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Why IPC is failing


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#41 Carl M

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 09:10 AM

Ignore.

#42 rastaX

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 10:45 AM

This is the biggest problem I'm facing to be honest. Everyone says "make it easier to use" but no one really knows what that means. What exactly would make it easier to use? At the end of the day, when you use a system that lets you create raw HTML pages, you're going to need to know HTML. Sure, you can use the IPB wrapper and then make pages in the RTE editor instead, and that works for some people. But that will only get you so far, and really I believe you will run into similar limitations no matter what system you use, IP.Content or otherwise.


I can only dream, but if I could make a content system for IPB it would do;

Layout like the old bfarber Portal. It had a handful of included content that you could use in blocks as well as the ability to create custom blocks. With a few more available configurations and the ability to make more than one page, as well as a per page ability to draw content from various places, this would suit most if not all my layout needs.

Content Creation would be handled by something like the old bfarber Recipe/Tutorial/Review system. It was a fairly versatile system that was easy to use. It also had the nice feature of creating a topic in the forums, reverse that feature to promote topics to articles and you have a winner.

Category Creation /Management, Navigation like the old bfarber Links system. It allowed you to create and sort catagories and subcatagories and displayed them in a nice block on the left had side of pages, making navigation from any page in the system a breeze. You could reorder them as you added new ones and clicking on a catagory would display the contents of that cat as well as the subs. You could then further sort them by number of clicks or alphabetically. Searching was a breeze and organizing the links and adding new catagories was always easy.

Eh, it's only a dream, but that cat bfarber was one mad modder. :P
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#43 .Ian

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 11:33 AM

I was another one who purchased and has not used it. Although I purchased on the beta offer.

Even the new version will not work with the wrapper out of the box, which makes it a non-starter of you wish to blend it with your forums/website.

Having used a CMS in the past, I was expecting similar things - but then IP.Content is not a CMS - if it was then it would be much easier to use.

Needing a solution I purchased Michael's Tutorial system - http://www.codersref...-tutorials-110/ which I have converted into an articles system to suit my site - then discovered he allows it to be used on all my sites - so well worth the small fee paid.

Maybe if IP.Content become a bit more logical with the ability to run something out of the box, then maybe people will start to use it - but I suspect 50%+ of purchases are lying un-used.

Until a user can purchase IPC, install it, enter some data and see immediate results, it will not work for the majority. That is why the other apps work and IPC does not.
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#44 LindsayFL

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 03:11 AM

I'm probably in a slightly different position to most in that I have an existing site based on an old copy of ArticleLive, which is integrated with IPB and has a few custom modifications. I'm in the process of trying to convert my site to use CCS and am finding a few problems. Maybe some of this will be useful feedback:

The article system - I thought that I would be able to use this as a proper article system out of the box, but it has a few minor deficiencies that make it difficult to use without lots of recoding (which leads to an upgrade nightmare and is what I'm trying to get away from). The main problem is that an article only has a single page. This is just not realistic for many purposes, so multi page articles are required. In addition, sometimes, I need an article to appear in multiple categories for a number of reasons (reasons specific to my sites content). As it stands, this is not possible with the CCS article system. Adding these two features would make the article system significantly more powerful.

The template system - Templates should have a way to define specifies content positions within them. These positions are not blocks, but just place holders for blocks or the output of other modules (such as the articles system). This gives the possibility of creating a visual layout manager where the page is shown with the positions having place holder code in them. Each position could then be edited to add the output of one or more blocks or modules. So you could, for example, have a left column, a right column and a central content area. The central content area could be edited to show the output of the articles system, or the output of additional modules (which could be other templates). The left and right columns could be edited to add the output of traditional blocks such as a menu block, a login block, recent posts, recent articles etc.

