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Discussion - should we use drupal?

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Carol Haynes:
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 ...

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.

--- End quote ---
It requires a bit of experience to see which doku is relevant and which is kinda outdated.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 .

Don't believe the 1-2-3 easy install - it simply does not work ... not even close ...
--- End quote ---
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" --> it comes as a ready to run package including PHP, Apache and MySQL.

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
--- End quote ---
If you have used the installer there should be a user called "admin" with "password" as password

Thanks - I don't mind tinkering but this is beyond frustration ...
--- End quote ---
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"...


Carol Haynes:
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?

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 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

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 :)

ps. 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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