Launched Mura+ColdFusion Powered Web Site for Ever Increasing Faith

If you read any of my prior web projects, you may notice that when I create a web site I typically use a combination of Adobe® ColdFusion®, CSS, XHTML, Microsoft® SQL Server and then optimize the site to be compatible with Adobe® Contribute® which allows clients to update the "static" areas of the sites. Of course I typically also build a completely custom back-end for clients to update any of the more "dynamic" areas of the site such as products, services, news, calendar events, etc.

Well, recently my brother needed a web site. He's a missionary serving in India for the past nine (9) years and is also in the process of building an orphanage. For several years, he's struggled to keep his supporters updated via email and newsletters sent by regular mail. For obvious reason, he really needed a better way to communicate his message with current and potential supporters. Luckily, he has a brother who is a web developer (me!). Unfortunately, due to my workload, I had very little time to dedicate to building him a full-blown web site with all the bells and whistles ... "pro bono" of course. I really didn't want to short-change him.

Fortunately, I attended a presentation on Mura CMS at cf.Objective() 2009. Immediately following the presentation, I downloaded the FREE, open source ColdFusion project. I kept stopping by the Blue River Interactive Group table (the creators of Mura CMS) to ask them questions throughout the conference. Each of them were extremely helpful in answering any questions I had. We actually ended up getting to have dinner together too (thanks again guys!). So of course I just had to give Mura a try when I got back to the office.

Well, like everything else, I had to jump back into my work pile and carried on as normal. Until my brother came to visit for a brief time recently. He was very anxious in creating his web presence. I immediately knew Mura CMS would be just the ticket to help me get him up and running with as little time as possible.

After downloading the most recent version and poking around here and there, tweaking this and twisting that, we were able to launch his site in only two (2) days! Other than a completely static HTML/CSS site, I've never launched a "dynamic" site within that amount of time. Ever!

Now my brother has full control over his site. Not only can he add and modify content, he can even update the navigational structure of the site. I only had to show him how to use the editor, add/remove pages, etc. He was able to start contributing in no time at all.

I really need to mention that Mura is extremely flexible when it comes to design. For my brother's web site, I simply started with the baked-in "Merced" theme and made a few adjustments to the CSS. Nothing fancy either ... trust me ... I didn't have time. I added a custom rotating banner for the inside pages and a few other minor tweaks, but for the most part, that's all I needed to do.

Today, I'm using Mura CMS on my current project for a "paying" client. I'm also using a completely custom design without any problems either. Essentially, it's really just a custom "theme." Now that I've been able to get under the hood and do a few things, I'm learning how powerful Mura CMS really is. Heck, just take a look at their Back End Development section of the Developer Guides and see for yourself.

If you can't tell, I'm really pumped on Mura CMS. If anyone is interested in future blog posts on Mura CMS, please let me know!

Many thanks to the people at Blue River Interactive Group and Mura CMS! I couldn't have done this within the necessary timeframe without you.

Oh and thanks to my brother ... for his patience, enthusiasm and for serving Him.

http://www.eifaith.org
Developer: Stephen Withington | Content Management System: Mura CMS

Comments
I'm a Mura CMS newbie and am anxious to learn it and deploy it for my own and my web customers use. I've had a few installation issues which were cleared up in no time by the Mura support team. Steve, please keep us informed as to your experiences with Mura. Cheers
# Posted By Dan Staehr | 7/7/09 1:54 PM
HI Steve - I thoroughly enjoyed your post on this. I had a similar experience just a few weeks ago, when I re-downloaded mura (it was sava the first time I downloaded it) and made the commitment to get it up and running. I can tell already it's going to be a lifesaver when it comes to getting a fully functioning site up and running. Once I had figured it out, I just completed http://www.flashcampstlouis.com (in two days as well) and am already in the process of spinning up two more sites.

Are you viewing the blog section as a page metaphor? I was curious if there is anything blog-specific that I should know when adding that to a mura site. Also, please post if you get into doing any plug-in development or adding components to a mura site.

Thanks for your efforts, and I hope your brother's site serves his ministry well!
# Posted By JP Revel | 7/7/09 3:00 PM
@Dan, Thanks and I will!

@JP, I'll probably be blogging about this some time, but yes, currently I'm treating his "blog" section as just a collection of pages. I'm still figuring some things out too, but ultimately, I created a "Local Content Index" (found in the admin area under "Content Collections"). Now anytime he adds a "blog post" it will automatically update his RSS feed, etc. There's all kinds of stuff I've been learning since I've launched his site too. Definitely hope to create a plugin or two as well. Cheers!
# Posted By Steve Withington | 7/7/09 3:13 PM
Steve, it looks really nice. The Mura guys are actually coming to my CFUG next week to give the presentation. I saw it with you at cf.Objective(), but it's really awesome to hear that you've used it with such success.
# Posted By Ben Nadel | 7/7/09 4:08 PM
As a long-time CF developer, I've been curious about Mura, but haven't had a chance to use it yet. I looked at the site you created for Ever Increasing Faith and was curious about one thing: I noticed that the url on the home page shows as http://www.eifaith.org/default/index.cfm. Why is the default page in a subdirectory (default)? Normally I would expect to see just http://www.eifaith.org/ or even http://www.eifaith.org/index.cfm
# Posted By Rebecca | 7/7/09 4:10 PM
@Ben, Thanks! Yeah, I remember enjoying some pizza with you at their preso. If Sean, Matt and/or Eddie show up for your CFUG, please tell them I said hello. I'm still learning how to leverage the power offered in Mura, but I can't deny how cool it is.

