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#1 2009-09-29 21:59:07

jsoo
Developer
From: NC, USA
Registered: 2004-11-15
Posts: 1,730
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[contrib] The Textpattern brand

Els wrote:, in this thread

Useful discussion, nice ideas, but I find it a lot of attention for a new user who moves away from Txp to another CMS after one day, and to yet another one the next day…

Yes, but the attention was not directed just at that one visitor. It’s a good spur to talk about Textpattern’s “brand” in general. In terms of bringing in new users, Txp has a good reputation as a mature, secure niche product. But we have a lousy sales pitch. The purely visual branding of the websites is one aspect, and we’re all glad to hear it’s being addressed. Perhaps we’ll get some fresh energy into TextBook and beginner tutorials.

An issue I haven’t seen discussed lately is the installation process. Easy enough when you already know the drill, but playing around with screencasting I did a couple of new installs and tried to look at it from the newcomer’s perspective. There are a few seemingly small points that could be cleaned up to make the process feel much easier and more certain for newbies:

  • The “That went well” screen no longer has a message telling you to delete /textpattern/setup. Older Txp versions made this very clear.
  • Logging in for the very first time doesn’t work. You have to log out and log in again. (I did, anyway.) If this is a known issue, could we at least add a message to that first login screen?
  • I think there should also be some clear direction to go straight to Diagnostics to address any errors there.

Other CMSs I have played with recently make this a clear step-by-step process: change this file permission now, delete that directory now, etc.

I have also been thinking about the default installation. Again, something experienced users don’t give a thought to. But for a new user this is an important part of learning Txp, and what the default installation offers is not very helpful. On the home page:

  • The article permlink looks like an ordinary header: black text, no underline, border, or background. Not even a different color on mouseover.
  • The external links in the right sidebar look very much like the internal links on the left.
  • There are four significant internal links showing: Home (two links), article permlink, articles section, about section. Clicking the permlink brings up a view that is nearly identical to the home page. The about section is empty. The articles section brings up yet another view of the same article we’ve seen on two other screens. This feels like going in circles. It is a wasted opportunity to teach.

My suggestions are to clean up the installation process, as noted above and if feasible, and to redo /textpattern/setup/txpsql.php to bring in the data for populating the content and presentation tables from an external file. Then other authors could easily contribute new installation themes. Offer a choice of templates at the end of the installation process, including a completely blank slate. I’d be happy to have a go at submitting a patch for this, noting that I would need a bit of hand-holding as to the correct procedure (I’ve never dealt with svn, for one), if the devs think it a reasonable idea.


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#2 2009-09-29 22:51:28

Bloke
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From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 5,850
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Re: [contrib] The Textpattern brand

jsoo

All excellent points, and stuff I would like to see moved into the installation process. If you want a hand with the SVN or patch thingamamjig or wanna just bounce ideas around, give me a shout.

The “That went well” screen no longer has a message telling you to delete /textpattern/setup

I didn’t even notice that was gone, oops. It should be there, imo.

Logging in for the very first time doesn’t work.

Yeah, wish I knew why you see an unstyled page with just the footer in the top left corner. Investigation continues. Any assistance from anybody at tracking it down greatly appreciated.

some clear direction to go straight to Diagnostics to address any errors there.

Again, a good idea and should be there.

I have also been thinking about the default installation… <snip>

Yeah I see what you mean. We (zero, et al) had a good stab at this in recent memory, in terms of copy text to replace the lorem ipsum with some actual content that at least helped highlight a few features and ‘what to do nexts’. But from a style point of view it could perhaps do with some sprucing up — especially now the v2 textpattern.com site is on the horizon.

redo /textpattern/setup/txpsql.php to bring in the data for populating the content and presentation tables from an external file.

If that turns out to be possible it’s a great move in my book. I find having the entire page content squished into a single line in txpsql.php with escaped quote characters is a real hindrance to it being updated at all. If there’s no objection from the other more experienced (ex-)devs then it could be a winner.


