xoops forums

vamptrix

Theme Designer
Posted on: 2015/2/24 16:41
vamptrix
vamptrix (Show more)
Theme Designer
Posts: 424
Since: 2008/5/3 1
#1

The future of XOOPS?

Hello all, in this (way too long) post I'm talking about my personal opinion about XOOPS and where we need to take the project. It's all my opinion ;).

XOOPS has been standing too long at a standstill.
It breaks my heart, but XOOPS hasn't really seen any progress in a long while. Everything seems to have come to a standstill, even though work is being done working on XOOPS.

It all looks however like nothing is happening: check the website and you barely see anything new. Exciting things are being worked on in the kitchen however:
* xBootstrap
* xThemes and the possibilities it adds
* XOOPS 2.6

However, even more things have grounded to a halt or have simply dropped dead. Examples of this are abundant:
* Module development is nearly dead. New modules have stopped coming for a long while, mostly small updates of a few modules occur. Old modules aren't really maintained.
* Theme development is also nearly dead. The last new theme by someone else than angelorocha and Bitcero dates from 30 August 2014 by Sinnedesign.
* A World of XOOPS hasn't been done since October 2013, more than a year ago. And in that release there is being spoken about XOOPS 2.6, but it still isn't out.
* A lot of developers have simply stopped working and moved on to other projects, including some of the biggest contributers I've known.

Generally, it looks like a ton of things are dead, which is truly a shame.

What are the causes of this?
In my opinion, the things that cause this are:
1) A really big lack of information and documentation.
A lot of things or documentation offered by XOOPS is either outdated or simply incorrect. Many of it's links are dead or point to wrong information. (Example: https://xoops.org/modules/smartfaq/faq.php?faqid=331).
The official XOOPS Documentation (https://xoops.org/modules/mediawiki/index.php?title=Main_Page) is chaotic and incomplete. It's not really welcoming for new users and just fulled with incomplete and incorrect info.
For developers, the amount of information is almost non-excistant, and it's all hosted on third-party sites. I have tried to get into module development, but I never found a starting point and reliable information/documentation to support me.
Should there be good documentation available, I would have continued, but right now I don't even know where to start.

2) The official site is a mess.
Yes, I said it. XOOPS.org is a mess.

XOOPS.org isn't following a clear visual style, which really is an issue in XOOPS itself. Check the Theme gallery, compare it to the Module repository. Both look completely different and feel different.
The Repository is bugged and doesn't show sub-categories on the frontpage, but simply says Array. Many downloads don't work at all and you get redirected to the XOOPS Sourceforge page. Some categories don't display anything at all.
Basicly, the module Repository is useless and doesn't do what it's supposed to do.

The theme gallery is huge, has a ton of themes that aren't from this age and really should be either updated or dropped. Examples of this? Just check the theme gallery. Themes are by default sorted by Date, and the newest ones are shown first, but no themes were added in the gallery after 2010. It's just not user-friendly and it doesn't work like it should in my opinion.
A nice example of what I think is a great theme gallery (though it isn't perfect at all) is the Ghost Marketplace (http://marketplace.ghost.org/). Simplicity is bliss.

Another big issue for me is the Forum, like it currently is. It's a mess, which should be changed/restructured in my opinion. An example is that we have support threads for 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6.
In my opinion these should be merged into 1 main Support category, with sub-forums for versions.
As far as I was able to Google, 2.3 was released in 2008, so I really think this should be archived so it doesn't pollute the main (most important) threads.
I'd like to see all of the "old" boards archived in a special category. It'll be much more clean and easier to use!

3) Isn't it time to move on and drop older versions?
On the XOOPS website, we support a lot of things. Many of these shouldn't be there anymore. For example, the theme gallery seperates between old and new themes. This was for version 2.0.14.
XOOPS 2.0.14 was released in 2006, nearly 10 years ago. Shouldn't we simply drop these themes, or put them on an archive? It doesn't make any sense at all to still offer these on our site after all these years. You've had time enough to upgrade ;). This will also clean the servers and maybe allow to save some money.
Same thing applies to the Module Repository, documentation and the forums. When it's too old, archive it or delete it. It just costs a lot of effort to keep and maintain these things.

