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Author Topic: Discussion - should we use drupal?  (Read 11780 times)
mouser
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« on: October 30, 2005, 02:38:27 PM »

If you read my previous post on the my initial feelings about wiki you know i was not happy with it.

I've recently installed Drupal, and even without any fancy configuration I am loving it:

http://www.donationcoder.com/drupal/

I think it's likely we will remove the wiki and do all collaborative work through the Drupal pages.

I will try to set up an automatic registration for forum members so users don't have to sign up twice.

I'm also looking into the possibility of using a drupal-based feature request/bug report system, instead of the mantis standalone system we are using.




EDIT:
As you will read in this thread we have since decided not to go with drupal, and have actually settled on using MediaWiki, despite all of it's flaws.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2005, 01:14:51 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2005, 02:39:54 PM »

I think we may try to move all non-forum and non-main-site content to drupal, i.e. blogs, bug tracking, etc.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2005, 03:40:38 PM »

I have been experimenting with Drupal, as you know, but I am finding it really doesn't handle posting graphics well at all.

There is a graphics module on their site, but it is almost universally slated in their forums as being hard to install and not at all user friendly.

Trouble is it uses either full HTML, PHP scripts (both of which I am sure you are not happy with) or limited HTML code for posting. Unfortunaely limited means REALLY LIMITED. It gives the impression you can add tags to what is possible, so I added <img> .... doesn't work ...

The only way I can get images to work at all is to log in as admin and edit in full HTML. Users can post the correct code so it is fairly easy to do, but isn't really a nice or convenient way to do this.

It doesn't accept BB code!

Shame as other aspects of it I really like.
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mouser
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« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2005, 03:52:39 PM »

there seem to be a ton of module addons for drupal - i saw some with bbcode support, and wysiwyg editors..
and some graphics addon modules too.. i suspect we just need to explore it more.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2005, 06:08:10 PM »

OK, I stand corrected - don't knwo what all the whinging is about.

I tried tinyMCE editor module from the Drupal modules page. I couldn't get it to work at all, I either got scripting errors or path errors. I suspect the path errors are a server issue with my current webhost - but the scripting errors were a bit annoying. Gave up on it ...

I have now installed FCKEditor (same download page). This seems, at least on first impressions, to work great. It give an MSWord-like user interface for editing in WYSIWYG fashion. Quite pretty, and dead easy to install - upload two packages, and enable it in the admin module page ... it even has the potential for a server side upload file browser (instructions on how to set this up in the Readme file).

Happier now ...  Thmbsup
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mouser
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« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2005, 06:40:22 PM »

cool, ill have to try it.

so many addon modules.. hard to know where to start.
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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2005, 10:43:00 PM »

i'm reading that mambo/joomla integrates much more easily with the smf forum system.. so i'm going to try a mamo install next.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2005, 08:05:53 AM »

FCKEditor isn't the panacea I thought ...

Trouble is you have to allow full HTML access for writing documents to get it to work even close to WYSIWYG and I am finding that you really need to use tables to produce any sort of organised page layout. Trouble is that the tables can really screw up the whol site template ....

Maybe I'll have a look at Mambo too Wink
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moerl
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2005, 12:15:22 AM »

Just wondering.. since I don't know what Drupal is, could someone just quickly tell me how exactly this is going to be useful to the site and its users? Thanks
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mouser
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2005, 03:00:05 AM »

The most immediate use we have been thinking about is as a tool for collaborative writing of Reviews.

That is, a place where many people can add content to about different programs so we can more easily build comprehensive reviews; different people might write up descriptions of different programs, etc.

It also might serve as an alternative portal for tracking feature requests and bugs, and an alternate way of hosting blogs where anyone on our site can write them.
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moerl
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2005, 03:36:59 AM »

Cool! Now that sounds like a great idea. I really like the idea about collaborative review writing Wink. It certainly would make things efficient, maybe speedier and certainly interesting.
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2005, 06:47:11 PM »

I'm reading that mambo/joomla integrates much more easily with the smf forum system.. so i'm going to try a mamo install next.

From my experience: Mambo is such a strange system. For me it was a real pain to work with it. Have you considered Typo3? I don't know how popular it is in America, but in Europe it is very popular. I have done a lot of Typo3 projects - the start is kinda hard, but the possibilities are infinite.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2005, 07:18:41 PM »

Just had a look at Typo3 website - it certainly looks interesting and the companies that use it (DHL, 3M amongst others) is impressive (and so are their websites).

Mouser this may be the one you are looking for ... it has file version control, and full user rights management !!

Only drawback I can see is that if you want WYSiWYG editing you have to use Internet Explorer at the moment (text based editing in other browsers - but Java based editor is in the pipeline).

