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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

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Lack of documentation?

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Posted
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#73566 (In Topic #15387)
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Community saint

Is it just me, or is there a real lack of documentation for ocportal?

I am using it to put together a site, and as I go, I come back and search for info on some
things, and just can not find stuff, or incomplete stuff.

Like RTR.   Is it supposed to do anything?

Wanted to make a block for the right sidebar, I see the coding info, but it seems a bit confusing as to
if it's a block or a minimodule or an addon…   and while all the available functions are there, which is great, just a general idea of pulling info from the database seems to be absent (other than searching the code to see how it is done elsewhere).

I suppose I'll get there eventually, but it just seems there is a lot less information for the system than for any other I have used.

But don't get me wrong, so far I love it.  

Paul
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Posted
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#73567
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Community saint

a couple of good jumping-off points:
When you've digested them, perhaps you won't be in the mood to complain that, "… there is a real lack of documentation for ocportal?"

Enjoy!

 :thumbs:

Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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Posted
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#73568
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Community saint

Thanks Fletch, but it's after reading those that I come asking "where's the documentation?"

 ;)

Paul
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Posted
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#73569
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Community saint

In that case Arbo, I am at a loss as to exactly what you are seeking.

Forgive the intrusion.


Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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Posted
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#73571
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Community saint

No intrusion at all.   I thank you for your response.    When I have more time available, I will go into more detail.

Paul
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Posted
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#73573
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Community saint

I actually agree with Arbo.

There are lots of Documents but the level of proper details is difficult to find for somethings.

As he said I found not a single entry in any of the many documents I have read thus far that explains the the query system clearly. Of course its not hugely hard to figure out after studying the code itself but this is usually a starting point of many documentation systems which is a little frustrating. High level discussions - a lot, but nitty gritty grassroots is hard to find.

It is explained a little about the MVC structure of ocP but not indepth enough as far as I am concerned. Makes for a slower process getting up to par. The three addon tutorials are nice but a full blown Module from start to finish tutorial would be really nice to show all the areas of the sytem and how they tie together properly. I am still slightly confused with the zones stuff - Site CMS - Collaboration  - Admin(ok this one makes a lot of sense but really what makes a site and a cms different? ) and where do I begin to properly start module development (yes I know to use the custom_folder overides but which ones really?)

IT's a lot to disect and if it were a little clearer explained getting up to par would be faster and likely help the project grow more but some of it seems a little convoluted when your first starting out which is discouraging.
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Posted
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#73575
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Community saint

If you know anything about the query system, feel free to inform me.  ;)

I set up a 'zone' that is user blogs.   The 'news' on that page just contains user blogs, none of the news category.  So latest entries.   

On the right side, I'd like to start by putting a box that lists down users who have blog entries, from the newest entry on down.   Of course, be able to set the # of entries shown.

I started looking through the code to see how to pull the information, and found where it pulls users online, or data about a the current user, but didn't quite get the concept of the system down (yet) as to how to query the member database to go through the members.   Though I guess that is not the proper way, I'm guessing there is a blogs database, so it would be a matter of pulling the recent entries from there, and indexing the member id to get their name.

I will dive back into it in a little while, and post what I am doing here, and of course questions when I get stuck.

Paul
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Posted
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#73576
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Community saint

The  sources/database.php file has the info you need to run queries.

If your gonna make tables or fields and things you'll need the database_helper.php file in that same folder.

To do what you asked I think would be quite simple to figure out if you followed the addons tutorials here: Tutorials - ocPortal.com bottom of page.

You'll see that should be realatively easy as those tutorials are very similar to what you want to do.
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Posted
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#73579
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Community saint

Of note, I realized the side_news block was close to what I wanted.  It has the blogs=1 option, so the base is there.

So I copied it to sources_custom/blocks and renamed it to side_blogs

Same for the template.   So now it's a matter of changing the data output via the template.

Paul
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Posted
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#73581
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Community saint

I also agree with Arbo and Duck.

I found the documentation to be real hit and miss, and even when there is documentations it can be hard to find.


Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S / Galaxy S II ? If so, why not check out my ScreenFree FM Radio .
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Posted
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#73590
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Fan in action

Hint: ocPortal does have paid services for support: http://ocportal.com/site/support.htm

Could be a small reason as to why every little detail is not written out. Free is just that, free and ocPortal is free. If you are having issues with something, helping support ocPortal and hire out ocPortal to help.;)

Amazingly I have found this software very easy to navigate without even cracking one link to the support archives. Most of the needed support is right in the code;).

"You Can't Always Get What You Want"
Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones: 1969~Let It Bleed Album 
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Posted
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#73591
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Fan in action

Plus you have these forums, which are free and even have (I assume) the hired help giving free advice instead of pointing you to the paid service. 

