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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS. ocPortal 9 is superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to compo.sr for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


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Posted
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Community saint

Dear Joe,

Maybe your questions are very valid and representative of many entrepreneurs such as yourself expressing normal concerns in a world filled with traps and ill-conceived schemes. But every time I read similar remarks here and elsewhere about things that are given freely without ulterior motives and ambush in the context of a well thought out business plan, which in no way infringes on the public license of their product, I get embarrassed by my fellow human beings, so involved with themselves, that they forget how much it has cost someone else to share the result of sweat and tears with others.

Maybe my head is screwed on too tight. I did try to loosen it up with WD 40 but to no avail; it stays unyielding on my shoulders and I cannot comprehend fears and concerns over something freely given, while complaining that the doer of deeds could have done them better.

I would equate your unjustified concerns to the following analogy, if I may be so bold to do so. My square head is constantly playing this bit of code: Ford Motors Company is offering me a delivery van for my fledgling enterprise because it is good for their publicity. It is however explicitly explained to me that this gift carries no guaranty and that I will have to take care of the van's upkeep and upgrades at my own expense. What am I to do? Voice my concerns that down the line it may cost me some money to keep it running, or thank my good fortune and make the best of an incredible offer, which will surely help my enterprise get more satisfied customers; eliminating any apprehension for cost worries down the line.

As with your other unease with graphic limitations on theming being a handicap; it is, if you pardon my ever unrestrained audacity, a lame excuse for not using a product that apparently has everything else a young enterprise may dream of getting hold of for free. This excuse makes me even bluer in the face in view of today's numerous tools which can turn simple HTML codes into Rembrandt's masterpieces without the knowledge of a single piece of code. All it takes is stubborn determination in doing whatever it takes to get a project like this one going.

What am I saying? How rude can I be? Being a young entrepreneur, you already have all those qualities, and just need a little reassurance from like-minded fellows.;)

Glad you have eloquently voiced your opinion and for this opportunity to voice my own, if a bit irreverently.

Cheers:)
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Posted
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#71677
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Community saint

There are many misconceptions in your post that I could quote ad-infinitum, but I think Jean has addressed most of them. I also have to observe that, for Jean to get p****d, is an unusual occurence. He is usually the epitome of helpfulness!

The one that got me was your throw-away bit at the end, which I quote below …

joeshirley said

Also, I haven't read anyone else addressing these specific issues, but I certainly haven't read everything on the forums. If there are other posts that cover this, please point me in the right direction.
… and which leads me to ask why you would think that anybody would be willing to troll back through the posts in these forums to bring to your attention the relevant references?

You might well be a 'bootstrapping entrepreneur' who believes '… if I invest my time in developing my community on a platform that has a thriving community of developers, that platform is pretty much guaranteed to continue and to improve over time.', whilst casting aspersions on the longevity of this superb product.

Nothing is guaranteed as being 'for ever', so why not invest a bit of time in learning how you can adapt this FREE software for your devoloping community, instead of expecting masses of pre-built stuff, graphics or otherwise, that you can 'lift' and use as if it was your own!

Good luck in your quest for the ideal package that will get your project(s) off the ground.

 :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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#71679
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Okay, I'll weigh in :).

Your points are valid, but I think the scenes need to be set a bit for any conclusions to be properly framed.

There's a lot of hidden truths around at the moment, regarding who makes money, how much stuff costs, what is successful, etc. Companies/entrepeneurs generally don't talk about things that relate to the internals of their business if it gives hints to competitors or if it makes them look at all weak, so when you read articles, blogs, etc, you'll get a really slanted look at reality.

