World of Xoops (WOX)

WOX (World of XOOPS) Newsletter # 14 (November 2008)

Mamba  01-Nov-2008 09:19 16690 Reads  5
WOX - World Of Xoops

W.O.X. - WORLD OF XOOPS #14 (November 2008)

Another month, and another issue of the WOX (World of XOOPS) Newsletter (see here previous versions)  

October continued to be busy for the XOOPS community - with debugging and testing and then releasing of the XOOPS 2.3.1 !!!! The work continues on working out issues with modules, to make sure that they are compatible with 2.3.1.  October was also very good for themes - we had a lot new ones. As always, we salute all of XOOPS developers who develop new modules and themes and share them with the XOOPS Community!!!

  • XOOPS 2.3.1 Final has been released. This is the most advanced XOOPS version yet, finally merging the the two branches 2.0.x and 2.2.x.

    With over 7,000 downloads of XOOPS 2.3.1 within the first three weeks, we have a very good start. The goal for us is to upgrade all XOOPS sites to 2.3.x, so we can focus on supporting only one version of XOOPS.
  • Our Founder, Onokazu,  has been recognized as one of Most Valued People of Open Source CMS.   Thank you all who voted for him. While XOOPS didn't win this year, we are shooting for that title next year with our new version: XOOPS 3.0
  • XOOPS Innovation Award - for people who create something very unique and innovative for XOOPS. This time the award goes to Julian Egelstaff (jegelstaff) for his new version of Formulize!
  • XOOPSer of the Month Award:  is given to XOOPS members who show extraordinary dedication to XOOPS, and go the extra mile for XOOPS. This month we would like to recognize: Anders Kristiansen (anderssk), the Webmaster of XOOPS Denmark and XOOPS Nordic. It's the Webmasters for XOOPS local support sites who make the difference for all the people who don't speak English, and their only entry to the wonderful world of XOOPS.


We continue to execute on our Plans for 2008. We'll need all the help from the whole XOOPS Community to make the 2008 Plans reality. But we are confident that together, we'll be able to make it. Remember - XOOPS is powered by YOU!!!!

02. XOOPSers of the Month

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Our "XOOPSer of the Month" Award is given to XOOPS members who show extraordinary dedication to XOOPS, and go the extra mile for XOOPS. Sometimes they do something spectacular, but most of the time they just do something everyday, but by doing it day-in and day-out, they make a BIG DIFFERENCE in life of XOOPS community. And we thank them for that!!!

This month we would like to recognize Anders Kristiansen (anderssk) for his continues support of XOOPS users in the Nordic Area, as well as here on XOOPS (e.g. with his Guide to Make your XOOPS Installation even more secure). He was also very helpful during the 2.3.x testing.  Thank you, Anders!!!!

Where are you from, and where do you live now?

I was born (1973) and raised in Roskilde, Denmark. I moved to Copenhagen and lived in an apartment for 8 years. But because of many disturbances with our neighbours I moved to a little house in Hvidovre. The main reason was my 5 years daughter. She was beginning to draw “people throwing stones and fire coming up the road”. At that time she was 4 years old. Not a good environment to be raised in!

How long have you been programming?

I’m not really a programmer. 

I’m more a regular user who can read codes   At my normal job I work with security. Mostly on a mainframe – the language used here is JCL. The Database behind our mainframe is a CA-Datacom. That's where I got my skills. I also have some work with Active Directory and scripting daily job in here.

What is your expertise?

My first PC was an IBM286, with an expansion board. That was a board that contains 20MB memory that could be used as extended memory in DOS. Microsoft has recently “invented” the Ready-Boost in Windows Vista, but the function is the same as it was on my IBM286

After working in sales, I got a job as IT-Supporter, and I think that’s my strong side. Test, test and test again. Documentation and user-manuals/how-to’s is also some of the things I have been doing for a long time.

What got you to XOOPS?

I used to create websites with Postnuke. But I got really tired of the permissions control and the need for core/module hack on every little core-upgrade. I started looking at big Danish web portals to find out what CMS-system they were made with. Many of them run on XOOPS. They were developed by Jan Pedersen aka Mitrandir. The Danish XOOPS domain was taken but not active, so I contacted the owner and he hosted for free.

What do you like the most about XOOPS?

I like the activity on the forum at The easy template system and the permissions control is in my eyes one of the strongest things in XOOPS.

In what area of XOOPS do you contribute and why?

Mostly support for daily use and testing and of course maintaining I almost forgot the translation of XOOPS Core and nearly 40 modules into Danish

What you you major achievement in programming that you're most proud of?

