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Messages - tranglos [ switch to compact view ]

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as you can see, the user/developer/owner/admin of the site can make it be whatever it wants it to be. be it a blog, user community, or other.

I apologize if I sounded harsh, didn't mean to. I've come to realize I asked the wrong question originally. Instead of looking for a content management system, I should have asked if anyone knows of a great but perpetually unemployed web designer, as I couldn't afford any other kind :)


it doesnt work like a CMS as most CMS systems do.
i like it most cause it leaves the foundation of BUILDING A WEBSITE entirely up to you. code and design from the ground up. XHTML compliance is up to you.

EE seems to be another blog/community thing - like anything that gets called a CMS today. It resembles TextPattern somewhat. If what you need is a shop window on the web, the blog/timeline/archive features get in the way. So what's the $249 plus VAT for if I have to do it all myself anyway? :)

If I could design a site to my satisfaction, I would. I could learn some php, there sure is a lot of free code out there to study. One thing I can't do is learn a talent for graphic design. Last time I took two weeks (gulp!) to come up with a color scheme that didn't suck. I don't know the first thing about creating buttons - like the very elegant, simple ones they use at What's the graphics equivalent of dyslexia? - I don't know, but I have that :)


Best Text Editor / Re: Is this serious?
« on: February 20, 2007, 08:40 PM »
One more thing: that keyboard layout for the original Vi is really revealing. I've always wondered why the colon was chosen for the command prefix. It's inconvenient, since you have to press Shift, it slows you down. The semicolon would be much easier/faster.

Well, if you check out the One True Vi Keyboard, typing the colon did not require Shift. So the original choice was reasonable. It just isn't reasonable anymore on a current standard PC keyboard.

Best Text Editor / Re: Is this serious?
« on: February 20, 2007, 08:30 PM »
vim is best used with the keys, that's a _text editor_. When you type, you are using the keys, not the mouse. Leave the mouse out of it, also leave the arrowkeys out of it, it just eats time from your editin.

Check out this Wikipedia entry on Vi. It shows the keyboard layout of the terminal Bill Joy used to create Vi... in 1976. The keyboard did not have arrow keys :) The editor is over 30 years old. All its quirks were not design virtues, they were simple necessities. See what other keys the keyboard was missing that we now take for granted.

In general, the reason you're supposed to navigate with hjkl instead of arrow keys or something more vaguely intuitive is that in those days each computer manufacturer delivered their own keyboard, whose layout and scancodes were largely incompatible with all other keyboards, and each terminal was different, so any application that was supposed to be portable or used over a remote terminal had to be restricted to the lowest common denominator of what machines of the time were capable of and would understand. Hence no "extended" keys, and even today I don't think you can use function keys or Alt combinations over telnet. Well, there is one virtue in that: you can use Vi anywhere, as long as you can telnet to a remote Unix-like shell. And Vi certainly has a powerful command set, but nothing stops programmers from implementing the same power within a modern, more usable UI framework.

Please note the review does not say Vi cannot do any of the things listed; it only says they're too hard to figure out.

According to Wikipedia, "Vi" stands for "visual". I rest my case :)

Very good points all. It's the first I've heard of Xampp, but all the components run on my machine all the time, and local testing is the first thing I do.

Popularity of a package cuts both ways, I suppose: bugs are eliminated faster, but widely used products also get hacked more. But I would definitely feel safer with a widely used version 2 of something than with a 1.x release that's hardly seen mass use yet.

Thanks for all the replies! I spent last night checking out the various CMSs and playing with WordPress and Drupal locally. They're nice, with a really impressive range of themes and plugins, but in the end they really get in the way of what I need. The same with TextPattern, really - it provides none of the automation I'd like to have, and I would end up copying and pasting code to get a number of identically structured sections, while at the same time it won't even do download stats. I need to spend so much time on KeyNote that I can't devote any to coding php on top of that.

I've checked out a number of sharware vendors, small and large, and while I've seen a couple that use heavily customized CMS, most of them fall into one of two groups: professionally designed corporate websites on the one hand, and simple, handmade HTML on the other. And I guess there's no disgrace in the latter - you can have a pretty unimpressive site and still a fantastically successful product (Total Commander, TextPad, EditPad Pro). But I could't find anything in between the two extremes.

