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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 ocPortal 9 is superseded by Composr 10.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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#74417
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Maybe you can help sponsor v8 if you're business is going well :lol:. Seriously though, it's nice to hear of your success.

We just fully released the 30 themes we've been working on for 18 months. It's the culmination of our multi-pronged themeing strategy:
  1. Solid default theme that doesn't impose too many styles or make too many assumptions (this is why it is as it is, it's very intentional)
  2. Large collection of top quality creative themes
  3. A powerful inbuilt Firebug-like CSS editing facility, and syntax highlighting interface
  4. Great themeing tutorials
  5. A Theme Wizard that can work on any themes, including our professional collection

ocPortal is-as-it-is because of it's power, flexibility, and scope. We then have to be be really innovative to make all that user-friendly, and I believe at this point we have been extremely successful in realising this. Other software may be simpler, but in more sense than one. Looking nicer out of the box also means making design assumptions that are probably completely tangential to what any particular site wants. Interfaces that spell out exactly how to do things can only do this because they spell out exactly what you can do.


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Posted
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#74430
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Fan in action

Nice, Chris! You really did "just" release these, didn't you? (You should provide a link in your post to the Professional Themes posts you just put up) They look great! A huge step forward, especially since they all can be color-adapted using the Theme Wizard.

Some might balk at the $99, but I say good on you.

Will have to reconsider…
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Posted
Rating:
#74436
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Honoured member

NOW you're talking.  I would cheerfully pay what is a very low sum for templates as nice as those seem to be.  My SOLE suggestion is, if you can make them bigger in the lightbox, that would be spiffy; I had a teeny-weeny bit of trouble seeing them.

Oh, hell…I feel the dark side of my geeky self pulling at me, insisting I go play with an OCP site again (SIGH).  I have no control over my evil geeky twin.  LOL…

Chris:  anytime you want to ping me (suggest email), I'd be happy to do what I can to help spnsor V.8.  I'm not rich by any means, but I'd like to do whatever I can.

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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Posted
Rating:
#74459
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I'm about to add the view-image-outside-lightbox feature a few people have asked for now :).

Regarding sponsorship, I remember we talked a lot before about a build-out tool to auto-create complex and deep site structures. Anything like this you want, just let me know and we can discuss getting it sorted. A lot of possible future plans are on the tracker:
My View - ocPortal feature tracker


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  • 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 Composr 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:
#74589
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Community saint

I posted the following over at ocPortal version 4.2.0 Demo - OpenSourceCMS today:
I wanted to update my thoughts based on recent developments at ocPortal/ocProducts and my better understanding of the software after a few months of use.

Compared to many other CMS systems which are largely created by committee with a great deal of third-party development, I think ocPortal has the three Cs necessary to a successful software deployment: coherence, cohesiveness and consistency.

Since ocPortal is not cobbled together by committee, there is a coherent strategy for its development based on the commercial projects the company works an - and yet, ocPortal is free.

Since ocPortal tries to include all the basic things which are often provided by third-party add-ons in other CMSes, the product is more cohesive. You can rely that the included add-ons will integrate well with the base code. This is one of the great challenges for other CMS products.

Finally, there is consistency. Much is made about large third-party development communities but without meticulous code review, the code often lacks the consistency that facilitates both maintenance and customization. Again, since ocPortal is created and supported by a commercial company, the code tends to be more consistent because code review is enforced from the time the code is written largely by the same group of developers.

All products have their pros and cons, but you will see that ocPortal has virtually all pros with the only downside being that the community is still somewhat small. That will change as more people explore the benefits that ocPortal has to offer.

The other shortcoming that is sometimes cited is the lack of themes but with ocProducts just delivering 30 professionally-designed reasonably priced themes (Professional Themes - ocPortal), I don't think this will be an issue much longer. This, along with the growth of the third-party theming community, should soon deliver a myriad of choices at competitive prices for those who are in need of an inexpensive solution to site design.

It is rare that you will find such feature-packed software for free which is based on a commercial product in the CMS arena. When you add in the fact that ocProducts, the commercial arm of ocPortal, offers a range of support options and services - including full agency design services (Sheffield web design/development agency - ocProducts) for those businesses who would prefer to outsource their website design or customization (by the same people who wrote the original code) - you have a really great CMS solution for needs large and small.

To sum up why my CMS choice is ocPortal, I'll mention a 4th C - comprehensive. ocPortal really is about offering a complete solution for your CMS needs. ocPortal provides the tools for beginners to build a complete site with the prospect of using the additional tools provided as their needs change. DIYers will find helpful theming tools and well-structured code making their changes that much easier. Finally, businesses can choose to go with the full-agency treatment making certain that their online presence is unique in terms of appearance and any added functional needs. And they back it up with top-notch support.

