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Failed in the Packt publishing competition nominations

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Very regrettably we did not get through the nominations in the Packt competition. It's been said there were about 8000 nominations, and at a guess (based roughly on the Gaussian style distribution I'd expect) I figure nominations would be something like this…

Top 1      1700
Top 2      1700
Mid 1      1200
Mid 2      1200
Lower 1   700
(Others)   1500

ocPortal would be one of the others that together had 1500 nominations. We'd have needed over 700 to get in.

But this year we don't have the excuse that we're up against the big 3 (Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal – all have been kept out of it this year due to new rules about previous winners). I don't like the whole idea of this competition being a popularity contest – it is run by a publishing company which gives reputation and authority to the winners, creating a virtuous cycle for their publicity (i.e. past winners are very likely to go on to win again due to the growth it provided them) and a vicious cycle for those out of it. But with the top 3 kept out this year, at least it hasn't been as bad as it was before.

Also, for the first time we also made an effort – for the first time we sent out two newsletters to the list of thousands of subscribers we'd built up over the years, and we appealed on Twitter and the forums many times.

I've asked how well we did and I'll keep you all informed if I get an answer. I think we got at least 100 nominations based on our tracking, but it's a bit hit and miss guessing based on that.

To be honest, at this point I'm at a bit of a loss. It's no secret we're an obscure player in the world of CMSs. But people love us and we stack up incredibly well when you compare with an open mind. In the past I've nailed it to specific problems, which I feel we have now mostly solved:
  • Bugs. There have been loads of bugs in the past. Mostly stemming from the amount of functionality there is to going wrong, but also I've had to learn a lot about how to plan releases and so on. But we are so good at fixing things fast – there are very few known issues apart from things between patch releases (nothing sitting around a bugs database!), and fixes get put out usually within 24 hours.
  • Usability. ocPortal is big with a lot to learn and is powerful, which makes things complex. But this has been number 1 priority for years now and I think version 5 is miles ahead of where we used to be and now compares very favourably to other systems that do less. v4 made things more modular too. Drupal is incredibly successful nowadays, but far harder to use. Wordpress is far simpler, because it's a very basic system.
  • Marketing. Our old website sucked and did a poor job communicating. But I believe our new website is the best in the market and very clear. I feel other CMS websites are full of an incredible amount of distraction and noise and lack any concise explanations and central source of information. I could be looking through rose-tinted glasses though, so let me know if I am.
  • Documentation. There's always room for improving documentation, but we've put out some very high quality video tutorials that have received considerable praise (best in the CMS market I would say), and frankly that didn't affect our uptake at all. Our documentation has been copy checked by multiple people multiple times. I think we have better documentation than anyone else, so long as you don't count published books (and I know that's a big "so long as" – but unfortunately out of our control).
  • Addons. We've always encouraged people to make them, but the size of the community kind of dictates how many come out. So we recently seeded it with about 40 of our own, after investing a lot of time and money in it – it doesn't seem to have helped.
  • Themes. There's no doubt a lack of themes. This has not been solved to my satisfaction yet, although we've written some good tools and a lot of documentation. Consider it a work in progress. But I don't think it can be linked to a major lack of uptake – people have always pointed their finger at it, but no more than any of the other reasons listed here, and other CMSs rely on user-released themes too without going to the same level of effort to encourage people to release them (i.e. I think it is commonly-caused to a lack of uptake and to a degree a driver for the lack of uptake for a proportion of users – rather than itself being a be-all-and-end-all driver for totally explaining lack of uptake).
  • Languages. We've written lots of guidance into a tutorial, set up translations on Launchpad, made it really easy to import Launchpad files into ocPortal, and given lots of individual guidance, encouragement and incentivisation. Some people have done some wonderful work here, although I'd like to see a much greater range of translations. There's not much ocProducts can do here to move it along.
  • Community size. The community nowadays is great, I even don't have time myself to read everything like I used to. We've worked hard this year to create a vibrant scheme of encouragement with member of the month, points, leaderboards, the contribute page, etc. Community size is of course linked to the number of people picking up ocPortal though, so it is limited by that.
  • Evangelism. We used to be very introverted as a group. But in recent years we have built up relationships with all kinds of people, and put out regular news to CMS sites.
  • Design. v5 improved our screen designs hugely, and now I think we are ahead in terms of quality of the user's design experience with the system.
  • Missing features. We've carefully kept up with new trends, etc, between versions. On features we always compare well.
  • Not being democratic/open enough. We were always Open Source, but we moved to an OSI-approved license and removed the logo restrictions a few years back. Recently we moved all our future planning into the open. We intentionally aren't committee-led; in our view design-by-committee sucks, and we look more towards companies like Apple that have more of a led vision.