Perhaps I should be looking for php templating systems instead, just so that I could do $appname = 'this'; $version= 2 and then refer to $appname and $version throughout the site. That by itself would be a great time saver. I have seven freeware downloads on my site, and making sure all the pages are updated and consistent is really tedious. And in the end, they're not even very functional, e.g. there's no search in the FAQ pages. As mouser very nearly predicted last night, I'll postpone the decision :)

The best way to go insane is to go looking for the best CMS.  Everytime I've tried it I've lost a day and felt more confused at the end then at the begining.  There are just so many different CMS out there.

Exactly. One thing I didn't mention is WordPress, because it's primarily a blog, but it's quite elegant and may be good enough for a start. I'm in no hurry to decide, but even before my current project is ready, I would like to move the old stuff to a new site design, to see how it fares. So I took this sage advice and went looking for a domain first. Now I want to put something there...

There may be some commercial solutions written with ISVs in mind, but I haven't seen any yet, and from what I *have* seen  CMS systems are either open-source or pretty expensive.

Ideally, for an ISV site CMS, you'd just enter the core information (app description, release date, download links, etc) on one config screen, and a default site would be generated for you.

It's a niche, I guess, but the needs are very different from those of an individual blogger or a community. Download statistics are a must, and I'd love to have a way to centralize application info: enter the version number only once and refer to it via some tag everywhere. This is easy to add to any php-based system, but then you'd have to re-apply the changes when upgrading, and the system must allow for php code in posts, which not all systems may support.

I'll probably give TextPattern another try, because it really is an excellent design, very elegant and extensible. It's just that you have to go some extra length to get static pages, so the site becomes one big workaround.

By the way: did you tweak Simple Machines a lot? DC has an awesome set of features; the forum itself is much better than phpBB. *Every* DC feature I've tried is more convenient to use than anything else I've seen.

Its too bad mine isn't ready for prime time.  Your needs are exactly why I created a CMS system...

You may well be ready ahead of me :)

I've hand-crafted my HTML ever since I put up my first website in 1998-ish. I've had enough :) Does anyone know of a content management system that would be suitable for a small ISV shop?

Most CMS packages are geared for collaboration, with to-do lists, calendars, wikis, chat features, blogs and such, I don't need any of those. I don't need a built-in forum or bug tracker, since I can plug in phpBB and mantis. What I need is something that will give me a not-too-complex layout to put the content in. I just no longer want to spend time on designing HTML, because I suck at visual design, and my pages always end up with the late 90's look.

I need to have identically-structured sections, one per application, where each section has subsections for the program description, license, download page, FAQ, screenshots, testimonials, etc. So it's mostly static content. This also means the system should tend towards a "read-only" thing for users, unlike wikis, which are writeable by default. I need a nice, clean look to start with, that I can gradually convert to a custom design later on.

Ideally, when releasing a new version of a program, I would like to specify the release date and version number just once, and have it displayed wherever necessary, rather than updating a dozen of pages manually - because right now I always forget about some. I don't know if any CMSs have such a feature.

As for the looks and simplicity of tweaking, I love DokuWiki, but it *is* a wiki and is not really suitable. I've created a very nice blog design with TextPattern, which has a pretty steep learning curve, but is nicely consistent and malleable. However, while TextPattern shines as a blog, it has poor support for static pages, like most of mine are going to be - you practically have to fight against its design and purpose to get a static page. And with TextPattern, you are really designing the visuals of your site from scratch, which is what I am trying to avoid.

I liked Plone a lot, unfortunately my host doesn't support Zope and whatever else it needs at the backend.

It needs to be free, and ideally php/mysql, because I can work with php. Oh, there's also Simple Machines, which DC is using, but it seems too complex for my needs. I really want to spend as little time on the design as possible, so that I can start without learning all the intricacies of the architecture if I need to add a block here or remove one there. Would Drupal or Mambo be worth w try? Anything else? Maybe I shouldn't be looking among CMS packages at all, but elsewhere?


Living Room / Re: How Google Killed Search
« on: February 16, 2007, 05:24 PM »
Yeah, that helps :)

(And linkfarms *are* a pain, I do realize that.)