I know this may sound a bit like marketing (which is my background) but I have no affiliation with ocPortal other than as a very satisfied user/customer.

To find out more about ocPortal's features, check out Learn more - ocPortal.com or, if you'd like the quick rundown, Content Management meets Social Media - ocPortal.

If you can help people to understand the benefits of using ocPortal without being combative and while acknowledging that it is not the right solution for every site, I encourage you to explain how ocPortal has helped you create your web presence on  these referral sites.

Bob

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Posted
Rating:
#74643
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Community saint

hehe I  am glad you posted the sentence about Marketing cause after the first 3 sentences that's all I could think was this was a marketing comment. lol . Anyway, I do like what you said but am afraid it might sound too much like marketing to be received as a proper comment too? Dunno though. It certainly was nicely written!
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Posted
Rating:
#74646
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Community saint

You can remove a marketer's title but you won't change his view of the world.

If it causes even a dozen people to take a look at ocPortal I will consider it a net win.And I encourage other ocPortal users to post their comments to balance things out.

Sadly, it seems a bunch of people post when they are doing "best of" type ratings. It would be much better to see a steady flow of comments pointing out ocPortal's many strengths even acknowledging  areas which need improvement.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#74677
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Honoured member

Chris Graham said

I'm about to add the view-image-outside-lightbox feature a few people have asked for now :).

Regarding sponsorship, I remember we talked a lot before about a build-out tool to auto-create complex and deep site structures. Anything like this you want, just let me know and we can discuss getting it sorted. A lot of possible future plans are on the tracker:
My View - ocPortal feature tracker

Yes; I'd looked at OCP seriously for two websites; an equine community, which required boatloads of sub-categorization (by breeds/disciplines) and I think, but am not sure, that that was an issue (this was four years ago now); and I looked at it to revamp another very old website we have that has reviews…and I think the issue was that although I could use the catalogs (CEDI?  Am I recalling that rightly) for the items, there was no way to link articles (reviews) and ratings to those catalog items.  I would have a similar issue now, with Booknook, as I have to be able to link the books we produce to their authors (authors->books is a one to many) and books by production method (usually a one->one relationship), which could be done with categorization, which is what I did with the existing EE site.

I always found your quoted rates super-reasonable; it was just that when everything was considered, OCP wasn't suited for those two sites, and probably isn't suited for Booknook, which has had a ton of work put into it and grows to the tune of 50 books and usually the same number of authors per week, plus the odd article hither and yon.  My big complaint with it right now is that it has a seriously out-of-date wiki module that just sucks, and it doesn't have a Gallery, which is killing me.  Overall, though, it's not a bad product; I just don't love the people, and as I mentioned before, their attitude is if you're not doing a $5K site, you're not worth the bother.  That's no secret–and they positively have contempt for we "do-it-yourself'ers" who are not professional web developers.  BUT, I really would love to sponsor some development for OCP.  Truly.

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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Posted
Rating:
#74686
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Ok other users, I think it's time for you to look through the tracker and see what both you and this busy lady would most benefit from, and make sure the tracker items are descriptive enough. I am happy to answer any technical questions. Hitch, maybe write a few things about what kind of areas you think deserve most development.


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  • 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 Composr 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:
#74692
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Community saint

As I mentioned in another thread, I'm good for at least 15 support credits for project 134:

Tracker item
Forum discussion

Who else can chip in?

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#74821
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I take it by the lack of replies here that everyone is 100% happy with ocPortal's feature set :lol: (barring that one tracker issue above).

Come on people, perfect opportunity to make the case for whatever features you think are most missing.


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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 Composr whenever you see the opportunity or support me on Patreon.
  • 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 Composr 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:
#74826
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Community saint

My personal take is that I am more than satisfied with the feature set that comes out-of-the-box. I haven't used as many CMSs as others, so I can't identify a 'killer-app' that is missing from ocPortal.

As for 'tweaks' to the current system, I am generally happy with the functionality as-is, and work around any perceived shortcomings the best way I know how. If I can't, I usually shout for help in here!

If more robust or 'slicker' responses are forthcoming from the functionality that is being addressed on the tracker I will probably use it (them) and offer a quiet word of thanks to those more knowledgeable than I.

 :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
Rating:
#74831
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Community saint

Chris-

Two other tracker features have jumped out at me. Item 137 seems like it could both unify the code and the feature set for site owners. I am all for this kind of improvement.

I also think item 269 would be very a valuable improvement. The ability to tie catalogs together could provide some interesting usage possibilities for site owners. Can you maybe hint at the scope of what you plan with this item?

