Topic: So where has Trib been for the past 5 months ? Pages that link to <a href="http://ozoneasylum.com/backlink?for=10511" title="Pages that link to Topic: So where has Trib been for the past 5 months ?" rel="nofollow" >Topic: So where has Trib been for the past 5 months ?\

 
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trib
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Den Haag, Netherlands
Insane since: Sep 2002

IP logged posted posted 02-19-2004 18:51 Edit Quote

I know .. I've become a lurker ... but I've been busy and loving every minute of it ...

If you're interested in what's been keeping me off the Asylum, please take a peek at http://www.rssd.esa.int . I've been busy writing a site-specific CMS in the backend to make the site database-driven, and it's slowly being adopted by the content-owners. You can tell the difference between the database and non-database stuff by the menus - webDB content has 3D menus. BTW, as you would expect, the menus are created using forms and rendered on the fly out of the database ...

It was all coded from scratch and I'm about 4-5 months into it right now. Just added an event calendar this week. Most of the work has been involved with writing the builder and filesystem maintenance sub-systems - the users now have a 100% HTML system to build their pages, PHP FTP emulator, and a javascript WYSIWYG HTML editor to edit their pages ... so they can work on their content wherever they are in the world .. I'm quite proud of it, actually .. It's just a pity that there's very little front-end design work involved in it (apart from the banners and general look'n'feel). Unfortunately, the builder sub-systems are restricted to authorised users only, so you can't really see the part that has taken up 75% of my time ... but from experience I can boast that non-technical users can now get a 30-40 page site up in a few days instead of a few weeks.

Try clicking the Astrophysics link in the menu below the banner, and then on Plank on the page which comes up ... that's a good example of a non-tekkie user building his own sub-site ...

Don't blame me for the front page, or the division pages .. I was stuck with those as a "my boss made 'em and wants 'em to stay" sort of thing ... and the whole of the publically visible part of it had to degrade gracefully into NS4 - so I had a nightmare with the formatting .. definitely generated some ugly code in places. Because of that I'm already considering rewriting it as a version 2, and :-

1) making it more generic
2) using PHP Classes instead of straight code
3) making the code generation properly standards-compliant
4) Abandoning pre-gecko compatibility
5) offering it as Open Source ...

So your comments/crits/flames etc. will be all taken on board and probably incorporated into V2. So ... If you look it over, lemme know what you think.


Bug-free software only exisits in two places
A programmer's mind and a salesman's lips

[This message has been edited by trib (edited 02-19-2004).]

DmS
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Sthlm, Sweden
Insane since: Oct 2000

IP logged posted posted 02-19-2004 21:19 Edit Quote

Oh...
trib my friend: This looks pretty doggone nice!

I really like the features I can see, and I'm pretty sure that there are quite a lot lurking that I cannot see
The advanced search mmmm yummy!

I've clicked around a bit and I can see what's new/old pretty well, my feeling is that you have managed to vitalize the old design visually while still making sure the visitor is on the same site, very well done!

Now, the other parts...
Why is there such an insane amount of inline styles plus an external stylesheet?
It doesn't validate.
No metatags.

Well, I've been there and done that with my own CMS, version 1 leaves a lot to do, the best thing with the first version is that it really triggers you for the "next and improved version"
I know that sure was that way for me, I'm now a good way into a complete UML-designed OOP version of the framework for my stuff.

All in all I like the work, needs some polish on the presentation code though.

Nice! (even nicer would be some teaser shots of the admin-interface )
/Dan


{cell 260}
-{ a vibration is a movement that doesn't know which way to go }-

Veneficuz
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: A graveyard of dreams
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 02-20-2004 03:28 Edit Quote

Can't add anything to what DmS said. Looks very good indeed!

Hope you create a version 2, especially interrested in the OpenSource part of it

_________________________
"There are 10 kinds of people; those who know binary, those who don't and those who start counting at zero"
- the Golden Ratio -

trib
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Den Haag, Netherlands
Insane since: Sep 2002

IP logged posted posted 02-20-2004 10:54 Edit Quote

Yeah - Thanks Dan. In planning version 2, I have taken into account almost all your suggestions already. The inline styles are a maddening thing and I really do need to tackle the stylesheet. Unfortunately it's a legacy from 2 generations ago, and I never got around to ratrionalising it, so it's a mess too ... Most of the styles are set up as PHP variables because some of the users wanted to use custom coloring to differentiate "their" menu items from "mine" and that was a 1 hour fix to do it ...

