Once again, Mario A. Nuñez-Molina is fueling this blog and I can’t thank him enough. He recently turned me on to the Semiologic theme for WordPress -designed by Denis de Bernardy- which really pushes the possibilities for thinking about a blogging platform beyond the often conceptually limiting logic of the blog. If you take Dennis’s excellent theme, customize a skin (see more on this at the Semiologic site here) and integrate it with the divShare uploader -the implications are kinda radical!
Why? Well, because between these two plugins you begin to get closer and closer to a distributed and flexible CMS that can scale to an enterprise-level using an application like WordPress Multi-User. How so? Well, divShare offers you a free and simple file management system that integrates seamlessly with WordPress, and the Semiologic theme (like the K2 theme) offers you a presentation package that builds in the possibility for a whole host of simple customizations for the look and feel of your site. Unlike K2, however, the Semiologic theme has built in a series of skins that sit on top of it allowing you to choose from one of several or create your own customized skin by building on the CSS of a blank skin provided. So, in other words, you can re-skin your theme, making the theme not so much about the design or aesthetics (as most themes are) as it is focused on affording the ability to do more with the presentation elements of the site -such as side bars, font style, font size, fixed or flexible width, customized captions search engine optimization, customized header, customized page navigation 🙂 , customized page elements, various page templates for different content, etc. (you can read about all of these goodies and more here).
What impresses me most about this whole thing is that as we push further with WPMU as a blogging platform at the University of Mary Washington -it is quickly becoming apparent that we could just as well be thinking about this tool as a distributed Content Management System for the University more generally. With an simple, customizable, and highly functional theme like Semiologic along with a file management solution like that offered by divShare -two of the most important elements of content management are taken care of. All we need to do at UMW is customize a skin for this theme and give it a whirl. I plan on playing with this at length shortly.
If you are interested in seeing a Semiologic theme in action, I have set one up here, and you can login using the following name and password to play around with the presentation options: