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  • Hi Russ smiley

    Just when I finished a pretty long post myself I have to jump on the saddle again and answer this one, quite a long and dense post here !

    I must say I am always very interrested in your take on things, you’ve seen a lot happen over the years, and the perspective we might lack, you can provide.

    Quote from: RussLipton at Nov 03, 2006, 02:33 PM
    Learning MODx is hilariously confusing IF one doesn’t have a business or technical motivation to jump in head-first. I have no clue whether it will ever get better on that score. I am way more confident about a stable architecture with 1.0 than rich doc. Not saying it won’t, just saying the passions of OpenGeek et al for the former exceed the passion for the latter. What else is new. I consider that a good sign.

    As I said above, I guess it’s all a matter of your learning process. I don’t find MODx more confusing than Textpattern, it just has more "degrees of liberty" as scientist say. Every Textpatterner has read those threads where people say they were confused learning the tool (at least, those post were legions back in 2004). I sounds all too familiar to me and I don’t think MODx is really that confusing.

    It’s just "non linear" and as you point out, there are many ways to achieve something with MODx. I consider this gives us freedom, and I enjoy this very much, but I might not be a good example since I clicked with MODx logic like I clicked with Textpattern’s.

    I don’t think 1.0 will change that, or rather if it changes, it might be in a direction which will make it even more crazily flexible grin

    Quote from: RussLipton
    When developers are so excited that they can’t help racing ahead with coding because they see the possibility of doing stuff they have never done before, well ... there are worse things. If 1.X freezes that excitement and the creative chaos (a compliment), MODx will cease being MODx.

    That’s exactly why I am on board.
    Not only the racing ahead, but the out of the box thinking.

    Even better, that’s *smart* out-of-the-box thinking because it’s rooted in pragmatism and a boatload of experience building websites. It’s not at all disconnected genius creativity...

    Quote from: RussLipton
    I see MODx on the other-than-tech side as a powerful tool that is enabling a few (even if few > 50 or 200; I’d guess about 40 right now) professionals to get the jump on other CMS tools for their own clients - and sell competitive advantage to other clients, especially larger ones. Once mastered, the reports of productivity leaps and the ability to create-maintain more complex apps efficiently are consistent.

    I think you under-estimate the core base of web professionnal taking advantage of MODx, though I wouldn’t be able to get a fix on a definite number (not that it matters, really).

    And once again, consider someone like me : a self taught webdesigner with just XHTML and CSS skills (no PHP there), and I am building my 4th and 5th MODx website in a year, most average sized and intermediate complexity but nonetheless). I had no problem learning MODx and though I can not write code and go to the full extent of customizing, I am doing well and MODx is not a stranger to that.

    I think overstating MODx learning curve is not totally accurate. It’s not so hard !
    If I can do it, anyone with the same skillset can do the same. Lots of people have decent knowledge of XHTML/CSS these days... the rest is just a matter of taking the time to experiment with MODx. Try, ask, learn... and you’ll be surprised by what you’ll be able to achieve...

    Quote from: RussLipton
    These few seem to be plenty-enough to keep the platform moving forward aggressively, to say the least. Oversimplifying (since it is clear they are also evangelists; also smart business), the rest of us are being given a free ride and ’come into the water’ invitation that depends entirely on their continuing to make bucks in their own businesses. I’m not sure MODx now (or ever) needs 1,000s of developers - great fun and confirmation of its quality, sure, and makes it easier to sell projects to conservative corporations but also a big problem. CF doc, training, public image (risks as well as benefits) and the ponderous weight of future success on the development process itself. If they don’t think so now, they’ll learn.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about this kind of strategic mistake, in due time those items will be covered as they should, there are things in the hopper or being discussed that are not public as you can imagine smiley

    Quote from: RussLipton
    Please don’t misread me. I’m an outsider. These guys continually remind people of their desire for exponentially more MODx users. I believe them. Ryan T. and David M. in particular, but the rest of the core team as well, bend over backwards to make MODx intelligible to dumbos like me - while honestly warning that it ain’t easy.

    That’s where we are misunderstood there. Higher number of MODx users is certainly by no means our goal. Volume is not really the real target, but quality is : we want to reach a critical mass of webdesigners and coders to help hone MODx into an even finer product. The real goal is, make MODx better. And it works. Check the new team members. Check the repository. Check the whole forum activity !

    Quote from: RussLipton
    MODx is too flexible and powerful. Now, we noobs have to decide (and are, daily) whether that is wonderful or a show-stopper for us. Depends on who we are, what we do and, no doubt, our ambitions.