If anyone is site building and interested in what is available (for free) checkout the features page
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crono
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2005, 07:57:35 PM »

Only drawback I can see is that if you want WYSiWYG editing you have to use Internet Explorer at the moment (text based editing in other browsers - but Java based editor is in the pipeline).
Typo3 offers about 1000 extensions. The Extension System is really good and simple to use. There are alternative WYSIWYG editors (typo-slang: "RTE") - like htmlArea which is cross browser compatible. Take a look at the extension list: http://typo3.org/extensions/repository/list/ Wink

Another BIG advantage is the documentation. Typo3 is one of the best documented opensource projects I've ever seen - see it at: http://typo3.org/document.../document-library/Matrix/

I love this cms  Kiss


btw - there are some videos to get started: http://typo3.org/documentation/videos/
« Last Edit: November 08, 2005, 08:00:27 PM by crono » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2005, 08:48:13 PM »

ok i'll take a long look at it then...
just when i was starting to get used to wiki...
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2005, 09:58:41 PM »

4am - just spent two hours playing with Typo3 ... (should have gone to bed)

It may have the most documentation in the world - but it is a shame that it isn't in the least bit accurate, and doesn't bear any relation to what you actually see on the screen.

Don't believe the 1-2-3 easy install - it simply does not work ... not even close ...

Finally did all the (not so easy) installation (well as much as I could do) and went to the front page of the website and it asked me to login as admin ...

Given that the DB didn't yet have any users - and there was no where to set them up (plus a whole list of people complaining on the install doc page without any useful answers) the whole lot went in the bin!!

Thanks - I don't mind tinkering but this is beyond frustration ...
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« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2005, 05:40:35 PM »

Quote
It may have the most documentation in the world - but it is a shame that it isn't in the least bit accurate, and doesn't bear any relation to what you actually see on the screen.
It requires a bit of experience to see which doku is relevant and which is kinda outdated. The problem is that there is simply too much doku (=confusing) for beginners .


Quote
Don't believe the 1-2-3 easy install - it simply does not work ... not even close ...
What was the problem? I hav installed about 15 Typo systems and never run into any problem - not even the first time I installed it. If you are still interessted to try Typo I recommend "Webserver on a stick" --> http://www.chsoftware.net/de/useware/wos/wos.htm it comes as a ready to run package including PHP, Apache and MySQL.


Quote
Finally did all the (not so easy) installation (well as much as I could do) and went to the front page of the website and it asked me to login as admin
If you have used the installer there should be a user called "admin" with "password" as password

Quote
Thanks - I don't mind tinkering but this is beyond frustration ...
As I wrote before - its hard to get started, but the benefits just amazing. If you (or anyone who's reading this) still would like to "play" with it, just drop me a pm - we can meetup in ICQ or something for "remote help"...

bye
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2005, 06:21:58 PM »

I downloaded the ZIP file version of the 'test' installation. The documentation page I was reading was the 'installation' manual - and the  'easy' version at that!

This is supposed to be the most basic installation as it is all ready to go, except for entering a couple of details realting to the MySQL database. (The 1-2-3 install).

First off it doesn't run when you have installed it. The instal/index.php script has been nobbled to prevent it being run. No mention in the manual of this, you have to go and edit out the 'die()' instruction to allow the script to run. OK did that, and was presented with the installation screen.

It looked nothing like the 1-2-3 install, but was similar to the full install. However, it started on the third item down the list, not at the top item which covers basic configuartion steps. OK I thought - this must be deliberate as part of the 'easy' install so tried to go ahead as described. Needless to say it didn't work.

Went back to the installer again, looked at basic configuration. Loads of folder permissions needed to be changed - no automated way of doing this (like in SMF and oither packages) so I spent about 20 minutes adjusting all the folder permissions by hand.

Checked out the database section - wouldn't let me change the database name (it was set as test - and nothing I could do would allow it to be changed). The server does not allow DB names in the form (they have to be user_dbname) - so that wasn't going to work. Created a DB and had to go find the config file and manually edit the db name.

Back to the installer - new name now recognised - but the installer insisted on trying to create the DB itself, even though it already existed. Deleted the db I created - tried again - failed to create DB.

This was how it started ... I fiddled and faffed for ages until I eventually created a DB with the correct tables.

The 'test' setup includes data - couldn't get the install script to install that data in the DB - the installer was a clear as mud on this - but it didn't matter what I clicked it wouldn't install the data - though it frequently asked me to delete data in the DB that didn't exist.

After what seemed a life time of messing abouyt I finally got it working only to be confronted with a login screen.

The documentation made no reference whatsoever to this - and it was obvious from comments left by  others who had tried the 1-2-3 install that they were as mystified as I was.

Enough was enough - time to go to bed, and time to dump it.

Bad experience - no matter how good the software if the documentation is this bad (all 1600 pages of it) life is just too short!!

I thought the MediaWiki documentation was bad (confusing, incomplete and wildly inaccurate) but Typo3's is even worse! I presume this documentation was produced for an earlier version installation and hasn't been updated - but what is the point of new versions if no one knows how to get them to work?
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JavaJones
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« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2005, 11:36:01 PM »

I've used Mambo/Joomla several times over the past year and have been fairly impressed overall. Install is extremely easy, for just about everything from the base install, to modules, templates, etc. It also has a fairly good permissions system, easy built-in editing with embedded image support, support for alternate editors, etc. It has a fairly extensive user community as well, and support for integration with many major forums, galleries, etc. as previously mentioned. But I do think it's overly complex (for the sake of flexibility I think), and may be overkill for what you want to do.