It's definitely true that design standards have gone up immensely. I would say it started with the iPhone, and accelerated once the inspiration got through the design cycles of other companies and because expected. But I would also say the truth is that there is huge cost behind these raising design standards, and that if you are in business now you need to prepare your business model to be able to cover those costs. Companies make huge investments to cover it, it doesn't come from products like ocPortal. If you look at other CMS's you won't find any non-trivial Open Source systems (or possible non-OSS either) that are of the kinds of standards you expect. There's two reasons for this:
  1. It's extremely costly. A good programmer can use smart techniques to create a system like ocPortal at a much more efficient cost compared to what might come out of a corporate, but smarts won't make great design cheap - it requires intricate consideration in a human (i.e. non-abstract) context for each and every specific interface element. Also, great design is hard to crowdsource, so even the community-developed CMSs can't make this happen by distributing out the costs.
  2. Great design is not a generic pluggable thing like functionality can be. It has to be done individually for each particular case, applied cohesively to create a unique and appropriate brand impression that ties a particular arrangement of elements together correctly. It's not modular, and it's not "out of the box". If we started adding a lot of extra detailing to ocPortal's UI, serious businesses would just need to undo it all before building more appropriate detailing back in again.

This is a little hidden, because there are some really nicely designed projects out there. But these are usually tools that perform a very tightly-defined task (e.g. discussion forum, ticketing system, shopping cart), which is not what a CMS's frontend does.

So, summarising this point: standards have gone up, but they are being met by great investment cost on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes that is a bit further hidden because startups might have a designer working for free, but usually it's just a large investment.
I do personally find it frustrating, because we developed ocPortal to empower people to create things at lower cost, but now we find that in fact ocPortal, and similar technology, have just allowed people to redirect investment (as a normal part of the competitive process, which pushes everything to it's possible limits) into something that cannot be made lower cost. I think people in general have become a bit more superficial; for example I can't imagine a charity for example not investing huge amounts of money into website design just to keep people long enough to make a donation. That's not to say I do not appreciate that great design makes life more fun for everyone, so I'm not against it, and with our commercial clients we always make sure we properly budget for it (in fact, it is usually about 70% of project cost).

If you really dig down and talk to the kinds of agencies that might, for example, make Drupal websites, you'll find they regularly talk of figures like $100,000 website projects. That's not just a figure I've plucked out of nowhere, I see these kinds of figures all the time, and it's an enormous problem actually because lay-people have no idea things have become expensive. We regularly get people coming up with these huge feature lists for the websites they want us to develop, and we know we could technically do it for $2,000, but when we have to consider design standards that they will need to maintain as a company, we know it will actually be $50,000.

There is a big lack of understanding of general OSS-CMS deployment, and business costings. Well-intentioned people without a lot of business experience think that because a product like ocPortal (or Drupal, or whatever) is free, and because other products might be low cost (e.g. vBulletin), and because the things they purchase on a daily basis (bread, bicycles, computers, web hosting - whatever) are in a certain kind of price bracket, that costs for developing a website will be too. The hard truth is it is completely incomparable if you are doing a commercial venture competing to commercial standards. Bread/bicycles/computers are mass-produced in a factory, using technology invested in over a long period, by relatively unskilled (i.e. low paid) workers. Another example: web hosting is really cheap, but as many people on this forum have commented, the amount of personal service you'll get from a web host is pretty limited (there are exceptions, but only with small companies - and these companies are small because the personally-invested management team subsidise it all, taking lower paid jobs than they could demand on the open market because they love what they do). Also it's hidden by so much being free on the Internet or with Mobile phone apps, because huge investments are made in the hope of things becoming insanely popular, in which case again economies of scale account for these huge development costs. The majority of commercial Internet/mobile ventures lose a lot of money; either venture capital money (because VC's know they will fund a lot of failures but eventually chance funding to an explosive growth company like Facebook or Google), or because very skilled founders invest a lot of personal time and effort in vain.

Okay, so I think I covered the design issue. It's not something we can do for ocPortal as a product, it is something we do commercially, and is common in the market, and it costs and that's just inevitable and needs to be factored into a business plan.
If you think you can find a product that is close enough to what you need to do and greatly designed directly towards that very specific purpose, that's fantastic, but I think it's a pipedream.

(btw there are no 'limitations on theming', just limitations on the out-of-the-box-designs)

Regarding Open Source, we are 100% Open Source. The ocProducts-supported ocPortal distribution is not community-driven, but that is a completely different thing. Anyone can take ocPortal and make a community-driven ocPortal distribution if they want, and they don't need our blessing.