I could be wrong, so if I am this is the time to correct me. Maybe we need some home truths that have been unsaid saying now. I think we're good at responding to criticism, but sometimes people keep things to themselves, which delays progress. It's all extremely frustrating for the whole team as we try so hard to act on criticism – we treat issues brought to us very seriously, and there is no outpouring of "this sucks" coming through but rather a lot of very strong praise. Maybe it's just be a problem of the virtuous/vicious circle I mentioned earlier, but if it is, we need to find a way to break out of that.

Regardless of what it is, I think it is time for the community to have a very open frank discussion to see if we can work out a better way to go forward. We need to find a solution for this. Be it improving the product to create a broader appeal somehow, improving the evangelism, or both. The ocProducts business is doing well – we have been expanding hugely with ocPortal (announcement soon) and it's value as a tool of our business is really proven – but it's very disheartening to see the thing I am really passionate about (the community, and the uptake of the software) stagnant regardless of the investments we put into it. To be honest our stats have been static for a long time, regardless of what new versions, new documentation, etc, we've put out. Praise has gone up (you can see by checking out comments on the forums), but somehow the word just is not spreading (are we too niche?).


Last edit: by Chris Graham


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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Community saint

A serious self-assessment that requires an equally serious response.

Allow me some time to consider that response. Perhaps the views of an 'average-to-dumb-ass' user of CMS' (the point and click kind), of which I am one, may throw some light on the matter.

If I can muster my thoughts into a cohesive whole I shall attempt to say something of interest.

Until then I shall keep it shut!

 :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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#63052
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Community saint

Greetings,

This is sad indeed… I was really pulling for my favorite omnipotent and omniscient web community creation program to get the nomination. Heck, I even nominated, something I typically don't do and haven't done ever in the past for other systems. *shrugs* guess they are all hatin' us because we are just that good. Jealousy. Sheesh.

But truthfully there are some things that could be done I think to improve on an already excellent system if you want to make those improvements (which obviously are subject to opinion lol).I'll go over them here.

1.) While the lack of themes is indeed an issue (many won't use a cms if they don't find a nice ready-made theme for it… *shrugs*, I am working on completing my 5.0.1 theme… have to make some images it seems since the css-button replacer doesn't replace all buttons lol), I think the one thing you can do, you should do, that will help is to provide a new and fresh default theme. Simply put, while I love the block design, not everyone does, and the faded blue look even with color changes is definitely non-inspiring. You want your cms-product (I hate calling ocportal that as it is so much more than that) to grab the users with 'WOW' visually then amaze them with it's sheer power. Plus a new default theme that works with the theme-wizard would be just awesome.

So how do we do this? I suggest having a theme making contest and choose the best theme made. Make it a community vote for even more community involvement and I bet you'll see the board and community light up with excitement. The themes that don't win? No problem! They can be extra themes to add to our theme database for users to browse and download/install at their leisure!

2.) Slowness for some causes them to dislike the product and then tell everyone else about how much they dislike it. Which multiplies. Here I am talking about the nice touches that are nice yes, but not ideal for everyone… the fading screen… the new fancy editor loading after a time on-top of the old editor. Either streamline those things or remove them to remove their resource hogging. I am sure there are probably other fixes as well.

3.) Ease of administration. ocPortal has come a long way in being more user friendly.. however I think it could use a little more love. Doing some simple things, like reducing mouse clicks will help. That can be done with little things such as the Manage Themes. I suggested this before the 5 series actually. Take the Add Theme button and put it into the Manage Themes page, and remove the page that has the Add Theme and Manage Theme buttons. Similar things to replace similar pages and viola you have a more streamlined admin zone. The mouse over drop-downs help and this would help more I think, making for a better admin zone experience.

4.) A portion of our users are not going to get to enjoy one of ocPortal's great features, the WYSIWYG editor. It seems to only work in Firefox and possibly IE. It will be a pain, but is there a way to solve this issue? Perhaps support add-on replacement for editors?

5.) It will be hard to develop a desire for add-on's because with all that ocPortal already supports, it is hard to imagine a need for add-ons. If you want more add-on's there might be a way to foster that. One idea could be to sponsor an add-on development contest which could help to get community interest and even bring in more people to try to make add-ons. Or you could regulate some of the features of ocPortal into add-ons and allow for the community to also create other add-ons for similar functions but that of course are also unique. This could be a bit of a downside, but it could also be largely beneficial. It is one of those things that you will never know until you try, so to speak, but I have to admit one of the things I love about ocPortal, not needing 100's of add-ons, I also find as one of its faults, not having add-ons to use in place of core add-ons.

