World of Xoops (WOX): World of XOOPS Newsletter, edition 3

Posted by: CBlueon 2004/5/2 13:30:00 19575 reads
WOX Newsletter
-World of XOOPS, edition 3-


You're reading the third issue of the World of XOOPS Newsletter, where the XOOPS Core Team informs you about their work, and gives you an overview of the recent additions to the XOOPS system, done by our great community.

This edition of the newsletter is covering the months of March and April! These past couple of months have been very busy ones for the XOOPS Community. This issue of the newsletter is a long one because we want to make sure we cover all the latest YAXS, modules, hacks and themes that have come out since the last newsletter. If there is any new items that you feel have been left out, email me at cblue@xoops.org and let me know so that I can add it to the next newsletter. Click 'read more' to see what XOOPS has brought you this month!

In this issue:
1. Recent News
2. Site of the Month: GuitarGearHeads.Com
3. YAXS - New Sites Using Xoops2!
4. New Modules
5. New Themes
6. New Hacks
7. Calling all Module Developers!
8. Giving back to the Community
9. XOOPS Tip of the Month



1. Recent News
Welcome to the new edition of the World of XOOPS newsletter! In this introductory chapter I report what the XOOPS project teams have done, and what they have in store for you.
Things are moving forward now. The past few weeks has been very active, especially for the XOOPS Development Teams: the Core Development Team, the Module Development Team and the Documentation Team. The Core Development Team is busy working on the XOOPS 2.0.7 release which will include the latest bugfixes. They're also planning and working on the next major release, XOOPS 2.2, which will have a lot of new features and improvements. Don't ask for release dates, as we haven't set any.
The Module Development Team has been busy as well. The XOOPS Development Forge website (http://dev.xoops.org) has a growing number of developers who have their module development projects hosted there. There are currently 35 active project and almost 100 developers registered on the Development Forge. The Module Development Team is working hard on updating, expanding and enhanching popular official modules like the news module, the mydownloads module and the newbb module. The myXoopsForge modules themself are also in active development. Co-developed with Novell and the European Commission, these modules are becoming a better alternative for SourceForge, the original these modules are based on!
There is also a whole bunch of new module development projects that is looking for input from you! The projects are public for everyone, so please report your bugs, hacks, patches and requests (for those modules) in that website.
The Documentation Team has released the first Official Document, the excellent 'a Visual Introduction to XOOPS'! They are working diligently on a number of other documents, so stay tuned for more news on that.
All in all these have been good weeks, with many new modules, themes and XOOPS powered websites, as you will see below. It amazes me every time how creative people are, how much innovation takes place here, and how much everyone can do with XOOPS when they set their mind to it. And of course, what a great community of people we have here, supporting the members and users! I am proud to be part of this, and so should you!

The XOOPS Team

2. Site of the Month: GuitarGearHeads.Com
This month's Website of the Month is the www.guitargearheads.com website. I talked with the owner of this website, Daniel Halberg (dlh), and asked him about how he feels about Xoops and it's uses.

CBlue: You have a great website, GuitarGearHeads.Com. Is this the only Xoops site that you have online at this time?

Dan: Thank you! That means a lot because it's been a long learning process for me. By definition statisticians do not make good webdesigners....but I think I'm slowly getting better!

I currently have two websites up and running using the Xoops CMS. The first is an ongoing experiment called SecondSquare at www.secondsquare.com. It is a business consulting site/personal blog of sorts. I can't say that it is that impressive; however, I've learned a great deal about content management and site development since I've done SecondSquare - so expect the next interation to be much better! I'm waiting until the next version of Xoops to do a more or less clean start of SecondSquare, and I'm looking forward to it! I've got ideas....

I'll have to admit that I haven't done much with SecondSquare in the last few months because I have been focusing extensively on my newest website, GuitarGearHeads at www.guitargearheads.com. I have been playing guitar for about 2 1/2 years now and it has become sort of an obsession. I was chatting with Gary Allen (my partner) and we started talking about what we'd do if we had a website. I am in Arkansas and Gary is in Washington state. Because of Xoops, I was able to have a sophisticated professional website up and running in less than month...with content! We have been beta testing the site in March and will start going full scale in April.