IMO, adding the above features would remove most of the limitations of CCS for novice developers. If this was further enhanced by the ability to import and export blocks and templates, you would have a fairly flexible system that could complete with most CMS's I've seen.
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#45 bfarber

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:13 PM

I can only dream, but if I could make a content system for IPB it would do;

Layout like the old bfarber Portal. It had a handful of included content that you could use in blocks as well as the ability to create custom blocks. With a few more available configurations and the ability to make more than one page, as well as a per page ability to draw content from various places, this would suit most if not all my layout needs.


Really, if you are looking for a handful of built in blocks on a page, you are looking for a portal and not a content manager (and we already provide a portal). IP.Content can do all of this and more (virtually any of the blocks in my old portal, as well as custom blocks, as well as additional pages that draw content from various places). Everything you just listed IP.Content can do.

Content Creation would be handled by something like the old bfarber Recipe/Tutorial/Review system. It was a fairly versatile system that was easy to use. It also had the nice feature of creating a topic in the forums, reverse that feature to promote topics to articles and you have a winner.


This is virtually all entirely possible with the databases system in IP.Content, with the benefit that you can make more than one through a single installation.

Category Creation /Management, Navigation like the old bfarber Links system. It allowed you to create and sort catagories and subcatagories and displayed them in a nice block on the left had side of pages, making navigation from any page in the system a breeze. You could reorder them as you added new ones and clicking on a catagory would display the contents of that cat as well as the subs. You could then further sort them by number of clicks or alphabetically. Searching was a breeze and organizing the links and adding new catagories was always easy.


Again, all of this is possible. If you have a database, you can make a categories feed block and then put it in your wrapper on the left (or top or right or bottom or middle or wherever) side of the page. Again, you're not mentioning anything the system can't do. :unsure:

Even the new version will not work with the wrapper out of the box, which makes it a non-starter of you wish to blend it with your forums/website.
...
Maybe if IP.Content become a bit more logical with the ability to run something out of the box, then maybe people will start to use it - but I suspect 50%+ of purchases are lying un-used.


Generally, the template does work with the IPB wrapper, however it is not quite as "pretty". This is a difficult scenario, because many don't want the IPB wrapper while many do want the IPB wrapper. That means either way we ship the software, some are going to feel it doesn't meet their needs (when the reality is that it can, but maybe not the very initial default content we insert).

I am unsure just yet if we will be changing the default site to work with the IPB wrapper (rather than a separate page) out of the box in the next release or not. It is something that has been discussed here a few times.

The article system - I thought that I would be able to use this as a proper article system out of the box, but it has a few minor deficiencies that make it difficult to use without lots of recoding (which leads to an upgrade nightmare and is what I'm trying to get away from). The main problem is that an article only has a single page. This is just not realistic for many purposes, so multi page articles are required. In addition, sometimes, I need an article to appear in multiple categories for a number of reasons (reasons specific to my sites content). As it stands, this is not possible with the CCS article system. Adding these two features would make the article system significantly more powerful.


Multi-page articles are possible via a custom bbcode in the current release.

http://community.inv...e-improvements/

Multi-categories is very difficult to handle, and would be better handled via a tagging system of some sort, which is on the radar.


The template system - Templates should have a way to define specifies content positions within them. These positions are not blocks, but just place holders for blocks or the output of other modules (such as the articles system). This gives the possibility of creating a visual layout manager where the page is shown with the positions having place holder code in them. Each position could then be edited to add the output of one or more blocks or modules. So you could, for example, have a left column, a right column and a central content area. The central content area could be edited to show the output of the articles system, or the output of additional modules (which could be other templates). The left and right columns could be edited to add the output of traditional blocks such as a menu block, a login block, recent posts, recent articles etc.

IMO, adding the above features would remove most of the limitations of CCS for novice developers. If this was further enhanced by the ability to import and export blocks and templates, you would have a fairly flexible system that could complete with most CMS's I've seen.


I'm not really clear on what you are after with the template system. You can already do what you described unless I'm misunderstanding. When creating a template, you put in a small macro for blocks and where the content goes, so that's basically what you are suggesting right? :unsure: Perhaps you can clarify that a little.