6.) Gotta make sure your demo on opensourcecms is working right and that you have someone there to respond if it does not. I know I had to recently respond to someone that posted about the demo being bug-ridden and broken. That is not good PR to have such things able to be posted by people looking for a CMS.

ocPortal is awesome really, and these limited suggestions are only things that could possibly make for better reception and growth. But really, ocPortal is IMO the cream of the crop, the best and most versatile there is, and I have this sick obsession of looking at CMS'es on opensourcecms. However you asked for communication (right?) and I too want to see ocPortal fully show what it's got to a very skeptical world and receive the nomination and award that it truly deserves.

Legends of Nor'Ova: A site powered by ocPortal; home of the Legends of Nor'Ova tabletop RPG wiki and community.

Like ocPortal? Want to thank Chris and gang somehow? Then help out in the chat room! It really needs your help! Just open it in a tab everytime you open your web browser, and when you hear a "ding", check it out!

"Those who want help should first be willing to give help."
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Posted
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Thanks very much Mythus.

A few of your points are in the pipeline, a couple in 5.0.2 (usability tweaks, and lots of performance tweaks) which I hope to get out tomorrow before I have to fly off to Vietnam for a week.

Sometimes suggestions are very user specific, sometimes they touch on something many people feel. So please guys keep it coming. If you have seen something said already here that you would have said, say it again. It will help us gauge priorities.


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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#63057
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Community saint

Some observations, building on what you have already stated:

  • Niche market: Yup! To be brutally honest, you guys started out with a 'killer ap' that would appeal to commerce/industry and pitched it at them as the one CMS that could do it all. It was probably a good strategy when you were in the business of selling the product, because corporate entities probably employed 'knowledgeable' guys who would be able to come to terms with the intricasies of the CMS. But you are now open source and to gain 'market share' you really have to appeal to the millions of 'silver-surfers', 'dear-old-grannies' and 'desperate-housewives' who want a point and click experience. Which ocPortal certainly is NOT!
  • Themes: I think mythus has dealt with this one comprehensively. My only view on it is that you could offer TWO default themes for people to start with, the current one and a 'fixed-width' alternative. You could name them 'default-flexible' and 'default-fixed' to easily identify the difference. This shouldn't be too difficult as Allen has already built your own 'fixed-width', which you use on your site, in preference to the default you roll out with the download. All the graphics will be interchangeable, and in instances where the 'fixed-width' has a problem displaying them, you can iron out the wrinkles BEFORE release, not leave it to the idiot-user to discover.
  • The theme editor needs re-working or dropping altogether. It is a nice touch, which other CMS' don't have, but it is misleading for the 'average' user who probably thinks a few clicks will get them a NEW theme. It doesn't. Then when they discover that it doesn't touch the pre-built buttons, they really ARE disappointed!
  • You make comparison with the BIG THREE, but I only have knowledge of Wordpress. I LIKE Wordpres for its simplicity, its one-click updating of the software, its one-click updating of the add-ons, and other simplified tasks that the user doesn't have to get freaked out about. Of course, it doesn't have the ooooomph! that ocPortal has, but for the majority of 'average' users it is enough!
  • Add-ons: With the functionality of ocPortal out of the box, I don't see the 'lack' of third party add-ons as a disadvantage at all. Indeed, one of my major reasons for leaving 'The Nukes' behind was the vast supply of add-ons that offered features of every description, but which were cobbled together like a swiss cheese. And nobody from the Nuke community appeared to take the security holes seriously!
  • Backend stuff: I still have the 'editarea' problem, so it remains disabled. The JS fade-in/fade-out is sort of OK eye-candy, but isn't that the trap we've been accusing M$ of falling into? When I'm working the Admin features, I want it to respond FAST. I don't really care if it is PLAIN.
  • COMCODE and TEMPCODE: The first has made me a really lazy chimp-coder who is beginning to forget HTML because you've made it really easy to comcode just about everything. I've even built my own! Tempcode is something else: I don't think anybody, not involved in the building of the templates, can say it is 'easy' or 'intuitive'. Powerful, sure, but trying to get the right syntax or parameters into the right locations of the right templates, easily degenerates into nightmare!
That's me exhausted for now. I won't even start to sing ocPortal's praises here because I would be preaching to the converted in these forums. But I hope that my two-cents-worth will trigger memories for the more accomplised users of this CMS, reminding them that it wasn't all sunshine and roses when they started.

: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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#63060
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Community saint

Greetings,

I hope you don't mind, Fletch, if I kindof touch on some of what you wrote.

