogan

The "Site slogan" is meant for a site subheading, motto, or other quip that you fancy for your site. Considering the business name above, Willie Web Design; Willie might like the line "Nothing but the best!" in his branding, so he would put that in this field. The tagline is optional; you do not have to ise it if nothing is appropriate for your site.

Note: As of Textpattern version 4.0.7, the site slogan is HTML-escaped before output. So the site slogan should be plain text, with no HTML tags.

Site URL

The "Site URL" information is important for many reasons, not the least of which is simply making your Textpattern site work. The Site URL will be your Web site domain, without the http:// prefix and without a trailing forward slash ("/"); for example, www.example.com or if you force dropping the "www" by way of rewrite rules, use example.com.

If you install in a subdirectory, then it will be something like www.example.com/subdirectory.

Production status

The production status provides a means for monitoring your site (or not) as you work. There are three options, and each is specific to a particular activity, as described below. (See the FAQ, What does the production status setting do? for a similar explanation.)

Live: This mode is primarily intended for production (live) publishing; i.e. your site is designed and ready to go, and people on the Internet are visiting it. In this mode, no error reporting or Diagnostics information will be sent to the page. Generally, "Live" mode is preferred, as it imposes the least overhead on the server. Furthermore, you certainly don't want sensitive error messages to be showing up on your live site. If your site is live to the world, always run it in live mode. If you need to "Test" or "Debug", you should either do that in a secured directory or on a local server.

Testing: This mode is primarily intended for the initial setup and design of a stable release of Textpattern. PHP error reporting on your live site will be visible, as will errors encountered in Page templates and Forms, CSS, configuration settings (e.g. the Preferences panel), or installing or updating plugins.

In Testing mode, PHP error and warning messages will be displayed to the user on public Web pages. Textpattern will attempt to warn about tag or logic errors encountered in page templates and forms. Browser caching is disabled. Performance information will be included in HTML comments at the bottom of every Textpattern page; including:

  • the time it took the server to build the page ("Runtime")
  • the number of MySQL queries executed
  • approximate peak memory usage

Debugging: This is mainly intended for diagnosing problems in Textpattern Page templates, plugins and PHP code. PHP notices will be displayed, in addition to the errors and warnings shown in Testing mode. Browser caching is disabled.

The following information will also be visible when you view the HTML source of live pages:

  • the time it took the server to build the page ("Runtime")
  • the number of MySQL queries executed
  • approximate peak memory usage
  • all Textpattern tags encountered while building the page (also known as a Tag trace)

It’s normal to see some PHP notices in "debug" mode. By itself, a PHP notice is not an indicator that something is wrong; it’s there to help PHP developers find potential problems.

Time zone

This control is where you set Textpattern's displayed time to be the same as your local time. Textpattern calculates the local time based on the server time (i.e. the time used by the server your Textpattern package is installed on); thus, if the server time is not your local time, you will need to adjust the time offset here.

The time system that is standard for all Internet-related synchronizations is UTC (Coordinated Universal Time ), which is the time system your Web servers are likely using as well. When UTC is not offset at all, it is equal to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and all global time zones are then either offset forward or backward from this point. Hence, Textpattern uses the notation of GMT plus the time offset value in this control (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Time zone drop-down menu showing time offsets relative to Greenwhich Mean Time (GMT).

Figuring the time offset for your own Textpattern installation is easy. Look at the table below and find your respective time region in the first column, "Time zone". In the second column, "UTC Offset", you will see values with a "-" or "+" next to them, these are the number of hours you will offset backward ("-") or forward ("+"), with respect to UTC (or similarly, GMT). For example, if you are living in France, your time region will be "Central European Time", which indicates one hour forward of UTC. So in the time zone control you would select "GMT +01:00" to adjust your UTC offset, and to ensure your articles reflect dates and times accurate to where you are.

Table 1: Converting Universal Time to Standard Local Times
Time Zone UTC Offset
Pacific Standard Time UTC -8
Mountain Standard Time UTC -7
Central Standard Time UTC -6
Eastern Standard Time UTC -5
Atlantic Standard Time UTC -4
Greenwich Mean Time UTC
Central European Time UTC +1
Eastern European Time UTC +2
Moscow Time UTC +3
Indian Standard Time UTC +5:30
Australian (Western Standard Time) UTC +8
Hong Kong Time UTC +8
China Standard Time UTC +8
Japan UTC +9
Korea Standard Time UTC +9
Australian (Eastern Standard Time) UTC +10

DST enabled?

