22855 Posts in 9971 Topics by 2805 members
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9 January 2009 at 7:17pm
This isn't just an issue with SilverStripe...it seems all the open source CMS products I've checked out recently (including the big ones like Drupal, Joomla and CMS Made Simple) have terrible documentation. Generally they suffer from the "written by developers, for developers (that sit in the next cube)" problem.
E.g. the docs.joomla.org wiki is a sprawling mess of random user input, with little fitting together. Cohesion and quality are the big factors.
It seems that SS could make documentation and tutorials a serious priority - it would be a nice strategic advantage over all the other free CMS' out there. SS is already half way there with the current tutorials and documentation...just need some good technical writers to fill in all the gaps, keep things up-to-date and reform the current stuff in terms of language and unnecessary jargon.
Documentation can be made a critical component of the product, with business rules supporting this. For example, before any new version is released all documentation must be up-to-date in line with the new release, while still maintaining backwards support/compatibility with older versions - and this must be rigorously checked/enforced.
IMHO the aim should be to create a graded entry system whereby potential new users can "slot in" where they feel comfortable in the structure of the tutorials/documentation. Starting at the very basics of CMS principles and even basic PHP tutorials as it relates to SilverStripe.
I really like the structure you guys have at present of different Levels of documentation - it's a great concept.
I'm Looking forward to seeing what can be done
16 January 2009 at 6:24am Last edited: 16 January 2009 6:44am
Was looking at the Joomla forum today and noticed their stats, thought it might give a better indication of how far SS has to go before it can compete in terms of community size:
Total members: 247,349
Total posts: 1,491,981
Total topics: 328,751
Most users ever online was 2,459
Total members: 2,145
Total posts: 19,006
Total topics: 4,909
Most users ever online was ....er 10 if were lucky??? lol
As was mentioned the V2.x status of SS is a little misleading considering Joomla is still only at V1.5!
16 January 2009 at 11:51pm
Just to balance things I'd like to add my concern at the quality of the Tutorials and the responses to items posted on the Forum. I'm a kiwi and that is why I chose SS. I want to succeed with the product but have found difficulties with the tutorials. I'm new to web stie design and development but not to programming and system development. Currently I'm on Tutorial 4 and although I have successfully got the seach dialog box appearing on the screen when I enter a search string nothing is returned whether the string is valid or otherwise. No error is generated. I have put 2 posts on the forum and am still waiting for help.
It is quite possible that the problem is something that I've done or not done. However this doesn't really matter the point is I need to solve the problem and for that I need help and better documentation.
Just my comments to show that there are others that are disappointed with their experience to date
18 January 2009 at 5:41pm
First off I want to thank Aram for answering my question on the forum a few days ago.
I installed SS on xampp about 1 year(or more) ago with success and on my hosting company with no success. After the last version with the bug fixes, it installed with out a hitch. While I'm new to php and oop I must say after looking around under the hood, this CMS seems very clean and well written. There are some parts of the tutorial section many seem to have a hard time with....as for my self I can only find one part that has changed(make this page default home page tut1). I have stepped away from SS a few time because of the lack for documentation, I totally understand this because SS is still young and up and coming. For a small community the forums answers questions a lot better then they did a year ago. I think once the tutorial section gets rewritten then we can expect to see a lot more people using SS. I think more of us of the forum should also write tutorials on SS in order to promote it. I shal be writing a few in the near future once I figure out must of the coding and so forth(i'm more of a designer).
"Generally they suffer from the "written by developers, for developers (that sit in the next cube)""
Yes thats the problem right there, but I think most people need to learn phpOOP before they attempt to configure SS
P.S. thank you to the SS team.
22 January 2009 at 7:49am
There's some fair points made on both sides, I think.
As a new SS user, I would concur with the concerns about documentation. I've only worked through the first two and a half tutorials, which I think are very good (and have worked fine so far) and also very enjoyable. It's actually the wiki that concerns me; it's still very sparse. A few times I've dipped out of the tutorials to find out a little more and been disappointed.
The forums are friendly enough though, which bodes well. Although I'd like to see signatures enabled, so those people or companies offering professional services can make themselves known.
The only thing stopping me -- and thus my company -- becoming a pure SilverStripe studio is the nested URL issue. As I've said elsewhere, it has made it incredibly hard to "sell" the system to 2-3 clients now.
22 January 2009 at 8:19am Last edited: 22 January 2009 8:20am
22 January 2009 at 9:41am
The only thing stopping me -- and thus my company -- becoming a pure SilverStripe studio is the nested URL issue
IanP, you might like to look into used the nested URL branch. We have it running on 1 client site of ours and seems to work (but its surely not what you could call stable). Hopefully nested URLs will be a part of the main 2.4 release, but if you want to muck around with nested urls then ajshort has done some good work on that branch adding support for it.
The documentation is currently being rewritten and rebuilt so that is why you will notice no alot of updates in the wiki in the past 3 months. We keep talking about it but it will be tidied up sometime (this year hopefully )
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