Need to create a WordPress CMS drag & drop environment that is easy to use for end users.

Hello all,
Our project needs are to lock down regions of a website based on permissions. We need to brand and govern look and feel for the main site and all sub sites. We need the end user to have a simple interface, just add a page or post - no complex dashboard.
I have created my own look and feel with CSS locally using Bootstrap, but now I need to bring this into WordPress theming.
Thank you,
Steve

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hello Steve,

    I hope you're well today and thank you for your question!

    I'm not quite sure if I understand your needs correctly but let me try to answer and in case I missed anything (or you'd like to get more information) let me know please.

    I have created my own look and feel with CSS locally using Bootstrap, but now I need to bring this into WordPress theming.

    Converting a "non-WordPress" layout to full-featured WordPress theme usually is not that simple task and you need to be well familiar with how WP theme's work. If you feel like giving it a try yourself, I think these resources could be of help:

    https://codex.wordpress.org/Theme_Development

    This may be easier if you used a WP ready bootstrap starter theme for your layout (such as e.g. http://bootstrapwp.rachelbaker.me/)

    In case you'd need some professional help with this, you may want to ask a question on our "Jobs & Pros" job board (please note: no WPMU DEV staff members involved!) here:

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/wordpress-development/

    We need the end user to have a simple interface, just add a page or post - no complex dashboard.

    I think you'll want then to restrict access to WP dashboard for your users (except of course you as an admin). This article describes how this can be achieved:

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/limit-access-to-your-wordpress-dashboard/

    In addition, you'll most likely need some sort of "user submitted content"/"frontend posting" solution. Here's a nice review of some of such plugins:

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/wordpress-post-frontend-plugins/

    I hope that helps!
    Best regards,
    Adam

    • Steve

      Hello Adam,

      Thank you so much for your rapid response, your information is very helpful. I wish I could speak to you - it would be so much easier to tell you what we are looking for, it is hard to describe through text and it's easy to show you via sharing my screen what our customer is looking for.

      Our customer is a catholic audience, The Archdiocese of Chicago - a big account.
      So WordPress CMS would have to support the main parent site, as well as subsites (child sites), schools, departments, parishes, you name it... 50-100 sites and control branding for all of those sites so if there was a new logo or font or color theme all the child sites would get updated at the same time. We want all the audience to know that all the child sites fall under the Archdiocese of Chicago umbrella, a way to get back to the main site so you know who the parent site is.

      Right now they are using Dot Net Nuke and the content editors who are adding the content to the CMS did not like DNN because they said it was hard to use and not user friendly.

      Our customer needs something easy to use, just add module from a tool bar, drag and drop an FAQ module, or add an event calendar to a page or post by clicking on a button in the toolbar.

      Through my research of identifying plugins to fit the needs of our audience.. I found this plugin that allow drag and drop of modules here: http://livecomposerplugin.com/.
      Do you know a plugin that wpmudev offers which is similar?

      The content editor role would only be able to do basic functionality without modifying fonts or colors and govern the look and feel from our brand theme. We just want the content editor to be able to do basic functions... add text and images from a toolbar, drag in a calendar, a FAQ module, drag in a people finder, a document module that displays file type/size/icon PDF, etc.

      Here is an example sandbox single site that I built and tried to find plugins from wordpress.org before finding wpmudev which is an awesome resource:
      http://www.stevemilker.com/AoC/
      If you step through my test pages, you can see there is a people finder plugin here:
      http://www.stevemilker.com/AoC/former-ordinaries/
      An FAQ plugin: http://www.stevemilker.com/AoC/about/faq/
      A form builder plugin with captcha: (all drag and drop of course. these are not coders) http://www.stevemilker.com/AoC/about-2/contact-us/
      A photo library similar to this which has swipe capability for phones/tablets (fancybox beta 3 would be nice) http://www.stevemilker.com/AoC/saint-james-chapel/

      So the project started with another proprietary CMS. We were migrating all our content over using a proprietary CMS named eCatholic:
      http://12092.sites.ecatholic.com/radio
      In the radio section I create a listing of all podcasts and then further detail with each radio show with a link to each podcast from a streaming server like this:
      http://12092.sites.ecatholic.com/catholic-community-of-faith
      This is a static method, we need dynamic so this would be a custom plugin we will need to build down the road in PHP for WordPress. (Form to provide Title of podcast, description, URL to filename, etc., and this all get stored in the database which is sortable and provide pagination for multiple pages of podcasts). eCatholic did not fit the bill and could not do custom work like this.

      eCatholic had modules with a drag and drop interface where a bar appeared on the bottom of your page. This was nice... it was very easy to use and actually not bad (used ckeditor so worked really well) but eC did not have enough custom CMS capability for our needs. We need a store down the road to sell books etc., so now we are back to the drawing board looking for another CMS solution and wanted to see if WordPress could do all this.

      WordPress looks like it can do it... but we need help getting there and you have given me more confidence but I need to talk to an expert like you Adam.

      If you are available for a Skype or another method I could show you my screen and just tell you what we are looking for.. if you are available.

      Thank you so much for your help Adam and sorry for rambling on, but I hope this explains the huge laundry list of features the client is looking for, this is a big project and I need help to make it happen. Thank god I found wpmudev, this is a fantastic resource!

      Take care and have a good week Adam.
      Steve Milker
      630-370-8343

  • Michael Bissett

    Hey Steve, Michael here.

    Now that we're out of the chat session here, I can focus on this more slowly (chats are more high speed affairs, you see):

    So WordPress CMS would have to support the main parent site, as well as subsites (child sites), schools, departments, parishes, you name it... 50-100 sites and control branding for all of those sites so if there was a new logo or font or color theme all the child sites would get updated at the same time.

    Given this, it sounds like you're looking for a framework. Upfront, while providing drag-and-drop functionality, would require the logo/font/color theme to be updated individually (since Upfront stores its changes in the database).

    You'd mentioned wanting to use a Bootstrap starter theme before in the chat, and I'd mentioned these:

    https://github.com/SimonPadbury/bst
    https://roots.io/sage/

    They're possible candidates to test with, but they will need to be tested.

    Through my research of identifying plugins to fit the needs of our audience.. I found this plugin that allow drag and drop of modules here: http://livecomposerplugin.com/.
    Do you know a plugin that wpmudev offers which is similar?

    As far as page builders go, we don't have one of our own, but others exist, like Visual Composer:

    https://vc.wpbakery.com/

    And Divi Builder:

    http://www.elegantthemes.com/plugins/divi-builder/

    Hope this helps! :slight_smile:

    Kind Regards,
    Michael

  • Adam Czajczyk

    Hey Steve!

    I wish someone could just point me to solution that they have used in their own multi-site web project for ease of use and theming/brand so I don't have to keep on searching.

    I can understand that :slight_smile: The issue here is that the setup you're heading for is quite complex but, what's much more important here, is quite specific to your needs. I think that there's no ready-to-use solution that would 100% suit your needs "out of the box", unfortunately.

    I think Michael's suggestions are really great but even if that wouldn't be exactly what you need, you'll need to re-search and test a lot of tools to make it all work flawlessly.

    In case you had any further questions, don't hesitate to ask please!
    Best regards,
    Adam

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