Tying this back into a design argument, I would say that as a product ocPortal is far (far, far, far…) better designed than community-developed CMS's, because we do have this central control to uphold a cohesive vision. You might be very surprised if you try out say Joomla or Wordpress with a load of addons and see what a big ugly mess you have (e.g. Wordpress might have a lot of addons, but do they flow together– and it might have a lot of beautiful themes, but not designed to accomodate the feature-set amongst your particular choice of addons). It's just, the level of design we can give in ocPortal has things neat, well-structured, and cohesive, but we can't go so deep into detailing territory for the reasons explained. But our competitors are much further behind than us, once you get past the false impression their large selections of themes and addons gives (when you see examples, you are seeing a pre-prepared false scenario, and the problems happen once you try and do something specific of your own).


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Posted
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#71682
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Fan in action

Chris, thank you so much. This was exactly what I wanted to read. I appreciate the perspective you offer on the graphics. Yes, I've been captivated by themes which have made it easy for me to do relatively simple projects. (My existing website at www.JoeShirley.com is an example - WordPress theme from www.ElegantThemes.com, tweaked and adapted pretty painlessly.)

Your last paragraph is a gem. You hit the nail on the head with the polarity between big community and buzz with its attendant kludgey, cobbled-together solutions, and ocPortal's highly focused team with tightly integrated functionality. That's a big part of the appeal of ocPortal for me. And the relationship between graphics and functionality is super important. With Drupal or Wordpress, for example, a crucial plugin can break a theme at any point in the always-ongoing upgrade cycle.


***
Jean and Fletch, guys I appreciate your passion (hooray for irreverence and audacity!). And I'd like to request a little more consideration. My knowledge, experience, and vision are different from yours, and I'm making the best effort I can to figure out my best path forward. Insinuating that I just don't get it isn't a great way to promote useful dialog. The fact that ocPortal is free and awesome may be true and I don't disagree. My questions have to do with the fit for my needs. You've made assumptions about what those are and leapt to conclusions that I must be daft or misguided not to see what you see.

I do in fact see the features of what makes ocPortal different from other solutions. But benefits are what is most important in any purchase decision, and benefits arise from the relationships between the product's features and my unique needs. This is in fact a purchase decision. I may not be spending cash for the software, but I will be spending a great deal of time, sweat, and learning to apply this "free" solution to my venture. And there are many variables to consider.

One of the reasons I chose to bring up my concerns, (and thank you Chris for acknowledging them as valid), is that I too see a special product here which is under-recognized in the marketplace. I thought that by posing my questions, (which I imagine other prospective users of ocPortal may share), I'd give a chance for Chris and others to address them and provide more perspective and information that can assist me and others in making the decision that's best for us.

I believe that if the community takes more of a listening stance rather than a trumpeting attitude, it may have greater success in seeing ocPortal take off. So I invite you to engage in a way that seeks to understand someone's concerns first and foremost, rather than dismissing them as ill-informed.

***

So a little bit more about my particular needs and vision, to round out the picture.

Short term: I intend to create a small learning, inquiry, and collaboration community with both free and paid membership levels. Free to start and generate interest, converting to a 6-month paid cohort/training experience. This community will engage both online and via frequent collaborative teleconferences.

Long term: This community will be a test bed for others to come. The material I am teaching is relevant and useful to a wide range of professionals and lay people.

My immediate need: To engage visitors in ways that lead to sign-ups and participation. I intend to reach out with personal emails and phone calls to a selected list of prospects, inviting them to the website. (This will take a lot of time.) The website will have content and opportunities to engage, including video, commenting, events listings for free teleconferences, a forum, etc.

