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#31 2005-12-31 09:02:55

Locutionist
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From: The mountains, central PA, USA
Registered: 2005-08-15
Posts: 57
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Re: Textpattern's Shortcomings and Weaknesses - An Objective Look

I was just coming to the forum to give some feedback on my experiences with Textpattern. I’ve done 3 sites with Textpattern now: a webzine, a simple blog, and a designer-writer’s portfolio that includes a blog (e.g., my personal site which is not yet live). I still consider myself a newbie, but still, it’s been quite a lot of txp:exposure the past few weeks.

I like the comparison with a pencil. The learning curve with Textpattern is enormous compared with B2E and Wordpress (which I’ve been using since the dawn of man it seems) but it was clear from the start that Textpattern would be much more suitable for the type of work I typically do so I stuck it out, and I’m glad I did.

I wholeheartedly concur with Destry’s point about feature-creep. I decided to find a different blogging-tool/CMS precisely because B2E, and Wordpress to a lesser degree, now includes a nearly unmanageable number of individual files. Textpattern’s plugins system is great for keeping things streamlined.

There are only two things that I would suggest for improvement. The first is the lack of ability to break things out by date. This is potentially a huge liability for a CMS. Blog archives by date are only one application of date-based content presentation; for any website that needs to present content by date, Textpattern is automatically out of the running.

The second problem I ran into was difficulty wading through the documentation. Information is spread across four separate websites and tends to assume users have a great deal of familiarity with Textile, and with Textpattern’s conceptual model. I know it is tempting to just assume users are stupid; but as a tech writer, if I were assigned management of Textpattern’s documentation the first thing I would do is create a portal that lays out Textpattern’s conceptual model in nontechnical language, and link to everything from there. Textpattern is pretty unique, which is what makes it superior IMO, but this fact also means that extra care is needed in explaining things because users have less pre-existing knowledge to bring to the process of figuring Textpattern out.

That’s it, just wanted to throw in my two cents, or rupies, or yen, or whatever is your currency-of-choice. On the whole I think Textpattern is fantastic and you all have done an amazing job figuring out a better way to build a CMS.

Last edited by Locutionist (2005-12-31 09:04:13)

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#32 2005-12-31 09:42:35

Jeremie
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From: Provence, France
Registered: 2004-08-11
Posts: 1,578
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Re: Textpattern's Shortcomings and Weaknesses - An Objective Look

Destry wrote:
I agree. I also think calling Textpattern a “CMS” is erroneous. content publishing system, yes. content management system, not really, not by the traditional definitions and manifestations.

Well, technically it’s not a “content publishing” either because than would imply some ability to define content. Much like those “big CMS” does (they don’t have articles+images+files+links/and-nothing-else, they can be used to define any type of content and manage it, create it, publish it, and so on).

I do prefer to think of it as a personnal publishing tool or something like that (the “personnal” would be quite large thought, including small e-shop or middle business websites).

And that’s fine by me. I’m here, and I’m using TXP for several sites (and more, and more) because I needed a good “CMS” (double these quotes ;p) being able to do very different things, without having to rely on premade features with either no control over it, tons of buttons setup parameters, or code editing to achieve what you want.

But without going down these roads none of us want to (it seems, and this is good too) there are several ideas (they are more ideas than “built in premade tools”), that have been proven very effective in other products, and can vastly improve the user experience.

Because let’s not forget the user of Textpattern is more and more the reader (or visitor) and the writer, not only the webmaster with a geek degree. It’s in that state of mind that I spoke, and speak again, of things like creation/insertion/management of ressources (big words for simple things like link:What a pretty article to hyperlink to the article of that name, or easy insertion of image like mary’s img_popper), multi authors tools (again big words for other simple things like getting a mail or a xml feed notification when you have an article to validate, and some discussions “thing” to explain to an author why you didn’t validate his article and how to correct his errors), and so on.

I don’t think these are things that will bloat Textpattern. It’s not “adding”, more like “improving”.

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#33 2005-12-31 10:06:48

1beb
Plugin Author
From: Canada, Ontario, Toronto
Registered: 2004-11-22
Posts: 169
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Re: Textpattern's Shortcomings and Weaknesses - An Objective Look

<blockquote>Maleika E.A. wrote:

What I’m missing are better organization methods in textpattern.

Especially for larger sites, the lack of organizing articles in folders/subfolders or some form of hierarchy within the admin area can be cumbersome. Some JS functions, collapsing and expanding hierarchies to make maintenance easier would do miracles, but I also understand it’s not too easy to do. Good examples of CMSes using such methods are typo3 or phpwcms.

This is my biggest issue.</blockquote>

Agreed. It drives me batty when I can’t find an image or an article. Thank goodness for some of those front-ent editing hacks.

