I have got a task from our board – they need a site where to share some documents that are definitely not public and with possibility to comment on the documents. The site shall be private and preferably sitting on our own server due to confidentiality and security of content. Some people board members shall have access just for viewing the docs, some members will need to have an option of downloading and modifying the documents.
I was thinking first of some existing options that we have:
- Joomla CMS (Content Management System), but I am not a techie guy and would need help with this. Furthermore it is a rather robust system for relatively small site and task
- Confluence (wiki) – would be my preferred solution, but … for experience with colleagues in my institution it seems to be not so user friendly – most people feel lost and didn’t really start to use it … I guess the same could happen to the board site
- Google sites / Google docs – quick and easy, but very little customization flexibility and I know that there is a kind of worry among colleagues, about where all that information is sitting and who has access … it was clear no also
- Dropbox – could be an option for document sharing, but same as in case of Google sites – again – where all that information is sitting and who has access? again no …
Finally, I came to option of WordPress. I am WordPress (WP) user for years, but somehow I didn’t realize how much the use and the community of WP users and developers grew over the last few years! Did you know that WP is now a leading Content Management System?
WordPress version 3.1.3. was installed on our server as we need some more customization than what is available in wordpress.com. I have selected elegant and clean theme ‘Titan‘ (version 1.2.5.) by http://thethemefoundry.com . There is also professional/full version of this theme available for some costs – I may consider to buy it later.
To make the space private, I have implemented plugin called ‘Private Only‘ by http://pixert.com . Other alternative might be e.g. Angsuman’s Authenticated WordPress Plugin (but I have not tried this one). Installing and activating is easy just following standard WP instructions. One little surprise that came was that there are actually two plugins – ‘Private Only’ and ‘Private Only – Dissable feed’. Plugin works smoothly, but bit later I have realized when loging in sometimes I happen to enter the blog space (front-end) and sometimes the dashboard (back-end) – I am not sure how to configure where to enter after logging in….
I found helpful post about how to configure WP somehow into form of document repository. First it is important to set up the system of pages and subpages (child pages) for which later on it is necessary to create new page templates. It was bit tricky, as I have absolutely ZERO php programing knowledge, but searching around I found a lot of pages with examples of php coding for what I needed:
- get attachment link list (I didn’t resolve yet the issue of listing the links under each another)
- get children link list (this one was actually easier
One important discovery – while I can upload docx (MS Office 2007 docs) to WordPress, and create the links, documents didn’t work/download to computer. With MS Office 2003 it is smooth.
And while working on this I have discovered several useful plugins:
- Template Tag Shortcodes
- WP FileManager – particularly useful when creating and modifying new page templates!
- also one more interesting theme – Extizeme
Now lets see whether the blue print of product will catch attention of its targeted users – board members ;o).