I think the first thing to establish is what exactly you want to do, and *how* you want to handle it. I understand the basic desire here - create a place where people can collaboratively work on reviews. That's a fine, simple goal. My first major question is do you want all DC members to be able to contribute? If so Joomla may actually work quite well. Just give everyone permissions to edit documents at a certain level. As far as I know however this gives permissions to edit all documents of a certain level, regardless of category. I'm not a Joomla expert, but I've been so far unable to figure out how to assign permissions to an individual user or a group of users for a specific area (category or section). I know for example in LDU (another CMS) you can assign specific permissions per user or per group, and you can create your own groups. I don't know how to even create new groups with unique permissions in Mambo, or if it's even possible. Admittedly I've had little call to figure out how to do this though; there very well may be a suitable solution. But I still feel Mambo may be overkill, and I'm wondering why a "heavier" CMS like this is really being considered.

To my mind the Wiki approach seems nearly ideal. Wiki's seem essentially designed for this purpose, and unless other features of a CMS are desired, the "lighter" and more focused nature of a Wiki would be preferable. Clearly from the more complex and well-maintained Wiki's out there advanced formatting is possible, but admittedly as a Wiki newbie I haven't gotten the hang of Wiki editing very well yet. So the one thing I see lacking in a Wiki is the true WYSIWYG editor, such as those already mentioned here, or found in Joomla, etc. Wiki's just have their own system. Perhaps there is a Wiki out there that includes a full WYSIWYG editor, or support for one as a plugin? That would be worth looking into.

To my mind the permissions issue, while a bit annoying, does not seem to be a deal breaker. With the change comparison and rollback features of a Wiki, if any damage is done it can usually be reverted. It's worth trialing for a while in any case, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend leaving multiple systems open for test either, since this might dilute the content writing pool. Rather I think discussion like this and some behind-the-scenes personal experimentation should decide which system (only one, if possible) gets chosen (at least tentatively) and then a full public trial in the community for that system. If any serious problems crop up, then fall back to other solutions or research more. Above all you want to avoid having to port content.

Finally, I think an invaluable resource in all of this would be this site http://www.opensourcecms.com/. Essentially it is a huge repository of *live* installs of various CMS's, galleries, and other content systems. Mambo, Joomla, Drupal, LDU, E107, and many, many more are up there for you to play with freely. You have full access to the admin panel, etc. If any of you CMS users have not been aware of it before, I highly recommend going and taking a look. It can't normally help you with figuring out the difficulty of the install, but as far as getting a look at the admin panel, editing, and major functionality it's really top-notch. I've found it an invaluable tool.

- Oshyan
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mouser
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« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2005, 12:17:29 AM »

very thoughtfull comments Oshyan,
in fact you have just about summed up better than i could have the conclusions i came to (except for the part that i preferred drupal much more than mambo/joomla).

as you said exactly, for the stated goal of collaborative writing, wiki is a much better match in terms of functionality.
and indeed if you look up at top of this page you will see a "wiki" button.  i went back to wiki (mediawiki) instead of drupal, because it was just a better match for the task, despite my frustrations with permission management.  i have come to appreciate wiki for the ease of collaborative editing, and the rich functionality in terms of loooking at history of changes and being able to easily roll back stuff that is not desired.

so i'm a reluctant wiki convert i guess smiley


ps.
 http://www.opensourcecms.com/ is a fantastic resource, i agree completely.  anyone considering adding a content management system to their site should make that there first stop.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2005, 01:07:13 AM »

Ah. I did see the Wiki link above but it was still a bit unclear that you had indeed decided to go with it for the long-term. You might want to edit the Drupal news/front page item to reflect this decision as that was the main factor in my assumption that this was still under debate.

- Oshyan
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mouser
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« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2005, 01:13:11 AM »

good point, yes i will.

i guess the truth is that no final official decision was made, but i guess it's become the defacto decision now, just because it seems to do what we want and no significant issues have come up.  i have to say i really really liked drupal, but none of the content management systems i looked at had anywhere near the collaborative editing support that wiki has (drupal was closest), so that was the main determinitve factor.

when i get a chance i'd like to modify the wiki to use forum logins so that users dont have to sign up and sign in to the wiki independently.
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Jammo the OrganizedFellow
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« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2006, 12:39:36 AM »

I know this thread is almost a year old, and I don't know where you (Mouser) stand with the decision.

was one made?
are you using a home-made CMS?
i dunno!
smiley
Just offering my own opinion: ExpressionEngine by http://www.pmachine.com/ is highly robust, extremely customizable and it offers EVERYTHING you are seeking.

I've been toying with the free Core version for over 5 months now. Highly recommended.
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The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

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