Themes: I think mythus has dealt with this one comprehensively. My only view on it is that you could offer TWO default themes for people to start with, the current one and a 'fixed-width' alternative. You could name them 'default-flexible' and 'default-fixed' to easily identify the difference. This shouldn't be too difficult as Allen has already built your own 'fixed-width', which you use on your site, in preference to the default you roll out with the download. All the graphics will be interchangeable, and in instances where the 'fixed-width' has a problem displaying them, you can iron out the wrinkles BEFORE release, not leave it to the idiot-user to discover.

The only thing I can really add here is that I still also think the default theme needs a good touch up. Getting the community involved (and even possibly bringing other by advertising this) by having a theme making copetition could help here and help even more with bringing others to ocPortal.

The theme editor needs re-working or dropping altogether. It is a nice touch, which other CMS' don't have, but it is misleading for the 'average' user who probably thinks a few clicks will get them a NEW theme. It doesn't. Then when they discover that it doesn't touch the pre-built buttons, they really ARE disappointed!

I completely agree here but I do not think it should be dropped. I think we have two options, either change the name to Theme Color Editor instead of Theme Wizard or include some more functions such as making fixed or fluid width, simple button image changes, etc. Actually I would strongly encourage a way to change all buttons to the css-like buttons as a themeing option (and vice versa - back to image buttons). The image uplader thing is nice in Manage Themes, but it is over-kill for most CMS users who may appreicate a simple button changer in the theme wizard. Maybe making the button itself CSS with a small image overlay so that the new theme wizard could change the color of the buttons for ALL buttons (even the triangle boxes and such) but not affect the images as a beter, simplier method.

Add-ons: With the functionality of ocPortal out of the box, I don't see the 'lack' of third party add-ons as a disadvantage at all. Indeed, one of my major reasons for leaving 'The Nukes' behind was the vast supply of add-ons that offered features of every description, but which were cobbled together like a swiss cheese. And nobody from the Nuke community appeared to take the security holes seriously!

While I tend to agree with you it just doesn't seem to be the case from what I see out there (I could be wrong thoguh). I always see something like "ocPortal is way to complex! And where are the add-ons!?" So, you could kill twobirds with one stone here by making some of the features of ocPortal as add ons. Some things, like CEDI, WYSIWYG editor, Catalog, Gallery… those could be made add ons and then the community could use them if wanted, or make others for such features. But again, I must stress… I also am not a big fan of add ons but it is an idea if this is seen as a need for the community.

Legends of Nor'Ova: A site powered by ocPortal; home of the Legends of Nor'Ova tabletop RPG wiki and community.

Like ocPortal? Want to thank Chris and gang somehow? Then help out in the chat room! It really needs your help! Just open it in a tab everytime you open your web browser, and when you hear a "ding", check it out!

"Those who want help should first be willing to give help."
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Posted
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#63061
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Community saint

mythus said

I always see something like "ocPortal is way to complex! And where are the add-ons!?" So, you could kill twobirds with one stone here by making some of the features of ocPortal as add ons. Some things, like CEDI, WYSIWYG editor, Catalog, Gallery… those could be made add ons and then the community could use them if wanted …

CLEVER!

I know that the features can be de-activated, but this idea would 'sell' better if the prospective users thought they were getting something 'extra', simply for the asking (or downloading)!

And the add-ons would already have the ocPortal seal of approval, which would help to allay the fears of the more security conscious. Don't bundle it - make them ASK for it.

Yes, I really like that idea!

 :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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#63062
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Community saint

Mytus and Fletch have presented clear and well defined ideas about improving the popularity of ocPortal and I agree with most of it, except when it is suggested to remove features and un-bundle addons.

Not so fast sailors!;)

What is considered eye candy today, and adding to the overhead of servers, is fast becoming routine practice in the web design world as quad core + computers are becoming the norm and user bandwidth is blasting into the 10 to 20 Mb/s worldwide with 100 Mb/s readily available (for a fee) were there are millions of users. Eye candy attract a young crowd and shows a certain sophistication at a price for now, but with constant optimization, I'm sure it will be reigned-in in time.

In my opinion, un-bundling addons will only increase the sense that there are not enough to begin with, and might emphasize the call for counting them and compare with other CMS. ocPortal is making a stand that addons are nor really needed to make it the best CMS around, since everything important is already integrated. I believe that the strength of ocPortal is in that integration.

Suggestions to include a revamped flexible-width theme and a fixed-width selectable from the theme wizard are right on the button.

I personally like the Theme Wizard and would agree with mythus to rename it "color wizard", as in its present form it is a tremendous time saver for that purpose.

