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Author Topic: Discussion of CMS suggestions for the DC software directory  (Read 16076 times)
app103
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« on: March 02, 2011, 03:10:05 AM »

I have volunteered to create a more organized all inclusive software directory for DC. This is going to be a big time consuming project and I'd like to start a discussion concerning what CMS I should use to do this.

The only CMS I am really familiar with using is Wordpress. I have done a directory using it before and I can easily use that for this, but if anyone can think of something better, please share.

I'd like to spend the bulk of my time on this project adding listings and not fussing around with writing buggy code (If I am forced to do that I might as well scrap the whole project, so don't recommend something like Drupal)

What I am looking for is something where I can have multiple editors that can add new software listings, without opening up registration to the general public.

I would like it to be a fill-in-the-form approach with custom fields to make it easier for us to add new entries.

Must be able to handle adding stuff to main categories, as well as handling individual tags separate from the main categories, basically giving 2 lists.

Individual RSS feeds for the whole thing as well as each main category.
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Renegade
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 03:15:57 AM »

I'd recommend going with PADkit to start for some basic functionality. Rip it apart and build from there, but do yourself a favor and start with some ready code to ease the burden. It's not a CMS, but it has large sections of functionality that are useful. I'd say it would make a good start. The database and data access stuff in it would be good to plug into another CMS. Or, you could simply use PADkit on the back end and write a new data access layer for it. That would free you up to use different platforms, though you would likely still be tied to MySQL, which isn't a big deal as it's a good database and most CMSes support it.
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app103
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 03:24:37 AM »

Renegade, thanks for the suggestion, but I think that might be way over my head. I am not a web coder and really can't handle that kind of stuff. I can handle html & css, adding plugins, ripping out or deactivating unnecessary stuff, but the moment I have to start writing any php code beyond an include, this project is unbuttered burnt toast.

Additionally, ASP has stopped distributing PADkit...

The Association of Software Professionals has temporarily stopped distributing PADKit, due to unresolved security issues, and spaming of PADKit based web sites.

A new PAD Specification and PADGen (PAD file authoring tool) have already been released.

A new PADKit may follow at a later date.

I am also not looking for something that would require every app to have a PAD file in order to be included (most of the apps here don't have one), and some of the info I want to include about each app is not in the PAD specification and very specific to DC.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 03:44:30 AM by app103 » Logged

Carol Haynes
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 04:15:39 AM »

You could have a look at Joomla 1.5 with the free extension "Phoca Download".

For details of Phoca Download see: http://extensions.joomla....on/downloads/5551/details

For extra addons to supplement Phoca Download see: http://extensions.joomla....phoca-download-extensions

Note this uses Joomla 1.5 at the moment (Joomla 1.6, despite it 0.1 version increase, is a large scale rewrite and redesign of Joomla and currently most extensions aren't ready for it)

You can download Joomla from: http://joomlacode.org/gf/...2-Stable-Full_Package.zip

And use XAMPP as a local testbed for trying things out (it is a complete package which includes a local Apache server, PHP and MySQL which can run on the Windows desktop) see: http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp-windows.html

If you need a hand give me a shout and we can arrange a time to get together online.
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Renegade
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2011, 04:39:47 AM »

Renegade, thanks for the suggestion, but I think that might be way over my head. I am not a web coder and really can't handle that kind of stuff. I can handle html & css, adding plugins, ripping out or deactivating unnecessary stuff, but the moment I have to start writing any php code beyond an include, this project is unbuttered burnt toast.

Additionally, ASP has stopped distributing PADkit...

The Association of Software Professionals has temporarily stopped distributing PADKit, due to unresolved security issues, and spaming of PADKit based web sites.

A new PAD Specification and PADGen (PAD file authoring tool) have already been released.

A new PADKit may follow at a later date.

I am also not looking for something that would require every app to have a PAD file in order to be included (most of the apps here don't have one), and some of the info I want to include about each app is not in the PAD specification and very specific to DC.


Hmmm... Not being able to code there is a problem. If you could find some help, I'd still recommend PADkit. I know that I have it laying around somewhere. I'll see if I can dig up a copy.

Regarding:

Quote
I am also not looking for something that would require every app to have a PAD file in order to be included (most of the apps here don't have one), and some of the info I want to include about each app is not in the PAD specification and very specific to DC.

I think you're missing the point of PAD. It's an XML specification, so it's trivial to modify, and even includes an extension method. PADkit would also be easy to modify there to include DC specific items.

The thing is that you could get access to a LOT of good programs, and all the information for them. The amount of work involved in creating the content would be a fraction of what it would be otherwise.

