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  • Hi,
    these days I’m evaluating the MODx CMS in deep for a forthcoming web project. No doubt it’s a great app but, in my opinion, you should rethink some important choices. Here are some guidelines you could follow:

    1. Less is more. MODx admin interface should be more clean and organized. Moreover the project website should eliminate any hype or buzzword and focuse on documentation and support. An updated list of MODx powered web sites should be added. Don’t forget that the best promotion for a web app is made by its happy users on their blogs.

    2. The whole hyerarchy thing is simply old school. Instead you should introduce the concept of "section" and eventually "subsection". Each post should belong to a section (or sub-section). Home page should be a section apart. Friendly URLs should be mapped on the schema section/(subsection)/articletitle. So you could eliminate the archaic and ambiguous folder/file tree at left in the admin panel.

    3. Each section should be associated with 2 templates: the first for the section home page, the second for the single entries. Of course two different sections could even share the same templates. Moreover, when posting an article, the user could choice a different template for that particular entry.

    4. Template Variables should be tied to one or more sections not to templates. TV are related to data structure not presentation.

    5. You should eliminate any embedded visitors logging. It suck!

    6. You should eliminate frames (and the ugly file tree at left) in the admin interface.

    I hope my suggestion can inspire the excellent dev team. MODx is not yet ready for my forthcoming project but I hope 2007 can be his year.

    Neutrogeno
    • Did you check out the public beta 5 for 0.9.5? (hopefully w/in 24 hours our RC)

      Some of the issues you mention are already addressed, and they’re all on the radar. We won’t eliminate hierarchy, but we will offer some alternate approaches. Eliminating it would mean less flexibility and choice for our users, which is the antithesis of what MODx is about. With that said, MODx is clearly not the right solution for every project!

      As far as promotion goes, we’re not really ready to start any big promotion or marketing campaign but I suspect you’ll see much broader awareness of MODx in ’07 indeed. wink
        Ryan Thrash, MODX Co-Founder
        Follow me on Twitter at @rthrash or catch my occasional unofficial thoughts at thrash.me
      • Hi,
        I checked the latest beta5-rev1785.zip

        As for the hierarchy tree concept, I think with the section/subsection thing (plus the URL remapping) you could offer MORE flexibility to your users. In fact they don’t care about the hyerarchical tree at left in the admin panel (it can be misleading: see the current ambiguity about folder/container and files) they are looking for data organization and semantic URLs.

        Also the TV thing is in my opinion very important. They are currently tied to templates but in fact they are a concept related to the data structure not its presentation.


        (Note: I’m not a programmer but I know many CMSes and Web Framework as user.)
        • 1a. Well, it wasn’t a choice to make it less clean and less organized.
          1b. There’s a lot of support spread around the site, repository, forum, wiki and bugtracker.
          1c. There’s a forum where people can promote their MODx-powered website; we don’t require users to say that it is powered by MODx and many people choose not to.
          1d. We have no control over user’s blogs. But yes, the best promotion for anything is word of mouth.

          2. Section and subsection *is* a hierarchy, and can be achieved using the "archaic" tree. The tree can be hidden and you can view the documents (not necessarily posts or articles) in many ways.

          EDIT: And you can use the hierarchy to make your URLs.

          3a. I believe there are ways of letting the parent specify the default child template.
          3b. It is entirely possible to include a selection of template in the post-article form.

          4. There is no such thing as sections; document types are mainly differentiated by what template they use. TVs are related to the type of page, therefore it is appropriate. Template does not solely mean presentation, it covers the data structure also.

          5. Visitor logging is easily elminatable in 0.9.2.1; eliminated by default in 0.9.5.

          6. 0.9.5 has slightly less frames. The file tree is on the left (as it is in 0.9.2.1) It is not ugly in 0.9.5.
            No, I don't know what OpenGeek's saying half the time either.
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          • Please dont do this
            "The whole hyerarchy thing is simply old school. Instead you should introduce the concept of "section" and eventually "subsection". "

            It would make it like mambo, I hate mambo with a passion, I mean a wasted a week or so and found it to be totally shit and all the mambo sites look the same. I love the flexability in modx but I`m still a newborn, but hope to have a site up soon.

            I have to admit tho that the admin control does look oldschool, but it works. And the documentation is so bad not bad just could be done better for web designers you end up going from post to post to post and once you find a solution (in the forum) its very hard to find the post again. So newbies like myself seem to ask the same sort of questions over and over.

            But its

              I made my first site with modx
              ------------------------
              http://www.shop-bright.com | Uk shopping blog
            • Quote from: Neutrogeno at Nov 02, 2006, 05:00 PM

              As for the hierarchy tree concept, I think with the section/subsection thing (plus the URL remapping) you could offer MORE flexibility to your users. In fact they don’t care about the hyerarchical tree at left in the admin panel (it can be misleading: see the current ambiguity about folder/container and files) they are looking for data organization and semantic URLs.