In my launch, I need to balance the following:

1. Time required to set up the platform.

2. Graphic and interactive appeal of the platform.

3. Time required to populate the platform with compelling content.

4. Time required to invite, follow up, and engage with prospects.

5. Long-term functionality of the platform to facilitate community engagement.

6. Time required to maintain and design the platform to address technical issues and evolving needs.

In reviewing my options, I believe ocPortal's strengths are in #1, #5, (given an 8-month project), and #6. Its weakness for me is #2.

I do believe I could probably hack my way through redesigning my site so it worked well enough for my purposes. Or I could put up a front end on the main URL using an off-the-shelf WordPress theme to promote my site, and plunk the actual community in a subdirectory.

My concern with graphics is time. I need to put as much of my time as possible into developing content for my site and pursuing a proactive campaign to attract potential members. Every hour spent tweaking css and slicing png's is an hour away from actually making my efforts pay.

Maybe as Chris suggests I'm spoiled by the easy availability of beautiful themes for WordPress in particular, and maybe it is a pipedream for me to want a reasonably priced or free graphics solution to a much more robust platform. My current conundrum is that I can't have maximum functionality along with maximum graphics ease. So the key questions for myself are:

a) How much web functionality do I really need to make my community work, especially when so much of it will happen over the phone?

b) How much graphic slickness do I really need to start my community and keep people engaged, especially when I'll be making personal contact with most of my prospects?

I'm probably overthinking this. Probably because it scares the bejesus out of me to be really moving forward with the thing I have invested most of my life in creating.

Thank you for the dialog, and for helping me move toward clarity in making my decision. I'm finding it's not an easy one.
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Posted
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#71685
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Community saint

OK, Joe, you've stated your case, and I'm satisfied that I am in no position to be 'critical' of your aims. You nailed it when you said that you 'appreciated our passion', which indeed it is.

Unfortunately, negative criticism of the software when making comparison to other offerings seems to be totally unwarranted and a total waste of time. 'Soft-A' has some features, 'Soft-B' has others and ocPortal has a whole slew of features that the others don't. Sometimes other software give the impression of being full-featured until you look closer and find that the features can only be achieved via add-ons that are often offered at a price! ocPortal makes no such claims. WYSIWYG!

I am completely 'gobsmacked' (sorry, a Brit colloquialism) when would-be users comment that the theme(s) and templates are not what they would wish to use to display their works of art. I agree. But tell me which CMS 'default' theme isn't taken 'as-offered' and then hacked about to achieve the result that the user wants. Yes, you have to spend a bit of time editing the CSS (and that is generally all you need to do initially) to achieve your objective. There are even theme and logo wizards that assist. But ultimately you have to get-down-and-dirty licking things into shape to suit your aesthetic requirements.

The templating in ocPortal is immense and complex. Strangely enough, it also means that you can achieve displays that are unique, even when using the default theme. How many other themes/templates for whatever CMS/software that you've used in the past can say the same? Generally, when you've downloaded a template for, say Wordpress, or dare I say it, even Blogger, you need to be super-vigilant when you decide to hack at the original, because there are undoubetdly going to be unforseen issues with the display that the author of the theme/template hadn't forseen.

I have been criticised in this forum for building a site with a 'blocky' display which the commenter considered to be stuck in the dark ages. Funny, but I thought that all CMS's were inherently blocky by virtue of the fact that they needed to display various segments of information in neatly segregated areas. I guess I was wrong.

Notwithstanding the 'irritation' of being criticised by somebody who didn't actually show an example of what he thought was the ultimate pinnacle of design, I am in the process of trying to put together a 'series' of template alternatives (2-column, 3-column, boxy, not-boxy, various colours, light background, dark background), but all with an initial 'fixed-width', and all designed to make use of ALL the features offered by ocPortal out-of-the-box. If somebody chooses to use one of them the display can easily be changed to 'fluid', and any features not needed can be disabled or removed. You can find an example on my test site. Login username: ocPFan - Pwd: test1234. The account will be removed in a few days.

I hope this encourages you to invest a bit of time in ocPortal themeing, or perhaps take away an idea or two that you can put to good use!