It never will validate - there's too much in there which is not mine, plus it had to comply with NS4 as quickly and dirtily as possible. Version 2 will be a ground-up rewrite and written to meet fairly strict validation rules, but I still won't have control over the usewr content areas ...

I'm just lazy when it comes to metatags, but I really should sort out the header.php file to insert some I guess.

Ah well - that's what you get for goingh public with a prototype I guess ... but my boss was so impatient we just threw it up literally as it grew ...

Teasers - Here are some screenshots -
My Portal - every authorised user gets a MyPortal page, customised to reflect their project of interest. The links topic can be detatched and left floating so you can navigate using your local bookmarks witout having to return to MyPortal to do so. You will also see on other pages the "Bookmark this page" and "popup MyPortal Links" - those appear everywhere once a user is logged in. Users can also import a bookmarks file - used a lot by our people to make their desktop available whilst using portables onn the road.
WYSIWYG HTML Editing
Filesystem Maintenance - Originally developed by me as a hobby project - improved considerably by Kukus at Gurus Network, and rewritten by me for this application.
The Menu Editor - after selecting edit an entry - the green "jellybeans" are live link checks - broken link means you can't commit your menu
Edit Page Metadata - Part of the process - the page gets more complex depending on the options chosen. Pages can be defined as containing HTML (stored in the database and editable using the WYSIWYG editor) or using an include file (stored in the filesystem) or being a lef/right layout definition, in which case there are 2 more content records created which can both be either HTML or include. Left/right refers to a split of the main body (my menus remain no matter what) and the split is n-15/160 pixels .. i.e. for a right-hand menu or highlights column ...
User Authentication - Pages can be secured by either group or personal level authentication. Personal tends only to be used for admins and editors.
Calendar Maintenance
Spamproofing Mailer


I hope they give you some idea of how it looks in the "backroom"

Finally, about the Advanced Search - - - The whole Search subsysten is a slightly modified version of Webinator by Thunderstone and it's entirely FREE unless you want to use it on > 9900 pages ... I run the re-indexing every night at 01:00 and it takes 2 hours to reindex the whole 1870 pages in my site, and return me a link error report of every busted (internal) link. It really is a great tool, and easily integrated into your look'n'feel. You should giv it a whirl - you'll like it ... oh - PS - Their technical support via the message board has been fast, accurate and very helpful up to now. One of the better services "out there". You only get message board support with the free version, but IMO it's enough.

Enjoy ... Kevin


Bug-free software only exisits in two places
A programmer's mind and a salesman's lips

[This message has been edited by trib (edited 02-20-2004).]

[This message has been edited by trib (edited 02-20-2004).]

DmS
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Sthlm, Sweden
Insane since: Oct 2000

IP logged posted posted 02-20-2004 14:43 Edit Quote

Thanx for the sneak wiews trib
Really interesting stuff! Looks just as good from the backside
Very nicely done and I clearly understand why 75% of the work is invisible to the visitor.
How much say did you have in what functionality that should be available? Things like this tend to run away from you once the paying ppl starts to brainstorm...

Thanx for the tip on the search system, a definite bookmark! Looks very interesting indeed.

Congrats on a job well done!
/Dan

[side_note] Not to hijack the thread but: If you're interested in what I've done so far on my stuff you can take a look here for the documentation (no interfaces available at this point), any opinions on the concept are very welcome, either by mail, ICQ or Messenger (see profile)[/side_note]

{cell 260}
-{ a vibration is a movement that doesn't know which way to go }-

[This message has been edited by DmS (edited 02-20-2004).]

DL-44
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: under the bed
Insane since: Feb 2000

IP logged posted posted 02-20-2004 15:18 Edit Quote

Very cool Trib.

Don't have time for an actual review at the moment, but can say that everything looked great to me.

I'm insanely jealous that you get to work on the ESA site. . . =)

trib
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Den Haag, Netherlands
Insane since: Sep 2002

IP logged posted posted 02-20-2004 15:40 Edit Quote

Thanks again Dan, and thanks DL ...