The "Daylight Savings" control is a pair of radio buttons for "Yes" and "No" which allow you to adjust the UTC time established in the previous section for daylight savings. Unfortunately, Textpattern will not do this for you automatically based on your time zone settings, you need to remember to do it yourself. If your region of the world follows a daylight savings schedule (see Worldwide Daylight Saving ), you would turn this setting on when daylight savings began, and turn it off when daylight savings was over.

Date format

The "Date Format" control allows you to select how you want your date and time formats to appear in your articles by default. There are several options to choose from (Figure 4). Dates are output in your written articles via the posted tag.

Figure 4: Drop-down list of options for default Date and Time formatting.

Archive date format

The Archive date format is a drop-down menu that provides the exact same options as the Date format menu (see Figure 4 above), but enables you to create different date formats for the Archive section of your site. This might be of interest depending on your site audience. As before, the dates are output in your written articles (in this case in your archival section) via the posted tag.

Permanent link mode

The Permanent link mode drop-down list is intended to make it easier to establish flexible (or Clean URLs) in your site, which in turn is a nice usability feature for your Web site visitors. The drop-down list currently provides six different options (Figure 5), one for "messy" URLs (which is the option for NOT having clean URLs), and five for clean URLs; each having a specific path format.

If you want clean URLs to work for your site, this is the very first step to making it happen, by selecting one of the options other than "messy." However, it is usually not as simple as just selecting one of these options to make clean URLs work. Getting clean URLs to work may take a combination of steps, addressed in Managing Clean URLs.

Figure 5: Drop-down menu showing URL path options to Textpattern articles.

Use Textile

Textile is a meta-formatting language that lets site authors format work without having to know HTML completely. This option may be set to select usage of Textile in articles; disable Textile but keep smart replacement of line breaks and special characters; or disable article manipulation entirely.

Logging

The "Logging" control allows you to select what kinds of visiting activity Textpattern should record when such activity occurs. The recorded information is displayed in the Visitor Logs panel for you to review. This Logging control is a drop-down menu with three options (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Drop-down menu showing logging options for site visitations.
  • All hits: By defaualt Textpattern will collect information for all site hits.
  • Referrers only: The Referrers only option will only record information about visitors from another location. This option is often the most popular choice because it allows you to see what kind of traffic your site is getting, while at the same time eliminating any log entries that might result from your own access to the site while, for example, making any site updates (generally you do not need to see your own activity on your site).
  • None: You can also choose to not log any information at all.

Accept comments?

This is a global setting (in this case for any article in any Section) for whether or not you want to allow your articles to accept comments. This is simply controlled with the "Yes" and "No" radio buttons, respectively. This setting can be overridden on an article-by-article basis in the Write tab as you write new articles.

Comments

Figure 7: The Comments region of the Basic Preferences admin panel.

If you set Accept comments to yes, the bottom region of the Site Preferences view is where you establish your global settings for article comments.

On by default?

Permission for commenting is regulated on a per-article basis. This option controls the default setting for newly authored articles.

Default invite

The text in this edit field will be automatically set in the comment invitation field on the Write page for new articles. The comment invitation may also be controlled on a per-article basis.

Moderate comments?

Controls whether or not comments should be immediately published to an article ("No"), or if they should first be screened by a site administrator for approval ("Yes"). Although having them published immediately is more rewarding for the commenter, and less overhead management for the site owner, there is a certain level of risk. One might choose to moderate comments if there is a high degree of comment spam activity, or if comments are tending to be inappropriate, indecent, etc.

Disabled after

This is a selection of time periods during which comments will be accepted for a given article. The time periods begin when a given article is first published in live status. The duration options range from 1 to 6 weeks and never.

Note: Keep in mind that the longer you keep comments open on a given article, the more you increase the likelihood of comment spam. For this reason, it is not recommended that you select "never"; however, the decision is ultimately yours to make, as well as the management of comment spam.

Automatically append comments to articles

If "Yes", comments are added to articles irrespective of whether you add a comments tag or not. If you see comments doubled up on an article page, either set this to "No" or alter your comment form.

Comments mode

In "popup" mode, a tiny browser window will pop up for the viewer to enter the comment. In "nopopup" mode, the main article page will change to show the comment entry form.

Comments date format

This control will select the date and time format for the posting time of comments.

Present comments as a numbered list?

If you want to use an HTML ordered list to display your user comments, choose "Yes". If you choose "No", your comments will be output as blocks of text without automatic numbers, thus numbering (if any) will have to be done by you.

Some commenting plugins require this to be set to "No" before they work properly

Mail comments to author?

If set to "Yes", whenever a comment is made against an article, the author will be emailed notification of the event, along with the contents of the comment.

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