EDIT2: All problems solved, including point 3. (I have found it eventually – the text in the footer can be edited via /packages/dahmen/automad-halfmoon/elements/footer_menu.php.)
Which means you can completely ignore this post. (I'll keep it here just for the record.)
Long story short: Automad is great. Automad is the best. Thank you for the amazing CMS!
EDIT: I have already solved everything! Spare yourself the time and don't read the post below. I admit it was an overkill. The last thing I needed to discover was that I have to apply the permissions recursively to all new files I have uploaded to the server. Now, everything is finally working as it should. Permissions, permissions, permissions… The only thing to keep in mind with Automad and everything is going to be fine.
One last thing anyway if I may ask: Point 3 still stands. I still have no idea where I could edit the text that's showing at the bottom of the page (© 2021 – Site Name). A hint from you would be appreciated.
Other than that, you can now ignore the below, crazy rant. I'm keeping it here, just for the record.
Initially, I thought I would have a bunch of questions but I have figured out how to solve most of the issues I ran into. So, this is going to be just feedback more than anything else. But you might still, and probably will, come up with better solutions to the things I’m going to write about. Actually, I do have 3 questions I'd like to know the answers to if possible (see points 1–3 below).
First of all, I have become a huge fan of Automad. I’m just a hobbyist, not a coder at all though I’m crazy enough to play around with things until I get what I want, no matter what it takes. Almost literally.
I was looking for some more lightweight alternatives, outside of WordPress, because my website is dead simple and doesn’t require database.
(Just as a side note, the current content of my WordPress website is about 1 GB in weight and pretty much the same amount of information is going to shrink to just about 7 MB for the website created by Automad.)
I tested out Hugo and Jekyll and used them to create some basic websites, learned how to sync the content with GitHub, etc., but after a couple of days, I was close to shut down my investigation with the conclusion that it’s simply not worth the hassle to migrate from WordPress. I wanted a convenient admin panel for dummies with the ability to log in at any time from anywhere and update the content however I please. I’ve given a try to Grav twice but the structure of the css / scss was so incredibly complex – not that you would have to compile the result, you could obviously update the compiled files directly, but because of a mysterious and unclear linkage with the parent framework – that it was virtually impossible (for me) to style or customize some of the basic template properties.
Out of the desperation, I took another look at the possibilities that are available on the internet and stumbled across Automad. I’ll tell you, I immediately fell in love with it. Not only is it so incredibly pure but it’s also intuitive and logical. I was skeptical and expected a whole host of bugs but ended up very pleasantly surprised at how well this is done and how it’s functional.
I just needed to learn how to adjust permissions on my hosting server, and from that point on, it was an exciting ride.
I know the introduction was quite lengthy but I wanted to share a bit of the background and also a couple of reasons I’m so thrilled with Automad.
Now, let me mention what I’m not so thrilled about though none of it is significant enough to be a deal breaker to me:
1./ I am unable to use the ‘Image’ tool in the Content Editor. Trying to wrap it into a Layout Section doesn’t help. As soon as I select an image, it falls back to the state of a broken link. Adding the size property or copy pasting a link doesn’t help either. I resorted to using the ‘Slideshow’ tool instead, so all the images on my website are inserted via the ‘Slideshow’ tool even though they are just static images. That feels clumsy and certainly not clean. If you can think of a better workaround, I’ll be happy to hear from you.
2./ Similar issues I have with the Favicon (and the Apple Touch Icon), it’s just that I didn’t find a workaround for that. And this is the main reason I’m seeking your advice. No matter what I select (or paste as a path to the file), the Favicon will not work. I’m on Windows, BTW. I tried to use different names of the files or a PNG instead, that didn’t help either. So my site has no working Favicon at the moment.
EDIT: I assume that it has something to do with the path to the file, the path should obviously be /shared/favicon.png but when I inspect the Elements in Chromium (Brave), it says: /domains/lightflavor.new/shared/favicon.png Failed to load resource: the server responded with a status of 403 (Forbidden)... So it's apparently trying to go from the actual (www) root on my server, not from the Automad installation that is within the lightflavor.new subfolder. It's weird because the path in my General Default Template Settings is correct = /shared/favicon.png. Maybe it can be solved by adjusting something in the .htaccess file?
The same problem seems to be with the custom.js:1 script: Failed to load resource: the server responded with a status of 403 (Forbidden).
3./ Another thing, I could not, for the life of me, find out where the text from the very bottom of the page is actually defined. I mean the © 2021 — Site Name. I assume it’s generated automatically but I would expect that a user could change that somewhere, preferably in the admin panel, or at least, say, by editing a value in the /shared/data.txt file or anywhere else. I would personally prefer something like © 2021, Built with <heart> and Automad by My Name, or something along those lines. I wouldn’t mind at all if a link to automad.org was baked into the system as a mandatory inclusion. But I would love to have an option to edit this piece of text in some way. Can you please direct me to the right place in that regard?