 :thumbs:


Last edit: by Fletch

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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#71687
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Fan in action

Thanks Fletch. I've looked at your latest there, and it's nice. I especially like the sidebar navigation, with the green light showing the page you're on, plus the red hover effect. Works well. And on the whole it's pretty balanced. I like that you're planning to share your series of template alternatives.

I've decided to slog forward and have installed ocPortal. To help others who may be starting in a similar place to myself, I'm considering starting a new topic to chronicle my adventures from the beginning.
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Posted
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#71689
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Community saint

joeshirley said

… to chronicle my adventures from the beginning.
:lol:
Looking forward to it.

Don't forget to SHOUT in here when 'fings don't go the way you think they should. Somebody is bound to have experienced it before!

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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#71818
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Honoured member

Having RUN my community in Joomla before, and other CMS systems that were community-built - I am 1000% sure that OCPortal is a better choice, after YEARS of trying to keep website systems together through version upgrades that broke add-on compatibility and just the clunkiness of patch-work pick and choose feature hunting…my community itself cheered moving into OCPortal when I made the discovery of it and switched to it.
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Posted
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#72310
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Community saint

I have to tryed several cms systems and at this time I use two total different systems, where is ocportal one of it. Because theming is more advanged then my other Dolphin system. Both use blocks as based layout. But he its your own knownledge and fantasy to make a uniqe layout of it.

My two cents

Harry


http://digiflash.nl Photo community  (dutch)
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Posted
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#72506
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Community saint

me thinks this thread bounced around topics a little or at least turned into something it was not meant to be. That said and back on track - I voted and commented there.  Hope it'll help!
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Posted
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#72793
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Well-settled

Back to the topic, the 2011 Open Source Awards was launched on August 1 by Packt Publishing.

More information at www.PacktPub.com/open-source-awards-home and www.packtpub.com/blog/2011-open-source-awards-announcement.

So, let's spread a word about ocPortal!

FeminaPortal - Female Internet Portal (powered by ocPortal)
INFORBIRO - Information Technology Agency
BlicKlik - Internet Marketing and Advertising
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Posted
Rating:
#74273
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Honoured member

Fletch said

There are many misconceptions in your post that I could quote ad-infinitum, but I think Jean has addressed most of them. I also have to observe that, for Jean to get p****d, is an unusual occurence. He is usually the epitome of helpfulness!

The one that got me was your throw-away bit at the end, which I quote below …

joeshirley said

Also, I haven't read anyone else addressing these specific issues, but I certainly haven't read everything on the forums. If there are other posts that cover this, please point me in the right direction.
… and which leads me to ask why you would think that anybody would be willing to troll back through the posts in these forums to bring to your attention the relevant references?

You might well be a 'bootstrapping entrepreneur' who believes '… if I invest my time in developing my community on a platform that has a thriving community of developers, that platform is pretty much guaranteed to continue and to improve over time.', whilst casting aspersions on the longevity of this superb product.

Nothing is guaranteed as being 'for ever', so why not invest a bit of time in learning how you can adapt this FREE software for your devoloping community, instead of expecting masses of pre-built stuff, graphics or otherwise, that you can 'lift' and use as if it was your own!

Good luck in your quest for the ideal package that will get your project(s) off the ground.
 :thumbs:
Hi, Fletch:
Dunno if you remember me, but I've been around here for a while, and I've tried several OCP installs.  At the end of the day, at no time was I ever able to get OCP to work for me–and in fact, there are old posts here from me, whining about the fact that I ended up being stuck using EE, when I would have much rather "hung out with" the OCP guys.  Because I HATED the arrogance of EE's cadre of developers and users, and really liked Chris and the gang here…but OCP was never able to quite do what I needed it to do.

