Posted on: 2007/11/2 16:08
[Xman04-blog] Positioning XOOPS for the future.
I do a lot of reading on the latest technology trends within the Internet industry. What I've been noticing is that there are many CMS type social networks in existence, and more on the horizon. I'm concerned about this, because I feel that XOOPS needs to more clearly distinquish itself in the minds of the general public, especially since the competition is increasing in other areas.
An example of this potential competition is Ning.com
. Ning is a free network that allows anyone to create their own social network or CMS type site. A user can register a free account, create their own CMS type portal, and configure many options. There is nothing to install and no need for a separate host server. It comes with several core features, such as forums, blogs, a basic article system, groups, photo galleries, a membership/profile display system, etc. Ning also comes with domain mapping (for a small fee), which will make a user's network appear as if it is self-standing and not part of the Ning network. I've come across several respectable organizations that are using NING for their CMS.
The reason I'm mentioning this is because Ning is one example of a trend towards more networks like this. I believe that XOOPS needs to clearly establish the advantages of using XOOPS over something such as Ning, in order to make it an attractive option to companies and organizations starting or migrating a CMS.
As for the capabilities, customizability, and applications of something like Ning, it is obviously very limited when compared to XOOPS. However, I'm not sure if the nondeveloper community perceives the significant differences between XOOPS and something like Ning. The XOOPS community and developers need to focus on making these differences obvious to the general public.
In my opinion, one of the major strengths of XOOPS is that it is a well structured CMS framework that allows the installation and easy administration of a wide variety of sophisticated CMS modules. Thus, I think that one of the major keys to distinguishing XOOPS from the other stuff out there, is to put a focus on developing modules with sophisticated functionality for a wide variety of business, media, and nonprofit applications. Yes, XOOPS already has modules like this, but I think that it needs to be expanded even further after the Core XOOPS upgrades are released, and include cutting-edge features such as AJAX functionality.
Another important element is to promote the degree of customization and extensibility available with XOOPS. I would like to see the creation and release of developer tools (for the web or desktop), which help developers streamline the customization and development of modules. Providing documentation and PDF style books that educate aspiring XOOPS developers would also go a long way towards this effort.
There are many aspects (that I've not mentioned here) of the current XOOPS and future versions of XOOPS that clearly make it a very powerful and superior CMS system. My main point is that these exceptional features need to be promoted and continuously evolved to clearly position XOOPS as something that is way above and beyond the other tools and systems out there, including the Drupals, Joomlas, etc. XOOPS is without question potentially the most powerful CMS system on the planet. I've experimented with just about everything out there, and I have no doubts about the superiority of XOOPS. We just need to clearly distinguish and focus on what makes XOOPS so special.
By the way, I'm willing to contribute to this effort. I'm not a PHP programmer right now (I will be working on that), but I am willing to start some kind of discussion group and/or a blog/site regarding the promotional aspects of XOOPS. If anyone is interested in getting involved with that or involving me in their own efforts, send me a message.