Now, the following details are more of a suggestion or just my point of view:
4./ It took me a while to figure out how to style the buttons. I am using the automad-halfmoon theme and you can imagine that the list of the halfmoon framework variables has become my nightly read. You need both the .btn and .btn-primary classes for the bloody button to finally turn blue and that’s not exactly intuitive. I thought I would just customize the colors and everything via the Button tool in the Content Editor but you can’t style the button unless you assign some class to it. A common user would expect that when you choose a color or whatever in the user interface, it would just work. Why would the options be there in the first place? But nah, you must assign a class before it actually starts working. So, a quick fix, I’d say, would be to assign one of the classes to the Button Selector by default.
5./ Also, I had an issue with the .card class assigned to a block. The alignment was off on my mobile (Nokia 6.1, 1080x1920 px). The following properties added to the given class have luckily fixed that:
Perhaps it would do no harm if they are added to the .card class (not just to the given @media size) by default to avoid the issues on smaller screens but I appreciate that this is something that’s been inherited from the halfmoon framework and can actually be none of your business ‘cause the cards generated by your Page List tool are working fine. I’m only talking about the other, standalone elements in the Content Editor that a user would like to style as a card.
6./ I know, this post is getting crazy long but I’ll nevertheless try to complete everything I wanted to say. I’m not sure if anyone is going to have the nerve to actually read this through. Next up, the dark mode. As a user who has chosen the halfmoon theme I expect it to be dark because there’s a nice, dark thumbnail shown in the overview of the packages on the Automad website, right? I mean, dark by default. Or even more specifically, dark at the first visit to my website. But this thing is tricky and requires quite a lot of study involving things like cookies or even GDPR. 🙂 What I was trying to achieve is that the dark mode is served to the user at his first visit regardless of any other conditions. Then, if he/she switches the mode, let his/her preference get remembered in the cookies, no problem with that. Looking into the custom.js will reveal, if I get it right, that it’s actually supposed to be set that way, only that there’s one more condition because the script is checking for the user system setting and will serve the dark mode only if the user shows an inclination to ‘dark side’ already. But I want to turn all the visitors to the dark side right at the start no matter what their inclinations are. So I thought I would secure that by removing that additional ‘matching’ condition from the script and shoving the ‘dark-mode’ into their browser cookies right away without asking them. But it turns out that the custom.js is actually not being loaded at all, am I right in that? And adding the following markup <script src="/packages/dahmen/automad-halfmoon/js/custom.js"></script> to the Items Footer in General Default Template Settings doesn’t seem to have any effect.
I’ve ended up putting this in the General Custom Properties and I’m happy:
But I don’t think it’s the cleanest way to go about this.
It would be nice if this was somehow covered in the documentation for the theme in terms of a short explanation as to how to actually force a certain mode as a default state. BTW, the documentation could use more examples of the styling to help users figure out how to deal with the basic customization.
7./ The external links were already discussed in forum so I can only second that I would like to see them being opened in a new tab by default. Not a big deal, however, this can easily be solved either by adding a markup right in the Editor or by the script in the General Items Footer as you suggested in your answer.
8./ One little thing that annoys me is the dash (–) leading the second line in the ‘Quote’ selector in Content Editor because I can’t seem to remove it. That’s a shame because the Quote could otherwise be useful as an additional formatting style for, say, tips or anything of that sort. Now, I’m forced to choose whether that little piece of wisdom was said by – Genghis Khan, – Tutankhamun or perhaps ‘– by Me’… But I don’t get the chance to opt out of that dash at the beginning.
9./ One slight suggestion regarding the layout of the dashboard. It would help (me) a lot if the headings of the main sections in the main panel (Page Settings, Content – X, Template Settings – X and Unused Variables) were a lot more distinct ‘cause once you have rolled them out and then start scrolling, you’ll get lost easily. Perhaps just make them at least bold or something.
10./ Funny thing, I didn’t know that I could delete multiple items (or paragraphs) in Content Editor until I discovered that I needed to hit Backspace in order to ditch the selection. I was deleting them one by one because hitting Delete didn’t do anything. I think that many users can experience the same problem. So I would definitely prefer that the Delete key was granted the same permission.
OK, I guess that’s more than enough for a single post…
Let me stress that I absolutely love the program and I sincerely believe that it has the potential to become the strongest WordPress competitor if it goes viral down the road. While I was getting familiar with the environment, many times I was like: ‘This is wonderful! This is great!’ It really fits into my way of thinking perfectly.
Apart from the aforementioned details, I think it already has everything one might need to create a beautiful, clean website and manage its content. And it definitely feels like a high-quality product. I can see it become top-notch in the future. If Automad was a company I wouldn’t hesitate to bet on it. It deserves support. If there’s anything I can give a hand with, let me know.
This is what I have so far, (the text is not yet formatted for the most part but the skeleton is ready):
When I’m done, it’s going to replace my current website run by WordPress at https://lightflavor.com.
Automad Version: 1.8.7
Operating System: Linux / 5.4.0-67-generic
Server Software: Apache
PHP: 7.4.14 / fpm-fcgi
[UPDATED:] PHP: 8.0.1 / fpm-fcgi