Another option is to simply use any kind of directory software for some CMS, then write something to pull in content from PAD files into the database. DNN has a repository that would work. There are others too of course. Going that route, you could easily avoid any web programming as all you'd need to do is write some software in any language (we all know you can code!) that creates the correct set of SQL INSERT statements to enter the information into the database.
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app103
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2011, 05:30:24 AM »

What do you guys think of ESS? (demo site)

I'd probably only have to remove and/or disable some of the unnecessary features and create a DC template skin for it. There is a free open source version of it (missing a few features but maybe a great place to start)

Hmmm... Not being able to code there is a problem. If you could find some help, I'd still recommend PADkit. I know that I have it laying around somewhere. I'll see if I can dig up a copy.

With there being known security issues involved I am not sure I'd want to touch it...or use it here on DC.

Regarding:

Quote
I am also not looking for something that would require every app to have a PAD file in order to be included (most of the apps here don't have one), and some of the info I want to include about each app is not in the PAD specification and very specific to DC.

I think you're missing the point of PAD. It's an XML specification, so it's trivial to modify, and even includes an extension method. PADkit would also be easy to modify there to include DC specific items.

ok, so every app that has a PAD file would then have to have 2 of them? One normal one the developer uses everywhere else, and one specific to DC? What about all the coding snacks that don't have PAD files? We would have to make ones for them?


The thing is that you could get access to a LOT of good programs, and all the information for them. The amount of work involved in creating the content would be a fraction of what it would be otherwise.

I am not sure I follow you. This is only going to have DC software...not stuff from outside our community, and since most of the stuff doesn't have PAD files, we would still end up having to spend the same amount of time making those in order to have the content, even if we are not going to make them available outside the site.

Another option is to simply use any kind of directory software for some CMS, then write something to pull in content from PAD files into the database. DNN has a repository that would work. There are others too of course. Going that route, you could easily avoid any web programming as all you'd need to do is write some software in any language (we all know you can code!) that creates the correct set of SQL INSERT statements to enter the information into the database.

You are seriously overestimating my coding abilities. (that's ok, everybody does) If could do half of what people think I can, I wouldn't have hung up my coding hat. If I could do half of what most coders consider easy trivial stuff, I'd have a lot more projects finished and not waiting for "someday" when I can finally figure it out. But let's not get into this because I am not in the mood to embarrass myself.  Sad
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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2011, 05:56:13 AM »

Perhaps we might try to break down this task a bit -- there is no reason you have to be worrying about implementing or setting this up on your own, app!

So don't worry about the implementation details just now -- just taking on the job of helping us figure out what kind of thing we want and what existing software is available would be the most important step.

As you say -- a key part has to be that multiple people can be given permission to keep it updated -- and that authors can manage their own entries.
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Renegade
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2011, 06:16:09 AM »

Ah... I thought you meant a directory wider than DC.

As for security issues in PADkit, that's why I said backend. smiley It's a good code base to start with.

But as for 2 files? No. That's not the case.

To be honest, PAD is still a good option though. The key is the PAD extensions, where you can define whatever you want in addition to PAD. Pretty much most software developers know PAD to some degree, and there's already PADgen ready to go. All that would be required is adding in an extension, and that can be done in pure HTML. (You need to know PCRE though - Perl Compatible Regular Expressions - but those are pretty easy. No back references or groups or anything like that needed.)

So you'd have an authoring tool already done and ready to go!

(PAD really is much more powerful than most people understand, and it's entirely because it's XML.)


For just DC programs, like coding snacks, PAD could still make things easier with a defined workflow.


If you want to come up with some customizations (additions a la PAD extensions), tell me what they are and I'll see if I can come up with a PAD extension that works.

People could then just use PADgen and the DC PAD extension to author the files for you. It's a great way to off-load some work and be productive on other important things. smiley

I have a deep love for XML and PAD. It's just amazing stuff. It would be great fun for me to come up with a DC PAD extension. (I've done a lot of work with data sets, including mucked-up data, and I'm sure I can help out here.)

Basically, don't reinvent the wheel. PAD has the infrastructure already there. Using it will save massive amounts of time.



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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2011, 06:18:18 AM »

As you say -- a key part has to be that multiple people can be given permission to keep it updated -- and that authors can manage their own entries.

PAD would help let authors keep their own title updated.

Add in some XSLT, and wow... Smoking hot super-sexy ultra-cool stuff~! cheesy
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app103
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2011, 07:07:51 AM »

Please take a look at this and check it out from the admin login too.

What do you guys think of ESS? (demo site)

I'd probably only have to remove and/or disable some of the unnecessary features and create a DC template skin for it. There is a free open source version of it (missing a few features but maybe a great place to start)

The pro version is $200, but if someone here can add the necessary extras that are missing that we would need (rss stuff, etc) to the free version, this could be really sweet.
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skwire
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2011, 07:59:53 AM »

What's wrong with just using a wiki-style approach and simple tables?  I find tables more informative and useful than clicking 'next' a hundred times to get through a category with a bunch of entries.
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app103
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« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2011, 08:04:09 AM »

What's wrong with just using a wiki-style approach and simple tables?  I find tables more informative and useful than clicking 'next' a hundred times to get through a category with a bunch of entries.