    Too flexible and powerful, yeah well it depends for whom... as you say MODx can be a lot for someone who struggles with XHTML or CSS, or simply have a hard time wrapping their heads around MODx concepts.

    Now, there are some nice improvements from ScottyDelicious : SkinGraft, makes installing templates a breeze, and the ResourceWizard. Noobs should enjoy those I guess smiley Hopefully, what 1.0 will bring is facilitate the creation of "MODx distribution", e.g kind of pre-packaged and pre-configured MODx core bundled with extensions and TVs and templates... imagine a portal distro, a blog distro... etc. But that’s another story entirely...

    Quote from: RussLipton
    Take TVs and the discussion that kicked some of this off. Like most MODx features, it can be mixed and matched with other capabilities in a finite but brain-kicking number of ways - to suit you. Me. Ryan. David. OpenGeek. And all quite differently. I suspect there are fairly advanced users who would only partly recognize (or affirm) the way others are using different commands to achieve surprisingly similar results - the discussion about sections, sub-sections, hierarchy and semantics in this thread is proof positive.

    Not only do I recognize it (and did so before you posted, see the post just before yours wink ), but I am pretty convinced this is a great strength of MODx !

    Quote from: RussLipton
    It’s not that it’s all mush. No doubt, there are best practices and an underlying consistency to the architecture, data model, etc. But this flexibility-power is MODx’s inherent design point. It is almost orthogonal to producing comprehensive documentation. Which ’view’ of MODx behaviors should become the fulcrum of such documentation? Who picks? Why? They have a super friendly, competent doc-developer in Susan Ottwell but rotsa ruck to her.

    My english is decent, but can’t understand the last few words ("rosta ruck to her") :/

    Quote from: RussLipton
    Like almost all software but more than most, learning MODx has to be like exploring a virtual world computer game (a Civ or Sims or Warcraft or Second Life). The paths are finite but too rich to pin down linearly.

    Funny you’d say that, I have often refered to experimenting with MODx as "playing with MODx" : there is a sense of fun about the freedom that we are given grin

    Quote from: RussLipton
    Not only is MODx geared towards highly motivated professionals who can justify the learning curve because they are convinced they’ll earn more bucks soon (enough), but it’s oriented towards professionals with a certain temperament. I don’t see that changing; it shouldn’t change.

    Earning more bucks is definitely not what motivates me, and certainly not what motivated me to go through the learning curve.
    I don’t think my team mates are in for the money either. You don’t see that kind of passion in money-driven people.

    The homepage sums it quite well, MODx was born out of frustration with existing solutions...
    MODx enables people to create websites as they envision them, instead of forcing them into a given pattern, and that’s the key.
    Creative people like freedom and flexibility, and they sure don’t do creative jobs for money.

    Now will I make more money if I meet my client’s need more easily and with more fun ? Well for me it’s a YES laugh
    But remember web design is a tough market. You won’t necessarily make more using MODx, but what you can do is win contracts because of it. At least, it was the case for me.

    Quote from: RussLipton
    But if I were a young Web professional, I would jump into MODx with all four feet. 100%. 200%.I wouldn’t care whether it ever was popular per se. My gut (what else is new about life) says that the slowly expanding core team - I include the informal core team that provides extra snippets, testing, support, etc - can’t afford to stop using MODx or some descendant for years to come. And why should they? What tool would serve them better?

    You can always switch tool. I used to have Textpattern as my favorite tool. In fact my first MODx website was a Textpattern website 90% finished which took me a simple day to transfer to MODx grin

    But yes right now which tool would serve us better ?

    Now if things freeze here like they have @txp, and great new tools arise, people will switch from MODx to ElseX if they need to...
    But I don’t see that happen any time soon smiley

    Quote from: RussLipton
    The cost to me wouldn’t be the risk of MODx coming to a halt, but (yes) the many hours of confusing frustration while I created my own mental map of this virtual CMS world, mixed with the thrill of realizing that I am being given the opportunity to decide for myself the kind of map I want to make. Too much power. Too much responsibiilty. Just enough competitive edge to zig-and-zag with all the Next New Things out there over the next decade.

    That’s a bit melodramatic, isn’t it wink ?

    But I truly think those who are betting on MODx are really doing the smart thing cool

    Quote from: RussLipton
    These threads are repetitive but always necessary. I identify totally with those arguing for simple, consistent, clear order-of-magnitude improvements to the learning curve support. I’m certain the core team does too. But it ain’t gonna happen - not now and, I think, not ever. And if I’m wrong about ’ever’, it’s all about now or the soon-now as pointed out on this thread.

    We shall see...

