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Author Topic: Just a thought  (Read 3624 times)

nukpana

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Just a thought
« on: January 28, 2010, 02:19:06 PM »

Today on slashdot, I read an article about a developer trying to spread the word about thier project.  One issue is that they don't have a thriving community (much like this project as it stands today). The first comment interested me based on something someone said recently...

http://ask.slashdot.org/story/10/01/27/2151230/How-To-Spread-Word-About-My-FOSS-Project

First comment :

...
Your #1 potential mistake today: feature creep. Don't think that if only you added this one more feature, the crowds would come. If anything, try to simplify things :-)

Nuff said

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Keyrocks

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2010, 04:18:10 PM »

Today on slashdot, I read an article about a developer trying to spread the word about thier project.  One issue is that they don't have a thriving community (much like this project as it stands today). The first comment interested me ...... Your #1 potential mistake today: feature creep. Don't think that if only you added this one more feature, the crowds would come. If anything, try to simplify things :-)

Nuff said

Trying to guess what your thought - "Nuff said" - means is probably not a good idea but... having a few minutes to ponder this post... I will assume you are "thinking" that 'someone' should be doing something to build a thriving community for sNews... and that "simplifying things" rather than adding more features to sNews would be one way to build that thriving community.

My assumption then causes me to add this thought...
We've discussed this very topic a few times over the past couple years and it seems we always come to the same conclusion... that it's up to the domain owner and copyright holder (of sNews) to provide direction. Until that happens, the sNews Community will be what it is... an informal place where sNews users can interact, share and advance their own projects at their own speed.
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nukpana

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2010, 11:48:00 PM »

The post was in response to the rewrite of (the currently unknown state of) sNews 2.0 to the fact that if it is to stick to it's roots, then it should be a toolset/framework for people to build websites with.  A simple and easy tool to use. More akin to the fact, that it should be easier to add features instead of releasing it with tons of features.

I found it coincidental/ironic that the slashdot post appeared the next day of an earlier conversation.

I'm not losing sleep myself.  My opinion is that, in my head what 2.0 should look like and if I recall what Luka stated it to be too, people shouldn't expect too much. 

Perhaps the reason why people request more and more features is because it is not as easy to add them? Not arguing just thinking out loud.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 12:12:56 AM by nukpana »
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Keyrocks

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2010, 02:20:30 AM »

Perhaps the reason why people request more and more features is because it is not as easy to add them? Not arguing just thinking out loud.

Here's my 2 cents on that one (also thinking, but not out loud)... Simple anser... YES. I think the reason people request more features is because they want to just be able to install sNews and have it do what they need without having to do all the modification work themselves. Most people are not 'scratch-builders' by nature... they want a "Plug & Play" solution, not a "geek" challenge.

Ideally, more users would be attracted to a simple CMS that they can install and have it run within 10 minutes without any technical knowledge. After that, they'd like to be able to visit a page or two on this site where they can pick any number of modules from a long list of offerings, download them, upload them to their sNews server, access the Admin panel, switch the module on, and start using it right away... "Plug & Play". I believe... (more quiet thinking) that sNews will become more popular and have a more robust community if it ever reaches that stage.

As you might remember... I did eventually manage to get a 'prototype' method of auto-detecting modules worked out for 1.6 with this 1.6 Modules Project last October. I think you asked me to share it but, at the time, I didn't wish to because I hadn't had time to clean up the files and refine it some more. It uses more queries... and I know you and Joost don't like using more queries... more is less... and all that... so that's that.

I still haven't done any more with it (other projects taking a higher priority) but it is the closest anyone has come yet to a modules system for sNews. Hmmm... I haven't visited that project for a while... it seems 11 of 17 visitors who stumbled upon it voted in favour of a modular sNews. That might be a clue.  :-\
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nukpana

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2010, 02:53:10 AM »

Ideally, yes.  Maintain simplicity, expandability and ease of use for all users/developers (front and backend).  If I recall is originally what Luka wanted - a central repository for mods to be installed through the admin from snewscms.com. This will help sNews devs to maintain an API that never changes for any version, devs to write mods that don't have to worry about the base code changing from release to release and users that can expect not reimplementing the same mods or bugging people to rewrite for the newer version.

Now, will a 1.8 version come close? Yes, but it will still fail. If more than 50% of users want a modular/plugin system then a 1.8 that doesn't allow this will automatically fail because it is not what the users want and since the structure will change (again) none of the mods will be compatible making a 1.8 version more of a failure.  The code presented already is a way of optimizing from 1.7 but in thinking, should a 1.8 version even be done?