Although another thing that bothers me, and I think it’s a relatively easy fix. Is when you’re typing in a comment or an article. The tab order is all whacky. I consistently hit tab and get sent back to the top of the page.

Yet, I still love txp ;)

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#34 2005-12-31 12:03:54

Destry
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From: Haut-Rhin
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 4,389
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Re: Textpattern's Shortcomings and Weaknesses - An Objective Look

@ Locutionist: Good comments. Please see my response here

Jeremie wrote: Well, technically it’s not a “content publishing” either because than would imply some ability to define content. Much like those “big CMS” does (they don’t have articles+images+files+links/and-nothing-else, they can be used to define any type of content and manage it, create it, publish it, and so on).

I’m not trying to argue apples and oranges, which is what your bringing this down to now by talking about defining content, but I think if you first give content itself a definiton, then you begin to see — without getting too technical — that content publishing system works just fine.

What is content? As far as TxP is concerned, content is a lot of things: text, images, links, code blocks/snippets (which itself defines presentational content, and which is largely handled by Forms and Tags) and entire files (Pages, Styles, and whatever docs a person wants to upload). I’d say that’s content of various kinds that Textpattern publishes…no? What you’re talking about is content relationships, which again I think TxP handles in many ways. Maybe not in the ways your specifically saying, but it does nonetheless, so again, more so than CMS, I think content publishing system works just fine for TxP, but that may just be me.

Last edited by Destry (2006-01-01 19:35:32)

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#35 2005-12-31 16:04:10

-P-
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From: Finland
Registered: 2005-09-10
Posts: 211

Re: Textpattern's Shortcomings and Weaknesses - An Objective Look

These things have been mostly mentioned allready but here´s my 5 cents.

I have been using very actively different blogging systems, could say tested almost them all. The one´s I use both personally and professionally (I work as making dynamic websites and blogs for other people) are Textpattern, Wordpress and Movable Type. The one I prefer and nowadays always firstly recommend is TXP.

My opinion about TXP was very beautifully said here:
<blockquote>blocneutrino wrote:

all-terrain vehicle like Drupal. Personally, I don’t want to see that happen. I love Textpattern for what it is: lean, quick, and flexible. Time will tell, but with any luck (and sensible planning), Textpattern will only improve within the wonderful capabilities it already has, not go the way of the Borg.

Amen, Destry. Txp is still the artist’s pencil or paintbrush as opposed to a craft kit. You can get a craft kit anywhere but you have to learn to use a pencil. That’s TXP’s major strength which can be perceived as a weakness by one looking for a “website building kit.” I have that tendency, myself, because I’ve experimented with too many CMSes in search of the ultimate one. I often want TXP to do something automatically but then when I step back and try to figure out how to do it TXP’s way I realize that it’s almost always a more flexible and better solution. There’s really no reason to build only one way of doing something into a system if in fact that locks you in to doing it only that way forever. Much better to have some things that are simple in other systems remain difficult in TXP. Forces you to become intimate with your software. Yes, that’s it. TXP requires of her users that we get to know her. Should it ever be any other way? </blockquote>

And that is also a thing I value with TXP, it´s lightness and simplicity. I prefer adding things to an installation rather than stripping them out.

What I miss from TXP, since I use a lot of plugins, is an ordered, well organized index list of plugins. I know there are lists here at the forum and also the textpattern.org but many many times I ran into these same things, missing download urls for plugins and poor documentation of version compability. Localisation option for the plugins would be very much appreciated also.

Other thing I would like to see is better way to duplicate/backup an installation than to do it with duplicating databases. There is an exellent import system built in for importing entries from other publishing systems. I would like to see it also other way around. Atleast in a way that I can easily import x amount entries from one txp installation to another txp. Would´t also mind to be able to offer to end user same kind of possibility to backup their entries with export.txt file that is built in Movable Type.

Default search system is quite poor. I am really happy that with the latest two releases there have been serious improvements to error documenting with ability to style default 404 page and now txp:comments_error -tag.

Archiving abilities both in admin and frontend are also a thing that I feel Movable Type does better. Super-archive plugin just isn´t the same than movables built in system to archive content several different ways like with categories, by day and by month.

And one more thing, templating system. It is really flexible and easy and nice to style but I would like to have an option more easily to style for example size of comment forms, their styling individually meaning separate comment preview and comment error -templates, individual search page and search results/search errors etc.

Last edited by -P- (2005-12-31 16:09:30)

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#36 2005-12-31 16:37:26

neutrino
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From: East of the Diablo Range
Registered: 2005-06-16
Posts: 134
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Re: Textpattern's Shortcomings and Weaknesses - An Objective Look

> Destry wrote:

but that may just be me.

