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YaBB SE Community  |  Development  |  Portal Discussion  |  Topic: What makes a good portal « previous next »
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Coyote
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What makes a good portal
« on: January 20, 2003, 05:17:08 PM »
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Hi Guys,

Im trying to stimulate some ideas here...... to help this section along ;)

1) What makes a good portal?

2) Im getting a little fed up with portal styles that looklike the  php/postnuke style. (I only know of one that doesnt look this way ;) Hi Darren!)

What are your thoughts on this?

3) More and more, I am thinking that its not really a portal that people are after, but a hybrid of a portal and CMS system.

I know its a thin line between the two, but hopefully you know what I mean.

4) What features are missing from existing portals?

That should be enough for now :)








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Michele
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2003, 06:21:48 PM »
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So what's the difference between a portal and a CMS?
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Chris Cromer
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2003, 06:24:44 PM »
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A portal is a CMS. CMS stands for content management system, which YaPP(Yet another PHP Portal) is.

Portal = CMS. :)

Oh, and I used YaPP as an example only because it has the name portal in it.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2003, 06:25:20 PM by Chris Cromer » Logged

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Coyote
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2003, 06:27:35 PM »
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forgive me if im wrong but my idea of a content management system, is a little more advanced than a portal.

A CMS should have mor indepth features for management of information - things like, writers, editors, publishers etc...

A 'typical' portal has only one layer of management.


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Michele
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2003, 06:32:08 PM »
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A portal is a CMS. CMS stands for content management system, which YaPP(Yet another PHP Portal) is.

Portal = CMS. :)


That's what I thought too... unless coyote is thinking of a portal as just a wraparound for a forum, where you add all the links/features yourself, while a CMS is package that may/may not include forums, but has a lot of pre-built modules?

What I'd like to see is a full CMS incorporating a lot of features, including YaBB SE. Blocks, pages with php code, downloads, articles, faqs, web links, calendar, user-selectable themes, menu management (combined into one), and one that still works with most add-on mods for YaBB SE. :)

Have fun, Mad Moya
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2003, 06:41:25 PM »
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This is a portal.
http://www.ibforums.nl/

This is a CMS.
http://typo3.com/
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Coyote
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2003, 06:43:36 PM »
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Yep

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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2003, 07:16:11 PM »
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That is correct, a CMS is so much much more in depth. These things, even the nukes are just portals.

I currently work with a "real" CMS at work. They are extremely powerful but not always the most user friendly :)
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mephisto_kur
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2003, 02:05:50 AM »
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Good portal?
As close to full integration with the backend (in this case, YaBBSE) as possible.

Personally, I think that rolling YaPP into the main YaBBSE code would be the best of the above options.  The best YaBBSE portal supported by the best YaBBSE Developers (the YaBBSE team itself) is ideal.  Especially since YaPP is splitting off from YaBBSE entirely, leaving many of us with abandoned code....
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mephisto_kur
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2003, 02:07:07 AM »
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Chris, how about blanket permission to migrate your YaBBSE mods to YaPP?  I would rather have your blessing than continue to modify your code without it.
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Chris Cromer
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2003, 02:46:01 AM »
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As long as you give me proper credit, sure go ahead.
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mephisto_kur
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2003, 10:10:59 AM »
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Great!   ;D
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Michele
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2003, 12:12:41 PM »
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Now if we could convince the YaBB SE Dev Team of that, it'd be great. But aren't they already working on their own portal with YaBB SE2?

And if they did integrate it (say into 1.5.2 or something), it would take them a month (or several months) before they felt confident enough of the code to actually release it with YaBB SE. After all, they have to support YaBB SE, and if there's a lot of code in there they didn't write (YaPP), they'd have a bit of trouble.

Also, if it's fully integrated, what about folks using YaBB SE now with their own portals, or their own code wrapped around, or modded another portal to work with YaBB? How would they be able to upgrade to the next YaBB without destroying their site (or the guys writing a ton of converters)?

I think that for now, it's fine as a mod (albeit a rather large one). Now if the YaBB SE Dev Team takes the best of YaPP and integrates it into YaBB SE2, then we'd all have a winner on our hands! :)

Have fun, MM
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irbrian
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2003, 12:30:04 AM »
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I'm glad I found this discussion, because I've been thinking over this issue for months.

To clarify some of the above, YaPP and other portals still qualify as Content Management Systems. The term CMS is very broad, and covers many different methods of managing content.

