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  1. #1
    Senior Member mossoi's Avatar
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    Hi guys,

    The CMS I've been working on for a while is nearly ready to go.

    I've set up a test installation with a generic login so that you can take a look at the administration and try adding new content.

    It would be great if you could have a play and let me know if there are any problems or things that don't work how you'd like them to. Also if you've got any ideas for extra features or ways to improve useability.

    Once it's finished it will be freely available for download and personal use.

    The test installation is here: www.lobsterweb.com

    Login: Test User
    Password: playground

    The User Admin functions look like they work but they've been disabled while the site is open to everyone.

    The About page and comment admin are also non functioning and the RSS feed isn't turned on (for obvious reasons ). Everything else should be up and running (I think!).

    Thanks.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Brak's Avatar
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    1. Comments admin redirects to homepage (from manage articles)

    2. No subcategories

    3. Any support for humane text editing? (Markdown, Textile, BBcode, etc)

    Those are just some quick notes, although there's really not that much there.

    To be honest... I don't see any advantages of it. The CMS market is filled beyond belief. You need to have some edge... be it simplicity, features, or something unique - unfortunately this one doesn't seem to have any.

    Also, it seems like your approach to article management seems a bit cookie-cutter-ish. It's very hard to overcome this and step back and think how users are going to use the CMS. With a lot of work you could get something useful, but until then - unfortunately - it's categorized in 'just another cms'

    Another thing to note is that your administrative interface needs a lot of work. It's not intuitive at all.. it's built like a person who wrote the code would write it (duh) and not from a user's perspective. Interface design is difficult, perhaps the most difficult design out there. It's something I think you should really work on.

    So, there's my comments, be them a bit dissapointing I'm sure from all the hard work. I don't mean to belitte you, your skills, or your effort - it's just that you've got to have an exceptional product to break into such a saturated market.
    Kyle Neath: Rockstar extraordinare
    The blog | The poetry site | The Spore site

  4. #3
    Senior Member jbagley's Avatar
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    Very cool Mossoi. I gave it a test run and all seems fine. Is this CMS something you are going to sell?

  5. #4
    Senior Member jbagley's Avatar
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    mmm, I havent really played around with CMS's before, So I cant really help out here as much as Brak has done. But on the positive, everything works! :classic:

  6. #5
    Senior Member mossoi's Avatar
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    Comments admin redirects to homepage (from manage articles)
    Read my original post Brak, you're the mod, I shouldn't be telling you this. (You've hit on one of my pet forum hates, hence the curt response).
    No subcategories
    Yep. That's because I don't want subcategories. The application is aimed at the non-technical user. It comes with an installer and is meant to provide a platform for small article sites to get straight into writing articles. It can be added in a few minutes if it's ever needed.
    Any support for humane[human] text editing? (Markdown, Textile, BBcode, etc)
    It supports certain, allowed HTML tags ATM.
    With a lot of work you could get something useful, but until then - unfortunately - it's categorized in 'just another cms
    This is the beginning of the project - work and improvements will happen.
    Cookie-cutter'ish...non-intuitive...
    Can you be more specific, that doesn't really help much.
    So, there's my comments, be them a bit dissapointing I'm sure from all the hard work. I don't mean to belitte you, your skills, or your effort - it's just that you've got to have an exceptional product to break into such a saturated market.
    I'm not actually trying to break into the CMS market per se, there's another reason behind developing this.
    I don't feel belittled or disappointed as you're looking at this from completely the opposite angle to myself. I do question your understanding of how these things work though. Most of the things you've pointed out are minor changes to the design and front-end, nothing that I'm going to lose sleep about as they can be changed in 5 minutes dependant on user feedback (hence this thread).

    Apologies if this response seems a little strong but I don't think your intention was to help out in any way. The idea of my posting was to find out how to improve what's there not be told what isn't there and get sweeping statements with no examples.

  7. #6
    Senior Member mossoi's Avatar
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    jbagley, thanks for taking a look.

    I'm not going to sell the CMS directly, it will be freely distributed under the GNU license. I have plans to sell web design services using the CMS as the foundation where we build a site to smoothly include the CMS. Essentially it's a way of offering a little something more to potential clients.

