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#11 2005-10-28 05:38:34

maniqui
Moderator
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2004-10-10
Posts: 2,975
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Re: [wiki] Documentation: "Clearly beneficial to many users"

Few weeks ago, I felt a similar feeling of frustration, similar to the frustration that billdale post above.

In that time, I was trying to learn how to use Drupal.

I already was in love with TXP (true eternal love since 2004-10-10) but I wanted to learn another CMS, just in case, because some clients would prefer it (specially for the integrated forum), and also I wanted to try Drupal, find out what Drupal was.

I spent many hours reading, testing, learning, failing, testing, reading, lot of Firefox windows, each one plenty full of tabs, trying to read and learn from lot of resources at the same time, and at the same time, testing and failing, and sometimes also having success.
Three weeks of pain and frustration. Really, I think I tried it and must admit I failed.

Finally, <a href=“http://drupal.org/node/34007”>I gave up. Drupal wasnt for me</a>. This is a link to a thread in the Drupal forums where I explained my painful experience with Drupal, trying to be constructive with my critics to Drupal. It is easy to read, and I also talked a bit about TXP in the final sentences.
I received a lot of feedback from Drupal users, with ideas very similar to those that Zem and Mary posted above in this thread.

Now, I felt shame, because before posting that in Drupal forum, I had asked just one question in Drupal forums. :S (well, one more than billdale, that posted 0 questions before this thread :D )

I think frustation also came because I didnt feel like I wanted to be part of Drupal community. I dont know why.

Also, in my mind, I was all the time comparing Drupal with TXP, and blaspheming myself (and Drupal) because my incapacity to get the logic behind Drupal.
It was very hard to make “insights” in the understanding of Drupal.

The truth is that the most useful information and documentation about Drupal, I didnt find it at Drupal site or Drupal forums. I founded it at <a href=“http://bryght.com/”>Bryght</a>.
Drupal is older than TXP and its documentation is really a mess. Headaches!

After three weeks of pure frustration, I decided to come back to the warm arms of TXP :D
I posted a thread (<a href=“http://forum.textpattern.com/viewtopic.php?id=12001”>TXP sí, Drupal no!</a>) in the spanish forum of TXP.
I received some feedback from <a href=“http://forum.textpattern.com/profile.php?id=734”>nardo</a>, and he gave me this words:
Horses for courses.

Sometimes, with each piece of software (and particulary with open-source software and the communities behind) you have to fall in love, not always from the begining of the relation.
Not every software out there is for everyone.

I just wanted to say that I can understand billdale’s feelings and points.
Billdale, I can say to you what people in drupal forums said to me: I hope you give Drupal another try.
So, I hope you give TXP another try, if you feel like it deserves the effort.

Finally, I suggest you billdale that you should read http://moae.org/txp/ (if you didnt read it already).
It was one of my firsts approach when trying to have “insights” with the logic behind TXP.

Thanks <small>and please excuse my poor english in this post</small>.

Last edited by maniqui (2005-10-28 05:46:26)


La música ideas portará y siempre continuará

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#12 2005-10-28 06:05:53

Mary
Sock Enthusiast
From: Canada
Registered: 2004-06-27
Posts: 6,235

Re: [wiki] Documentation: "Clearly beneficial to many users"

aesop: this was a feature request, I moved it here…


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#13 2005-10-28 07:22:26

ubernostrum
Member
From: Lawrence, KS
Registered: 2004-05-05
Posts: 238
Website

Re: [wiki] Documentation: "Clearly beneficial to many users"

It’s a tough issue. A lot of Textpattern’s “early adopters”, as most early adopters of this sort of software are, were people who either designed and built websites professionally or as a serious hobby, and could be expected to be fairly knowledgeable and figure a lot of things out on their own or to read what little documentation existed and make sense of it.

Now, though, and I don’t mean to offend anyone with this, TXP is starting to be used by people who are coming at it from never having built a site before, or from only having used WYSIWYG editors or pre-built out-of-the-box systems. And Textpattern is neither WYSIWYG nor a “just take it out of the box” system (unless you like the default templates, that is, and I don’t know too many people who do), which creates a need for good, ultra-basic documentation.