CBlue: How long have you been using Xoops for your websites?

Dan: I have been with Xoops.org *almost* since it's inception...2/20/02 to be exact. I think I was using the 0.9.4 version or something back then. Xoops has transformed into such a slick CMS. It may look like Nuke...but if you look under the hood, Xoops is a sleeping giant. Xoops is fast, it's powerful, and it's easy.

I evaluated all of the current CMSs at the time and none of them compared with Xoops. I still have yet to find a solution that allows me to set up a *professional* looking website with minimum development time. This is the key - some CMSs look pretty up front but really lack back-end functionality. You really have to think to the future when picking a CMS because your content gets locked into a database format that is not always easily transferable.

CBlue: What is your job in the the Xoops community? What do you do to help out and how long have you been a member of the Core team

Dan: I was asked by Herko early this year to take on the Community Relations role for the core team - where I initiated the monthly newsletter that I subsequently dumped on you! (Sorry about that!). My goal was is to initiate and facilitate discussions between the membership and the development teams.

Right now I am in charge of Product Development. That sounds like I'm a coder - I'm not. What I do is encourage outside developers (themes and php scripts) to develop for Xoops. We are also responsible for developing content for conferences and coming up with ideas for sponsorship. We are also in the process of generating case studies and press kits.

We really want Xoops to take a leap to "the next level" - what ever that looks like. My vision is for Xoops to be in league of OpenOffice and OSCommerce. We have a long way to go...but I think everyone has sensed lately that momentum is gaining. I'm seeing people do incredible things with Xoops. I am very very excited. If you could see everything in the pipeline - you'd be excited too!

Let's just say - I started with Xoops and I'm sticking with Xoops!

I'd like to recognize two people on my team. Malexandria and her site www.eclipsemagazine.com and Michael at www.xoopsfactory.com. Malexandria has developed the slides sets we are using for various conferences and Michael is currently working on the finishing the new Xoops themes for the main site. I am looking for two other individuals to join the Product Development team. If anyone is interested just e-mail me!

CBlue: What made you decide to devote your own personal time to promoting and helping out Xoops?

Dan: Xoops is such a great project. I could have NEVER have developed a website on my own like the ones I have created without this script. Xoops ease of use and flexibility allows me to add to the website and create new features with relative ease. I could never imagine going back to static HTML pages.

When you owe so much to people who have helped you - most of whom you don't even know - you feel compelled to give something back. I'm a decent hacker but not very good at creating new PHP code, so this area is where I felt like I could contribute. My feeling is that if everyone contributed a little bit - Xoops could realize its potential very quickly.

The amount of personal time I donate is relatively small compared to the 1,000's of hours I saved by going with Xoops as my CMS both in terms of development time and in terms time saved managing content.

I guess I'd reverse the question to the readers of this newsletter. If you are aren't contributing to the Xoops project.....why not? Please e-mail me or Herko, and we'll put you somewhere where you can have an impact!

CBlue: What improvements for Xoops have you personally been a part in helping with?

Dan: Like I said I'm not a coder...but...I've contributed:

1) Random Quotes 1.0.1
2) Tips and Tricks module
3) Posted one of the original implementations of Shoutbox (long since surpassed).
4) Various hacks and tips.

I am having increasing success with stand-alone script developers translating their scripts to "Xoops friendly" versions. This may not mean full modules but something that at least works with Xoops user-tables. Once recent success was the popular aMember script. This unfortunately is a paid script - but if you are *really* starting a business with Xoops then it is of minor cost.

The other one I'm currently working on is a mp3 album categorization and player from www.jinzora.org. I'm looking forward to this one!

We are working on various other opportunities as well. If anyone has ideas - just shoot them my way.

CBlue: Do you have any tips and/or tricks to offer to new Xoops users to help them get all they can get out of using Xoops for their websites?