    It's all firmly in the realm of the hobby at the moment though. I don't do this sort of thing for a living and I'm not sure I would like to. Time will tell...

  8. #7
    Senior Member justlivyalife's Avatar
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    I like it! I've got a few suggestions and points, however!
    • In the administration home, a quick description of what you can do in each section after the link would be nice, though once you know it is okay, but I quite like the sound of that, eg:
      "Article Management - edit or publish articles, manage comments"
      Something like that?
    • Comments - I'd like to be able to turn comments on/off on particular items? Is this possible at the moment, if not I'd like to suggest that.
    • I don't like how the copyright notice at the bottom is all in caps - can that be changed?
    • I like the search function, very good!

    Overall I like it, it is clean and easy to navigate in my opinion and quite simple to understand (after just 10 minutes of browsing). The help seems good from what is already there! Good luck and keep working hard

    Edit: Does the site come with any preinstalled styles - will this be changeable by the admin, or on a user-by-user basis - can new styles be installed/deleted quickly and easily?
    justlivyalife - The future depends on what we do in the present. (Mahatma Gandhi)
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  9. #8
    Senior Member mossoi's Avatar
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    Thanks justlivyalifeyalifelivejustdoit,

    I've been toying with the idea of adding a description to the admin options. I'll see what other people recommend and go with the majority.

    You will be able to turn comments on and off for each article. The admin panel for that isn't quite finished.

    You can change the copyright notice through the stylesheet quite easily. You can also change the entire style of the site by changing that one file - take a look at www.justdan.co.uk.

    There are several skins available which can be chosen by the admin rather than the user, I've turned the option off for this test though. There is also an option to add your own CSS file to the site through the admin panel so you can customise as far as you want.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Brak's Avatar
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    mossoi>> My point was the comments admin weren't disabled as the about page is - it simply redirects. The about page comes up with a permission denied error (correct) while clicking comments admin sends me to site homepage.

    As for non-intuitive, have a look at Scriv's post on interface design: http://9rules.com/whitespace/design_...age_design.php may clear up some of what I'm hinting at. Mostly, the admin should most definately not look like the rest of the site. As for cookie-cutterish, again I mean that it doesn't seem to allow for different types of websites (which inevitably is the reason for CMS's). It seems to offer the old post-per-category thing. There's no support for custom fields or plugins - two essential items in a CMS (especially an open source one)
    Kyle Neath: Rockstar extraordinare
    The blog | The poetry site | The Spore site

  11. #10
    Senior Member mossoi's Avatar
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    Thanks for clarifying.

    I understand the point about making the admin look suitably different from the rest of the site and that's something I'm going to address (thanks for the link) although I'm not sure it's counter-intuitive in it's current format. I was racking my brain to see how Add An Article and Delete could be anymore obvious.

    It is currently at the post/category stage for two reasons. Firstly, it's aimed at people who don't want to have to configure much. Secondly, other options are going to be added as modules over time, again to keep things simple and also because we need to get a stable version of the basics before we start adding new things.

    To quote one member of our target audience:

    "I hate wordpress because it is too bloated with optional stuff - the same with mambo and others".

    The idea is to get people into the site with the minimum of fuss and then they can add extras as and when they want.

    The majority of clients want a website so that they can gain a web presence and couldn't give a toss about added extras and stuff like that. Remove the obstacles between writing and publishing and they will be happier.

    From personal experience with a lot of the bigger CMS's I've found that often you need to add a category, then a sub-category, then the aricle, then configure how you want the sub-category to display within the category (but only after you've decided on how you want the article to display within the sub-category). Then you can start removing all the downloads and links and shoutboxes and calendars that you really don't want.

    K.I.S.S. is something that web designers are finally taking note of. It's a shame that things like Nuke are still widespread.

    Code:
    As for cookie-cutterish, again I mean that it doesn't seem to allow for different types of websites (which inevitably is the reason for CMS's).
    It's not inevitable at all. A CMS is a way to manage content - different CMS's have different scopes. It's up to the user to find one they are comfortable with. A few conversations with people over 40 soon makes one realise quite how little most of them actually want to change on a website and quite how infuriating "Information Overload" is.


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