    Quote from: RussLipton
    Bottom line, either a noob joins the core team itself (in principle; doesn’t have to be form) over some months, or doesn’t.

    In a way, I was a MODx noob when I was invited into the testing team (not even sure I was there for a lot more than a month), your wish might already have happened wink


    Quote from: RussLipton
    (While blathering, David M. posted his excellent, insider take. That’s a guy who knows his CMS stuff cold as a designer-user in the professional sense of that word. If - still appreciating TxP, EE et al - he says MODx leaves them in the dust, believe him.)

    Well, that’s nice of you to say, Russ :blush:

    I *am* convinced this is the case, and I *am* preaching the good word around is true.
    But I don’t loose track that every project is different, and remain aware that MODx is not the tool for everything and everyone... but it’s a damn versatile tool for sure !
      .: COO - Commerce Guys - Community Driven Innovation :.

      MODx est l'outil id
    • Sorry to lower the intellectual tone but Its good that you want web designers, I thought web design might be a dirty word in here. I can’t wait to show my finished design that I`m working on, probably another week or so away.

      After I`ve done the site I`m working on I`m going to try and design my own freelance website so that the whole apperance changes each day - check my badself!
        I made my first site with modx
        http://www.shop-bright.com | Uk shopping blog
      • This has become one of my favorite threads, so much so that I stickied it. smiley Thanks to everyone who’s contributed; I think it does a good job of explaining the "MODx vibe" and community spirit/focus.
          Ryan Thrash, MODX Co-Founder
          Follow me on Twitter at @rthrash or catch my occasional unofficial thoughts at thrash.me
        • Quote from: identity at Nov 03, 2006, 03:39 PM

          I know I bounce between left and right brain modes, as I think most people do in this field... it is always a careful balance between technical and visual, reading, doing, seeing. That’s why I think some of the best addition to the docs may be more through examples... here is complete code and setup for X, here it is for Y. Then I think getting over the initial hurdles will be much quicker, which then elevates everyone to a higher level, which also helps all of us push the envelope... which of course pushes the core team to deliver and even more incredible product.

          The challenge that I’ve had with many of the snippet examples is that they often cover the most basic calls, of which there is probably little question, but often don’t include some of the more sophisticated or confusing attributes, which also often have the least amount of any other documentation. So it leaves you wondering how to even do it, or not even realizing that the attributes you are looking for are already right there.

          Reading the rest of identity’s post, if this is the worst it gets, MODx is in great shape. I’d add +1 to the comments about the type of doc desirable and, really, in the spirit of MODx? Just lots of code samples (hopefully executable or with links to pages that use them and are executable) - doc snippets ;-). The same for CSS samples.

          Even this is easy to clamor for; real community members have to provide them, I know. But I wonder whether a spirit of encouraging developers/users to cull out cool code examples and post them with minimal doc - in-code comments would work - might lead to a creative take on expanding the documentation. Given the ’flexibility design point’, I know I would do better inspecting code that does stuff I never imagined than reading tutorials - which have to focus on one narrow use case to be comprehensible.

          Ditto (excuse the expression) for understanding parameterization for snippets and such. For instance, what if there were a Ditto thread that encouraging posting of micro-examples from working code in the community, especially focusing on unusual use of parameters and/or Ditto combined with other features?

          This will drive me nuts and encourage endless whining that someone should now explain each one in depth - that would mean the experiment worked ;-).

          @David - rotsa ruck = lots of luck. Your thoughtful corrections helped me. I didn’t mean to suggest the core team has made this about bucks (clearly not; investing their blood in MODx is still nuts) but just that the ability to earn bucks through competitive advantage is my best insurance that you guys will still be working on this several years from now - because the architecture is designed to keep stretching. Isn’t that really why we leave other products despite having sweat blood on them too?

          Anyway, I was feeling bad about the length of my post earlier (and now this one, sheesh) but now I’ve got it in a nutshell:

          What we say we want from CMS (all) development and design software:
          Tools that will let us do whatever we want.

          What we say when we are given a tool that will allow us to do whatever we want:
          Don’t do this to me, it’s too much work and I can’t handle it!

          This probably wouldn’t work as a MODx marketing slogan but I’d love to have sold to it in the old days because so many stories, development and corporate, converge to its being the criteria for competitive advantage:

          MODx. We’re flexible. Are you?

          • Russ, I know you didn’t mean that "being about bucks" bit, just needed to make that clear for everyone tongue
            About post length : well, you have nothing to worry about, I am still ahead one inch (lol)...

            Anyway, I just *love* that last sentence grin (the other two are nice too !)
            Can I quote you ?