Great find, thank you. One thing to notice though is how many of those are paid online services. Putting my notes on somebody else's server is a huge risk, so much so I don't think I want to pay for the privilege as well :)

Does anyone recall how Hotmail deleted many users' mail archives - I mean, entirely obliterated them! - a few years ago?

I've used Google Notebook during a business trip recently, and it worked fine. Being able to access it at the office and from my hotel room was incredibly useful. But I wouldn't use it for anything sensitive or any information I could risk losing, if Google decided to pull the service one day.

On a totally unrelated note, the list is also great for watching the wasteland that the domain name system has become. With all (and I mean all) English dictionary terms and useful combination thereof registered by DNS squatters, it's incredibly hard to come up with a pronounceable and illustrative name. I mean, "subifoo"? :) I've just spent several nights hunting for an available domain name that would fit a project I'm working on, and while I finally hit on an acceptable name, it was a really frustrating experience.

Living Room / Re: How Google Killed Search
« on: February 16, 2007, 04:47 PM »
Oh well, the author can only blame himself. First, try wrapping the terms in quotes: "cheap hotel" in "new york". Ignoring the sponsored links (which should not be ignored, since they are actually what he's looking for), the first link goes straight to a page where you can make a reservation. And if that site doesn't look trustworthy enough, it's only a click from there to travelocity.

Second, I don't know about actual hotel owners, but just imagining myself as one, I know I wouldn't advertise my place as "cheap". Cheap is nothing to be proud of. Try "budget" or "inexpensive" or other, more elegant synonyms, and you'll fare better.

Third, forget about the basic search. Go to Google Maps, use the exact search phrase they give as an example: "hotels near <location>", and you'll get locations, reviews and hotels' own pages with pictures, descriptions and reservation info. No spam, no linkfarms at all.

Google may have issues, but inadequate search results is not one of them :)

2. Tooltip stays on top when exiting FARR. This occurs when the pointer hovers over any result, and I exit the FARR window with Esc.

It may not be a FARR issue. On XP SP2, I see this happen all the time with other programs, notably Firefox. If there is a bug, it could be in Microsoft's window manager, since a tooltip window should not outlive the application window.

I was going to post a request regarding the UI, but having seen the latest version, I have no more requests :) I really needed a larger, bold font in the search entry box; it's perfect right now.

The only other thing I would mention is that there is quite a bit of flicker on painting windows, esp. the options dialog, since it's larger, but also perceptible in the main window. When using a skin, you can see the dialog being drawn without the skin, then redrawn properly. (Actually, it seems to flicker three times, but it is a little too fast to be sure.) The effect is diminished when disabling skins: the flicker still exists, but is less obvious. My system is not the newest, but it was spec'ed to run Doom3 at the high quality, and it did :) I only ever see similar flicker in some .Net apps, but that doesn't apply to FARR. Probably just some inefficiency in the skinning engine?

Living Room / Re: Poll : What is the most useless key on the keyboard
« on: February 12, 2007, 07:54 AM »
I'm split between the "Insert" key, and the "Scroll Lock" one. Does anyone knows the utility of these keys? :huh:

Yeah, see my post above :)

General Software Discussion / Re: How do you expect macros to behave?
« on: February 11, 2007, 03:31 PM »
Thanks, mouser. The reason I'm asking is because I'm trying to find the "least astonishing" behavior, and in this case it's not obvious to me. There is of course a story behind the question. I have a fairly complex command execution engine for KeyNote. It has a UI builder on one side, which lets you tear down the default menus and toolbars, all of them, and create your own from scratch. (Allowing only one menu to be customized makes little sense, because the mechanism required to run it is exactly the same as the mechanism that allows you unlimited customization.) Another part of the scheme is a macro engine, which records and replays commands and, yes, persists them as scripts that you can easily edit.

Basically, commands have required and optional parameters. The optional parameters fill in default values, while required params must be given explicitly. So for example, a File|Open command looks like this in a menu configuration file:
<menuitem command="fileOpen" />

When this is triggered, the engine finds that the required "filename" argument is missing, and finds a handler for the command that gets the filename (e.g. by putting up a dialog box). The command also has an optional "readOnly" parameter, which defaults to false. What this lets you do is add a menu item like this:
<menuitem command="fileOpen" fileName="c:\somefile.txt" readOnly="true"/>

In short, you can put a mini-macro right in the menu. This, I hope, would be useful for things like commonly used font styles, etc - instead of going through a dialog box every time, you can add a custom menuitem that defines all the style settings. When you do so, you can specify whatever parameters you need, and the engiine will either fill in missing optional params, or prompt you for the missing required ones.