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#46 rastaX

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:06 PM

OK, bud. I'm gonna roll up my sleeves this weekend and try to see again what I can do with this. But for real, let's be honest. A lot of people can do wonderful things with Notepad. Just being possible is one thing. Let's see if I can get past this stumbling block of confusion and figure out if this thing is something an average guy like me can use. ;)
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#47 openfire

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:48 PM

I haven't read the thread, only the title, but I'll give you my perspective as a new IPB customer regarding IP.content "failing".

I hope the staff do not take the following personally as it is just my observation.

Taking a look at IP.content, I can tell that it is powerful, but I as an average user would not even attempt to use it because your support is lacking. It took me 3 days of searching and asking in the support forums to solve a simple URL issue, because the issue is not "supported". I never got a straight answer for what ended up being a simple 2 lines of code edit. Having experienced that, there is no way that I would take on IP.content, especially with the lack of documentation that I've read about.

2 lines of code cost me 3 days. That is why I would not bother with IP.content, especially when wordpress does everything I need and more. Would it be nice to seamlessly integrate my front page with the forum? Sure, but not at the expense of a million new headaches trying to figure the darn thing out.

Hell, even if I did purchase IP.content, half the things that I would want to do with it would most likely be "unsupported" by IPS and I'm sure there wouldn't exactly be a dozen peers jumping up to help me when I couldn't figure something out.

I would be all on my own trying to build a website using a brand new piece of software and even google wouldn't be able to help me. That's not going to work for me.
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#48 LindsayFL

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 01:31 AM

Really, if you are looking for a handful of built in blocks on a page, you are looking for a portal and not a content manager (and we already provide a portal). IP.Content can do all of this and more (virtually any of the blocks in my old portal, as well as custom blocks, as well as additional pages that draw content from various places). Everything you just listed IP.Content can do.



This is virtually all entirely possible with the databases system in IP.Content, with the benefit that you can make more than one through a single installation.



Again, all of this is possible. If you have a database, you can make a categories feed block and then put it in your wrapper on the left (or top or right or bottom or middle or wherever) side of the page. Again, you're not mentioning anything the system can't do. :unsure:



Generally, the template does work with the IPB wrapper, however it is not quite as "pretty". This is a difficult scenario, because many don't want the IPB wrapper while many do want the IPB wrapper. That means either way we ship the software, some are going to feel it doesn't meet their needs (when the reality is that it can, but maybe not the very initial default content we insert).

I am unsure just yet if we will be changing the default site to work with the IPB wrapper (rather than a separate page) out of the box in the next release or not. It is something that has been discussed here a few times.



Multi-page articles are possible via a custom bbcode in the current release.

http://community.inv...e-improvements/

Multi-categories is very difficult to handle, and would be better handled via a tagging system of some sort, which is on the radar.




I'm not really clear on what you are after with the template system. You can already do what you described unless I'm misunderstanding. When creating a template, you put in a small macro for blocks and where the content goes, so that's basically what you are suggesting right? :unsure: Perhaps you can clarify that a little.


Thanks for the link to the bbcode, I hadn't spotted that. It does do exactly what I needed.

To put articles in multiple categories is fairly easy, it just needs an intermediary link table that lists the category ID's and the article ID's. You can then get to the list of articles or the list of categories containing the articles with a simple select.

With the template system, the problem I see is that you cater only for people that can deal with HTML code and inserting tags. By writing a separate block manager area, you can display the actual page template to the user, but instead of each place holder containing the output of a block, have it contain a list of block names that will appear in that area of the page. You could then have a list of blocks down the left side, showing al available blocks. This could then be used by the novice user to assemble pages from templates and blocks without having to resort to using code.

So for example, a template might consist of something like this:
<html>
<head>
<title>demo theme</title>
<body>
<div class='content'>
<div class='left'>
{parse template="position1"}
</div>
{parse template="position2"}
<div class='left'>
{parse template="position3"}
</div>
</div>
</body>
</html>

So position1 would hold blocks for the left of the template, position2 would be the central content area and position3 would be the right column (note this is only a simplified example). This template could then be displayed in a block manager application, showing the names of the blocks, in order that are currently configured to appear in each area. You would then be able to use drag and drop to re-order blocks in each area.