            @identity : lots of great stuff in your last post, I’ll answer that later smiley

              .: COO - Commerce Guys - Community Driven Innovation :.

              MODx est l'outil id
            • Slogans, hmmm. how about this one.

                I made my first site with modx
                http://www.shop-bright.com | Uk shopping blog
              • I just wanted to chime in that while the documentation may be lacking/outdated in some respects, the team members and other community members compensate for this shortfall with their amazingly active participation in the forums. I have never seen such a development team so actively particpate. Kudos to the MODx team!

                Thanks to them, I have been able to develope two snippets for MODx, by no means are they super useful, in only the one week that I have been playing around with MODx. I think its flexibility, future potential, and active team members overshadows any doubts that anyone could have about MODx becoming one of the most amazing frameworks/CMSs out there!
                  Jesse R.
                  Consider trying something new and extraordinary.
                  Illinois Wine

                  Have you considered donating to MODx lately?
                  Donate now. Every contribution helps.
                • David - Don’t worry about quoting me though it’s nice to ask, just use whatever is helpful to MODx. I’ve given nil to the project. If bits of verbiage can be reused in any context at all now-or-ever, without attribution, I’d be delighted.

                  straty - Erm. Um. That wasn’t quite what I was thinking for 1.0 .... perhaps you have version two on your, ahem, mind?
                  • Russ,

                    I think you hit the nail spot on. Let’s think a minute about the culture... we’re talking about people who, whether coder or designer (at least CSS designers) have made their way, probably primarily, through a combination of experimentation and "view source" (at least in regards to the designers) along with sneaking a peak at CSS files. We’ve learned as much through what we’ve absorbed in reading and looking at examples from Alistapart, Meyerweb, and CSSzenGarden to name a few, along with checking source and CSS from sites done by the "masters." That kind of "documentation" would be invaluable. I think Susan has already started down that path with her "take a look and log in to the manager" approach. There are other sites featuring a "see this" and here is the snippet call to get this. These kinds of examples help bridge the gap from great feature lists to actual understanding, jumpstarting that "ah-hah" moment.

                    Although I’d rather see it is "MODx, we’re as flexible as you are."

                    It seems there are systems for the non-developers... don’t need to know anything, just pick the modules and whether you want them on the right or the left, and there are systems for the developers... add this and write some php code and you can do whatever you want. Perhaps my view is colored by my still needing to really learn php/mysql, but I like the idea and really see MODx as being able to "play" in that magical middle ground, which I think could be an incredibly powerful position to dominate. With my limited experience in looking at various CMS’s and a fairly brief play with Drupal, I am still very impressed with Drupal and I think there will still be great things to come there, but I also think they need to move beyond and crush the "Drupal, for developers" position that it seems to have earned. I think there are those there that are working to change that so it is still possible. Likewise, and hopefully even more so than Drupal, I think there is a strong enough presence with MODx of non-developers to help maintain a nice balance.

                    What really excites me about MODx, why I think it is worth pursuing, and why I feel very strongly for its success is because of passion. The development team is very passionate about what they are doing, which is obviously critical, but then again, most teams are. But there is also a great passion found in the community outside the development team. But perhaps most important, this passion so far, seems very pure. By that I mean, just take a look at threads like this.... people are taking a lot of valuable time to express their views, and very respectably taking the views of others, all without anyone getting defensive (which of course is usually very rare with anything taken so passionately) without any thoughts or opinions being discarded without thought and consideration because at the end of the day, anyone and everyone here has the same goal... to make MODx just a little bit better by the time they finally call it a night than when they turned on their computer earlier in the morning. This is the foundation that great things are built on.

                    MODx... changing ways in which you develop and design... so woud that be MODxD2?!
                      | Identity Developments delivers SEO focused web design and web presence services
                      - it's not about websites, it's about your identity. |
                    • Quote from: straty at Nov 04, 2006, 01:46 AM
                      Slogans, hmmm. how about this one.

                      lol, that was funny !

                      Quote from: RussLipton at Nov 04, 2006, 03:29 AM
                      David - Don’t worry about quoting me though it’s nice to ask, just use whatever is helpful to MODx. I’ve given nil to the project. If bits of verbiage can be reused in any context at all now-or-ever, without attribution, I’d be delighted.


                      Quote from: identity at Nov 04, 2006, 05:16 AM
                      Although I’d rather see it is "MODx, we’re as flexible as you are."

                      Great stuff there Brian !
                      I *love* it even better grin
                        .: COO - Commerce Guys - Community Driven Innovation :.

                        MODx est l'outil id