Localization should also support date and time conventions.

I'd like to see the sitemap.xml generated as a guest user. While it is true that it does no harm (I've researched this pretty thoroughly in the last few days), it nonetheless creates errors in the crawler access that need to be run down, not to mention that it causes needless crawling which utilized resources better spent elsewhere.

Since this is also current in another thread, I would say that it is important that ocPortal be always conscious of what the search engines complain about in Webmaster tools. Like it or not, they are the gatekeepers and anything to do that appeases them is of value. It might make the difference between being seen on the first page or not.

EDIT: Add the Google +1 code to the MAIN_SCREEN_ACTIONS block - +1 is not going to go away.

That is, at least, a few things that I think would improve ocPortal. I'll try thinking of some more.

Bob



Last edit: by BobS
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Posted
Rating:
#74835
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Community saint

Fletch said

My personal take is that I am more than satisfied with the feature set that comes out-of-the-box. :thumbs:

Fletch expressed my sentiment exactly!

I've been too busy using those features on my sites, making themes which would highlight this wonderful software and spreading the word through my teaching in class and on the Internet, then to afford the time to get bogged down by what I consider a few quirks in the system. I judged them to be rather insignificant in the scheme of things and found ways to go around them. I have reported the more stubborn ones, which were always fixed to my satisfaction.

However, I can appreciate the need for the creators to get a better analytical feedback than what I can give and therefore I support what others are trying to accomplish by adding their suggestions to the tracker system.
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Posted
Rating:
#74840
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Community saint

While I think it is admirable that people don't let the small issues get in the way, I think you are missing a real opportunity to aid in ocPortal's future growth.

I am pretty sure that everyone here has at least one wishlist item for ocPortal. Here is your chance to express that wish which helps Chris determine which items are most important to merge into the developers' own plans for the project.

Don't miss an opportunity to help Chris with understanding what areas could use improvement, no matter how small. You are actually help Chris more by identifying something than saying "all's well". If all's well, Chris and the team can disband - their work is done.

Just my thoughts.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#74855
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I'd like to see the sitemap.xml generated as a guest user. While it is true that it does no harm (I've researched this pretty thoroughly in the last few days), it nonetheless creates errors in the crawler access that need to be run down, not to mention that it causes needless crawling which utilized resources better spent elsewhere.

Since this is also current in another thread, I would say that it is important that ocPortal be always conscious of what the search engines complain about in Webmaster tools. Like it or not, they are the gatekeepers and anything to do that appeases them is of value. It might make the difference between being seen on the first page or not.

It's not that the sitemap isn't generated by guest, it's that these aspects aren't controlled by page permissions so the sitemap generator can't tell the code itself is going to trigger it's own internal "access denied". Never-the-less, I did just remember there's a way we can workaround that without making a mess, so that will come with the next patch release (it's the same thing we do to stop the 'logout' link coming up in the sitemap – we avoid reporting certain entry points for Guests).

EDIT: Add the Google +1 code to the MAIN_SCREEN_ACTIONS block - +1 is not going to go away.

Just added a tracker issue for this.


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  • If so, please let others know about Composr whenever you see the opportunity or support me on Patreon.
  • 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 Composr 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:
#74859
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Here we go, my contribution!

State of ocPortal today


Last edit: by Chris Graham


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  • 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 Composr 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:
#74863
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

Here we go, my contribution!

thanks

Sincerely!

There must be something I can contribute to help the cause, so I shall go away and do some head-scratching.


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
Rating:
#74868
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

It's not that the sitemap isn't generated by guest, it's that these aspects aren't controlled by page permissions so the sitemap generator can't tell the code itself is going to trigger it's own internal "access denied". Never-the-less, I did just remember there's a way we can workaround that without making a mess, so that will come with the next patch release (it's the same thing we do to stop the 'logout' link coming up in the sitemap – we avoid reporting certain entry points for Guests).

Ahh..I had not considered the permissions issue which I am sure complicates matters significantly. But, as usual, you have deftly crafted a solution. I look forward to using this when it is releases.

EDIT: Add the Google +1 code to the MAIN_SCREEN_ACTIONS block - +1 is not going to go away.

Just added a tracker issue for this.

Thanks for this. I've already worked my way around this with help from Harry-S but I think it will be good to add an official implementation.

Bob
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Posted
Rating:
#74874
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

Here we go, my contribution!

State of ocPortal today
Chris-

Are the six items listed under catalogs all foundational to achieving your v* goals? That is, does completing these improvements now make it easier to complete your design goals in v8?

Bob
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