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Moving forward with Composr

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 ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

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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#106768 (In Topic #20818)

Non-joined user

I'm thinking of building my site with ocP. I have two concerns:
1) ocP in general doesn't seem to actively maintained. Lots of old forum content, no recent posts.
2) No new themes for v9. And it seems v9 has been out for awhile. So again, seems not actively maintained.
3) No easy way to completely change a theme without complete recoding. For example I'd like a full-width site, not the pretty but wasteful empty sidebars.

Thoughts?
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by Chris GrahamLiked by friendly)  
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Community saint

Hi,

  1. This website is running an older version of ocPortal (v8 I believe) than is available for download. The product itself is actively maintained (there was a new release just the other day). I agree that some of the info in the forums (and elsewhere) is out of date, but this is usual of forums/websites which have been around for a while.
  2. ocPortal provides a default theme which can be customised, and there are features in the software which will help you to create a new theme relatively easily.
  3. A full width site is probably as easy as changing some css, and you don't need to use the sidebars (which are basically just Comcode Pages). Edit the appropriate pages to remove the all the code for the side blocks, and the sidebars will disappear.

There are plans to upgrade the ocPortal website and there are new tutorials in the pipeline which will probably arrive with v10, but the version of ocPortal available for download is actively and well maintained (which is likely one of the reasons this website isn't as actively and well maintained).

ocPortal doesn't have a large team of developers. Chris Graham (the lead developer who knows more about the possibilities than anyone and gives his knowledge freely as often as he can) offers and maintains it for free whilst juggling his paid work,  I think you should download the latest version, and if you are stuck with something then ask for help in the forums (which seem pretty active to me).
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by mythusLiked by friendly)  
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Guest said

I'm thinking of building my site with ocP. I have two concerns:
1) ocP in general doesn't seem to actively maintained. Lots of old forum content, no recent posts.
2) No new themes for v9. And it seems v9 has been out for awhile. So again, seems not actively maintained.
3) No easy way to completely change a theme without complete recoding. For example I'd like a full-width site, not the pretty but wasteful empty sidebars.

Thoughts?


Hi,

My personal response is that mostly you have an odd definition of 'maintained' :P. You are defining volunteer activity around the sidelines as the same as the overall maintenance of the product ;).

It's true the community can be quiet, and I'd love there to be more activity (and more themes). It peaks and troughs, and nobody really knows why exactly. But I would say that actually if there's not a lot of discussion on the forum, it can actually mean we're doing a good job – people having less questions they feel they need to ask.

But in terms of the product, you just need to look at the github commits, or that we just put out a release.
Today I am porting the 11,000 line diff file that defines the changes in the latest patch release, over to our v10 codebase. I am very anxious to get v10 out ASAP, which overhauls everything we do, and I do understand things are looking dated around here. The website, the product, the documentation, are all being completely overhauled. We have a number of staff working on this, but I have to do a number of things myself as team lead, which is the main bottleneck.

"No easy way to completely change a theme without complete recoding" could not be more wrong. Each individual file in a theme can be overridden independently. The Theme Wizard can create a new theme with only clicks. Fixed width can be toggled via a simple config option. Panels can be rearranged/removed with just clicks.

Oh, and finally if you think the community is quiet, you have the power to effect that change. Don't be a sheep just going where all the other sheep go, if you think ocPortal is good, join in with us, be a leader yourself.


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
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by KingBastLiked by friendlyLiked by OneRingRules)  
Rating:
#106778
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Community saint

Are you sure you are considering ocPortal? If you were, you'd notice that point releases have been pretty regular, with the last one done recently. If so you'd simply download a copy and try it out fully - not a simple one day take a look thing but try it out for a week - and then form your own opinions.

Yes - ocPortal doesn't have a huge and still growing overly complicated extension directory. That is because there isn't any real need. ocPortal does all the things that you typically need insecure extensions for elsewhere, and the very few things it doesn't do are easy enough to put in.

Yes - ocPortal doesn't have a large themeing market. That may be because of how easy it is just to customize your theme. That may be because those who are truly interested in building a website community, and thus chose ocPortal, have made a theme that really only works for their site so they don't share it.