"You Can't Always Get What You Want"
Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones: 1969~Let It Bleed Album 
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Posted
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#73594
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Community saint

I doubt that any documentation is being held back just to encourage the purchase of paid support.

When something is open source, as ocPortal is, the intent is to encourage other to contribute code to make it better. Holding back documentation would go totally against this.

There are a lot more ways to support ocPortal then just purchasing from them.


Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S / Galaxy S II ? If so, why not check out my ScreenFree FM Radio .
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Posted
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#73595
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Community saint

Captain Kirk said

Hint: ocPortal does have paid services for support: http://ocportal.com/site/support.htm

Could be a small reason as to why every little detail is not written out. Free is just that, free and ocPortal is free. If you are having issues with something, helping support ocPortal and hire out ocPortal to help.;)

Amazingly I have found this software very easy to navigate without even cracking one link to the support archives. Most of the needed support is right in the code;).
I'm no Captain Kirk or any kind of coder and a lot of the stuff was confusing to me at first but I stayed in the Forums and kept hacking away , kept getting direction from Chris, the Staff and the good dedicated members here and I have found that ocPortal is making more and more sense to me the more I get into it.

At first, I read everything there was online and in the forums about ocPortal and the way it works. It was just overwelming but I could see what giant potential this software had that I was too intrigued to go anywhere else.  I am just an average guy with a computer and somehow I am able to make it work and I suspect that the greatest limitation to ocP is the user's capacity to figure out how to use it to it's full potential.

I'm sure you are at a much deeper technical level than I am and probably expect more from the documentation than I did and maybe when you plow on through this little bump, you will be able to add to the knowledge base so that it will be easier for the next user who has the same issue. I am thinking that that is how it works with open source software and the people who use it and help keep it going.

So, Captain Kirk …you hit on some good points. We can find support for a price if we need it but also there are tons of free solutions around here if you look for them and if you can't find the answer then ask …which is what I think you might be sorta doing?

What was the question?

Anyway, I still find it absolutely amazing what you can learn from the Forums and beyond that, I cannot believe how generous Chris and the staff are about sharing their knowledge about 'how to' ocPortal if you query them.

I do believe that there is a vast arena where someone with superior knowledge or maybe just good ocPortal experience can help with solving the 'how do I' questions that don't seem obvious and may take some head scratching and experimentation to fill in the gaps in documentation. Here again, is how it works with open source software.

To me the more power and potential a system has the less documentation you are likely to get.

My example of a powerful system that has great potential but comes with minimal 'how to' documentation

–> Life    O_o  


Art and Imagination
of David L Friend

http://davidlfriend.com

  My Art Gallery
powered by ocPortal
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Posted
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#73601
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Community saint

Don't get me wrong I think the staff are quite helpful and I am sure it must be difficult for them at times to find the right balance of offering their free support in the forums but still encourage their paid support programs which keeps the bread on the table.  But as Temp says "there are other ways to support them than just the paid support program". If more OS developers are attracted to the project and start contributing useful additons to the system it grows and popularity increases and ebfore you know it more people are comming in that do have budgets for special implementations that wish to start paying for features. I am pretty sure I could give you a good list of some Open Source Projects with great documentation that make large amounts of money that aren't even based around the same development model. But again as I say we (or at least I) just like to offer comments as constructive critiscm to maybe help head the flow of progress in a positive direction. It might be that Chris and the developers don't even realize many of us find the documentation lacking because to them they understand the system fully and figure they wrote enough to explain it. If we don't (politely complain) they may be completely unawares and never think of looking to improve it. But maybe with our comments one day when they have time they might5 decide hey lets beef up the docs a little?
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Posted
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#73602
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Thanks for the discussion guys.

Writing clear documentation is very hard if you understand it primarily from a complete systems architecture perspective, and in some cases infeasible due to how everybody needs a different process to achieve their particular site. This is why we have the community documentation (CEDI), so I suggest focusing any learned lessons towards there so others don't have to learn them. And obviously many hands make light work and if people approach it together everyone gains from each other's contribution.

It is quite possible the development team will go over that some time and see what people have written/written-about and update the tutorials, but I almost see these as secondary now to the documentation frame on CEDI.

In fact, I think it would be found that most of the 'great documentation' for Open Source projects is not written by the developers, it's written in a community effort like this.

Same goes for the chat, it frustrates me a bit that I keep looking in it and finding people talking to air, but then not coming back and helping change that when other people come up to it – really we've built a decentralised community here, so the power is in the hands of the users to raise the level of support and documentation as high as they want.


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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#73603
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Community saint

@Chris I hear you on that!

Actually one thing I have started (dunno when I'll finish it hehe) is a Cheat sheet for Comcode. I figured one would be very handy for people in time  (including myself) so for now I am laying it out in a spreadsheet. When it's done I'll post it for everyone. May be a while got too much on the go right now. But in due time.
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Posted
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#73604
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:thumbs:


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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