Technical alternatives: bw.rox, drupal and whatever
posted 2009/02/22 14:43 Visibility: World by midsch
last edited on 2009/02/22 15:45 by midsch
the idea is around for quite a while: Replacing BW.Rox with a drupal based setup. Other software was discussed as well, but drupal looked the most promising. Some people even meetup at assembla - but there never was live in it. Not knowing too much about configuring drupal, I've set up a standard installation at my webspace to play around with it. Even if it's looking orange, it is by no means a clone or working site! Open signup is blocked as there is no time to monitor it properly, but if you sign up, you get access - if wanted including admin rights - as soon as possible. Globetrotter_tt was also looking at it and we found out a lot of amazing possibilities and options by just using the given tools/modules, but some basic functions for a hospex site are maybe not possible to realize without hacking additional stuff (php/mysql). More details see here - What we want to know: Is there a reasonable amount of time/people/interest in evaluating and configuring the software?
Waiting / testing period will be over at end of march. If there is no reasonable development until than, I'll take the pages offline (but off course: it's not depending on me, everyone is invited to come up with something better).
At least I learned a lot.
posted 2009/03/02 08:50 Visibility: World
I'm still not sure wether drupal brings us a lot of advantages at this point. It surely would be the better thing to use in the future though.
Right now, I'm also trying templating for drupal for the trampen.cc website:
As you may notice, colors are quite similar to BW but this is due to the fact that Alex ( bw: adia ) preferred orange over any other color. Anyway, just to let you know, I'm working on it and learning drupal templating meanwhile.
posted 2009/03/02 19:46 Visibility: World
Well, it looks really promissing. What would be the drawbacks of drupal? It looks like it can do anything BeWelcome needs.
The website Midsch made looks very unfinished, but it's functional. I made a little websearch to find some finished websites that are build with drupal. Here's what I found:
A professional social networking website (that's the closest to our business).
A really cute travelsite in Russian (Just to show that it supports non-unitedstater implementation...)
An facebook clone demo (just to show that it could also clone BeWelcome)
A website for people that were fired (there's a website for everything these days...)
An italian website about lamps (... same)
Have a look.
posted 2009/03/02 23:09 Visibility: World
The deeper I dig into it, the more it looks possible. I. e. following a tutorial I found (links at the bw-clone "wiki"), I was able to setup a simple eventlist, where every member could post a link. Even filtering the events would be easy to realise.
Still there's a lot to test/check/play around - feel invited. Maybe in some time it could be useful to setup some must-have-tasks.
@sitarane: thanks for all the links, I'll check them later, time for bed now.
posted 2009/03/04 11:44 Visibility: World
I also doubt whether Drupal brings any advantages to BW at this point but I think that it will surely in the future.
People coding can contribute their code to a huge project and other code can be used too (people here just have to use the bug system at Drupal). Further, BW can open up to further communities and more exchange would happen. Additionally, coders and designers can use their learned skills with Drupal to set up further projects more easily...
PS: About the orange... yes sorry, it is my favourite colour and it also fits with the topic hitch-hiking (attention colour). But anyway, wasn't in the HospEx scene http://www,hospitalityguide.net in orange before BW anyway?
posted 2009/03/04 13:27 Visibility: World by subaculture
last edited on 2009/03/04 14:32 by subaculture
Saw this article a few days ago 'Top 40 Free Downloadable Open Source SNS' (Feb 28th). Of course, Rox gets a mention
posted 2009/03/04 18:37 Visibility: World
posted 2009/03/06 13:51 Visibility: World by midsch
last edited on 2009/03/06 14:51 by midsch
I changed the color at the test setup, but this should be a matter of someone into graphics. Drupal provides tons of themes, lots of them highly configurable, and the option for different user schemes out of the box.
When this is not the time for Drupal, what are the major blockers? I. e. geostuff needs evaluation, wikifunction is sucking and some points more. Still: Are these no-no's forever? Do we sit on our asses and just wait? What for? The idea is floating around for quite a while and I try to find out if this is a serious option or not. If so it's probably a waste of time to work on bw.rox, if not drupal testing is a waste of time (here).