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Keyrocks

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2010, 03:27:37 PM »

If more than 50% of users want a modular/plugin system then a 1.8 that doesn't allow this will automatically fail because it is not what the users want and since the structure will change (again) none of the mods will be compatible making a 1.8 version more of a failure.  The code presented already is a way of optimizing from 1.7 but in thinking, should a 1.8 version even be done?

This is a good question, the same one I had a whole back when we first considered starting on a 1.8 project... because I really didn't see it as being a practical exercise if there were not 'vivible' improvements to sNews. I figure that if Users don't actually see and experience new improvements that make using sNews more convenient... and they have to go through precarious database changes to keep their existing data intact, then they won't be interested in moving up to the next version. They will simply keep running with what they have because it's working.

For these reasons, I've always figured it would be better to focus on building sNews 2.0 and leave the current platform behind as it is.

Ideally, yes.  Maintain simplicity, expandability and ease of use for all users/developers (front and backend).  If I recall is originally what Luka wanted - a central repository for mods to be installed through the admin from snewscms.com.

The main reason we haven't been able to start on sNews 2.0 is, of course, because Luka took the lead on it last year and was going to provide us with a new core to work from. As it stands, Luka is not able to provide us with that. So... (without being negative towards Luka) I think we should get used to the fact that sNews 2.0 will never materialize unless someone else develops the new core upon which sNews 2.0 will grow and prosper.

This will help sNews devs to maintain an API that never changes for any version, devs to write mods that don't have to worry about the base code changing from release to release and users that can expect not reimplementing the same mods or bugging people to rewrite for the newer version.

I agree. However, developing an Application Programming Interface (API) is no simple task. We're talking about building a Platform... consisting of several complete applications. When I think of applications in the sNews 2.0 Platform... I'm thinking the Platform must be exapandable so that it could - in time - have up to five applications (engines) for (1) blogs, (2) news (articles system), (3) files management, (4) photo galleries and (eventually) (5) a simple yet flexible forums system... all available with one installation. The first three would essentially provide the same general functionality as sNews 1.6 & 1.7 have (with some improvements), and the last two would add versatility.

A good API system might also include a Theming system (with panels to change text, background colors, add background images to header, body and footer, etc), a Membership system, and maybe even a Mail Gateway with mail list support. And the Files Management engine would provide a centralized way to upload and store several types of files... but it might also provide an easy way to attache files in all content.

Moving to a Platform like this would require a significant change in our (collective) philosophy or 'Guidelines' in terms of what sNews would be. Developing a true API would require a lot more code that we are used to having. Before even starting, there needs to be a lot of thought put into what core features would be included. And it will need a superior tagging system that pulls it all together.

I don't know about you, but all of this is above my level of capability.  :)
« Last Edit: February 01, 2010, 03:30:53 PM by Keyrocks »
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nukpana

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 01:17:04 PM »

Well, it is a wonder why I pursued the 1.8 version since most of the team decided for 2.0 anyway.  If I recall someone (Joost maybe?) noted that 2.0 may not be accomplished with this team and to focus on 1.8 - voice of reason I don't know.  

Quote
this would require a significant change in our (collective) philosophy or 'Guidelines' in terms of what sNews would be. Developing a true API would require a lot more code that we are used to having. Before even starting, there needs to be a lot of thought put into what core features would be included.

It wouldn't have to be more code, it would be less code and structured. A few functions and maybe a few classes (yes OOP - re-read what is being said and read this and tell me as a platform, as you call it, this wouldn't be a additional solution?).  
Quote
sNews is a simple, basic, customizable CMS tool suitable for developers with beginner-to-advanced PHP skills.

How I read this, it is a tool, not a complete CMS for PHP developers. If part of that spec is to cater to front end developers as well, then the core shouldn't output (almost) any HTML so front end devs can customize the outputted content as they see fit.

What sNews would be, based on the above, wouldn't change.  The how-to changes.

Bob said it best here: sNews is a base to build upon.
(I must note I do disagree about OOP statement. Bob, your knowledge and expertise could help define 2.0 better as a core moving forward.)

Simple. Let's not overcomplicate things.

Core features (if you want) would be simple - Pages, Login, Plugins, Templates (, Extras maybe).

Quote
We're talking about building a Platform... consisting of several complete applications
In the bigger picture, perhaps. But you have to start small to get to that level.  We can't start sprinting before we walk out of the house.

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Keyrocks

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2010, 06:43:55 PM »

It wouldn't have to be more code, it would be less code and structured. A few functions and maybe a few classes (yes OOP - re-read what is being said and read this and tell me as a platform, as you call it, this wouldn't be a additional solution?).
 

What Joost decribes here is the approach used by numerous well-matured application development firms, particularly those that build ASP.NET products, such as Telligent (I'm currently working with their CS2008.5 SP2 product for a national client). As a developer, you never get to see the actual core engine code but you get to work at the 'Junior' level... using their custom tags which provide endless configuration possibilities.