I think you're being a bit hard on that new guy, myself.  Those of us who don't code full-time, but need to use a CMS, and hope and pray that it'll work for us, have to look at things from a different standpoint:  how well will the product meet my needs; how much TIME will I have to spend to modify it to meet my needs; how attractive or unattractive is it  out of the box (and, therefore, how much time will I have to invest to make it attractive), and how strong/deep is the user community?  These aren't unreasonable questions, and I don't think the guy was casting aspersions.  OCP does look a bit…dated.  It's got a very late-90's, Web 1.5-feel to it, and it looks a lot like those early gaming websites.  If the new guy (joeshirley) is like me, an entrepreneuer, then he knows what I know; that humans are sight-hounds on two legs, and that they are attracted, like crows (mixing my metaphors, here) to shiny pretty things.  So a PRETTY website really matters, something that looks crisp and modern.  And, maybe, like me, he's not a CSS-html-xhtml whiz, and would rather find something that appeals to him and install it, instead of trying to invent it from scratch.

I'm a word person, not a visual, creative person.  Designing websites is pure torture for someone like me.  I know what looks good; but trying to "invent it" inside my head is horribly hard for me.  Wanting a CMS to have readily-available themes isn't a crime.  I ended up, with the website for my business, using EE, because I could, relatively easily, (and "relative" is a relative word, trust me) marry a free template I found somewhere with their content modules.  I don't like using EE; I don't like their user community; I don't like anything about it….but it was easier than trying to figure out how to do the same thing with OCP–a product that I really WANT to love, and that I wish had a larger user community.  When I need advanced EE help, trying to find someone who can do that is also horrid (and hence, someone like Joe would also, very reasonably, wonder if THAT will be problematic, as well).

Trust me, if I thought I could convert my existing website, with its hundreds of entries, over to OCP easily, WITH its current templating (or some reasonable facsimile thereof), so I could use OCP's CEDI and lightbox gallery capabilities, I would do it; but I've looked under OCP's hood quite a few times and it intimidates me a little.  Now, it may be cleaner these days…but when I last looked at the OCP CSS, it was murderously complex.  I'm getting ready to cough up probably another grand JUST to add a Gallery and a user-limited Wiki–because EE also has a small user community, hence very few "experts" to "rent," and I would switch in a moment if I could.

So…I think you should not take such vituperative offense at poor Joe; he has the same questions any normal business owner would have.  If someone  like ME, who's been rooting for OCP for YEARS, has these questions, why shouldn't the new guy?

Just my $.02, FWIW.

I always ask myself: WWWWD?, or, "What Would Wonder Woman Do?"
How come we have Yahoo IM, AIM, ICQ, you name it, but no field for Skype contact info?
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Posted
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#74278
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Community saint

Hitch, I do remember you, and I read you 'loud and clear'.

As you've so admirably demonstrated, you consider yourself a "words person", and had joeshirley considered his words a bit more carefully  before weighing in on a thread that wished to 'spread the word about ocPortal' I may have been much more reticent (vituperative, OUCH!) in my response.

I fully understand the need to balance the requirement of time spent on trying to unravel the complexities of a CMS like ocPortal against using something that has much eye-candy appeal and easy to deploy. The Zebedee lightbulb moment comes when you realise that most of the core features that you lust after are only available as add-ons. These add-ons may meet your requirements, but usually they do not and you have to accept the compromise.

In addition, especially for entrepreneurs or business owners, the security aspects offered by ocPortal, including the out of the box add-ons, cannot be underestimated.

Theme development is also coming along apace. Chris is/has released about 30 professional themes, and other users like Jean (AKA Jean Gosselin and islander-aua), Brian, mythus, and ty2u have contributed a few as well. And if that doesn't convince you, take a look at some of the sites developed by regular users here, specifically temp1024, Eric, friendly, Harry-s, psydoc and SoccerDad. I didn't include BobS as he hasn't opened his site to the public, but I have high hopes. All grist to the mill; all can bring that hmmmmmm… moment, I am sure!

I hope that has gone some way to balancing a viewpoint. Give ocP another run. You will probably be surprised at what the latest version can do for you.

Be Happy.

 :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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#74282
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Community saint

Fletch-

Don't get your hopes up. I'll have lots of pretty pictures but the theme is essentially the ocPortal default with some Theme Wizardy applied and a new logo. That's why I am anxious to be able to take a closer look at the new ocProducts themes. That might present a reasonable step forward until I can have a custom theme done.