@Rebecca, Actually, I had the same question initially. Now I could be wrong, however ... as best as I can tell the "subdirectory" structure is merely a means for organization of "sites" managed within Mura. Yes, I said "sites" as in more than one! You can have multiple domains being managed under one installation ... pretty cool, eh?

The first site setup under Mura goes under the "default" directory. As you add any subsequent sites, you need to provide a "Site ID." This "Site ID" will end up being created as a sub-directory off of the root. So if I also have www.YourDomain.com and gave it a Site ID of "d2" then a folder named "d2" would be created. Then any requests for "www.YourDomain.com"" target="_blank">www.YourDomain.com"; would be re-routed to "www.YourDomain.com/d2/index.cfm" I know it's kind of different, but it really makes sense when your doing something like "www.YourDomain.com"" target="_blank">www.YourDomain.com"; for the public facing site and maybe an intranet with either "intranet.YourDomain.com" or "www.YourDomain.net";

If any of the folks at Blue River read this, feel free to chime in!

Peace.
# Posted By Stephen Withington | 7/7/09 9:41 PM
@steve

That is so cool. I am a fellow ColdFusion programmer and a Rhema Bible Training Center grad. (1993). So I guess I have something in common with both you and your brother. I also spent 4 years on the mission field in Brazil.

Andrew Penhorwood
# Posted By Andrew Penhorwood | 7/7/09 10:25 PM
@Andrew, that is cool and thanks for sharing! I'm sure my brother will be happy to read this as well. Peace.
# Posted By Stephen Withington | 7/7/09 10:30 PM
I put a quick blog together about how to get rid of the siteID directory from URLs generated by Mura.

http://www.getmura.com/index.cfm/blog/removing-the...
# Posted By Matt Levine | 7/7/09 11:15 PM
@Matt, thanks for posting the information.
# Posted By Steve Withington | 7/8/09 7:33 AM
@Matt, i followed your instructions and easily updated the site to remove the "default" directory from the url. pretty slick! thanks again.
# Posted By Stephen Withington | 7/8/09 8:36 AM
Stephen,

Congrats on your new site and for your brother being a good soul :)

I'm also in the process of setting up Mura and was wondering how you went about implementing your own theme. Are there any things to watch out for? Is there documentation on how to set one up. I know Mura ships with the Merced template but I'd like to use my own.

Thanks very much,
Jose
# Posted By Jose | 7/8/09 10:23 AM
@Jose, thanks! Yes, there's some documentation available for "Front-End Development" at http://docs.getmura.com/index.cfm/developer-guides...

I think I'll blog about modifying the CSS and layouts in a future post (maybe even include a video too) ... however I would recommend playing around with the Merced theme first. Don't get hung up on the clickable banner they include for the home page layout though. Spend your time in looking through how each layout is created and then poke around the CSS.

After I completed this site and started working on a new one, I realized there were only a few lines of code that I really needed to "port" over into my _own_ layouts. Keep in mind that most (if not all) of the dynamic "Content Objects" are relying on some CSS to display properly ... that includes some images too! For example, if you plan on using the "rater" option, you'll need to make sure you include the CSS and images associated with the rater.

I'm fairly comfortable with CSS so I wasn't too scared to "break" anything. However, if you're not CSS saavy, then you'll probably want to start off with the "Merced" theme's CSS and start making your changes from there. That's really all I did for my brother's site due to lack of time to get more creative with the design.

Good luck!
# Posted By Steve Withington | 7/8/09 12:02 PM
Steve,

I just got your http://www.eifaith.org/ link from our Catholic School which wants me to duplicate. Is it possible to get the theme and/or configuration files ?

Regards,

David Kennedy
# Posted By David | 2/11/10 2:36 PM
@David,
Actually, for this site, I modified the CSS that came with the built-in "Merced" theme for Mura. You can download Mura at http://www.getmura.com

If you would like to me to freelance some of the work for you, don't hesitate to give me at call at 815.238.5032 or feel free to use my contact form here: http://www.stephenwithington.com/blog/contact.cfm

I can help you get set up with the proper hosting, etc. if needed as well.

Thanks!

# Posted By Steve Withington | 2/12/10 8:20 AM

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