              Also the TV thing is in my opinion very important. They are currently tied to templates but in fact they are a concept related to the data structure not its presentation.

              (Note: I’m not a programmer but I know many CMSes and Web Framework as user.)
              Neutrogeno, we do appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

              The next release following 0.9.5 will feature something called Contexts which will allow you to divide your site into logical sections for just about any purpose, be it for multi-sites, sub-sites/sub-domains, localized content, a specific web-application, or just another logical section of the site content, as you suggest. A contextual view then will be just as important as the tree/hierarchical view within or without contexts, as both offer important organization benefits to the site definition and the ability to manage it.

              Can you explain more what you mean by URL remapping? This to me, is the part that requires the traditional hierarchical approach to defining a site taxonomy. It allows those familiar with web concepts to work with their virtual MODx sites in the same way they would work directly with an Apache document directory. Contexts could then be used to alter the hierarchy to achieve more complex URL mappings (i.e. to URLs specific to localized content, to subdomains of the site, etc.).

              Also in the next release, you will be able to attach what I am calling Content Elements (the next generation of TV’s), which can be attached to a Document, a Web link, or even another component, such as a Template, Chunk, Snippet, or Plugin. I believe this will allow users to continue to use them as they would existing TV’s, yet still gain an enormous amount of power and flexibility with the new ways of defining relationships between MODx TV’s and the other building blocks of the framework. Obviously, this will mean new manager views and features to accommodate these changes.
              • You can correct me if I`m wrong, I know I`m new to all this but I prefer to use a tv to categorise my content (with a combo box with the categories), for the end user all I do is create a folder and put all the pages inside it, I dont use the folder its just so the end user can see it quickly.

                One of the things I found usefull was ditto and dont understand why you need to install it, it should be part of the downloaded package.

                I`ll shut up now
                  I made my first site with modx
                  ------------------------
                  http://www.shop-bright.com | Uk shopping blog
                • Hi,
                  thanks for your promptly replies. (The words of OpenGeek are especially appreciated and encouraging wink)

                  Regarding the hyerarchical thing, many Textpattern user could explain to you that they like sections. The problem with TXP is that it doesn’t have sub-sections; moreover categories and custom fields are only site wide and can’t be restricted to a specific section. However friendly URLs in TXP can be arranged as section/category/title to simulate a hyerarchy. The concept of section is the same as weblog in Expression Engine probably the best CMS around (unfortunately it is not an open source project). I share your dislike of flat sites organized only with categories or tags but I think you can get an organized and hyerarchical site without the visual aid of a windows-like folder/file tree.

                  In my opinion MODx is a little underrated in the CMS world sad. In fact the application is solid and really powerful. However very few people analyse an app in deep. Most people form their opinion at the first sight and many friends of mine don’t like MODx simply for the look and feel of the admin panel (especially in the old version hosted by opensourcecms: please replace it as soona as possible with the new release!). The admin panel can be perceived as overloaded and Windows-like (the culprit is again the hyerarchy tree) by cool sophisticated people cool used to live in a world full of clean 37signals-like iterfaces. As you can see I’m a sort of MODx evangelist among my friends wink

                  Neutrogeno
                  • @topic
                    Hierarchical site tree was one of the reason why I choosed this CMS long time ago after first trying out Mambos etc.. I really hate the "flat layout" that many other CMS’es use.

                    Quote from: straty at Nov 02, 2006, 05:39 PM

                    One of the things I found usefull was ditto and dont understand why you need to install it, it should be part of the downloaded package.
                    It is in next release, it was still under heavy development when 0.9.2 was released..


                      "He can have a lollipop any time he wants to. That's what it means to be a programmer."
                    • Right, so this is all about seeing the tree and making assumptions that you have to use it.

                      So, how about if the left panel had a choice of view?
                      They could include:
                      * tree hierarchy
                      * flat listing, alpha sort
                      * flat listing, date sort
                      * flat listing, just my documents
                      * grouped expandable listing, grouped by template
                      * grouped expandable listing, status sort
                      * flat listing, search results

                      and also the ability to add custom views:
                      * grouped expandable listing, grouped by TV (and thus enabling categories or tags)?
                      * grouped expandable listing, grouped by TVs within another TV (and thus enabling section/subsection)?

                      Manager users could toggle through these, but it would remember the setting for next time.

                      That way everyone would seem to be happy. It looks like ultimately we’ll need to be grouping by context, so this would be a stepping stone to that...
                        No, I don't know what OpenGeek's saying half the time either.
                        MODx Documentation: The Wiki | My Wiki contributions | Main MODx Documentation
                        Forum: Where to post threads about add-ons | Forum Rules
                        Like MODx? donate (and/or share your resources)
                        Like me? See my Amazon wishlist
                        MODx "Most Promising CMS" - so appropriate!