From my experience using drupal it's less coding and more configuration.
posted 2009/03/06 19:22 Visibility: World
I don't have a lot of time right now, that's why I did not get active on the test site so far.
However, if we start to seriously clone BW using drupal I will take care of any geo related issues. So geo stuff should not be a show stopper!
posted 2009/03/09 14:36 Visibility: World
So, what are the good reasons NOT to go Drupal?
Do we lose independance? Will the site be more vulnerable as pirates are more likely to look for a flaw in Drupal than in Rox? Is it heavier on the server side?
posted 2009/03/09 17:57 Visibility: World
Imho the biggest argument against Drupal is that it will take a lot of time and energy to get it running at the same level/qualtiy it is running based on rox right now. Now, the questions are:
- are we willing / able to put this energy and time into it
- what could be achieved if the same energy is put into rox based improvements
- will more (or less) people help with drupal based development over rox based devel?
posted 2009/03/09 18:21 Visibility: World
I don't yet see the benefit of Drupal.
May be the first thing to explain is what can be done which Drupal which cannot be done with Rox ?
I also think that it will cost a lot of energy, and they is already a lot of to do with BW.
But in other hand, if they are motivated people (and with Drupal experience), may be it is possible to connect Drupa things beside ROx to show the benefit of it.
It is however needed to keep several thing in mind :
- there is an existing system
- it includes things like languages dimension, geography, rtechnical links between users, technical links between many features Forum-Groups-Members-Events(this is under cooking) Blogs-Trips (this is to improve).
- There is also a message system with things which are already starting to be a bit complex (massmail, local messages, group messages, notifications ...)
I don't doubt that on the paper, Drupal can address all these features, but it is to fully embrace in a new Drupal design, I am not sure this the most important thing that members are expected for now from BW
posted 2009/03/09 18:35 Visibility: World
I would say the chances are higher that more people would help with drupal as we have now with rox on a long run ...
In terms of design issues I dont see a limitation as drupal is supported by YAML which we use now.
about the apps converting (search, profile, etc) I dont know...
I would support both: rox and drupal similar
- install drupal on test
- give people who would like to play around admin rights
- keep working on rox (80%) and (20%) drupal or whatever :)
posted 2009/03/09 22:47 Visibility: World by midsch
last edited on 2009/03/09 23:50 by midsch
Drupal isn't an alternative out of the box. Also the test setup isn't working as an alternative but it's a playground. From my experience so far I'd say: it's possible, but some major topics have to be solved.
The platform drupal is attractive for hundreds if not thousands of coders, bw.rox wasn't able to attract a lot so far (in fact it scared away some). Even if coders not directly work for BW, BW benefits from their work through all the modules. And this is something that will never happen with bw.rox: tons of working modules to choose from, stuff we need anyway, stuff we could use and stuff we never thought about. I don't see how our handful of coders (in the moment: 2-3) will realize this features; and why reinventing the wheel anyway? (As there are more network pages made with drupal synergetic effects may happen also.)
"There is an existing system", sure Jean-Yves, but there are a lot of buggy, weird and incomplete things. Noones fault, but maybe (!) the energy/ressources are better used for replacing the software instead of fixing/developing it. Again: this is not a decision, it's a proposal, and my role right now is the drupal's advocat ...
- "nodes" (=pages, lists, events, ...) can be created by non-coders as well by using provided modules like cck, views etc. - configuring instead of coding
- advanced forum
- user designs
- open id login
- ... hundreds of modules ...
More issues brought up here:
- Translation: drupal is translated in many languages by volunteers, the tools are different, but working and the results will help all drupal users. The existing translated content could be copied from here, on page translation/multilanguage for content seems possible. The forum is for multilanguages, but not for translating single posts (my guessing, someone who sees this as a usefull feature could dig into this ...)
- Migration/connection the database: needs some sql-gurus, but should work
- Geography: no idea (found a geodatabase module, but don't know anything about it)
- technical links between users, technical links between many features Forum-Groups-Members-Events -> drupal modules are doing this out-of-the-box, wouldn't made sense to create a modul without linking it to the userbase;) (again: some of it is possible by configuring, no coding needed)
- Blogs-Trips (this is to improve) -> blogmodule needs testing, more important - because it makes more sense - rss-integration from your regular blog-feed is possible
- There is also a message system with things which are already starting to be a bit complex (massmail, local messages, group messages, notifications ...) -> the notification, token, prvmessage modules look promising and much more configurable than bw.rox. The inbox works with tags instead of folders and is much better than BW (or cs). And I guess it's able to send proper textmails (unlike bw.rox).