Additionally, there would be a list of blocks displayed on the left of the page allowing you to select from all the available blocks and drag them to the area where they would be displayed. Once a particular layout is saved in the template manager, visiting the public side of the site would show the actual blocks rather than the placeholders.

Here is a screenshot of this sort of management taken from a popular CMS. The white smudge at the top is where I removed the name with my image editor.

Attached File  LayoutManager.png   145.09KB   44 downloads

In this case, Area 1-Area 5 are positions on the page where the output of blocks (or modules in the case of IPB) would go. In this case, the areas are just on the left and right of the page, but could easily be anywhere on the page. The names shown such as 'login' and 'online_extended' in this screenshot are blocks that have been positioned in appropriate areas. The dropdown under each block name just lists the positions to allow you to move blocks from one area to another (though using an AJAX drag and drop facility would be easier). In this case, the list of available blocks (called menus by this CMS) is shown in the middle, but I think having them in a row to the left of the template or having a popup list of available blocks would be much better.

The reason I raise this is because templates could easily be shared and blocks could easily be shared if you had the ability to import and export them. Adding this visual tool would allow novices to assemble pages using any available template and any combination of blocks they wished to use.

Hope that helps clarify.

#49 skinbydragonfly

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 01:41 AM

Really, if you are looking for a handful of built in blocks on a page, you are looking for a portal and not a content manager (and we already provide a portal). IP.Content can do all of this and more (virtually any of the blocks in my old portal, as well as custom blocks, as well as additional pages that draw content from various places). Everything you just listed IP.Content can do.




I think this is exactly what people are looking for from the feedback here and on my site, but extended.. and multiple pages, your old system was fabulous, and it skinned KABAM! all done.

I think IPContent has been over engineered, you've built a super cool, super efficient jet car, capable of interstella flight, when most only wanted a scooter to go to the shops on. Posted Image


Whilst recognizing that a lot will disagree and do want the jet car, I know for a fact that squillions* just want a way to do pages that are instantly skinned and can pull certain common info from the board.. simple as that.

Perhaps offer both?
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#50 Carl M

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 01:53 AM

I think this is exactly what people are looking for from the feedback here and on my site, but extended.. and multiple pages, your old system was fabulous, and it skinned KABAM! all done.

I think IPContent has been over engineered, you've built a super cool, super efficient jet car, capable of interstella flight, when most only wanted a scooter to go to the shops on. Posted Image


Whilst recognizing that a lot will disagree and do want the jet car, I know for a fact that squillions* just want a way to do pages that are instantly skinned and can pull certain common info from the board.. simple as that.

Perhaps offer both?


Good point!

Charles said a few days ago that the next version would be more aimed at the novice user but then Bfarbers post seemed to contradict that notion? or maybe thats just me misreading something?

#51 EBrown

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 05:12 AM

Good point!

Charles said a few days ago that the next version would be more aimed at the novice user but then Bfarbers post seemed to contradict that notion? or maybe thats just me misreading something?

It could always be both. They might be adding more stuff for the expert users, as well as simplicity in some of the existing items.

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#52 bfarber

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 07:42 AM

I just want to say now that none of my comments should be misconstrued. I consider this topic constructive criticism and it's useful in determining our direction, so don't take the fact that I question some comments or further some discussions as disagreement. :)

OK, bud. I'm gonna roll up my sleeves this weekend and try to see again what I can do with this. But for real, let's be honest. A lot of people can do wonderful things with Notepad. Just being possible is one thing. Let's see if I can get past this stumbling block of confusion and figure out if this thing is something an average guy like me can use. ;)


Fair enough. I agree there is a certain "stumbling block" to overcome. This is the thing we are working at the most (hence easier to use "articles" in the last version).

I haven't read the thread, only the title, but I'll give you my perspective as a new IPB customer regarding IP.content "failing".