But once you have this, you need to figure out how much information to store when recording a macro the "normal" way, for replaying. For each command I can either store just the command itself (which would require user action on replaying, if the command has any required parameters), or I can store some/all of the actual parameters used for the command.

I agree with you about seeing what it does and tweaking the scripts manually, but most people won't go as far. For them, I need to provide the most useful behavior out of the box.

On edit: And you will be able to have a three-way toggle :) <bold/> by itself would toggle, and then there's <bold on="true"/> and <bold on="false"/> to force it either way. I'm sinplifying the syntax here, but just to give the idea.


General Software Discussion / How do you expect macros to behave?
« on: February 11, 2007, 08:37 AM »
Joel Spolsky says in one of his essays:
A user interface is well-designed when the program behaves exactly how the user thought it would.

It's also been called principle of least astonishmentw. So here's something that's been puzzling me for a long while: the behavior of macros. Leaving aside how macros work in popular software like Word, how do you expect macros to behave in these three situations?

1. While recording a macro, you use Edit|Paste. What should happen when replaying the macro?
a) the macro should insert the same exact text that got inserted by Paste when recording.
b) the macro should insert current clipboard contents (or nothing if the clipboard is empty)

2. While recording a macro, you use the File|Save As command and specify a new name for the document. What should happen when replaying the macro?
a) the current document should be saved using the same filename that was specified while recording (possibly overwriting an existing file)
b) the macro should display the "Save As" dialog box, letting you specify a name, just as if you clicked File|Save As manually.

3. While recording a macro you select some text and click Format|Bold. The text was using normal style before, so now it is bold. What should happen when replaying the macro?
a) regardless of whether current selection is bold or not, the macro should make the text bold (leave it bold if it was bold already)
b) the effect should be the same as manually clicking Format|Bold: if text was normal, make it bold; if text was already bold, make it normal.

There is no perfect solution, of course. Each a and b choice has its downsides. Number 3 is especially bothersome for me, because it's very common to have this kind of toggle, and I can't decide which behavior is more useful or more "natural".

All (a) choices are "do exectly what happened while recording", while all (b) choices are "do what would happen if the command was invoked manually in the current document". So what is your preference? Straight As, straight Bs, or some combination?


Living Room / Re: What is the most useless key on the keyboard
« on: February 10, 2007, 02:21 PM »
But, I would have to say that the "right-click" key is the most unused key on my keyboard.

The other two that are right up there are right-ctrl and right-alt, in that order.

All this goes to show is that no keys should ever be removed, ever :)

I love the right-click key, because it gives me the context menu without using the mouse. Shift+F10 should also do that, but many programs ignore it or override with other functionality.

Right ctrl is awfully useful for clipboard and navigation actions with home/end/insert/delete keys. And without right alt you couldn't type national characters in any non-Western language. Right Alt (sometimes called AltGr, for "alternate graphic") adds all the twiggly tails and accent marks to latin characters. I couldn't type in Polish at all without right alt.

On edit: Wikipedia has a whole article on AltGr, quite informative too:

Living Room / Re: What is the most useless key on the keyboard
« on: February 10, 2007, 02:15 PM »
I've voted Scroll Lock, because very few programs use it anymore. But it does have a useful function - when engaged, you should be able to scroll any window without moving the caret. It still works in Excel 2003, but has been mostly forgotten by programmers today. It's great when you want to scroll to see something in a document but don't want to lose your current position. It's more or less the same as scrolling with the wheel without ever clicking the document anywhere.

Other than that, I'd vote for Pause/Break, which has absolutely no purpose in a multitasking OS, but now that I'm using mouser's Find and Run Robot, the Break key is back in action.

Living Room / Re: What is the most useless key on the keyboard
« on: February 10, 2007, 02:08 PM »
For me, the most useless (and also the most anoying) key in my keyboard is definitelly the 'insert' key. I always wondered why people invented that thing. I even removed it from my external keyboard, because i kept inadvertely pressing it, and overwriting stuff!

