Flexible Content Management System


Interview: Shawn McKenzie

Contributed by on Oct 02, 2003 - 05:25 PM

What module(s) are you working on?


AutoTheme is a revolutionary multi-platform HTML Theme System for eNvolution, PHP-Nuke, PostNuke and MD-Pro CMSs. The current theme systems requires you to be somewhat familiar with PHP and the CMS architecture. If you are not very familiar with PHP and/or the CMS inner-workings, AutoTheme removes this complexity. It is not only simple, it is powerful. Much more control and many more customization options are possible with AutoTheme than are possible with the current theme code.

AutoTheme's primary benefit is providing users the ability to create themes in HTML using their favorite editor, with no use of PHP. In addition, AutoTheme provides easy customization of every part of your site including: block display, custom templates for the Home Page, User Pages and Admin Pages and individual modules, as well as, templating of blocks and control over when and where each block is displayed. The addition of AutoBlocks provides unlimited locations for your blocks. All AutoTheme settings are easily configured from a graphical administration interface that is integrated into the supported CMSs.

AutoTheme is packaged as a module and comes in two flavors: the feature packed, fully administration driven, commercial version and the free GPL AT-Lite. The commercial version (currently AutoTheme 1.7) provides template compiling and caching, an Extras (plugins) and Extra commands architecture for easily extending AutoTheme, as well as other premium features.


AT-Lite (currently .7) is the free GPL version of AutoTheme described above.


PostWrap is a PostNuke module (also works with eNvolution and MD-Pro) that enables virtually any web content such as html, scripts (home pages, galleries, shopping carts, PHP, Perl, ASP, etc...) to be easily incorporated into your PostNuke site. Just call the PostWrap module with any URL and it will display it in the PostNuke main content area. I call it a content wrapper (takes any existing content anywhere and wraps your PostNuke site around it. Uses an <iframe> which must be supported by the browser and JavaScript to resize the <iframe> (optional). PostWrap works well with static HTML pages, but the main benefit is the

ability to incorporate scripts and full-blown web applications into your



PostJump is a quick and dirty PostNuke module (also works with eNvolution and MD-Pro) used to redirect to a URL. Why in the hell do you need to do this in PostNuke? The main use is in setting a module as your start page and being able to pass it variables (example: PostWrap). Under PostNuke Administration, Settings, you can set your Start Page (The module, index.php is pointing to), but the modules are in a dropdown box and that doesn't allow variables to be passed to the module.

Why do you prefer Postnuke over other CMS?

PostNuke seems to be more solid and professional than comparable systems with a more professional API, and it does everything that I need for now. Community is very important as well, and the PN community is awesome!

When did you start working on your own module?

I started building the first version of PostWrap a little over one year ago. Sometime in August of 2002. When I first wanted to build a family website, I started with phpWebSite and moved to PostNuke after evaluating the major Open Source CMSs.

What is your development like? Do other people help you? How do you work together? How big is the impact of the community on your development?

The community is everything to my development! Other than the first version of PostWrap, everything that I have written has been in response to what I see in the forums. Posters need this, they need that, how can I do this, etc. As far as other people, after I first released PostWrap, Yassen Yotov (a.k.a CyberOto) offered to help and do the coding to add administration. He did a great job!

Are you asking for help with coding? Documentation?

No coding help is needed at this time, however, I would welcome anyone wishing to help with documentation or tutorials for any of the modules.

What is the biggest difficulty in your development?

Of course the age old complaint of documentation, but that doesn't slow me down much anymore as you can learn as you go. My biggest difficulty is my real job ;-) and myself. I tend to keep going and going and add this and that as it occurs to me.

What features should the Postnuke .8 core have to simplify your work?

I actually haven't given that much thought. I'm sure something will come to me next time I start off to write a new module :-) I really enjoy coding and working through issues and banging my head against the monitor. If it were too simple it wouldn't be much fun.

Which route will Postnuke/your module in your opinion go in the future?

Hmmm... I'm not quite sure how to answer that, but they will both definitely go the successful route. PostNuke is a strong platform and continues to get better. The modules that I write that are beneficial and are a compliment to or enhance the value of PostNuke will always be a priority for me, and I'll ensure that they are successful.

What is the strongest point in your module?

For AutoTheme, I feel that the strongest point is that it is a drastic improvement to theme design and provides all users with the power and simplicity to design their own beautifully unique themes.

What is the weakest point in your module?

I'm sure documentation would be the weak point.

Anything else you always wanted to say about Postnuke/your module?

Read about the modules, see demos, get support and downloads at: