World of Xoops (WOX): Issue 1(1)

Posted by: dlhon 2004/2/8 8:30:00 13598 reads
WOX Newsletter
(World of Xoops!)


In this issue:

1. Herko's Word
2. Site of the Month
3. YAXS - New Sites Using Xoops2!
4. New Modules
5. New Themes
6. New Hacks
7. Call to Action!
8. WOX Logo
9. Xoops Tip of the Month


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1. Herko's Word

The past two weeks have been both exciting and turbulent weeks for XOOPS' development teams.

First, as you may have already noticed 2.0.6 has been released! This marks significant additional improvments over the 2.0.5 series in stability. This release is yet another step along the path of assuring that our developers (and you!) have a flexible and powerful, yet stable, codebase. Furthermore, this is one more milestone accomplished in the 2.1.0 roadmap. We hope you enjoy this release, and recognize that it is only the first in a series of important developments to come for 2004.

The observant among you may have noticed that four people have joined the XOOPS Core Team: DLH, CBlue, Bunny, and (the Return of) W4z004.

Both of the Development Team leaders, Onokazu and Catzwolf, have decided to step down as team leaders. Catzwolf recently took a new position (in real life) as a web developer. Because he needs to be able to focus on his new career, he isn't able to devote the time necessary to lead the module development group. His focus will now fall primarily on developing the hugely important WF-Sections module.

Along these same lines Onokazu has decided to offer greater support to the Japanese and Taiwanese Xoops communities. As many of you know, these two communities are very active and deserve a greater share of his attention. Also, since his workload has increased in the past months as well, it gave him less and less time dedicated to leading core development. I hope everyone will remember that Onokazu IS XOOPS! He will always remain a active member of the Core Development Team.

Because of the recent strides we have made with Xoops we certainly did not want to lose our momentum. After a search for potential successors of Onokazu and Catzwolf, we asked Bunny to lead XOOPS's core development and W4z004 to lead module development. Bunny is the project manager and lead developer of the Zang framework, and his and W4z004's transition back to XOOPS means the official merge between the two systems and the potential for even greater functionality.

Finally, because of time committments to her large and popular site, Malexandria has elected to step back as team leader for Product Development. However, she will remain as an important and vocal advisor to the core team.

DLH, who was previously the new team leader for Community Relations will be switching over to fill that role, while CBlue has graciously volunteered to accept the Community Relations position. As all of you know, CBlue has already been a wonderful positive influence in our community, so this promotion was a perfect fit.

So, in short, every end is also a new beginning and we are prepared for the challenge!

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2. Site of the Month

Member: Draven

Sites:
http://www.gainingmass.com
http://www.fantasyref.com
http://www.fantasyasylum.com

Written by: CBlue

CBlue: Your website, gaining-mass.com, does not look like a typical "xoops" site, Draven. You have managed, quite beautifully, to modify the looks of the wfsections and the news. You have even added images to each news link in your recent news block. Your site is an excellent example of how an online business can use Xoops and look professional with it.

Draven: Thank-you!


CBlue: How long have you been using Xoops?

Draven: I’ve been using Xoops for a relatively short period of time. I came across Xoops in May of 2003 and it was love at first site. One of the things I loved about it was that it was well coded and fairly easy to pick the inner workings. Simple, yet powerful!


CBlue: How long have you been a body builder?

Draven: I’ve been into fitness for about 10 years now, but I’d say I’ve been a serious body builder for about the last 3 years. It’s been many years of trial and error to get were I am now, but I think the biggest thing for me was waiting for my metabolism to finally slow down. Being an ectomorphic body type, my metabolism was always lightning fast and regardless what I ate I was always thin with a bit of muscle. Unfortunately the days of eating pizza every night are over. Now I have to be careful what I eat, not only to gain mass, but also to keep the fat at bay.


CBlue: Why did you decide to use Xoops for your gaining-mass website?

Draven: After months of endlessly searching for an affordable CMS system to use for GM, I had all but given up. There seems to be an endless supply of “nuke” style CMS systems, but they all had one major downfall, they all looked the same! No matter how hard I tried, they all seem to be restricted to the typical 3 column design and gave little in the way of freedom for block placement. Even with all my experience in design I still had an impossible time making my site look different from the rest.

Then one day, almost by accident, I stumbled across Xoops.org. To be honest, I wasn’t all that impressed with the site itself, but after looking at the admin panel and seeing the different block placements I decided to load it up and see what I could do. I was amazed at just how powerful Xoops was, yet so simple at the same time. It was easy to follow, thanks to it’s OO (Object Oriented) design, and the smarty template system gave me all the freedom the other “nukes” did not. It really was a complete separation of the logic and presentation layers, the one thing all the other OS CMS systems seem to fall short at. I loved the fact that even though a block section was called “Left Block” I could place that block any where I wanted. I didn’t have to have the left block in the left column. This opened a whole new world of opportunity. I essentially had 5 blocks to place any where I wanted. Although I didn’t really use this ability in GM, some of my other sites I did. It was nice to have the option none-the-less.

The modules were a whole other advantage. With the tweaking of the news and wfsection modules I was able to get the “magazine” style structure I. Again, because of the OO design, it was easy to add the features that didn’t exist with very little effort on my part. I was only limited by my own imagination, which is a freedom not found in most CMS systems.


CBlue: Do you create or design websites professionally?