Show me an example of you'd like to see the software directory to look like. Also, how exactly would you automate adding content to a wiki?
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« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2011, 08:22:13 AM »

One nice thing about a pad-file approach is that authors would only have to update their pad files, and could host those anywhere, and the software listing page on dc could pick up version updates automatically.
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« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2011, 08:40:32 AM »

PAD File Wordpress Plugin:
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-pad/

Another:
http://jachman.wordpress....wordpress-padfile-plugin/

Gives your the benefit of both worlds; power of PAD and the ease of Wordpress.

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app103
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2011, 08:53:43 AM »

Gives your the benefit of both worlds; power of PAD and the ease of Wordpress.

Nice! That would put me back into comfortable familiar territory.  smiley
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2011, 09:01:22 AM »

Custom Post Types and Taxonomies makes Wordpress powerful while remaining user/developer friendly.

Something else to look into:
http://wordpress.org/exte...gins/custom-post-type-ui/

Basically create a Post Type of Software and use Taxonomies for categories.
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2011, 09:03:57 AM »

Yeah but i don't think wordpress solution is going to be a good match for integration into DC.. I mean if we moved the entire DC website over to being built on wordpress maybe.. but that opens up a whole different can of worms.

I don't think we want the DC software repository to exist as a standalone thing totally unintegrated with the rest of the site.  it has to be something that can be seamlessly merged in with our existing stuff.  Which maybe means moving all of DC to a cms and finding a software repository solution that works with a cms that will be appropriate for that (Drupal?)
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2011, 09:07:50 AM »

I see.  IMO, Drupal is not a user-friendly CMS and the solution I gave was for app103 based on her creating, managing and maintaining it.  Just don't think Drupal fits that requirement.

Just curious: Why does Drupal integrate better than Wordpress?  Is there something in the Drupal framework that aids in bridging to other systems?
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2011, 09:17:36 AM »

I have written frequently about my frustrations with Drupal as you know -- I am actually not a huge fan of it.. But I do respect it from a programmer's perspective.  It is just much much more robust and flexible in terms of using it as a starting point for building a custom non-standard site than wordpress is (in my opinion).  As much as it frustrates me, i'd be much more confident that we could cleanly make a Drupal site do whatever custom stuff we need than I would be for an attempt to make wordpress look like a full fledged cms website.  It's not too hard to see why -- Wordpress is a GREAT *blogging* system.  It can be made to do other things but it's not really designed to fill this kind of role, where Drupal is.
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2011, 09:25:42 AM »

Gotcha.  I just didn't know if there was something under the hood that made Drupal play nice with others while Wordpress didn't.  Basically its a comfort thing.
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« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2011, 09:35:59 AM »

I wouldn't call it a comfort thing.  I guess what i'm trying to say is that Drupal has been designed from the ground up to be very cleanly interfaced with by programmers.  As frustrating and unintuitive as it can be -- and god knows i have attacked it viciously for some of that -- it is just on a totally different level from WordPress in terms of being a general purpose platform for programmers to build a custom web site/service.

Although I haven't done any wordpress coding in years, my belief is that while Wordpress is a much more intuitive friendly system that let's you customize the look and feel and create addons, it's not even close to being in the same league as Drupal when it comes time to really flexible use of the codebase from a programmer's perspective.  You can hack any engine to do anything -- but some things are more natural than others -- at some point trying to use wordpress for things that are so far away from it's designed purpose is going to start biting you hard.
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« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2011, 09:49:38 AM »

Maybe its time to take a look under the hood of Wordpress.  It's so far beyond a blogging platform that its almost unfair to call it that anymore.  It is a true CMS system capable of some very powerful things.

I did the Wordpress plugin for OpenMenu and never found a point where I couldn't get it to do exactly what I needed, natively, using their hooks.

This is where it gets hard to compare. I know very little about Drupal so me making the comparison is difficult.   You may be correct about getting Drupal to do *anything* but the question is, does it come at a price of complexity where Wordpress will do everything you *need* without the complexity.

Totally agree with you about maintaining a consistent architecture to DC so if Drupal is used elsewhere it does make much more sense to continue using it in other parts as well.
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« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2011, 12:00:21 PM »

Another possibility is modifying something that integrates with SMF, like tinyportal.
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« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2011, 12:29:10 PM »

My personal feeling is SMF's days are numbered.  The code base is just not a modern way of developing.  Having plugins/modules changes core code is, yikes, not the way to do it.

I can't speak for mouser but the maintenance from version to version must be a nightmare.
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« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2011, 01:10:30 PM »

I use it on my site, and it's not been a big deal, maintenance wise.  As far as the future direction (or lack thereof), I haven't really paid attention, but without that larger dialogue, and with where we are in regards to the forums, I made that suggestion based on the fact that the integration is already there, so it would seem to be the path of least resistance/most compatibility with the current platform.
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