Starngely, I've gotten good response about the theme - easy to navigate, nice colors and so on. I just have grander plans for the site and no way to monetize it yet.

The others you mentioned have done some really nice work demonstrating the them in potential in ocPortal.

I, too, am a words person. I can tell you what's wrong with the visual aspect of something but that does not mean I can dream up the best design. Probably why I've never owned a good camera in spite of being involved with high-end photography for years. As I used to explain to photographers after they had heard Kadak's botched marketing: "The magic in photography is not inside a camera,it's inside your head." The same applies to those who can dream up good themes.

Bob
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Posted
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#74286
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Community saint

Bob, I think that, with the apparent obvious meticulous attention to detail you've shown so far, and the consistent search for a 'good' user experience, that you will ultimately come up with a knock-out theme that incorporates everything you are attempting to put in place.

It's nice to have positive feedback, and it looks like you are already getting it.

 :thumbs:


Last edit: by Fletch

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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#74312
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Honoured member

Fletch said

Bob, I think that, with the apparent obvious meticulous attention to detail you've shown so far, and the consistent search for a 'good' user experience, that you will ultimately come up with a knock-out theme that incorporates everything you are attempting to put in place.

It's nice to have positive feedback, and it looks like you are already getting it.

 :thumbs:

Well, this is what I ended up with in EE:  http://www.booknook.biz/ , which looks simple and homey (authors shy away from anything corporate or techie-looking), but actually has some sophisticated stuff going on under the hood.  Every book in the database (entries) is cross-referenced by Author and by book conversion method; you can get to authors from books, to books from authors, and to books from type of conversion and back again.  Like I said, it looks simple, but what happens in all the entries isn't.  I would have NO idea how to re-create this site in OCP, and as my biz (now one of the two largest Indy producers of ebooks in North America) runs 16 hours a day already, I don't know where I'd find the time to try OCP out again.  I took a very hard look at it in February of this year, Fletch; and while I'd love to try it…I just don't know if I can work up to it.  OTOH, I do have a very talented young artist doing some great sketches for the "About Us" page, just to make it a little friendlier.

But make a gallery, or add a wiki?  Now I have to go slog around with another webdude, because amazingly, EE doesn't come with a gallery; they recommend that you use their "blog" entries for that (which I currently do for each book) which just irritates the holy s*** out of me.  They cater almost exclusively to a web-development crowd, and dealing with it is irritating at best.  I coded this mess myself, and don't have the kind of bucks EE people want to rewrite an entire site.  Nonetheless…at least it's reasonably newer-looking.  That's the best I can say about it.

If I get a chance–I will take another run at OCP, but right now, I just can't; I don't have an hour a day to myself, much less the time it would take me to set this up in OCP.  JMHO.
Best,
Hitch

I always ask myself: WWWWD?, or, "What Would Wonder Woman Do?"
How come we have Yahoo IM, AIM, ICQ, you name it, but no field for Skype contact info?
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Hitch said

Well, this is what I ended up with in EE:  http://www.booknook.biz/ , which looks simple …

If I get a chance–I will take another run at OCP, but right now, I just can't; I don't have an hour a day to myself, much less the time it would take me to set this up in OCP.  JMHO.
Best,
Hitch
That's a WOW! of a site, Hitch. Congrats! I have to admit being diverted by Bill Malins (I was RAF for 36 years in a previous life), but I did manage to get to the Z's, only to find an Alexander holding up the tree. There was an explanation for that.

I can see your reluctance to attempt a 'switch' considering the amount of work you've put into the current site. Yes, it appears 'simple' (attractive as well), but as you rightly point out, a lot of stuff is going on behind the scenes.

ocPortal can achieve all of it of course, BUT it would take a massive undertaking. I understand your reluctance to attempt a task as mammoth as switching software engines, especially when yours is a working site that needs your attention for as many hours a day as you put into it.

