Posts instead of Pages

| August 31, 2010

The Question

The Pressible Team has been asked why Pressible doesn’t allow for more Page-creation options. For example, the following issues have been raised by a Pressible User (who is an author and also a site administrator):

  • Information in Posts get buried beneath other Posts
  • A Post doesn’t feel like a “landing page”
  • A Page could be visible on the header, then deactivated so it was hidden.

Analysis:

The author is looking for a special way to put content on the web.

Our Answer

Questions like this one often come from Users who are familiar with WordPress in another context, without the constraints imposed by Pressible’s design… And they are tough questions that touch on the core tenants of the Pressible project. Pressible sacrifices some of the flexibility of the broader WordPress-universe-of-code to offer Users a site-within-a-network system. As a result, each site is built on a generic template. So, is the sacrifice worth it? Let’s take a look.

Quickly, here’s how Posts and Pages compare in Pressible:

  • If you make a Page, it automatically creates a “top link” (and there is no way to disable this).
  • Pages include a “Featured Posts” sidebar.
  • Posts appear on the homepage in a linear order, receding into the past (and represented by excerpts).
  • Posts include a “Related Posts” and “Tags” sidebar, with additional social tools and metadata about the date created and author.

Analysis:

Posts are designed to be the lingua franca of Pressible, and Pressible discourages the creation of Pages. The rationale for this is twofold: 1) Pressible is meant to be a web-friendly publishing system, not a website-authoring system, and 2) we think this makes content better. So, let’s return to the example…

The Page Scenario: If the User makes a Page (in a hypothetical system that allows for it to be displayed or not displayed on the homepage), they publish all kinds of interesting information. And it’s useful for a while. And the User could “feature” it in the site’s navigation (hypothetically). If someone finds the Page years later, they’ll be lucky if it’s dated in some way. And it may be unclear who authored it.

The Post Scenario: If the User makes a Post (in the Pressible system that currently exists), it will appear on the “top of the stack” (on the homepage). When there are new Posts, it will start its descent into the Post Pages (where it appears as an excerpt). But it can be categorized as “Featured,” and it will appear on the Homepage sidebar, as well as its Topic’s sidebar(s), and Tag and Topic Page sidebars. With luck, the Post was also tagged, and this means it may appear across the Pressible Network in relevant places. The Post also carries metadata – when it was first posted and who authored it. Years from now, this may prove interesting to future readers, as it gives the information more context than Pages often make available.

Some key ideas:

  • Pressible makes Posted content available in several unique ways. Author, Tag, and Topic Pages highlight posted content across a site. Posts are excerpted in search results and RepostsRelated Posts are featured on Posts across the Pressible Network.
  • Posting creates a narrative. A Pressible site is not a “blog” per se, but content with a context. By explicitly tying most content in the Pressible Network to authors and dates, we think we’re creating a stronger network of content.
  • Just like Pages, Posts have permanent URLs. Read this post for an idea of how to organize them in a Pressible-friendly way.
  • RSS! ’nuff said.

So, while the current system is disappointing to some Pressible Users, we feel there are ways to use Pressible to achieve the desired goals. In designing it this way, we think we’ve made the Pressible Network more intuitive and easy to navigate, not less so – and better designed for the emerging “social web.” But, as with all design choices, time will tell if this choice was a good one or not…

Thanks for using Pressible! Keep the questions coming.