Yes - ocPortal forums aren't as active as say Joomla Forums. That could be because the software just works great so many of us are out enjoying your site instead of in here discussing problems with the software. It works. It works great. But when we do have issues, usually they get resolved rather quickly.

Since when does a software not pushing major releases frequently mean that it's dead anyway? ocProducts doesn't push major releases until it feels that they are ready. They spend a lot of time making sure that when they push a major release, that it is really worth the disruption a major release will cause. And for this I am grateful. Major releases shouldn't be arbitrarily pushed through. We who build our ocPortal websites want stability. That's why we love ocPortal. It's flexible and stable and we don't have to worry about our version going obsolete in a year's time and thus having to make a major upgrade every six months or so that could break our site. We know that when a major release - and let me tell you v10 is gonna be major - comes through, it will be worth the transition and there will be methods to ensure a smooth transition.

ocPortal might not be as popular as Joomla or Drupal, despite the fact that I think it is better. But ocPortal has life and offers freedom and peace of mind. Joomla gets hacked often. Drupal is a complex resource hog once you get all the features that ocPortal gives. ocPortal has what you need to build a thriving site. You just have to have the want, desire, and vision to make it happen.

Chris Graham said

Don't be a sheep just going where all the other sheep go

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
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by friendly)  
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#106795
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Community saint

Yeah I gotta say I started using ocPortal a few years ago and at that time I don't believe I saw another CMS as maintained as ocportal. It still is in the top list of "the maintained" to me however since I started using it I must admit this last major release (v10) is taking the longest of any I have see. However v9 (and v8 I believe) have still been well maintained with 17 releases of v9 that have all included more than just a couple of changes each time. Prior to v9 I started with v6 I think and I would see minor release avg 1 - 2 months max and major versions changes anywhere from 6 months to definitely less than a year. The jump to v10 is the only one I have seen taking over a year before release but that is because the developers are doing so much to it and want it in top shape before its out. But that hasn't stopped them from mainlining their past versions regularly.

You post a bug today I would say I would be shocked if you had to wait more than 24 hours (heck I might be shocked if you waited more than 12)  before fix for it was posted.

When I first started there also was a lot of community activity but I do admit it has been quiet for a while. even myself barely comment anymore for lack of time but I do wish to return to more involvement one day.

I say don't be fooled by what you are perceiving you really won't be disappointed with ocPortal. It is a truly amazing product with an amazing team and community behind it.
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by friendlyLiked by OneRingRules)  
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#106797
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You post a bug today I would say I would be shocked if you had to wait more than 24 hours (heck I might be shocked if you waited more than 12)  before fix for it was posted.

Not this week I'm afraid, I'm buried in work and we're short on staff generally. But yeah, usually :).


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
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by GuestLiked by OneRingRules)  
Rating:
#106798
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Community saint

Yeah its true I don't mean to cause anyone unrealistic expectations as Chris can get really busy and if it requires his attention it could take a few days (or possibly longer) if he is swamped and its something big he has to look into but most of the time I do see him providing faster fix times for bugs than most any freely available software I've seen. It is quite often in less than a day. And he gives much more of his time freely than he probably ought to but I think he might do it not just cause he's kind but he enjoys the worship we hold for him in the community hehe
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by Robbie GoacherLiked by OneRingRules)  
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#106799
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Community saint

I thought I'd joined a community, but maybe it is some sort of cult. I'm still not leaving, unless things get freaky (and even then I might stick around) :)
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by Chris Graham)  
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#107092
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Community saint

Guest said

I'm thinking of building my site with ocP. I have two concerns:
1) ocP in general doesn't seem to actively maintained. Lots of old forum content, no recent posts.
Sometimes the forums are a bit quiet thats because:
a) we are all busy looking at the huge number of training videos
b) we are all busy looking at the humungous volume of manuals and support documents
c) because the bug requests and work requests are being dealt with every day in private tickets
d) because there is not much to say as everything is working

Guest said


2) No new themes for v9. And it seems v9 has been out for awhile. So again, seems not actively maintained.
Guest you must be looking at some other web site. There are many forum topics on themes, examples, freebies etc... and you can build your own or we have prefered to have the talented developers at OCP build you something for a fee.