I'm hard at work creating new themes for ocPortal in my spare time and hope it will encourage others to follow suit when they come out shortly.

I was sad to read that only about one hundred votes were caste in favor of ocPortal's nomination, but I remain certain that there is a large underground fellowship of users that will push this number further in future nomination opportunities.

Thank you to mythus and fletch for helping my thought process with their well written comments. I'm sure I can come up with more things to say, but it will have to be in a follow-up post.

Cheers!
Jean
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Posted
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#63068
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Community saint

Greetings,

What is considered eye candy today, and adding to the overhead of servers, is fast becoming routine practice in the web design world as quad core + computers are becoming the norm and user bandwidth is blasting into the 10 to 20 Gb worldwide with 100Gb readily available (for a fee) were there are millions of users. Eye candy attract a young crowd and shows a certain sophistication at a price for now, but with constant optimization, I'm sure it will be reigned-in in time.

I would completely agree here, in the front end. That is why I am strongly suggesting a theme making contest to overhaul the very plain default theme. But in the back end… are you really sure that people will want flash and eye candy there instead of an easy to use admin zone that doesn't get in their way and cause them headaches and such?

I don't think non-functioning eye candy has any place in the admin zone, and the fading in and out is an example of that really. The new editor, it is useful, but needs to be fixed so that it doesn't take time to load on top of the old editor… maybe replacing the old editor with the new editor completely is the way to go here… or maybe making the new editor as an add on replacement for the old editor. Haha, see what I did there? lol Also the drop down menues are a good example of appropriate functioning eye candy for the back end :).

The point is though, and maybe I am wrong here, but in the end I think that most web masters will desire a quick and easy to use admin zone over a slow yet flashy admin zone any day. Yes, maybe it will work better in the future, but how many young admins do you know that are that patient or have that much of a foresight to see that? They are more likely to give up right away and go back to Joomla or the likes. Just like one did the other day after me selling him on trying ocPortal for his site.

In my opinion, un-bundling addons will only increase the sense that there are not enough to begin with, and might emphasize the call for counting them and compare with other CMS. ocPortal is making a stand that addons are nor really needed to make it the best CMS around, since everything important is already integrated. I believe that the strength of ocPortal is in that integration.

I did say that I myself am not a fan of the add on approach right? It may very well increase such a sense, but it would also showcase the fact that there are add ons. And, whether or not that you and I like having a solid, completely functioning web designing tool, an over whelimg majority (as seen by the types of cms ideas that become popular and such) do not really want that, but instead want modularity and options. They want to be able to say "Hmmm… I don't want a CEDI so I won't install that. Instead I'll install this driver for MediaWiki integration" (despite the CEDI being IMO vastly supperior) or "Hmmm I don't really have need for a chat room so I won't download that add on" or "I like blah blah WYSIWYG editor better than ocPortal WYSIWYG editor, so I'll make that add on since it is an add on now so everyone else can use it too!".

Yes, there are definite down sides to this. One being that others will look more closely at the amount of add ons versus other CMS'es, but guess what, they are already doing that! By delegating certain features of ocPortal as add-ons we can show that the community is actually accepting add ons and add on developers who can come in and make optional add ons for those very things. Wiki drivers and community made wiki engines that can be used instead of the CEDI if the webmaster truly desires, or different galleries, etc… The largest issue right now inhibiting the growth of add ons as Chris seems to point to being an area of concern is that the main types of add ons that people typically make have no need or use in ocPortal.

I'd be happy as a clam to keep ocPortal the way it is, full featured, with a minor exception to the WYSIWYG editor. But we gotta look at this and weigh it against the prospect of being more inviting to add-on developers and seekers. Which is better for the product and the community in the long run? I think in the end that is the question that has to be answered here.

Legends of Nor'Ova: A site powered by ocPortal; home of the Legends of Nor'Ova tabletop RPG wiki and community.

Like ocPortal? Want to thank Chris and gang somehow? Then help out in the chat room! It really needs your help! Just open it in a tab everytime you open your web browser, and when you hear a "ding", check it out!

"Those who want help should first be willing to give help."
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Posted
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#63077
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Community saint

Greetings,

I just made a few mock ups that I submitted to my Suggestion thread concerning the consilidation of the admin zone pages. I think this would help some here.

View topic: [Suggestion] Admin Zone page consolidation - ocPortal.com

Legends of Nor'Ova: A site powered by ocPortal; home of the Legends of Nor'Ova tabletop RPG wiki and community.

Like ocPortal? Want to thank Chris and gang somehow? Then help out in the chat room! It really needs your help! Just open it in a tab everytime you open your web browser, and when you hear a "ding", check it out!

