Posted by: Rowan | September 5, 2008

The six-pack Template Monster web site

I blew $8.50 last week – completely wasted, and it was all my own fault. I’m gutted.

I’d got into this discussion about building a web site for someone, and went a bit radical on the “get the content right, forget the technology it’s easy” argument.

Then I figured it might be a cool idea to check that it was as easy as I’d said it was :-)

So off I went to build a sample website on a sample CMS on a sample web server, ready for pretty much anything to be loaded into it once all the planning and IA and writing had been done. Here’s how it went…

  1. Grab a copy of Silverstripe. It’s a good Kiwi open source effort (world class in fact), well documented and with a good support base, and a more than adequate content management system for what we needed.
  2. It needs a web server to run on so grab a copy of WampServer which is more or less Apache and MySQL running on Windows (i.e. my now-ageing XP laptop). Dead easy to install and configure by reading the Silverstripe doco.
  3. Install Silverstripe on WampServer. This was a huge drama – I had to unzip a .gz file into a WampServer directory, of all things … man! Got a functional web site running on http://localhost at this stage – an ugly one but it works.
  4. Whip up to TemplateMonster or similar and choose a pre-built, customisable HTML/CSS template that looks close enough for the site under discussion. I grabbed one of their freebie demo’s but I could have paid US$69 or whatever they charge and chosen from the whole range. It’s customisable so I don’t care too much what it looks like visually. Somebody will, I’m sure, but that’s cool cos I’ve got a layout template that I could hack to death now (not that I would unless I’d paid for it).
  5. A little bit of analysis on the Silverstripe file structure and some minor mods to some PHP files to pick up the new design. Build a couple of pages to check it out, and build some level 2 and 3 pages to check out how the template presents the navigation. Make a couple of CSS mods for prettiness.
  6. Sit back and admire a draft (and very nearly free) server-ready web site that looks alright, is ready to accept any content structure, and could be re-branded and loaded up to the real thing when we’re ready. All done on a Friday night with no greater investment than a six-pack of Australia’s finest.

Here’s the problem.

When I built the original on a Friday night over a six-pack, I assigned a random password on the CMS and now I can’t remember what it is. Damn. Game over.

So yesterday on the train – a public place no less – I swallowed my pride, got out the laptop and blew my web site away in the knowledge that all I can do is start over again. I only have to remember what I did the first time round, which can’t be that hard. But this time I’m going to use one of my bog-standard passwords.

And I’m going to see if I can do it without the six-pack. I have my doubts, but at $16.99 a dozen here that would save me the $8.50 I spent on the first site.



  1. Look, if you’re paying $16.99 a dozen you’re paying too much!

  2. Ship a palette up for me, buddy … your cheque is in the mail.

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