Heh, I can't live without Insert. Word has always had a fantastic feature which makes Insert work as Ctrl+V, ie Paste. It's much, much faster that way for me. I find Ctrl+Insert for Copy fast than Ctrl+C too, perhaps because I'm better at using my right hand.

I carried that over to some of the programs I've written, using Insert to mean "add new [thing]", where "thing" is whatever the program is designed to handle, e.g. add a new address in an addressbook, add a new password in a password manager, etc.

The upshot is, I cannot work with any of the newer keyboards where the insert/delete/home/end/pgup/pgdn keys are not arranged in two rows, 3+3. Any other layout and I'm helpless :)

Developer's Corner / Re: Desktop Forum Reader
« on: February 10, 2007, 08:24 AM »
I don't know if there's anything server side, but there may be something helpful on the browser side. For Firefox, there is an extension called Fasterfox, which loads all links in the background. The improvement is perceptible on simpler pages, like Google's search results, but on large pages with lots of content and links, the chance Fasterfox preloads the link you're eventually going to click is rather small. It would help if you could configure the links you want preloaded, e.g. grab only links containing words such as "next", "page", or "more" etc., but Fasterfox doesn't support that.

A long time ago I was using a http proxy called Naviscope, which had exactly that feature, and it speeded up page loading very nicely. (Its basic feature was scrubbing ads.) It was freeware and it performed flawlessly, but it got abandoned after a while, and I had to drop it when it became necessary to run an actual firewall. Perhaps there are other proxies now that have the preload feature.

Developer's Corner / Re: Desktop Forum Reader
« on: February 09, 2007, 07:30 PM »
Every page view on a forum for me tends to involve having to redownload headers and images over and over.

Images shouldn't be redownloaded, since the browser would normally pull them from the cache. Or you could disable downloading images, though it may make some sites unnavigable.

A generic application like you describe is not really possible, I think, since each forum has a different layout and slightly different functionality. There is no common "protocol" to follow. A minor change in the layout of a forum would require updating the application. Also, if a forum depends on JavaScript, for example, that application would have to have JavaScript built in, etc. It would have to support authentication (cookies), encrypted connections... In effect, it would almost have to be a fully-featured web browser, with only a different interface and the added storage functionality.

What you may want to try, instead, is a program that will download a whole website (or parts of it) to disk. Years ago I used a program called Teleport Pro for this, but there are probably newer offerings available now. Reget Deluxe can also download websites recursively, and I know there's at least one freeware app, but can't recall its name. This is worth a try, although this solution works best with static websites, where pages don't change between views. With dynamically generated sites, such as discussion forums, recursive download may take a long time (or, if URLs change dynamically, may never stop, because the downloader keeps seeing "new" links every time it grabs a page - I've seen it happen often with Teleport Pro).

Also, without cookies, you'll be downloading content as seen by a user who is not logged-in, so no Reply links, for example.

(Moved message from the contest thread where it didn't belong)

im still finalizing what the plugins will be able to do and hope to have an api in about a week.  they will be able to do several things - suggest results, affect scoring, take over actions on results, and even use the output window for arbitrary display of info.

One great piece of functionality would be to let plugins search against sources other than the filesystem. I once started a project I called Sling; the idea was to scan for matching executable "items" much like FARR does, except I wanted to scan for anything that was vaguely executable. I.e. not only files, but also Firefox bookmarks, telephone numbers stored in my PhoneDeck addressbook (or Outllok contacts), etc. That project never made it out of planning, but I would still love to have FARR run against my Firefox bookmarks. If the plugin API supported that, I'd try writing that plugin.

This has potential issues - in all likelihood it would not be as fast as FARR's "native" operation. Also, you might need to expose something like an IExecutable interface, since FARR cannot possibly know how to execute everything a plugin might find as a match for user's input. (Or just delegate launching the matching item to the plugin).

What can a FARR plugin do? COuldn't find anything about plugins in the current version help. Mouser, could I try the latest dev release? I'd like to make a suggestion or two, mostly regarding the UI, but don't want to speak about a version that's going to become obsoleted soon.

Silly me, of course!

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