"Those who want help should first be willing to give help."
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Posted
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#63087
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Community saint

Fletch said

you are now open source and to gain 'market share' you really have to appeal to the millions of 'silver-surfers', 'dear-old-grannies' and 'desperate-housewives' who want a point and click experience. Which ocPortal certainly is NOT!
Good point and as I read the forums I would guess that most of the forum member participants are ambitious web developers of some level. They are the ones who stay around. Yes, maybe some of them are working on a single ocPortal project (like me, so far) but they have found it is necessary to take the time to do the learning curve and they are willing to because they couldn't find another CMS that would do all that they need to do.

ocPortal in its present form appeals to a webmaster who provides a website for other surfers, silver or not. Because of its very nature and the mega-featured approach of ocPortal, it naturally attractive to the people who want to do more than surf. ocPortal users are more entrepreneurial in nature. They don't want to surf the waves they want to be master and commander of the ocean!

If you are going to appeal to the impatient want it now generation as well as the low tech "plug and play-point and shoot" gray hairs you may need to introduce a ocPortal LITE version that doesn't make you jump in the pool to get wet!

Maybe a version that is less integrated but more automated would be less intimidating to new users looking for more than a Facebook page but don't need to run a multi-network gaming community. They are somewhere in the middle.

I realize you don't HAVE to use ALL of ocPortal's features -> NOW <- but when I first downloaded the package and installed it - WOW …all those questions asked - I had to decide now (I thought) if I was going to use this feature and not that one - I didn't know what a lot of them were and I was overwhelmed and intimidated. I plowed on because that's what I do… and ocPortal out shined all the others I had looked at.

I believe you do have a large number of ocPortal 'users' who don't realize that they are using OCP and really don't care - they are the surfers and not the masters and commanders of their ocean who power thier sites with ocPortal.

Joomla says it has some 110,000 members on its forum and estimates between 10-40 million websites using their product. ocPortal documents some 3,126 members on this forum …and how many websites have resulted from those memberships? -> (I refer you to My Google "Powered by ocPortal" journey ).

I think you are slightly outgunned and under manned at present but perhaps you have done better than you think in the Packt competition. I point to the relationship here that is like David & Goliath.

I leave you to guess which is ocPortal …and BTW don't forget to bring your slingshot to the next competition!


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Posted
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Well-settled

Thought I should add my two cents here as well… :)

…and I will…

But something came up so I have to get back on this one… Give me a day or two… :$
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Community saint

Wow, well put all! I only have a couple of items to add as most of what I would have said has been said.

1) Post-Facebook/Twitter: we always have to keep in mind that the other CMS' were flourishing in the pre-facebook/twitter age. The actual demand for CMS style software, as it stands, is probably diminishing and therefore new angles need to be explored. Let's take adding news for example. To post to your Facebook wall, what do you have to do? Well, either type and click or click and type and click again, done. CMS software requires a great deal more effort to simply post a news article. (see #4 for further)

2) The days of the block type CMS are over…it's now about relational information. A single story post with any and all related material at the finger tips. Here is an example: CBC News - Toronto - Toronto Chinatown grocer's trial begins Notice the related information down the right side.

3) Scaring them away: some simple usability items should be addressed as well. A great example of this is permission error messages.
"toddr" does not have the specific-permission, 'Edit other users' mid-impact (medium visibility) content'.
Way too much information…this will have novice users running for cover or here. Additionally, because I do not have permission to edit/add an author, that link should not be available to me at all. Further to this, I would suggest a separate control feature that determines what icons are available in Content Management. Having basically everything there followed by somewhat cryptic error messages is a deterrent.

4) Integration - lets make it work! For better or for worse, this is the Facebook/Twitter age ATM. While I love that ocPortal has added some integration features, they are spotty at best, not fully featured (ie. the author should be able to pick and choose what posts get passed up to FB/TW and in my case, don't work at all. Additionally, basically undocumented.

Just some random thoughts from a huge fan of OCP, best web dev platform on the market today!

Addition: While I've always managed to muddle my way through OCP with regards to theming, and have a deep respect for Tempcode, the above points on theming definitely have merit. Joomla took off like it did partly due to ease of theming inherited from Mambo. Many of the most "intense" Joomla themes achieve this with an index.php that is 15 lines long. The secret (and this is a big advantage, and the only one IMHO, over OCP): controlling how the output looks from a module/addon/block is done in the module itself from the admin GUI. This allows each and every disparaging block of output to be customized 'til the hearts content. In the case of OCP, because of the shared use of a few block types, this becomes a bit of a bear.