Guest said


3) No easy way to completely change a theme without complete recoding. For example I'd like a full-width site, not the pretty but wasteful empty sidebars.

Thoughts?
Pay for OCP to develop what you need and get it how you want it and sit back and get on with developing core functions for your web site.

We have been using OCProducts since version 3 and are now working with version 9.xx. If you take a look at the release notes you will see a vast number of releases and progressive updates. So far there has been nothing we have given the development team that they have not been able to develop or build on top of the CMS.

We have sometimes wavered and wondered and looked if there is something better out there but unless you want to have your own full time developers and spend millions of dollars a year on site development then I can tell you there is little if anything that will beat this CMS system in a shoot out. The key message is you cannot evaluate this product in a few days. You have to build a site and run it and deal with the myriad of real issues that crop up every day. The company has been solid and true to the customer base and has responded always when the chips are down and a technical issue develops.

You have a plethora of support options, some more expensive than others and a free bug support. There are web and data base engineers available who are "really interested in web and social media development". 

This is probably not software for the faint hearted who just want a couple of WordPress web pages. This software sits at the top of the list for fully featured sites that want a LOT of options, many features that can be turned off and on, Menu structures that can be altered, renamed and moved in trees and lastly but MOST important the security is second to none. There is NOTHING out there that will protect your site like this software does. Go try and hack into or spam or run a DOS attack an OCP site. Sure some things might be a bit quirky or need more development but the number one rule in a big system like this is that it is never ever finished. There is always something else to be developed, added, improved, tweaked and enhanced. You sometimes need to step back and look at the overall picture.

You might also consider the online community here who have many knowledgeable posters. 

All up you would have to consider OCPortal and soon to be released Composr. I can tell you that our Joomla sites were attacked and hacked so often they became unusable and have been dumped. 

I see Chris has brought up my favourite subject .. Sheep... We often thought about sheep and following the rest but after countless hours testing and wasted time on other platforms I have come to realise now that in fact it was my Kiwi upbringing and nothing that OCPortal were doing. We are 110% satisfied. Would we like more development sooner for less, sure, but then we need to get into the real world of complex site development with a fast moving social media development cycle.

We are not moving anywhere else soon. ! If you evaluated properly other systems you would probably come back to re-evaluating the latest OCP version. 
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Posted
Rating:
#107116

Non-joined user

OneRingRules said

Guest said

I'm thinking of building my site with ocP. I have two concerns:
1) ocP in general doesn't seem to actively maintained. Lots of old forum content, no recent posts.
Sometimes the forums are a bit quiet thats because:
a) we are all busy looking at the huge number of training videos
b) we are all busy looking at the humungous volume of manuals and support documents
c) because the bug requests and work requests are being dealt with every day in private tickets
d) because there is not much to say as everything is working​

Guest said


2) No new themes for v9. And it seems v9 has been out for awhile. So again, seems not actively maintained.
Guest you must be looking at some other web site. There are many forum topics on themes, examples, freebies etc... and you can build your own or we have prefered to have the talented developers at OCP build you something for a fee.​

Guest said


3) No easy way to completely change a theme without complete recoding. For example I'd like a full-width site, not the pretty but wasteful empty sidebars.

Thoughts?
Pay for OCP to develop what you need and get it how you want it and sit back and get on with developing core functions for your web site.

We have been using OCProducts since version 3 and are now working with version 9.xx. If you take a look at the release notes you will see a vast number of releases and progressive updates. So far there has been nothing we have given the development team that they have not been able to develop or build on top of the CMS.

We have sometimes wavered and wondered and looked if there is something better out there but unless you want to have your own full time developers and spend millions of dollars a year on site development then I can tell you there is little if anything that will beat this CMS system in a shoot out. The key message is you cannot evaluate this product in a few days. You have to build a site and run it and deal with the myriad of real issues that crop up every day. The company has been solid and true to the customer base and has responded always when the chips are down and a technical issue develops.

You have a plethora of support options, some more expensive than others and a free bug support. There are web and data base engineers available who are "really interested in web and social media development". 