I hope the staff do not take the following personally as it is just my observation.

Taking a look at IP.content, I can tell that it is powerful, but I as an average user would not even attempt to use it because your support is lacking. It took me 3 days of searching and asking in the support forums to solve a simple URL issue, because the issue is not "supported". I never got a straight answer for what ended up being a simple 2 lines of code edit. Having experienced that, there is no way that I would take on IP.content, especially with the lack of documentation that I've read about.

2 lines of code cost me 3 days. That is why I would not bother with IP.content, especially when wordpress does everything I need and more. Would it be nice to seamlessly integrate my front page with the forum? Sure, but not at the expense of a million new headaches trying to figure the darn thing out.

Hell, even if I did purchase IP.content, half the things that I would want to do with it would most likely be "unsupported" by IPS and I'm sure there wouldn't exactly be a dozen peers jumping up to help me when I couldn't figure something out.

I would be all on my own trying to build a website using a brand new piece of software and even google wouldn't be able to help me. That's not going to work for me.


Fair enough as well. You DO require some coding abilities (HTML/CSS) to get the most out of IP.Content, unless you are content with making simple pages using the RTE editor.

To put articles in multiple categories is fairly easy, it just needs an intermediary link table that lists the category ID's and the article ID's. You can then get to the list of articles or the list of categories containing the articles with a simple select.


Yes, from a technical perspective you need a link table. But you have then take into account category permissions for searching and viewing, moderator permissions, and so on. There is a LOT more to multicategorization than simply putting category ids in a separate table, trust me. ;)

With the template system, the problem I see is that you cater only for people that can deal with HTML code and inserting tags. By writing a separate block manager area, you can display the actual page template to the user, but instead of each place holder containing the output of a block, have it contain a list of block names that will appear in that area of the page. You could then have a list of blocks down the left side, showing al available blocks. This could then be used by the novice user to assemble pages from templates and blocks without having to resort to using code.

So for example, a template might consist of something like this:

<html>
<head>
<title>demo theme</title>
<body>
<div class='content'>
<div class='left'>
{parse template="position1"}
</div>
{parse template="position2"}
<div class='left'>
{parse template="position3"}
</div>
</div>
</body>
</html>


FYI, THIS part is already possible, though you would use {parse template="position1" group="ccs params=""} (or something along those lines - I'd have to look up the "group" parameter again).

So position1 would hold blocks for the left of the template, position2 would be the central content area and position3 would be the right column (note this is only a simplified example). This template could then be displayed in a block manager application, showing the names of the blocks, in order that are currently configured to appear in each area. You would then be able to use drag and drop to re-order blocks in each area.

Additionally, there would be a list of blocks displayed on the left of the page allowing you to select from all the available blocks and drag them to the area where they would be displayed. Once a particular layout is saved in the template manager, visiting the public side of the site would show the actual blocks rather than the placeholders.

Here is a screenshot of this sort of management taken from a popular CMS. The white smudge at the top is where I removed the name with my image editor.

Attached File  LayoutManager.png   145.09KB   44 downloads

In this case, Area 1-Area 5 are positions on the page where the output of blocks (or modules in the case of IPB) would go. In this case, the areas are just on the left and right of the page, but could easily be anywhere on the page. The names shown such as 'login' and 'online_extended' in this screenshot are blocks that have been positioned in appropriate areas. The dropdown under each block name just lists the positions to allow you to move blocks from one area to another (though using an AJAX drag and drop facility would be easier). In this case, the list of available blocks (called menus by this CMS) is shown in the middle, but I think having them in a row to the left of the template or having a popup list of available blocks would be much better.


I'm not entirely sure that this is "easier" though? Looking at that screenshot I wouldn't even know where to begin as a user. To me, it just comes down to familiarity.

We've tossed around the idea of drag n drop layout management, but that gets really tricky really quickly. That's not to say we won't have some sort of visual layout manager, but it's not the first thing on our list right now for sure.