Below are the three most common I know of:



Portals

By far the most common, portals are pretty much just for people who want a site up and running quickly, without having to do any work. Thus they are One-Size-Fits-All and very difficult to customize beyond the simplest template modifications; they almost always maintain their blocky, cluttered appearance (I say cluttered, but usually that cluttered appearance is due in large part to the requisite weblog/newsfeed on the front page).

Unfortunately, many (maybe even most) portals defeat their own purpose by being far too complex for inexperienced users. Luckily there are a few out there that are simple to use -- I don't know if YaPP is among them, because I haven't tried it, but given the pick-up-and-go nature of YaBB SE, I would suspect it's among the more straightforward of its kind.

Publishing Systems

A step up from portals, so to speak, publishing systems usually have a relatively customizable interface, but their structure is strictly based on the publishing of articles in a very ordered fashion. Their structure, then, is not so customizable as their visual style. Nevertheless they have their place, and are very useful for those who publish informational or entertaining content online.

In my research, I have found very few publishing systems that fall into the Open Source or Freeware categories; and those that do are generally (but not always) of mediocre quality. Furthermore, they are usually no simpler to install or maintain than the more complex varieties of portals.

CMS

Why do I list CMS here, when it is supposedly the overarching category all of these product varieties fit into? Because there is a third type of Content Management System that can only be defined as such. It is 100% open-ended and flexible. It can be made to support whatever kind of web presence its administrator desires; from the simplest welcome page (think mid 90's, when tiled backgrounds and frames were new and cool) to the most vast and powerful storefront and customer management solution.

I call this a True CMS, for the fact that it is nothing more nor less than its name intends: A System that Manages the Content of your site, and allows you to handle the design, the interface, and so on.

This is the product I have been searching for. And I have found it on many occasions, but two problems invariably bar me from using them: Either it's too expensive, or it's too complex. Or both.

In fact, I have only seen ONE FREE OR OPEN SOURCE "TRUE CMS" in all my months of dedicated searching. I regret to say that I only found it tonight, when David kindly pointed it out to me in his above post. :)

I admit that with some reluctance, in fact, which I'll explain in a moment. I've been playing with the Typo3 demo site tonight and find that it has much of what I've been looking for: an open-ended, customizable structure, even down to the login screen. :)

But while I'd recommend the product to anybody based on my 20 minutes of playing with the demo, I've discovered a couple of downsides to the product as well, which I actually expected to find.

First, it's still somewhat more complex than I'd like. Not overly so, mind you -- but enough that it would put off new users at first, and slow them down in getting their site running as they like. No less complex than your average publishing system, I should think, and probably a bit more. I haven't tried installing it yet so I don't know how difficult it is to get running.

Secondly, as far I can tell, it's STILL not quite as customizable as I would hope, or at least in the ways that I would hope. It seems that the product still locks you into a particular structure to a degree.

And I can't be sure just how easy it would be to integrate another product, like YaBB SE for example, or to modify the code. Or to change the layout and appearance of the site for that matter. I find most of these products don't have a template-based system like YaBB SE does; they require you to edit everything from the layout down to the colors through the built in management tools. It appears that this is such a system, but I could be wrong.



So, now that I've given you my idea of what a True CMS is, I'll finally get to the point:

I'm building my own. Don't groan yet -- I assure you this will be like nothing you've ever seen. I can't go into great detail yet because there are certain issues that have yet to be finalized.

I wish I could say a lot more but I've probably already said too much. :) It is still being discussed. But I am confident that eventually there will be a True CMS worthy of sharing part of its heritage with YaBB SE.



Now quit reading my long-winded post and go install YaPP or EZtarch or ttCMS or CyberCMS. You've got to have something worth playing with in the meantime, after all! ;D

In no way do I intend to suggest that the above CMSs, or any number of others, are not high quality products. In fact I think highly of the four I've mentioned, so far as portals go. They are among the simplest to use considering the amount of flexibility they offer, and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a portal solution. Thank you for your attention.
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Coyote
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Re:What makes a good portal
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2003, 03:20:43 AM »
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Hi Irbrian,

It looks like we are searching for the same thing ;)

I installed typo3 a week or two ago on a windows box running apache & PHP (my work pc).

I had the demo up and running within 15 minutes. Although I feel that there is a very steep learning curve to customise it. Its something that I would probably play with over quite some period of time.

Im not sure if it will help you in your project, but www.evolt.org has an excellent tutorial on the design and basics of a CMS/publishing system - I think its in about 6 parts - but well worth reading.

Good luck.
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