This is probably not software for the faint hearted who just want a couple of WordPress web pages. This software sits at the top of the list for fully featured sites that want a LOT of options, many features that can be turned off and on, Menu structures that can be altered, renamed and moved in trees and lastly but MOST important the security is second to none. There is NOTHING out there that will protect your site like this software does. Go try and hack into or spam or run a DOS attack an OCP site. Sure some things might be a bit quirky or need more development but the number one rule in a big system like this is that it is never ever finished. There is always something else to be developed, added, improved, tweaked and enhanced. You sometimes need to step back and look at the overall picture.

You might also consider the online community here who have many knowledgeable posters. 

All up you would have to consider OCPortal and soon to be released Composr. I can tell you that our Joomla sites were attacked and hacked so often they became unusable and have been dumped. 

I see Chris has brought up my favourite subject .. Sheep... We often thought about sheep and following the rest but after countless hours testing and wasted time on other platforms I have come to realise now that in fact it was my Kiwi upbringing and nothing that OCPortal were doing. We are 110% satisfied. Would we like more development sooner for less, sure, but then we need to get into the real world of complex site development with a fast moving social media development cycle.

We are not moving anywhere else soon. ! If you evaluated properly other systems you would probably come back to re-evaluating the latest OCP version. 

Is that why your site look so different and unique? Your site is the first ocPortal site that looks modern and nothing like the default theme unlike all the other user made sites i've seen. I am actually impressed to see that ocPortal was capable of getting done. I can't wait for v10 to come out so i can finally create my website.
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by KingBast)  
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#107129
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Hi Guest,

It's largely dependent on how much effort goes in. ocPortal's themeing is probably more flexible than any other comparable CMSs if "flexible" is defined in terms of you having a high degree of control without having to use PHP code to change layout structure.

Nobody's going to pretend ocPortal is nearly as commonly used as say Drupal or Wordpress, and that really is the only reason you don't see lots of amazing looking sites. There aren't 1000s of non-trivial sites being developed for a few dozen standout ones to be so noticed. It's simply a matter of community size. Community size is dependent on a number of factors. Maybe a part of it is me not being very promotion focused, and more focused on feature-iteration. But for example Drupal is about 4 years older than ocPortal (40% older), and Wordpress is very simple, and Joomla was a fork of Mambo which also is about 40% older. So there are various external factors in play that affect our market share.

In terms of how easy v10 will be…

Easier than anything comparable I'd say, and markedly easier than v9 in a number of areas. But don't expect to drag and drop to build designs like you could in a website builder, or tweak a few options to make whatever custom functionality you ever might imagine come to play. We always say that we make the core things easy, but to do heavy customisation you need a solid skillset for key technologies (e.g. CSS, HTML, JavaScript) or to hire a developer.
I'd actually love to make website builder features a key part of ocPortal (e.g. the kind of thing you see in something like Wix), but it would take an enormous investment. Maybe one day we can do a crowdfunding campaign for that.


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
Rating:
#107133
Avatar

Community saint

I... like the ocPortal look...

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
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by KingBast)  
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#107134
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Community saint

Chris Graham said


I'd actually love to make website builder features a key part of ocPortal (e.g. the kind of thing you see in something like Wix), but it would take an enormous investment. Maybe one day we can do a crowdfunding campaign for that.
To be fair to yourself Chris I have to remind you that you can't easily compare a subscription based externally cloud hosted service offering that has squillions of dollars behind it, with what you are delivering.

If you look at what it costs monthly to run a WIX site, consider what you can't do, lack of PhP control, the costs to remove the wix advertising on your site, and the lack of control on your content in the cloud you need to really consider things carefully. You never know how these things pan out until you build in the environment, are locked in and to get out is a costly exercise. I was interested in the site so took a few moments to look at some "Independent" reviews and there are a lot of disgruntled users about the support services.

I would be very surprised to read many or even any bad reports about support services around here. 

When you have 900 staff working for you and a three letter domain name let me know and I will come and visit your private island in the Med. :$
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Posted
Item has a rating of 5 (Liked by mythus)  
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#107137
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Community saint

I think some more in-depth tutorials on themeing (with examples) would be more use than a site builder. Or indeed, some more themes/layouts. I know that new tutorials are in the pipeline, so hopefully they will be enough to not only point people in the right direction but to give a real understanding of what can achieved.
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