That’s from my day job – moving security on CA-Datacom from internal to external security. The database environment can be accessed in 10 different ways, so each way needed to be protected. Imagine that security on MySQL. If you try to access a database with phpMyAdmin access is READ – if you try to access the same database trough a program called admin.php from access is UPDATE and so on. That was a pretty hard job and there is no help. I think only 2 or 3 companies are running the same setup as I have. If you know anyone working with CA-Datacom or CA-TopSecret please let me know.

I hope my first module is soon to be released…

What are your hobbies, when you're not coding?

I try to find some time for geocaching. A great “game” and a reason to get out in the nature. Every year I’m a volunteer at Roskilde Festival. I’ve been at the festival for over 30 years in a row. I’m raising one of the stage tents, called Pavilion. If anyone of your is planning to go to Roskilde Festival one year, please contact me and let’s meet.

You favorite dish and drink?

Favorite dish is easy – anything above the water and under the sky, served with a big beer

If you would have a chance for a 30 seconds commercial with a message to the world, what would you say?

That depends what the commercial should sell   But I very much agree with the quote “what doesn't kill you, it just makes you stronger”

If you could choose a place and time to live, what would it be and why?

The 60’. Great music, cool cars and no computers to steal your time.

Who is the person that you would like to meet and why? 

No one special .

03. XOOPS Innovation Award

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Our XOOPS Innovation Award is given to people who create something very unique and very innovative for XOOPS! We are clear that XOOPS can only succeed, when we push the limits of our creativity, imagination, and innovation to "infinity and beyond" . And therefore we would like to recognize people who create this "WOW!" effect, when we see what they've done. The XOOPS Innovation Award is not a monthly award, i.e. theoretically, there might be a month where we won't give one, but we certainly hope that this will never happen

Xoops Innovation Award Xoops Innovation Award

This month the award goes to Julian Egelstaff (jegelstaff) for his new version of Formulize!

Where are you from, and where do you live now?

I am from southern Ontario, Canada, although I spent nine years living in Ottawa during and after going to Carleton University there. I have lived in Toronto since 2001.

How long have you been programming?

I have been programming since I was around 10 or so. I learned BASIC in school on Commodores (back when they actually taught you something about computers in school, instead of teaching you how to use one particular piece of software), and I had to teach myself the Atari dialect of BASIC using only the barest of reference manuals for the language -- which was actually quite hard because, for example, in Atari BASIC you had to dimension your string variables before you could use them, but in Commodore BASIC you didn't have to, so for months I only wrote programs that relied on number inputs.

I actually stopped tinkering with most of that stuff during most of high school, but kept an aptitude for computers. Later when I ended up working in software companies, it showed through that I knew more than how to turn a computer on, so I ended up programming scripts to automate desktop publishing procedures.

Plus the internet exploded around that time, so I learned HTML and related things, and eventually in a very round about way, that led to PHP programming.

What is your expertise?

My primary expertise is consulting. I listen to what people are trying to do, and then figure out the technical options that are available for achieving their goals. Usually, I'm talking to people about web-based systems that they are trying to design or build, but it's not always web-based.

I co-founded Freeform Solutions ( as a not-for-profit company, with a mission to help other not-for-profits use computers and technology to better meet their own missions. So it's a big umbrella in which I can focus my consulting expertise to help organizations that are doing good works, and I can hopefully help them do things better.

All the programming and web development stuff is actually secondary to the primary goal of providing good technical options to people who have great ideas, but no technical capability.

What got you to XOOPS?

We were looking for a flexible system as the base for a data entry and reporting tool. XOOPS had a strong set of fundamentals -- user management, permission management, decent set of standard community website modules, etc -- plus it had Formulaire, which was pretty close to what we wanted at the time. 100 hours of hacking later and we had Formulize 1. That was 2004.

XOOPS was attractive because from 2000 to 2002, I had worked in house at an organization that had built a portal system for their own use, and many of the concepts of permissions and user management that we had explored in that system, without really knowing what a portal system was -- no one had really created a portal system as a product in 2000 -- many of those concepts we had, were similar to what XOOPS had, so it was a good fit and a natural extension of what we had started with a few years earlier.

That other code base was not open source and we couldn't keep working on it, so since XOOPS was a mature code base that was freely available and maintained by other people, this was a huge plus.

What do you like the most about XOOPS?

I like the clean object structure, and the effective use of the smarty template engine, not that we make full use of that in Formulize, but anyway.

XOOPS by itself doesn't do a whole lot out of the box, but it's a very flexible platform for developing applications on. It's a very lightweight programming framework, almost more that it is a portal system. On that basis, it functions very well.

This also makes it very flexible for integrating with other systems, which is my greatest interest right now. So that makes XOOPS a good candidate system for using when you want to extend the functionality of other websites by using some XOOPS-based tool, like Formulize, for example. This was the subject of one of my presentations at the FSOSS conference in Toronto this year ( There will be a video of the presentation available on the fsoss website in another week or two.