And the docs just haven’t gotten there yet; the wiki, for example, is a great resource for developers, because its best and most thorough sections are the ones which are of interest to people who can quickly figure out how TXP works from clicking around in it, and just want things like a tag reference. A lot of this could be helped by a section in the wiki that just says “I’m new and don’t know anything about Textpattern, HTML or CSS, how do I do this?” And I’m as guilty as anyone for the absence of such a section, because I’ve had an account on the wiki forever and I’ve only ever contributed a couple things to it, most of which are almost certainly out of date by now.

So… new TextBook section for “clueless n00bs”, maybe? If we could get a couple of wiki authors together to write it, it could probably be done in a weekend or so. Who’s in?


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#14 2005-10-28 07:35:29

Mary
Sock Enthusiast
From: Canada
Registered: 2004-06-27
Posts: 6,235

Re: [wiki] Documentation: "Clearly beneficial to many users"

Wouldn’t really help, as I said elsewhere: people seem to be afraid of the wiki, so I don’t know that adding a new section would help any, except sit empty like some of the others. I’m hoping things like this will motivate more contributions. I think people get the idea that you have to submit a novel or comprehensive guide if they contribute anything at all, so we first gotta work on breaking these misconceptions.

I was actually planning on making a video tutorial series, but that fell apart when I discovered the only free tools that’ll let you do that are well… not very good. Pay for ones either look worse than the free, or they look great but are more than my wallet can handle at the moment.


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#15 2005-10-28 07:54:10

maniqui
Moderator
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Registered: 2004-10-10
Posts: 2,975
Website

Re: [wiki] Documentation: "Clearly beneficial to many users"

<blockquote> Now, though, and I don’t mean to offend anyone with this, TXP is starting to be used by people who are coming at it from never having built a site before, or from only having used WYSIWYG editors or pre-built out-of-the-box systems.</blockquote>

Hey!!! This remembered me some text that was in textpattern.com/deanload/ and seems that it has been removed (when? why?)!

It was a nice “warning” message to scare newbies. It said something like this:

“For using this thing (TXP), you need skills in (X)HTML and CSS…”

or am I “sending fruit”? (“to send fruit”, “mandar fruta” in spanish (argentina), means… mmm… dont know how to translate it…)

Last edited by maniqui (2005-10-29 03:38:00)


La música ideas portará y siempre continuará

TXP Builders – finely-crafted code, design and txp

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#16 2005-10-28 08:11:21

ubernostrum
Member
From: Lawrence, KS
Registered: 2004-05-05
Posts: 238
Website

Re: [wiki] Documentation: "Clearly beneficial to many users"

I was pulling from SVN for a long time, so I don’t think I ever saw the message in deanload. It’s not a bad idea, though, to state up-front what people need to know to get the most out of TXP; it’s a great application, and light-years ahead of other CMS software in ease and flexibility, but you still need at least a passing familiarity with XHTML and CSS to use it effectively.

Mary: I see your point. But I do remember that once upon a time Remillard’s “TXP 101” was a great little series of articles that did a lot to help new folks learn their way around Textpattern. That’s really what I was thinking of with the “clueless n00b” documentation. I think some people are going to shy away from any documentation provided (you can lead a user to the answer, but you can’t make him think), though, and that’s frustrating to deal with. Some days I want to just go through the “How do I…” forum and answer everything with “stop now and hire a professional to deal with this for you”…

(In fact, the unofficial motto of a hosting company I do a lot of work with is “We deal with CPAN so you don’t have to”; a while back I proposed getting together a list of design and development professionals who were fluent with TXP, and that might be even more of a good idea today than it was then)


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#17 2005-10-28 10:46:59

Destry
Moderator
From: Strasbourg, France
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 2,348
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Re: [wiki] Documentation: "Clearly beneficial to many users"

I think there were two big things being hovered over here: One was the more global issue of open-source documentation in general (interesting, but not immediately relevent). The other, and more worthwhile, is the state of documentation for Textpattern.

I would like everyone to think about how we can make TextBook better, in a no-holds barred way, and post your replies in here, TextBook Issues….

Basically we want to find what is wrong, how can we get TextBook back on track to being what it originally set out to do. It’s come a long way, but it’s only the foundation; like mary said, it needs walls.

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#18 2005-10-28 14:15:10

ramanan
Plugin Author
From: Toronto
Registered: 2004-03-12
Posts: 322
Website

Re: [wiki] Documentation: "Clearly beneficial to many users"

Billdale, you need to include an executive summary with your posts — damn.