Okay, that was about everything I could think about right now. Ofcourse, I wouldn't rant about things and not do anything myself.
Recently, I've decided to help with the development of XOOPS, so I'll try to help with that. My PHP isn't that excellent yet, so it might be slow.
I'm also willing to help with the documentation or even start working on it right away, to ensure that we can start XOOPS 2.6 with a really well backed documentation.
I would also like to help moderating the forums and help restructuring the site as needed.
Name any area that needs to be improved, and if I can change it and help, I will.

Right now, I'd like to ask you guys your opinion about what I just typed (thanks for reading this :P) and I'm awaiting the feedback you guys might have.

Our time is now, let us not waste it!

Kevin

Bleekk

Theme Designer
Posted on: 2015/2/24 17:04
Bleekk
Bleekk (Show more)
Theme Designer
Posts: 934
Since: 2002/12/14
#2

Re: The future of XOOPS?

Vamptrix, you are speaking right of my soul.

The situation right now is really a mess.
Behind closed doors I have already spoken to mamba and asked for changes that needs to be done.

What I think should happen:

- get the 2.5.x core boostrap ready
- take the main 10 - 12 Modules and make bootstrap templates
- only support bootstrap theme / template development, which means break dependencies with old themes
- put all old themes and modules in a archive. offer only the main modules for download
- get the main modules to the final version
- set up one place for the module / core development (GitHub)
- with xoops 2.6 we should break all dependecies with the old core! let us start from 0. with a new core, new features without losing time with old stuff.

Right now I am setting up a new german xoops website, with which I am trying to meet all the above named points. I have to say that this is really really hard job.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Right now we are working on testing / getting the main modules to the final version. Also there is effort to get all modules to the github where the development will be supported.
Everyone is welcome to test the mymenus RC version which is published in the forums. New modules will be published for testing.
But I have no hope that all this points will be done very fast.

luciorota

Module Developer
Posted on: 2015/2/24 17:05
luciorota
luciorota (Show more)
Module Developer
Posts: 197
Since: 2007/4/20
#3

Re: The future of XOOPS?

Thanks Kevin for your sincerity

But...

What can you do for Xoops?

vamptrix

Theme Designer
Posted on: 2015/2/24 17:38
vamptrix
vamptrix (Show more)
Theme Designer
Posts: 424
Since: 2008/5/3 1
#4

Re: The future of XOOPS?

Quote:

luciorota wrote:
Thanks Kevin for your sincerity

But...

What can you do for Xoops?


Luciorota, read my full message and you'll see what I can and will do for XOOPS ;)

vamptrix

Theme Designer
Posted on: 2015/2/24 17:59
vamptrix
vamptrix (Show more)
Theme Designer
Posts: 424
Since: 2008/5/3 1
#5

Re: The future of XOOPS?

Quote:

Bleekk wrote:
Vamptrix, you are speaking right of my soul.

The situation right now is really a mess.
Behind closed doors I have already spoken to mamba and asked for changes that needs to be done.

What I think should happen:

- get the 2.5.x core boostrap ready
- take the main 10 - 12 Modules and make bootstrap templates
- only support bootstrap theme / template development, which means break dependencies with old themes
- put all old themes and modules in a archive. offer only the main modules for download
- get the main modules to the final version
- set up one place for the module / core development (GitHub)
- with xoops 2.6 we should break all dependecies with the old core! let us start from 0. with a new core, new features without losing time with old stuff.

Right now I am setting up a new german xoops website, with which I am trying to meet all the above named points. I have to say that this is really really hard job.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Right now we are working on testing / getting the main modules to the final version. Also there is effort to get all modules to the github where the development will be supported.
Everyone is welcome to test the mymenus RC version which is published in the forums. New modules will be published for testing.
But I have no hope that all this points will be done very fast.