The reason I raise this is because templates could easily be shared and blocks could easily be shared if you had the ability to import and export them. Adding this visual tool would allow novices to assemble pages using any available template and any combination of blocks they wished to use.

Hope that helps clarify.


Export/import of templates is on my todo list. You can already export/import blocks.

I think this is exactly what people are looking for from the feedback here and on my site, but extended.. and multiple pages, your old system was fabulous, and it skinned KABAM! all done.

I think IPContent has been over engineered, you've built a super cool, super efficient jet car, capable of interstella flight, when most only wanted a scooter to go to the shops on. Posted Image


Whilst recognizing that a lot will disagree and do want the jet car, I know for a fact that squillions* just want a way to do pages that are instantly skinned and can pull certain common info from the board.. simple as that.

Perhaps offer both?


You can already do this with IP.Content! lol

It's almost as if people just don't really understand what they can and can't do with the software.

Go to "Pages". Make a new page and call it whatever you want. Tell it to use the IPB wrapper, and then use raw HTML (or even bbcode to make it simpler) and walk through the rest of the wizard. Bam, you have a simple page you've just created using IP.Content, which is exactly what you are talking about.

As for the blocks, you can create blocks using a wizard, once again. Virtually any block you had in my old portal system you can easily create via IP.Content's blocks system. Then you just embed the blocks in the page you created using a simple tag (and there's a "tag help" link when editing pages to see what the tags are).

All of what you just mentioned is possible out of the box and, in my opinion at least, really simple to use. :unsure:


Good point!

Charles said a few days ago that the next version would be more aimed at the novice user but then Bfarbers post seemed to contradict that notion? or maybe thats just me misreading something?


See my preface - my posts aren't contradicting anything, or at least I'm not intending to. Simplicity is the primary goal we are working towards, yes. I'm looking to cultivate feedback that actually drives us towards this goal. Posts stating "make it easier" aren't really too helpful unfortunately, so I find myself frequently pushing discussions further to try to find specific things that will make it easier.
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#53 skinbydragonfly

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 07:58 AM

meh.. just had a big post, but I think I will leave it :P

Best of luck with the newer versions, I hope people find them easier.

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#54 rastaX

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 12:53 PM

Just a quick post, I really, really want to save my thoughts until after I spend some serious time trying to get this down. But I just have to say two things.

First, I opened IPC last night and the stock Articles and Media pages. I clicked around a bit and still no joy. It simply isn't intuitive.. I like to click around and try to figure out what does what, before delving further into a softwares capabilities. I usually can figure a little bit about how a software works, then it is easier to make sense of the more advanced features. Not so here, I just couldn't get a starting point.

That brings me to the second thing. I downloaded EBrowns guide and even though I'm still not sure how much I can do with this, his guide allowed me to get started with this and at least I will be able to navigate the steps to actually doing something. Thank you, you did a very good job of laying out what someone needs to do to start something in IPContent. You obviously put some effort into it and otherwise I would have given up once again. I look forward to immersing myself into this this weekend and truly giving this software my full attention and seeing what I can do with my abilities. I would encourage anyone else who is lost with getting started with IPC to use this guide as a starting point. :thumbsup:

I will report back on Monday with my thoughts and more constructive suggestions.
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#55 EBrown

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 03:29 PM

That brings me to the second thing. I downloaded EBrowns guide and even though I'm still not sure how much I can do with this, his guide allowed me to get started with this and at least I will be able to navigate the steps to actually doing something. Thank you, you did a very good job of laying out what someone needs to do to start something in IPContent. You obviously put some effort into it and otherwise I would have given up once again. I look forward to immersing myself into this this weekend and truly giving this software my full attention and seeing what I can do with my abilities. I would encourage anyone else who is lost with getting started with IPC to use this guide as a starting point. :thumbsup:


Well thanks. When I get some time this weekend I will release a newer version of the guide that get's into templates, theme styling, and more blocks. Maybe even some PHP code. (POST, GET, etc.) O.o

Thanks,
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#56 Carl M

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 03:44 PM

Just a quick post, I really, really want to save my thoughts until after I spend some serious time trying to get this down. But I just have to say two things.