Wondering: is it easy (relatively speaking) to create a theme (maybe display editor is a better term) editor? Basically it could work similar to the block assistant whereby a popup is presented with all the variables that are outputted from a particular block php file and the user then can stick 'em and style 'em any way they'd like.

"no violence, no hate, no pain, no enemies
just peace, unity, tolerance and love" - The Beloved

OCP V7 | Advocating monetary reform - FreeOurMoney

Need OCP friendly hosting? Look no further:
Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting, and Dedicated Servers w/cPanel - Elief! - Official hosting partner for ocPortal.
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Thanks all :). Just finished reading through this.

Re SoccerDad…

3- Where did you get that error? If it was from clicking an inline edit link then I think that's a bug, it should only show them if there is permission. Regarding permissions over the icons, right now you can set page permissions on the cms_* modules, but I can see if it automatically did it based on looking whether the user has permission to do anything under the icon it would be good.
4- I think I shot that down badly earlier this evening, lol. The tricky thing in this area, is things have been in so much flux, we have intentionally avoided putting a lot of energy into it. Twitter integration breaking is a good example, but from one release cycle to the next it's hard to know whether these services will still get used (e.g. now flickr is not a big site, a few years back, it was a seriously important service). I think it's pretty clear Facebook is here to stay, and hopefully they have settled down with their APIs, so it's probably about time to support this better. I wouldn't make any bets regarding where Twitter is going, but if we support Facebook then integration of that back to Twitter shouldn't be hard (there are loads of tools for this kind of thing now).
Additional- Themeing is a huge deal for me, so I'm not going to understate this. But just based on getting an immediate way to insert parameters into templates as needed, the template editor can actually do it - it has a parameter dropdown in there that includes parameters used by that particular template.


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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Quick comments on other points here…

Removing button images and replacing with CSS buttons – definitely worth considering. More opinions sought.

Additional default theme / theme contest – stay tuned.

Admin Zone loading animation – the animation is not actually a slow-down, I'm 100% sure about this. If it's slow it's a problem in the screen being loaded, the animation is just a little effect done using Javascript whilst the new page comes up. 5.0.2 introduces a lot of little performance optimisations, I think you will see a performance boost in the Admin Zone.

Editarea being slow – it would help a lot if someone could do a screencast like this:
View topic: Diaries of a 5.0 RC1 user - ocPortal.com
We couldn't reproduce here. Believe me, I don't add glitz whilst sacrificing speed – ask Robbie or Allen how I feel about form over function ;).

Move stuff out to addons – the current plan is to improve the Setup Wizard to remove most addons by default, leaving more of a skeleton system. This would be tied into a system of site profiles, so e.g. you select blog and end up with the addons needed for an ocPortal blog.

Theme wizard – yes, there are plans on the tracker to improve it.

WYSIWYG – definitely needs replacing. The blockers so far are that we put a lot of customisation into the current one to make it play nice with ocPortal, and also we want the WYSWYG editor to be served by a whole different JS framework (probably Yahoo's YUI).


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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Comcode – there's a plan for a Comcode wizard on the tracker.

Tempcode – there's a plan for a reimplementation of how the language is written on the tracker, although it's a big compatibility breaker.


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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#63308
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Community saint

About the css buttons, I think you already know the answer but I want it! lol.

It could be optional I suppose or perhaps better as a default with the ability to upload images instead i you want. Bu having the css-styed buttons would help with neophyte theme makers such as myself. Trying to get every little button themed right… that is quite a task for someone as busy as I tend to be lol.

The fading screen might not really slow things down but it is easy to blame. Loadin the extra bit of java script could be harder for some users, but for most I'd agree that it likely does nothing to hurt the loading times. However seeing the page load slowly with the fading screen going on causes you to immediately think "Gee.. why did they put this resource hog eye candy effect in here? It is making pages load soooo slowly." Is it a correct observation? No, likely not. But it is an observation that happens and will happen. My question on this however, is what good is this in the admin zone anyhow?

I hope someone else can make the screencast for you on the slowdown effect of the fancy editor. If not, once I get a freee moment I'll either hunt a screen casting program for my linux distro of choice or make use of my new toy (htc incredible - awesome little phone). I think however this issue is because, at least for me, the original editor loads first, and then the fancy editor. Don't get me wrong, I like the fancy editor, it is pretty neat and the drop down functions are certainly useful… but when I get the chance to do some serious work with the editor 9 out of 10 I am already making sacrifices on other things for the time… so to have more time taken up for the two editors to load is an aggrivating issue. No doubt that if you guys experienced the same issues, the new editor wouldn't be in ocP. It could, admittedly, also be do to my host.