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#3 2009-09-29 23:14:05

Els
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From: The Netherlands
Registered: 2004-06-06
Posts: 7,386
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Re: [contrib] The Textpattern brand

jsoo wrote:

The “That went well” screen no longer has a message telling you to delete /textpattern/setup

Bloke wrote:

I didn’t even notice that was gone, oops. It should be there, imo.

Isn’t that related to the new multi-site support? I understood the setup folder shouldn’t be deleted if you want to be able to use that feature (but I may be wrong).


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#4 2009-09-29 23:27:47

Bloke
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From: Leeds, UK
Registered: 2006-01-29
Posts: 5,850
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Re: [contrib] The Textpattern brand

Els wrote:

Isn’t that related to the new multi-site support?

Oooh, might be. Sam’ll let us know if that’s the case. If so, perhaps a softer “if you’re not intending to use Textpattern in a multi-site configuration, you can safely delete the setup directory now” :-)

Last edited by Bloke (2009-09-29 23:28:39)


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#5 2009-09-29 23:29:11

jsoo
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From: NC, USA
Registered: 2004-11-15
Posts: 1,730
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Re: [contrib] The Textpattern brand

OK, if Els is correct (as I expect) then at least a message telling you to delete it if you are using the (standard) single-site setup.

As Stef said.

Last edited by jsoo (2009-09-29 23:29:37)


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#6 2009-09-29 23:35:42

artagesw
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From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2007-04-29
Posts: 227
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Re: [contrib] The Textpattern brand

Ideally, in the multi-site case, the user should be urged to delete sites/your-site-name-here/admin/setup but to leave textpattern/setup intact.

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#7 2009-09-30 02:20:28

jsoo
Developer
From: NC, USA
Registered: 2004-11-15
Posts: 1,730
Website

Re: [contrib] The Textpattern brand

Re: automatically going to Diagnostics (or at least posting a message to do so) on first install,

Just how necessary is it to make an immediate stop at Languages? I know it would naturally be an early step in setting up a multi-lingual site, but surely this is not as important as securing the installation and dealing with any other notices from Diagnostics. So I’m suggesting to make Diagnostics the first stop, no matter.


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#8 2009-09-30 05:29:55

wet
Developer
From: Lenzing, Austria
Registered: 2005-06-06
Posts: 3,102
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Re: [contrib] The Textpattern brand

Bloke wrote:

Yeah, wish I knew why you see an unstyled page with just the footer in the top left corner. Investigation continues. Any assistance from anybody at tracking it down greatly appreciated.

I consider this issue thoroughly fixed.

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#9 2009-10-05 10:00:59

jsoo
Developer
From: NC, USA
Registered: 2004-11-15
Posts: 1,730
Website

Re: [contrib] The Textpattern brand

Re: re-doing txpsql.php, I have been playing with this, and have a few questions:

Latest version still does not have `Expires` in the textpattern table definition. Is this intentional?

To install the theme I am reading from a file in the setup directory. This was generated using a plugin to dump various content/presentation tables from an existing installation; a designer would create the theme on a fresh installation and run this plugin to create the file — easy for the designer. The official Txp distribution would include a few themes and adding a third-party theme would mean simply dropping the theme file into the setup directory before installing, caveat emptor.

Does this sound reasonable in principle? Any ideas for a better way of doing it?


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#10 2009-10-05 10:32:50

masa
Member
From: Reykjavik, Iceland
Registered: 2005-11-25
Posts: 1,079

Re: [contrib] The Textpattern brand

jsoo wrote:

My suggestions are to clean up the installation process, […]

One thing, that would make it a lot smoother, is, if Textpattern could create the config.php automatically in the right location, rather than asking you to start a text editor, paste what’s on the screen in an empty document and then ftp it into the Textpattern folder. I always felt, these three extra steps somehow interrupt the installation process.

I’m sure, if these steps could be skipped, Textpattern would quickly gain a reputation for being exceptionally easy to install.

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