I fully agree with you that breaking with the past might be the best thing to do.
With the update to Smarty 3.1 and so much changes, it might be better to throw everything overboard. Most of what we have, with some exceptions, is severely outdated.
In this case I feel it's better to start anew rather than trying to update everything. That's just something with no end in this case.

vamptrix

Theme Designer
Posted on: 2015/2/24 23:44
vamptrix
vamptrix (Show more)
Theme Designer
Posts: 424
Since: 2008/5/3 1
#6

Re: The future of XOOPS?

Something which should also (in my opinion) be deleted is the Xoops Forge (http://dev.xoops.org/). It hasn't been used in ages and is kind of useless right now.

I suggest we create 1 central pool of documentation instead of the multiple sources we have right now: Xoops Forge, the XOOPS wiki on this site, the FAQ, Gitbook. It's simply spread in way too many locations.

An example of a system with great documentation is CodeIgniter (http://www.codeigniter.com/userguide3/), this is what all documentation should be: simple and easy to find the information with clear information.
In my opinion, Gitbook isn't really the solution we need because it has 1 huge disadvantage: search. Everything is separated in several different books, which means that you can only search in 1 book at a time. This is a huge disadvantage!

In my opinion a simple Wiki-approach might be best, but it looks to me that it would be better to use a seperate script for this. If we use a XOOPS module for that we risk that the module won't be updated which is really not what we want (and look at the MediaWiki module, it isn't updated often at all).

A seperate wiki has everything we need:
* Multiple users can work on it
* Everybody can contribute to it
* It is easy, everybody can do it
* Global search
* There are tons of good wiki's that show off that this is a good system
* History is kept and can be rolled back (abuse can be repaired)
* Not dependent on a third party service. Gitbook might be here now, but I've seen enough third party services shut down on a short notice to not trust them with something like documentation.

I'd like to hear the meaning of others about this though.

Mamba

Moderator
Posted on: 2015/2/24 23:44
Mamba
Mamba (Show more)
Moderator
Posts: 10799
Since: 2004/4/23
#7

Re: The future of XOOPS?

Quote:
It breaks my heart, but XOOPS hasn't really seen any progress in a long while.

Kevin, I'm sorry, but I don't get it!

If it really "breaks your heart", what are you going to do about it? In which area are you going to help XOOPS?

Do you really think that your rant is very helpful? Do you really think that we don't know about the issues we have? For example, you complain about Documentation, but we know about it forever! If you would spend some time looking around XOOPS instead of jumping to conclusions, maybe you would see this recent News about Documenation, and you would see that we are doing something about it!

I have stated there very clearly:
Quote:
This is a very exciting for us, because we know that while XOOPS was always known for a very good code and great modular architecture, we were never able to create good documentation.

For people who would like to help, I have documented the "XOOPS Documentation Process", and have created a "XOOPS Docs Starter Kit". And I have updated bunch of documents and tutorials.

Honestly, XOOPS will benefit more from people who are willing to write new tutorials and help us with other documentation, than from people telling us that we don't have tutorials! Because we already know it! Come on, Kevin - do you really think that we are so stupid or naive that we don't know it?

I find it unfair and even disrespectful to people like Richard, who is working around the clock to get XOOPS 2.6.0 move forward, and you can see the progress of over one year in 45 seconds.

Unfair to people like Eduardo who has created the awesome Common Utilities, and now is working on integrating it into XOOPS 2.6.0.

Unfair to people like Angelo who created xBootstrap, and Bleekk and Heuyla, who helped him to create templates for several of our modules.

Unfair to people like Luciorota or Zyspec who are working on updating several of older modules.

Unfair to people like Cesag who worked tirelessly on translations!

The reality is that yes, we are short on manpower. And therefore we need to focus and prioritize. As a result, some less critical issue will be placed on back burner!