Draven: Yes, I’ve been designing websites professionally for quite a few years now. I find myself now building all my websites with Xoops as the backend. The real beauty of it is, if the modules you need don’t exist, you can simply build them. I know that may be a bit difficult for some, but if you have a good grasp of PHP it really is quite easy to learn the core of Xoops, even without documentation. It just takes a little time. Reverse engineering is really the best way I found. Simply have a look at how other modules work and reuse code from them to get the needed functions for your own modules.


CBlue: Is the theme you use on your site totally your own creation?

Draven: Yes and no. What I generally do is look at sites that have a similar layout to what I want to do and take bits and pieces of it and work it into my own design. For example, my news block at the bottom of the homepage was inspired by CNN’s news layout on their homepage. There’s no need to always reinvent the wheel, if you find a certain design or layout that you think would work well, there’s nothing wrong with emulating it and trying to improve upon it. Just don’t steal it completely. Try to give it your own twist.


CBlue: Do you use any special software programs to create themes for Xoops?

Draven : I use the standard design tools like Photoshop for images and initial layouts, Illustrator for graphics and GoLive when I need to make quick table layouts. I tend to avoid doing things completely in WYSIWYG editors since most tend to add a bunch of their own code to the mix. I only use them when I want to generate a quick table layout, then I just copy and paste the source into my text editor. For programming I prefer to use either Zend Studio (http://zend.com) or Ultraedit (http://www.ultraedit.com ).


CBlue: What modules have you personally developed for Xoops?

Draven: As of right now there are none that are publicly available. I’m working right now on a membership Paypal module for doing subscriptions that will be released shortly. There are a few others, but since my time with the Xoops module team has been relatively short, most are not ready for public release just yet. You will start to see some of my work in the upcoming releases from the Xoops module team and from my other projects.


CBlue: Do you have any advice for those who wish to create their own Xoops themes?

Draven: My advice is to try to think outside of the box, or in this case the “nuke” box. Anything you can think of can be done with just a little time and creativity. I hope if my work has done anything, it has shown that your site doesn’t have to look like all the rest. Experimenting is really the key. Find a site you like and try to recreate it using Xoops. Not necessarily to actually use as a live site, but to learn from. Learning how “they” did something by recreating it yourself is a great learning tool.

Another thing is to challenge yourself and never think something is impossible. I have clients often ask “is this or that possible”, my response is always, “anything is possible, it just a matter of time to figure out how to do it.” I live by these words and apply them to everything I do. I never look at something and say it can’t be done, but rather pose the question to myself, “how can this be done?” The solutions aren’t always pretty, but their solutions none-the-less.


CBlue: Do you have any advice for people that wish to use Xoops for their business or corporate websites?

Draven: I think my above response applies to this as well. Just try to separate yourself from the rest. The possibilities are endless and Xoops can provide the structure for just about any web based project. If you don’t have the skills to do it yourself, find someone who can. You won’t be disappointed in the results of using this great CMS. The time and money you’ll save being able to update the site yourself, without the need of a web designer every time you want to make some small textual change, is priceless. I think as Xoops grows, both in capabilities and exposure, we’ll start to see a lot more businesses utilizing Xoops to it’s full potential.

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3. YAXS - New Sites Using Xoops2!

Rainbow Shaman
Overfiles
123ecominfo
Digicomplex
BurnspotPresurelab
PurpleLadyCommand Tribulation
Shadowlands
Beatles's Sweden
Edv Sofort Hilfe
VirtuePark
Zonadencuentro
DJNews24
TestDriven
Facing Breast Cancer Together
Fantasy Ref
Windsor Mall
Linux+ Magazine

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4. New Modules

Articles 0.06
Articles 0.06
FreeContent 3.0
NukeTV4Xoops
IContent 4.5 Final
C Jay Reviews Beta]
Spaw WYSIWYG Editor (IE only)
Invision Power File Manager
XComics 4.5

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5. New Themes

7Dana-Soft
Rainbow Colored Theme
microWhite
IMAGO No.8
Incame Art Theme
MicroSimple
7Dana-XRed
7Dana-Clean

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6. New Hacks

Important Cache Issue Resolved
Internet Explorer 5.X CSS Hack For Xoops 2.0.6
Xoops Multi-Sites
Xoops with Sticky URLs



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7. Call to Action

As I travel to different Xoops sites, I have begun to notice many wonderful custom themes and modules that are not currently part of the Xoops repositories. I know it is tempting to hold on to your original work, but in order for Xoops to grow we need contributions from all of our members. If you have developed a custom theme or you have written or converted a module, please share the the community. Remember, we all need to work together in order to achieve the goal of Xoops. That is to be the #1 CMS! Thank you and I look forward to seeing all of your work posted here in impressive style! You have my thanks in advance!

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8. WOX - Logo

This newsletter marks the premier issue of the officially named WOX newsletter. Well as you should have figured out, WOX stands for "World of Xoops!" Here's the problem. We need a great logo for this (more or less) monthly installment. If you are good at design or simply just want to take a crack at the logo, please submit your version via e-mail. I'll compile them and the Core Team will select a few of the best. We'll let the community decide from there with a vote! Please send in your logo by the end of February.

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9. Xoops Tip of the Month

Looking for a module or a theme but just can't find what you are looking for? I suggest you check out the module and theme repositories on our Sourceforge site:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/xoops/

Have you developed something that is not listed? Be sure to let us know!


Did I miss your contribution? Sorry about that! Drop me a line and I promise we'll add it next month.