Why did you decide to develop Formulize ?

We wanted to build something that was an evolution of what we had built in the earlier non-open source code base I mentioned. We had a client who needed a webform-based, data entry and reporting tool, and we knew exactly how to build one that could meet a variety of business needs, since we had done it already. So we started rebuilding what we had already done, using Formulaire as the base, since it was close to a lot of the basic functionality we needed.

One of the key ideas was to build something that was flexible, because we knew the client would have needs in the future that were different from what their immediate needs were, but they would not be able to have us build something new in the future. So there was a very specific design goal with Formulize, from the very beginning, to make the capabilities very general, so you would be able to use it to model a variety of processes and procedures, in a standardized way.

It turns out that approach is very flexible and extensible, and a lot of the later development has been motivated by trying to see how far we can push that idea, and whether we can come up with the most powerful business process modeling tool in the open source world, while still being mostly accessible to non-programmers.

What is your major achievement in programming that you're most proud of?

Without a doubt, my ZCE certification.

That's the industry certification for being an expert PHP programmer. You have to understand, my post-secondary educational background is in Journalism and Philosophy. I was a computer dabbler, I was good at math, but I was not a super computer nerd in school. I did not study computer science or computer engineering, or anything remotely technical in high school or after that. But I had some kind of knack for programming, and I ended up with jobs that crossed the boundary between technical implementations and system design.

Before I did the desktop publishing automation work that I mentioned, a fully trained programmer at that company had tried to write something for the desktop publishing department. And it was a complete failure, because the programmer didn't understand the desktop publishing process, the subject matter. So when I stepped in to give it a try, I didn't know one tenth of the programming that the original programmer knew, but I knew the subject matter, and I knew enough programming that I made a workable automation script, that was in use at that company for four years, which is a long time in the computer business!

So I kind of fell into programming sideways, by being the guy who had the global overview of what we were trying to achieve, and I understood just enough of the technical stuff to make sure the implementations I was working on would actually work right. Recently I read in an article in PHP Architect magazine, that when it comes to programming, it's better to do the right thing really badly, than to do the wrong thing really well. That about sums up my entry into the real world of computer programming.

So as I transitioned to web-based stuff and started using PHP about 8 years ago, there was a bit of a learning curve you might say. But by the time I was at the PHP Works conference in 2006, and they were offering the ZCE exam to all attendees free of charge, I thought, what the heck, I know a thing or two about PHP now, after writing Formulize and hacking on XOOPS and other things for a few years.

So I sat down and wrote the exam, no preparation, just with what was in my head that day. And I passed. So that was a pretty big validation that I was not really just doing the right thing in the wrong way anymore.

What are your hobbies, when you're not coding?

Well, it's not exactly a hobby...I spend most of my time that I'm not working, looking after my daughters. My wife has a very successful career as a lawyer for public sector groups, not-for-profits, and legal aid clients, and works outside of the house at that. So my main job is actually looking after our daughters, and I only do this "work" thing when they are in school, or when my in-laws are looking after them, which very generously, they do a couple afternoons a week.

So coding is really more like the hobby, and being Dad is the job. We also have a very nice 46 gallon aquarium that I enjoy maintaining and looking after the fish. And I am a bit of a movie buff, nothing huge, but we do have a small library of DVDs at home.

Your favorite movies and music?

It's hard to have absolute favourites, but Children of Men is probably the best movie I have seen in the last few years. I am a big fan of the new Battlestar Galactica, too bad they're drawing out the series on such a stupid schedule. And I can't get enough of Pixar movies, those guys are geniuses.

I like jazz music, and the occasional bit of classical. I haven't listened to any rock or pop music since high school really. Though I do have a soft spot for the Pet Shop Boys. Their last album was really good actually.

If you would have a chance for a 30 seconds commercial with a message to the world, what would you say?

Something about climate change. There are some really, really, really terrifying things going on there, and I am convinced time is running out to do anything about it that will truly make a difference.

People think that it doesn't matter what they do themselves, because they think the emissions of the US are really half the problem, or the emissions of China are what really matter. But that's not true, at least that's not the whole story.

First of all, someone has to show the way forward. There has to be innovation and setting an example, so we can see a way out of this mess. There has to be leadership by example.

But also, there's an old saying that is 100% true for mass population issues like climate change: "none the raindrops believes it's responsible for the flood". We all contribute to this problem. We can all contribute to the solution.

04. New/Updated Modules

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05. New Hacks

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06. Security Issues/Alerts

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Xoops Security
  • None this month

07. YAXS, Sites using XOOPS

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08. Tutorials/Add-ons

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09. New/Updated Themes

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10. News from around the World

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News from around the World

11. Local supports

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12. How to contribute

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