We haven't publish recently "WOX: World of XOOPS", because it was less critical for me. Instead, thanks to Richard and few other friends of XOOPS, we have immediately fixed all security issues we've been made aware of, and we we have upgraded XOOPS so it is fully compatible with the latest PHP 5.6 version. For comparison, go ahead and try to run some of the XOOPS forks or even other Open Source CMS on PHP 5.6.

We have published pretty much consistently every 12 months a new releases of XOOPS, incl. security updates:

2012/04/16: XOOPS 2.5.5
2013/04/28: XOOPS 2.5.6
2014/06/16: XOOPS 2.5.7
2014/11/24: XOOPS 2.5.7.1

And we probably will publish XOOPS 2.5.8 in the spring of this year.

All of this while continuing work on XOOPS 2.6.0, with some major architectural changes which will help XOOPS to finally catch-up to the other mainstream CMS solutions.

We also try to keep our current users happy by providing help and support on the Forums, and by updating modules as much and as fast as we can. For example, all the most popular modules have been converted to "Blue Move Admin GUI", so they have consistent "look and feel". We are now in the process of streamlining several of the modules into a "Module Pack", and refactoring them so there is a higher reuse of common components between the modules.

Yes, Kevin, we are in some areas behind (like the WOX or the module repository), and we are missing some of the fancy bells and whistles there. But if you take the time to study the updated by Richard XOOPS 2.6.0 Roadmap, you will see that that we're aware of it and we're doing something about it.

Of course, XOOPS would benefit from help, and I was very happy to see you back, as I told you in my email! But since we are an Open Source project, it is really up to people like YOU, Kevin! You have the choice: you can come and bash us, or you can just help us to make XOOPS better!

The choice is yours!
Support XOOPS => DONATE
Use 2.5.10 | Docs | Modules | Bugs

vamptrix

Theme Designer
Posted on: 2015/2/24 23:54
vamptrix
vamptrix (Show more)
Theme Designer
Posts: 424
Since: 2008/5/3 1
#8

Re: The future of XOOPS?

Michael, I'm not here to bash XOOPS, but I've noted things that stopped me before from helping. I'd like to help, starting immediately, with several things:
* Documentation. It's the thing that we need most of all. The problem that I have with Gitbook is stated in a post above, namingly no global search (which is really needed). We don't need a collection of ebooks, we need a central place of information that is easily searchable.
While I'm typing this I was trying to figure out if I can do something with the current wiki in place, but it's hard to find a starting point.

* Cleaning up the repository/theme gallery/forums. I'd like to help with this too, but right now I can't. Is there an easy to find list with updated modules right now? We should put a notice on top of the module repository that points to that list.

If you can point me the right way with this, I'll help instantly as much as I can.

Bleekk

Theme Designer
Posted on: 2015/2/25 11:26
Bleekk
Bleekk (Show more)
Theme Designer
Posts: 934
Since: 2002/12/14
#9

Re: The future of XOOPS?

I also think that nobody want to bash certain user. There is no reason for that because they are doing all a wonderful job.
But everyone is free to make suggestion how things can be improved.

Xoops is a community product and I hope that we all together can make a contribution to make it better.

vamptrix

Theme Designer
Posted on: 2015/2/25 22:57
vamptrix
vamptrix (Show more)
Theme Designer
Posts: 424
Since: 2008/5/3 1
#10

Re: The future of XOOPS?

I'm doing my best to contribute, Bleekk, but everything takes time :P
I've started yesterday to modify the wiki, started making templates, writing articles and more.

I've also started working on a new theme, which is coming together quite nicely for the few hours that I've been working on it. It still needs a ton of work, as I'm likely going to modify all of the templates to make sure everything looks and reacts like I want to, but in general I'm glad with the result!
It's based on xBootstrap, which in my opinion is the best base theme you can get.
Here's an image of how it's looking right now Resized Image
(click for full image).

Feedback is welcome :)