First, I opened IPC last night and the stock Articles and Media pages. I clicked around a bit and still no joy. It simply isn't intuitive.. I like to click around and try to figure out what does what, before delving further into a softwares capabilities. I usually can figure a little bit about how a software works, then it is easier to make sense of the more advanced features. Not so here, I just couldn't get a starting point.


Totally agree - its not user friendly or intuitive at all - and im worried by bfarbers comments because he seems to think the changes they made should be!

#57 hawksfan

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 06:00 PM

Well, I guess I'll add my 2 cents.

IPC is not intuitive, I will totally agree with that. But.....as others have stated, I would hate it if they hamstrung the app by making it less powerful or by taking features away. I don't even use the current version yet because I haven't upgraded my forums to 3.1, but databases were one of if not the single best thing that I've been able to add to my site since actually starting the site over 5 years ago. Every time I work with it, I get excited at the possibilities that IPC opens up. I bought it at 1.0 on the thought that I wouldn't be able to come close to utilizing its power right away, but that it was an investment over time. I am able to do more with it & slowly do away with 3rd party apps or plugins that I figure out how to do within IPC. And using the Portal with IPC blocks & feeds.....pure nirvana. Truly, I can't imagine going back to something like bfarber's portal (no offense Brandon).

I am not a coder by trade. Building an html page from scratch is hard for me, but if you give me some code to start with I can generally puzzle it out. I just have to be willing to dedicate some time to it, & that's what it took with IPC. I can see why people would want more "how-to" articles & such, & I used to ask for those myself. The problem is that as soon as they do something like that, a new version comes out that deprecates much of the article because something might be done or called for in a different way. So I can see why they don't want to spend much time on that.

So, I can see both sides of the fence, although if I'm being completely honest I found myself agreeing with Brandon on many counts. IPC will do almost if not all of what most of you are asking of it, in some cases (not all) you just need to know a little code to get there. I don't remember that disclaimer in any of the marketing when I purchased it (& I bought it before it was even released on a pre-release sale), but I also didn't have any illusions that it would be plug n play. Nothing ever is when it comes to website administration.

EDIT: After all of that, it should go without saying that IMO IPC is hardly failing. And to judge that based on a thread on that very topic full of people that aren't happy with the product....that's just silly.
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#58 Nervosa

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 09:18 PM

It's almost as if people just don't really understand what they can and can't do with the software.

Not many people do, hence the topic and all the comments.

Not lately, but I used to see posts with something asking about ipc and they get a reply "IPC can do that", even though the person saying that doesn't know how to do it themselves. While its probably true, I feel such comments give people a false hope in what they're getting into.
I'm believe IPC can mimic Blog and Gallery to some degree. (something Im not every fond of)

I feel what really is hurting IPC is the lack of support / resources there are.
I would like to see custom blocks and databases that you can download and use (or build off of), that are more then what your average user is going to make.
Not sure how downloadable databases would work, maybe just samples of different whys to do things like database relationship.

#59 bfarber

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 12:01 PM

First, I opened IPC last night and the stock Articles and Media pages. I clicked around a bit and still no joy. It simply isn't intuitive.. I like to click around and try to figure out what does what, before delving further into a softwares capabilities. I usually can figure a little bit about how a software works, then it is easier to make sense of the more advanced features. Not so here, I just couldn't get a starting point.


Well, I think this illustrates an important point, myself. Your starting point should be to define what you want to do exactly. Opening up the ACP, clicking around, and trying to figure out where to start from seems like a confusing way to work, to me at least. I would first start by saying "What is it I want to do?". "I want to make a new page with a list of the latest topics on it". Then, from there, you know what you need to accomplish, and figuring out where to start should become much easier (in this case, make a feed block to pull the topics, then you make a page to embed the block on, and that's about it).



Totally agree - its not user friendly or intuitive at all - and im worried by bfarbers comments because he seems to think the changes they made should be!