To answer your question Dan - I determine what functionality I put in there because anything is more than they had before so I can stage my work accouring to my own impression of what they might want to see. (That includes the newsfeeds and Daily Dilbert - they were there to encourage people to start using it, and just stuck). It's also a permanent job, so I think I can take the time to develop version 2 properly ...

Wheee !!! ... I just read your documentation briefly .. Heck it looks professional!! I just sat down and started writing code. The thing just grew like a weed, and I still only have inline comments as the only developer documentation in the system. I envy someone who can come up with a fully worked through schema before they satart. My sketchpad (notebook and pen) looks like a madman has scriblled on it for a month or two - I can never make sense of my notes if I come back to them in a few months ... bah .. I'm still an amateur at heart

DL -- Yeah .. ESA at ESTEC is pure Nerd Heaven ... I just love it. Paid to play and zero stress !!


Bug-free software only exisits in two places
A programmer's mind and a salesman's lips

[This message has been edited by trib (edited 02-20-2004).]

DmS
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Sthlm, Sweden
Insane since: Oct 2000

IP logged posted posted 02-20-2004 23:10 Edit Quote

Who's not an amateur
If I remember it correctly Amateur is a french word from latin "amtor" meaning basically "lover, from amre, to love". What better way to describe what we do

As for the "plan before code", well I've built version one already to prove the concept to myself, then I was in a 5 month project for a client that wanted everything fully documented... that taught me to document as I go. By using javadoc styled commenting I auto generate both the html and a windows .chm help file in 20 seconds... Having this alongside is a superb help for the big picture.
Well, enough of my stuff in your thread Just holler if you want to discuss it further.

And yes, I'm also very envious on your position and the sites area of content, space research is very interesting and to combine that with what you do...!
/Dan

{cell 260}
-{ a vibration is a movement that doesn't know which way to go }-

Cameron
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: Brisbane
Insane since: Jan 2003

IP logged posted posted 02-24-2004 14:56 Edit Quote

On the front end side, take note of the main esa site front page. Simple, clean, pretty much feature devoid asside the odd flash animation and basic mouseover highlight. But it hits all the right buttons in terms of basic usability that your site is a little lacking in.

The structure of the pages leaves a little to be desierd and there are lots of issues with things that look like "buttons" but only the text of the "button" is clickable. Fixing little things like that, which usually fall by the wayside when you're knee deep in server side code, will help the site 100 fold.

The backend seems quite slick. Hopefully most of the usability issues with be rectified when you cross over to standards complient XHTML.

That WYSIWYG HTML editor looks good, but does it generate well formed code?

I'm actually working on a bunch of publishing tools myself at the moment for my personal site. I've been using PHP5, which has a fantastic new OOP model (little more like java, but not quite as good, and no namespace support like they promised but it's still good), it also has amazing XML support using libxml2. XSL(T) has completly changed the way I approach web design in a single week. It definatly puts a whole new spin on web publishing and content management. If you get the chance to step up to PHP5 for the next version I'd highly recommend it.

trib
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Den Haag, Netherlands
Insane since: Sep 2002

IP logged posted posted 02-24-2004 17:58 Edit Quote

Thanks Cameron ... I'll be taknig all your points on board if/when I do version 2. I'm pretty much hog-tied right now, both in my choice of tools (PHP-4 is as good as we'll be getting for a while) and having to adhere to at least reasonable NS4 compatibility. On the mail ESA site - that's there to serve a different purpose in our world - it's the "PR" site, so it needs to be slicker but with a lot less Scientific content, but I do agree about the fact that it navigates well and feels right .. I guess that's what comes of having an editorial team of 5 and a development/maintenance team of 4, a manager and a secretary ... rather than just me .... but I'll do my best to keep up.

The WYSIWYG editor is based on a heavily modified version of HTMLarea, version 2 (3 is still in beta) so no - it doesn't created good code at all, and it's a far bit buggy, but I'm working ov V3 at present and that looks better. If anyone knows of a better one I'd be grateful for a link or two ...


Bug-free software only exisits in two places
In programmer's mind and on a salesman's lips

[This message has been edited by trib (edited 02-24-2004).]



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