Dan: Focus on content not on features. Too often I think that new users get caught up in all the "bells-and-whistles". They feel like they've got to have 8,000 modules installed with all those features on the front page. Xoops is a CMS...a content management system. This means that sooner or later, if you want to have a good, well-trafficked site you are going to have to develop something of value to present. Before you even install Xoops think about three questions:

a) What is the purpose of this site? Write it down. Then take whatever you write down and focus it even further...think small. The best websites are very niche driven. You can't be Amazon or Google...but you can be an expert in model building, or surfing, or manufacturing processes, etc.

b) What content can I contribute? This is the "who", "what", "when", "where" questions - and don't forget "how often". Content needs to be fresh and focused.

c) Who is going to be interested in this site? This will determine who you linkshare with, who you partner with, who you content share with - it takes time to develop a solid web presence so be patient.

Also remember that your front page is valuable space. Too much clutter will just confuse your readers.

CBlue: Are there any Xoops modules that you would personally recommend to new Xoops users? Ones that are developed the best?

Dan: Yes....News! I know that sounds funny...but it is very powerful. It supports HTML and multiple pages so you can actually be pretty creative with your layouts. In many cases news is all you need!

You know - everyone is so focused on "features" relative to NewBB and so forth. Frankly, most users don't care about this unless you have a tech savvy audience. My advice to you is to only add features when necessary.

As such I run these modules, News, Multi-menu, NewBB, WebLinks, Downloads, AgendaX, XCGallery, Freecontent 3.0, TinyContent, Random Quotes, Tricks and Tips, Glossaires, WF-Channel, Weblog, Spotlight, FAQ, Partners, and Polls. I also have embedded some third party scripts successfully into my backend. I use the latest version of Phpadsnew, EzineDirector, and some small scripts I run with Tiny Content.pagewrap.

As you can see - this is pretty much stock stuff. I try to be thoughtful relative to menus and block placement and content organization. I am still working on it and will be adding some additional features in the next couple of months.

CBlue: What improvements have you noticed in the quality of Xoops since you first started using it?

This is a trick question...because EVERYTHING has changed since I started using it. However, one thing hasn't...ease of use. Xoops is heading in a very positive direction.

CBlue: What do you think of the support of the Xoops Community? Do you feel that Xoops provides better support than other CMS programs?

Dan: I don't know if I can answer that because I've not experienced too many of the support features of other CMSs. I'll admit, that sometimes I post questions that don't get answered. But by and large the Xoops community is very helpful and friendly and measures up well. Lately it has been excellent.

CBlue: What features would you like to see implemented in Xoops that haven't already been added yet?

Dan: Sophisticated newsletter system and integrated site statistics. Also a group based article management system and access controls for uploads and downloads. More flexibility relative to custom block creation based on existing tables.

Thanks for the interview. It was fun. And remember to generate content not features! - Dan

Thank you Dan for your participation! - CBlue

3. YAXS - New Sites Using Xoops2!
LUGAr - Linux Users Group Argentina, added 5-01-2004
CaFeLUG - Capital Federal GNU/Linux Users Group, added 5-01-2004
USUARIA's 1st. Free Software Congress, added 5-01-2004
WiredBlog, added 5-01-2004
Uni-Cloud, added 5-01-2004
SabahRhinos.com, added 4-30-2004
Hungarian U2 Site, added 4-28-2004
Hunting Addictions, added 4-28-2004
Art In Italy, added 4-28-2004
rhernando.net, added 4-26-2004
WebsiteToTaal.Info, added 4-25-2004
GamesOnline, added 4-23-2004
Wolf Pack Clan, added 4-23-2004
FastSail.org 4-23-2004
Agreda en la Web, el portal de Agreda, added 4-22-2004
TooMuchIt.com, added 04-22-2004
Bossprinters, added 04-21-2004
Association For Information Security, added 4-17-2004
Pc-Treiber.Net, added 4-17-2004
E-rom.nl, added 4-16-2004
Official site of russian women volley team, added 4-16-2004
Gratis-Siden, added 4-15-2004
TechFinance.Ca, added 4-15-2004
MLA.SK, added 4-15-2004
Bharat.Name, added 4-14-2004
German EDV Community, added 4-13-2004
CondoLegal.com, added 4-13-2004
The BnB Fansite, added 4-13-2004
CITCS Study Group, added 4-13-2004
The Edward Said Archive, added 4-12-2004
Arab-American.Net, added 4-12-2004
Dream Catcher Dezines, added 4-08-2004
Mi Guanajuato, added 4-08-2004
ChillOut.org.uk, added 4-04-2004
Crafts Online, added 4-04-2004
FnGeeks.Net, added 4-02-2004
Minus.Driven, added 3-29-2004
Men Of Song, added 3-18-2004