I assume you missed my preface AND ending comments in my last post? Where I explicitly said I wasn't arguing or disagreeing, but rather trying to clarify comments?

Yes, I do believe we have made the software more user friendly over the last few versions (for instance, the vast majority of users just wanted to install IP.Content and have a ready-to-go articles system, and now this is done out of the box without any work on your part needed in setting up a database and embedding it into a page and so on). No, I don't believe we are done yet.

Well, I guess I'll add my 2 cents.

IPC is not intuitive, I will totally agree with that. But.....as others have stated, I would hate it if they hamstrung the app by making it less powerful or by taking features away. I don't even use the current version yet because I haven't upgraded my forums to 3.1, but databases were one of if not the single best thing that I've been able to add to my site since actually starting the site over 5 years ago. Every time I work with it, I get excited at the possibilities that IPC opens up. I bought it at 1.0 on the thought that I wouldn't be able to come close to utilizing its power right away, but that it was an investment over time. I am able to do more with it & slowly do away with 3rd party apps or plugins that I figure out how to do within IPC. And using the Portal with IPC blocks & feeds.....pure nirvana. Truly, I can't imagine going back to something like bfarber's portal (no offense Brandon).

I am not a coder by trade. Building an html page from scratch is hard for me, but if you give me some code to start with I can generally puzzle it out. I just have to be willing to dedicate some time to it, & that's what it took with IPC. I can see why people would want more "how-to" articles & such, & I used to ask for those myself. The problem is that as soon as they do something like that, a new version comes out that deprecates much of the article because something might be done or called for in a different way. So I can see why they don't want to spend much time on that.

So, I can see both sides of the fence, although if I'm being completely honest I found myself agreeing with Brandon on many counts. IPC will do almost if not all of what most of you are asking of it, in some cases (not all) you just need to know a little code to get there. I don't remember that disclaimer in any of the marketing when I purchased it (& I bought it before it was even released on a pre-release sale), but I also didn't have any illusions that it would be plug n play. Nothing ever is when it comes to website administration.

EDIT: After all of that, it should go without saying that IMO IPC is hardly failing. And to judge that based on a thread on that very topic full of people that aren't happy with the product....that's just silly.


Fair enough. Sounds like you get the gist of the situation I'm in, if nothing else. I don't want to remove any useful functionality, but yes, we want to continue to lower the barrier for users.


The problem to me is that IP.Content is never going to work in exactly the same manner as Gallery/Blog/Downloads where you install the software, add a category or two, and that's all you need to do. The very nature of the product is that it is designed so that you can build out your website beyond just a forum, adding new pages, or blocks to forum (or new) pages, create databases of information to share with your users, and so on. Everyone has their own needs for such things, and thus there's not really a full "out of the box" plug n play solution to accomplish this for all users.

While there will be new functionality in the next version of IP.Content, our main focus is, again, continuing to make the software easier to use for everyone involved.

I would like to see custom blocks and databases that you can download and use (or build off of), that are more then what your average user is going to make.
Not sure how downloadable databases would work, maybe just samples of different whys to do things like database relationship.


FYI - downloadable blocks are already possible. All it takes is for someone to make one, and submit it to our resources area. Because the product is relatively new, I think people just haven't really gotten into the habit of doing this yet. It would be nice to see more blocks being shared.

Downloadable databases I'm not sure is really feasible. It's not something up next on my todo lists, in any event.

Brandon Farber
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#60 hawksfan

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 12:59 PM

I may not totally get where you're coming from Brandon, but I can definitely see many of the difficulties that you face with this product. As forum admins, we should all realize that you can't please everyone. ;)

I think that where the community could really help with this is for those of us who are successfully using IPC to be more active & maybe even proactive in contributing what we've done & how we've done it. I've seen a few like that, but not many. I've had to piece my stuff together through a lot of searching, & trial & error. There is a wide gap between those that are running IPC successfully (those that understand code or can at least piece it together) & those that can't. The community could probably bridge that gap to some degree.




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