Quote
sNews is a simple, basic, customizable CMS tool suitable for developers with beginner-to-advanced PHP skills.

How I read this, it is a tool, not a complete CMS for PHP developers. If part of that spec is to cater to front end developers as well, then the core shouldn't output (almost) any HTML so front end devs can customize the outputted content as they see fit.
What sNews would be, based on the above, wouldn't change.  The how-to changes.

That "Quote" kind of evolved over a period of time starting with an original statement I tossed into the mix when we were first creating the content for snewscms.com (before it went public). It was stated for one purpose only... to advise visitors that they ought to have beginner-to-advanced PHP skills before taking the plunge with sNews as a website engine. It was not meant to 'brand' sNews in any particular way for any particular market. Howver, note that it did say sNews is a "customizalbe CMS tool"... which means it is a CMS that we can use as a tool to build a more versatile CMS. Maybe "tool" was not the best word to use.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 05:09:29 AM by Keyrocks »
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nukpana

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2010, 01:51:01 PM »

@ Doug, even if you noted that tool may not have been the best wording, Bob notes sNews and being a base to build upon and the front page of the website is stating this to be a Developers Tool (in bold I may add).  The definition is already set. So, back to the beginning, the definition of sNews has always been set and just needs to be applied for 2.0.  The concept is simple. The how-to may not be but...

@Bob, I noted before if there is a solution to a problem, that would be benifical using OOP, then use it.  I am all for keeping sNews simple as well but for everyone not just beginner PHP coder -- take a look at function articles or comments and tell me a beginner won't cringe, then take a look at a beginner IMO, Sven who just wants a permalink without writing 30 lines of code (whether or not he is joking or not about 30 lines of code, there is a bit in truth that it is difficult at time to get stuff in the sNews codebase).
 
Perhaps the definition of what a PHP beginner developer looks like and the extent of what they know differs between you and me.  A developer would know the basic syntax, yes, but would also know what OOP looks like, among other things (structure and design). Hell, I noted here Javascript 101 is OOP and that covers a good majority of us here (we all know document.write(), right?).  

http://www.php.net/manual/en/language.oop5.php
This comes after Functions in the PHP manual, I can't think anyone would miss this.

Irregardless, what Joost notes as a structured development is exactly what I am talking about regarding the rewrite.  If the beginner developer is the target audience, then they just need to know what the functions/methods are and what they spit out and develop from there.  No one should be editing the core files/functions at all.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 01:58:34 PM by nukpana »
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Sven

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2010, 02:31:05 PM »

(...) then take a look at a beginner IMO, Sven who just wants a permalink without writing 30 lines of code (whether or not he is joking or not about 30 lines of code, there is a bit in truth that it is difficult at time to get stuff in the sNews codebase).(...)
Soon 3 years with sNews and still a beginner. :o :D ;D ;)

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2010, 03:08:57 PM »

(...) then take a look at a beginner IMO, Sven who just wants a permalink without writing 30 lines of code (whether or not he is joking or not about 30 lines of code, there is a bit in truth that it is difficult at time to get stuff in the sNews codebase).(...)
Soon 3 years with sNews and still a beginner. :o :D ;D ;)

You can't go wrong with sNewbie, a one file content management system:

Code: [Select]
<?php

$header_title 
'Blog de Philippe';
$title 'Je suis Philippe.';
$txt 'Je suis rédacteur et fume une pipe.';



if(
$_GET) {

 If(
$_GET['maman'] === '' ) {
$header_title 'Page de maman';
$title 'Je suis mama<strong>n</strong>.';
$txt 'Je suis mama<strong>n</strong> et pipe papa.';
 } else { 
header('HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found');
$title $txt $header_title 'Not Found';
 }
}

$link $_SERVER['SCRIPT_NAME'];

 
?>

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<title><?php echo $header_title ;?></title>

</head>
<body>
<div>
<a href="<?php echo $link ;?>">Philippe</a> <a href="<?php echo $link ;?>?maman">Maman</a>
<h2><?php echo $title ;?></h2>
<p><?php echo $txt ;?></p>
</div>
</body>
</html>



Copy/paste the code into a file having an php extension, upload it to the server and you're ready to go.
System requirement: PHP 2
« Last Edit: February 06, 2010, 02:46:19 PM by Joost »
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Sven

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2010, 03:29:40 PM »

Snewbie Do?
It rocks!
 ;D

nukpana

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Re: Just a thought
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2010, 06:18:59 PM »

lol Joost. Thanks (indirectly) for putting things in perspective.

I'm backing off on the discussion for 1.8, 2.0, whatever until it happens.  Gotta go to to bed now and then when I wake, I will build me up a server
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