4. New Modules
If you have a module, and want to add it to the XOOPS Module Repository, please contact Francis via PM, and tell him about your module. ANd of course a big thank you to all the developers out there who produced these wonderful modules!
Lykos Syndication Module-Fixed
I-Stats
Agenda-X 2.1
TinyContent-Duplicatable
Friend Finder
no-ah extendable content module
WikiMod
ChatMX
Articles module for Xoops v2
Dictionary
FreeContent WebDigest V3.1
LanMod
MS-Weather 1.4 debug version
MS-Weather 1.4 linux version
MyTutorial v2.1b
XFSection 1.05 Chinese language pack
Spotlight V2.0RC2 with_XFSection
Narga's Guestbook module for Xoops 2.xx
xmovietime-updated
Random media
Urgence-a manager of emergency phone number
T-TechTools 1.0
TechThemeConfig 1.0 Bundle
Xoogle
Xoops BFSTATS
xoopschat 1.21
Xt - Themes - Fix your Theme

5. New Themes
4thebiz White Theme for Xoops
4thebreak Xoops Theme
4theBrushed Metal Theme for Xoops
4theFort2 Theme for Xoops
7dana-round Theme !
A Blue Gooberhead
A Pink Gooberhead
ALightFC Theme for Xoops2
Karate Redux Blue
kiss_Melody
mh_xfact.zip
OceanSpirit 1.0
Sabre xoops 2 theme by Gilian

6. New Hacks
E: Use hacks at your own risk! They may render your XOOPS system unuseable or may prevent you from upgrading!
Emerging menus for Xoops 1.3
gbsearch for Xoops 2
newbb_fileup1115.zip
Page Title Hack 1.2
Page Title Hack 1.0
phpBB 2.0 to newBB 1.0 (Xoops Forum) converter
xcGallery for XOOPS Multilanguage
XOOPS Multilanguage

Have you made a hack for the XOOPS core (not any of the modules!)? Please submit your hacks to the core system to the XOOPS Patch Tracker on the SourceForge.net project pages.

7. Calling all Module Developers!
This is a general call to all module developers out there. We have set up and opened a XOOPS Module Development Forge website, where you can develop your modules in the presence of other module developers. The Dev Forge site is a SourceForge.net clone, meant for XOOPS Module Development projects only. Membership is restricted to developers, but when you're a member (by being part of a development project -maybe your own modules?), you get access to the developer-to-developer forums, security releated information, and you can share your experience with the other developers, as well as learn from them. So sign up now with your own module development project!

8. Giving back to the Community
As you can see in the 'Make a donation' block, the number of people donating money is growing and growing. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them publicly for their continued support: our 10 Anonymous, thomasjo, coterian, dwilson, kevinv, munkus, tadashi, dunkgreen, tuff, davidd, zack, kjs222, herko, Jan304, gstarrett, YourHelp, Philroy, ozboof, ronhab, sunsnapper, Panos, dlh, pygmeae, philou, yoshi, jamesmac, glenn, awreneau, gnagis, sirTanksAlot, deepsoul, madfish, porkie, chappy, alexon, bd_csmc, dr3vil, dreamgear, dobephat, johnakin, ocean, mytobaba, RuudV, juanc, _zx81, thank you! You can recognise the donators by their 'Friend of XOOPS' rank. You can join their ranks by making a donation using the PayPal button on the xoops.org website! All donations are put back into the development of the system and the maintainance of the xoops.org websites.

9. XOOPS Tip of the Month
It's a good idea for people who use Fantastico, to install xoops on their server, to not only make sure that the uploads, cache and templates_c directories are chmod'd to 777, but also compare the xoops files on your server with the actual files' sizes of an original copy of xoops to make sure that all your files uploaded correctly. Sometimes Fantastico does not upload all your files completely or correctly.