I think the textbook is actually a very good resource. There are actually a lot of good sources of information on textpattern. This forum for example is full of useful information. It just takes time to search through. It seems many people expect Textpattern to do everything for them. Creating a website takes work, no matter how fancy the tools you use are.

ubernostrum point is valid. I think many of the people using Textpattern initially were at least moderately tech-savvy. I know the ultimate goal of Textpattern is to be a CMS for everyone. I don’t think it is quite there yet — unless you are happy to leave everything default. With respect to NOOB users, I have to wonder why they are choosing Textpattern at all. Blogger is by far the easiest way to set up a blog. So for someone who is truly at a loss with Textpattern, I think Blogger is an excellent alternative. I don’t understand why people feel compelled to use something that is too difficult for them to use. What exactly do you gain by using Textpattern over using a service like Blogger?

And it seems every couple months someone shows up, and posts a comment about the woeful state of Textpattern. Maybe we can start another forum for people to vent and bitch in?

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#19 2005-10-28 20:30:40

neutrino
Member
From: East of the Diablo Range
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 134
Website

Re: [wiki] Documentation: "Clearly beneficial to many users"

billdale—

First off, manual or no, open source is not a welfare program. It’s really about “put up or shut up”. See Zem’s comment above. You can contribute or you can take what you get but you can’t take and bitch. You can whine, if you want. Sometimes that’s tolerated but you gotta watch your tone. If you sound like a little kitty, sometimes that’s ok. But if someone just got scratched by a cat, probably not ok.

Textpattern doesn’t really try to do it all for you. Neither does the community. You have to get to know it and them. Plain and simple you really just have to climb inside of TXP to use it. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. TXP is not trying to be like everything else out there. That’s what I like about it and the community. I think TXP’s internal philosophy is reflected by the community. It’s not a package wrapped up to do a certain thing. It’s a TOOL, not really a software package, IMO.

From my perspective TXP is a tool that allows you to highly customize your web presence, whatever that might be. Because of that and because of continual and constant development taking place I don’t think there’s ever going to be a “be all and end all” manual as to how to use TXP. But here is a ton of documentation out there. I found it. I have a stack of it on my desk a foot or so high.

Think of TXP as a hammer and a saw and drill. Where should Destry and the rest of the gang start? Do you already have blueprints? Do you have your materials? What kinds of materials are they? Plastic requires a different saw blade than metal or wood. What are you going to build? Get my drift? TXP doesn’t decide whether you’re building a shed, a dollhouse, a condo, an office building or a theatre. No “out of the box” thinking here, not really, that part’s up to you. I think TXP is a web artist’s tool, myself. What’s a web artist? That’s a whole nuther story but its not the same as a graphic designer.

Seriously, I think the TEXTBOOK is more complete than not really when you think of it in terms of manuals that might accompany one of those kits of tools you buy at Home Depot. Here’s how to change the drill bit. Here’s how to replace a saw blade. Those manuals don’t show you how to build a house or even what the cut looks like, what kind of blade you might need or the size of the drill bit. And for sure they don’t know what went wrong when you tryed to use the saw to drill a hole.

It might come off snobbish but I’m not sure TXP is “for the masses”, leastwise not yet and not for those who stumble in unwilling to look for their own answers. I know I’ve spent many many hours reading and experimenting and I have stacks of printouts from the forum as well as tutorials and plugin sheets. All the documention is here. You can organize it if you want. I would LOVE that!

FWIW, most of my learning about TXP has really been an unlearning. Unlearning how all those other crappy CMSes “do it” and not asking TXP to do it the same way. Unlearning the table and font tag way, unlearning hierachical classification schemes. Even after a few months with TXP I’m still trying to get my dense head completely around some of the ways TXP does things but I know that nearly every question I’ve ever had has been answered in the forums. And finding those answers has been a highly enjoyable pursuit. Give yourself some time and a chance to get to know folks around here. I’ve found everyone very helpful and friendly and SMART!

Last edited by neutrino (2005-10-28 20:31:44)

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#20 2005-10-28 20:33:53

michaelkpate
Moderator
From: Avon Park, FL
Registered: 2004-02-24
Posts: 483
Website

Re: [wiki] Documentation: "Clearly beneficial to many users"

> zem wrote:

> People don’t contribute to open source projects to Stick It To The Man

They don’t? I must be in the wrong place, then. :)

Last edited by michaelkpate (2005-10-28 20:35:11)


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