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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 ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.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 for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.

Beta-countdown: May 12th - Comments

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Beta-countdown: May 12th

Posted 12 May 2006, 1:39 PM

This is my one opportunity to pop up and show my work for this release. I've been working on a very focussed area: the new OcCLE system.
OcCLE is the new ocPortal Command-Line Environment, designed to enable fast administration of a website if you're a command-line junkie. We felt that typical web application administration was unnecessary slow and that a command-line would allow much more to be accomplished, a lot faster; for experienced system administrators, command-lines are much faster to use than GUIs because you don't need to navigate through a lot of screens to get to where you want. We've taken a step back and looked at how things could be done more efficiently in the past, in order to improve things at the forefront of technology; terminals are back, but with a twist - transparently overlayed onto a web application, powered by XML, XHTML, and Javascript!

But enough of the talking, you'll probably be wanting some screenshots! As well as its own module in the Admin Zone, logged-in administrators can access OcCLE by clicking a button at the bottom of any screen, near the admin menu button.

I've coded over 40 commands (many of which are closely related to their UNIX counterparts) for use with the system, and if you're a programmer it's quite easy to add your own. :)

One of the major commands is occlechat, which allows you to chat with other OcCLE users on completely different ocPortal websites. We hope this will foster a community of administrators helping each other and sharing tips. :thumbs:

Another fantastic command is call. Let's imagine I wanted to go to a certain gallery, my_gallery, and I'd left my command line open; all I would need to do is to type call _SEARCH:galleries:id=my_gallery and the gallery would popup in a new browser window.

What if I want to know which users are online and I don't want to go and find the right ocPortal page? I just type users_online and OcCLE tells me. And if I wanted to know the time on the server, I could just type date.

OcCLE also has its own fully-functional "meta-filesystem", which allows manipulation of parts of ocPortal and the server environment as files. Examples of such filesystems would be the database, the members and their details (if you're running OCF). For example, if I wanted to change the value of a configuration option, say, site_name I could just popup OcCLE and type write "My new Site Name" /etc/site_name. Representing the contents of a database as a file system might seem strange but it's really powerful - with the meta-filesystem you can now manage all aspects of your website with a single set of commands at one command prompt.

OcCLE allows you to interactively run PHP and SQL commands. This is really handy if you're extending ocPortal with new code, as it allows you to interactively debug things or tweak the database. No more messing about uploading temporary scripts, and no need to keep phpMyAdmin open!

Another touch: when you're using OcCLE, you can receive notifications of events which have occurred on your site, such as new unvalidated content, forum posts, or support tickets.

We're really happy with this new OcCLE system: it's a groundbreaking development for web applications, and really shows how looking to the past is often the best way to learn how to best move forward.

For day 13 Chris'll be showing how we've made the ocPortal structure much easier to understand, without changing it.

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