I could recommend setting up a non-live 'test' site and trickling in a few bits of data, etc., but I'm sure you've already jumped through that hoop. If you ever change engines, please keep us informed with 'before' and 'after' screen shots, and your reasoning behind the change.

In the meantime, I wish you all the very best, and should I ever get around to "the book that is in all of us," you'll be the first stop for advice.

Can't say fairer than that … !!

 :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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The "switching factor" is one reason that I chose ocPortal. It mostly has what I need today and includes features that will add value as my site grows over time. I hope that ocPortal continues to grow and to provide the new features demanded by the ever changing software landscape.

ocPortal may not be the right choice for every job but it will often be the best choice for many. As Hitch pointed out, there were some significant costs for creating his site. It's reasonable that those same costs spent on an ocPortal site might well have delivered even more.

Bob
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BobS said

… there were some significant costs for creating his site.
HER

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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Fletch said

Hitch said

Well, this is what I ended up with in EE:  http://www.booknook.biz/ , which looks simple …

If I get a chance–I will take another run at OCP, but right now, I just can't; I don't have an hour a day to myself, much less the time it would take me to set this up in OCP.  JMHO.
Best,
Hitch
That's a WOW! of a site, Hitch. Congrats! I have to admit being diverted by Bill Malins (I was RAF for 36 years in a previous life), but I did manage to get to the Z's, only to find an Alexander holding up the tree. There was an explanation for that.

I can see your reluctance to attempt a 'switch' considering the amount of work you've put into the current site. Yes, it appears 'simple' (attractive as well), but as you rightly point out, a lot of stuff is going on behind the scenes.

ocPortal can achieve all of it of course, BUT it would take a massive undertaking. I understand your reluctance to attempt a task as mammoth as switching software engines, especially when yours is a working site that needs your attention for as many hours a day as you put into it.

I could recommend setting up a non-live 'test' site and trickling in a few bits of data, etc., but I'm sure you've already jumped through that hoop. If you ever change engines, please keep us informed with 'before' and 'after' screen shots, and your reasoning behind the change.

In the meantime, I wish you all the very best, and should I ever get around to "the book that is in all of us," you'll be the first stop for advice.

Can't say fairer than that … !!

 :thumbs:
Thanks, Fletch–that's ridiculously kind of you; 'tis a poor thing, but mine own, as some writer-or-other once said.  I'm sad to tell you that Bill passed away shortly after we got his book produced, but I'm happy to say he lived to see it.  Yes, I'm still working on that sub-cat issue with writers who have novels under a variety of names…poor RJ, and he's one of our biggest "marquee" players, too!  (And, naughty me, I did not realize that I'd allowed so many authors up there sans their author pics.  Sheesh, I gotta get on that.)

Humorously (or  not), I did this site in EE in…2009, IIRC.  I puttered at it in 2010, then EE had a new release, which was a major rewrite.  In frustration, I tried to redo the whole site (paying for help, mind you), with a flashier new WP theme, and killed it (crashed it, utterly), not once but 3 times.  Then I managed to kill the site (crashed again) twice more whilst rebuilding it with the EE upgrade.  It was then, amidst the carnage, that I re-looked at OCP, this past February, but it was already 3 sites down, and I just didn't have the "ooomph" it would take to be brave enough to take on yet another CMS that I'd never quite made friends with, when I desperately need the site to be running all the time.  We don't have "members" or forums, or anything like that, but it is a real business, so I can't play around with it as much as I'd like (or the geek in me would like).

BUT:  if, after the holiday rush (yes, in my business, it has already started), come January, I can get caught up and brave again, I might give it a go, see if I can marry them.  I really WOULD love to use OCP, if I am able–been trying to for YEARS, with one site or the other…but my ebook biz really took off, so I haven't had the luxury of being able to be "nerdy" with my sites in two years now, dinking around with them and all that.  And of course, if you ever find that book inside yourself, you know  how to find me!

Best,
Hitch

I always ask myself: WWWWD?, or, "What Would Wonder Woman Do?"
How come we have Yahoo IM, AIM, ICQ, you name it, but no field for Skype contact info?
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