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Community saint

Welcome back Chris and glad your journey was a safe one…

Chris Graham said

Thanks all :). Just finished reading through this.

Re SoccerDad…

3- Where did you get that error? If it was from clicking an inline edit link then I think that's a bug, it should only show them if there is permission. Regarding permissions over the icons, right now you can set page permissions on the cms_* modules, but I can see if it automatically did it based on looking whether the user has permission to do anything under the icon it would be good.
This can be reproduced by clicking on an Author in a news article that has not yet been defined by the system. The user "toddr" is a member of a group cloned from members with no modifications. After clicking on the author, there is a link to define that author and the resulting page is that error. Agreed on the permission setting, however, this may be a bit much for novice users. The other item that is affecting this: one can obviously define by link where in the CMS they go (for example: I have a link that takes one directly to the news entry screen), however, upon submit they are taken to the full CMS menu. Two options here as I see it: what you've suggested Chris and/or having a redirect back to the original page or to the viewing of the content just added and not the full CMS screen. With regards to defining what is shown to what users: another possibility would be a section in the group setup where check boxes define what CMS functions are available to that group.

Chris Graham said

4- I think I shot that down badly earlier this evening, lol. The tricky thing in this area, is things have been in so much flux, we have intentionally avoided putting a lot of energy into it. Twitter integration breaking is a good example, but from one release cycle to the next it's hard to know whether these services will still get used (e.g. now flickr is not a big site, a few years back, it was a seriously important service). I think it's pretty clear Facebook is here to stay, and hopefully they have settled down with their APIs, so it's probably about time to support this better. I wouldn't make any bets regarding where Twitter is going, but if we support Facebook then integration of that back to Twitter shouldn't be hard (there are loads of tools for this kind of thing now).
Good points Chris and understood. I think this has become a non issue for me now by utilizing the Wibiya toolbar that Psydoc's site tipped me off too. It works more or less OK (sometimes doesn't load but I'm having issues currently with FF under Linux so that may be the culprit) and also includes the auto shortened URL which is cool. For what it's worth, I'm now thinking you have made a good choice by looking towards RSS for propagation/integration….

Chris Graham said

Additional- Themeing is a huge deal for me, so I'm not going to understate this. But just based on getting an immediate way to insert parameters into templates as needed, the template editor can actually do it - it has a parameter dropdown in there that includes parameters used by that particular template.
You know, ever since I hit 45 earlier this year, it seems my brain is getting mushier and mushier lol. Of course, that has been in OCP for a while, duh! I'm also not sure I've communicated correctly what I was thinking (and of course nice and easy to be the "armchair programmer"; different story for you folks actually doing the coding! ;-) ), so an example maestro: Gliffy Online Diagram Software This bad boy is a web access flowchart creator which is really quite awesome for what it does. So, if we substitute the different flowchart elements for OCP blocks of information with the ability to layout like Gliffy coupled with the ability to click on a block and set all it's parameters, including CSS tags and then "publish", whoohoo, cool tool! ;-)

One further addition: now that I'm on a different host, one that uses cPanel instead of DirectAdmin, I've noticed that their software installer (Fantastico) does not contain on option for ocPortal like Installatron does…might be something ocProducts can look into.

ciao4now!
SD



"no violence, no hate, no pain, no enemies
just peace, unity, tolerance and love" - The Beloved

OCP V7 | Advocating monetary reform - FreeOurMoney

Need OCP friendly hosting? Look no further:
Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting, and Dedicated Servers w/cPanel - Elief! - Official hosting partner for ocPortal.
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Posted
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

Editarea being slow – it would help a lot if someone could do a screencast like this:
View topic: Diaries of a 5.0 RC1 user - ocPortal.com
We couldn't reproduce here. Believe me, I don't add glitz whilst sacrificing speed – ask Robbie or Allen how I feel about form over function ;).

I've tried several times, honest, but the 'errors' thrown up far exceeds what the FF log can hold (it sheds over 3000 entries), ergo, no display of the type of 'slow' load that you require.

Something is obviously not right with my installation, either ocP or FF, but I'm darned if I can get to the bottom of it.

In the mean time I am happily running along with 'editarea' disabled and experiencing no hardships, because I am quite used to the plain-vanilla edit page(s).

Thanks for trying …

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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Community saint

Welcome back Chris!

This is turning out to be a great discussion and good things will certainly come out of it.

Meanwhile, a "Themes" category in the Downloads 5.0 section would be nice!;)
I didn't know where to put my new theme and it ended up in Third Party Integration.
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