It’s not just you. TXP is the orchestra director rather than the keeper of the “notes” of the musical. TXP is a “bringer together” of just about whatever one can imagine to do with it. But it’s not great at organizing the “stuff” of the composition. Still that’s not a criticism.

Content is all over the place. The ultimate “publishing” tool for me will let me seek out my content whereever it lives. It won’t force me to laboriously put it into a database piece by piece. From a users perspective “this tool” sh/could incorporate [or interface with] as many tools that “crawl” other data sources as possible. Maybe “that tool” needs to keep a local copy in the database but the database shouldn’t be the main and only source of where it looks or gets its content. That’s thinking way too small for this crazy web-based, network- like-you’re-insane thing we all seem to do here.

My mind easily leaps to tools which probably don’t exist yet (AFAIK) but I’m almost positive someone will come up with—crawling tools that make it easy for me to “clip and cite” your content and store that local copy (in case your site changes) in or interfaced with my publishing system. “Your” content is as important, if not in many cases more important, than “my” content. I’m thinking “social commerce” here.

Destry, I just want thank you (and everyone involved in the documentation project) for your tenacity and committment to Textpattern’s re-presentation. It’s the hardest job to articulate technology. I tend to reach for poetry and metaphor and the visual to say what I mean and 9 out of 10 times I totally miss my mark. “Grokking” is a much under utilized skill these days.

Last edited by neutrino (2005-12-31 16:41:25)

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#37 2006-01-02 12:36:42

alexandra
Member
From: Cologne, Germany
Registered: 2004-04-02
Posts: 1,370

Re: Textpattern's Shortcomings and Weaknesses - An Objective Look

Here is the newest summary:

  • Permissions & privileges system: Multiple authors as working group. Being able to write an article with multiple authors, Communication and writing tools for multi-authors websites. Then, a revision system
  • Nested categories/sections
  • Category/section level that can be reflected in the URL structure, unlimited hierarchical levels
  • Organizing articles in folders/subfolders or some form of hierarchy within the admin area
  • Better images-, files-, links- insertions into an article
  • Improved archiving abilities (archive content several different ways like with categories, by day and by month) both in admin and frontend
  • Import x amount entries from one txp installation to another txp
  • RSS feeds for comments
  • Cache management
  • Improved search function
  • ability to break things out by date, to present content by date not only the archive
  • multi-language sites (a lang field in the article’s table (SQL))
  • a less whacky tab order, after hitting tab don´t get sent back to the top of the page.
Documentation
  • New TXP portal
  • Less scattered resource sites
  • Plugin lists: index list of plugins with documentation on version compability
Features to come with 4.1.0 according to Sencers post
  • Full XML-RPC support
  • A themes feature, swapping themes

One of the most asked feature is a Permissions & privileges system.
If you are interested, please join the discussion (Assignment: section permission design) over in the Feature Request boards section.

Personally i agree with Locutionist on refreshing and improving the TXP portal. First of all, it is out of date, not looking attractive at all and does not present txp resources in an approbiate way. Please compare Textdrive.com.

Last edited by alexandra (2006-01-02 12:40:48)

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#38 2006-01-02 21:38:41

blumie607
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Registered: 2004-03-08
Posts: 175
Website

Re: Textpattern's Shortcomings and Weaknesses - An Objective Look

> alexandra wrote:
Personally i agree with Locutionist on refreshing and improving the TXP portal. First of all, it is out of date, not looking attractive at all and does not present txp resources in an approbiate way. Please compare Textdrive.com.

Of course Textdrive.com isn’t powered by TXP anymore…


bludrop studios .::. Creative Expression

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#39 2006-01-03 05:03:22

Jeremie
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From: Provence, France
Registered: 2004-08-11
Posts: 1,578
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Re: Textpattern's Shortcomings and Weaknesses - An Objective Look

Most of it is still do-able with TXP.

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#40 2006-01-03 10:22:06

Destry
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From: Haut-Rhin
Registered: 2004-08-04
Posts: 4,389
Website

Re: Textpattern's Shortcomings and Weaknesses - An Objective Look

Alexandra wrote: Personally i agree with Locutionist on refreshing and improving the TXP portal. First of all, it is out of date, not looking attractive at all and does not present txp resources in an approbiate way. Please compare Textdrive.com.

I don’t think that’s what Locutionist was talking about. He was talking about a documentation portal that points to all the doc articles scattered around the world and back; but we already have that, the Resources Site is (more or less) doing that already (where’s that redo?). In any case, TextBook is where “authoritative” doc efforts should really be going.

As for redesigning Textpattern’s home site; yeah, that’s long past due for something fresh, and TxP is just fine for the job. I’ve always hated those cramped side columns with poor spacing.

Hey, let’s start a textpattern.com redesign competition. Ha!

Last edited by Destry (2006-01-03 10:27:36)

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