- Design one: as said before drupal and yaml work, but even some of the free available themes - a lot with gui-configuration for color schemes - are looking good.
- Design two: blocks, menues and stuff are configured by the modules/administration
- Change in general is a hard work, as people may have to change their habits, loose some of the work and so on.
- Texteditor: no idea, but i could only be better than this piece of sh*t ruining so many forum posts and the feeds
- Groups: module available, some testing is made
- Wiki: sucks at drupal, but not so much as it suck in bw.rox, so by using the parallel mediawiki we don't loose anything, but could connect the usertables
- Events: easy to make
- Roles: the configuration of user rights is great, basically for every field/task it's possible to define it.
- Performance: no idea, right now bw isn't very big, but when we reach worlddominations this is an issue ...
posted 2009/03/10 15:50 Visibility: World by guaka
last edited on 2009/03/10 17:21 by guaka
Most of my technical activities these days are floating around Drupal and MediaWiki. I can get (many) things done really fast and with some of these activities I make money. I know that all time spent on working with Drupal, whether it's for pay or for free, will reap future benefits.
On the other hand, whenever I want to improve something in BW Rox I first have to spend a lot of time getting into the code and there is no benefit outside of BeWelcome. With couchsurfing I was much more motivated to improve things since there were 1000s of active members.
I'm willing and able to put time in this. Maybe it's possible to organize a BW Drupal hackathon weekend. Ideally the energy we spend on this will also be useful if BW will not be based on Drupal in the future. Even while sitting next to lemon-head last Summer, hacking on BW Rox, I found it hard to make concrete steps forward. With Drupal we can probably find many more people to help.
I just started a stub at bevolunteer.org/wiki/Drupal
posted 2009/03/10 18:12 Visibility: World
I agree that Drupal can be a solution to motivate more people (at least it seems that many people like to speak about "doing something with Drupal")
The first step is probably to propose something concrete, considering what we already have and what can be added using Drupal.
I am ready to explain what I know about the current structure, I also have wrote several docs in the wiki.
We really need something concrete, if we are only to talk and talk about the wonderful possibilities offered by Drupal, this will only spoil energy.
I will follow the changes of the Drupal wiki page
About Rox. It is a fact that rox works. It is also a fact that nobody never produced real documentation about it.
About Bugs in current BW Rox system, they are many of them, but my feeling is that solving them in Rox is an easier path than moving everything to Drupal.
And one thing, I think they is a naive belief still present among many BeWelcome actors which is that to build a WebSite dedicated to Hospex it is just needed to gather some open sources codes and modules and it will become the "best" hospex website.
Look to couchsurfing, it is 99% specific code, and for now, I think that CS is the best (in terms of features) system, of course CS has a lot of means (paid progs, experience, hierarchical structure, etc ...).
There is an hospex system built with opensources tools and module and with probably not a lot of specific, it is ComitasIntergentes, I don't feel that this really look to an efficient system (on website practical use point of view).
At some point it is needed to be concrete, this means designers, testers, programmers, translators, support team
There is also less technical computer things : communication, local activities, legal etc
I remember that 18 month ago everybody was believing that the Rox MVC will solve all problems. I remember that I was saying that the solution was not in tools, but in doing concrete tasks.
This as not change.
May be Drupal can attract people and manpower , but it is not the tool wich will really change things
And after all remember this is the Ox year ;-)
posted 2009/03/10 18:18 Visibility: World by midsch
last edited on 2009/03/10 19:27 by midsch
a bw-drupal hackathon would be nice, indeed. checking my calender i could offer my flat in hamburg for the easter weekend fri 10th to mon 13th (fri/mon are public holidays in germany), i can provide working space for let's say 10-12 people (2 rooms), a kitchen, wifi/cable broadband, an old computer (as server), ... if it's organized like in antwerp, i could manage the preparations (and probably get help from the hamburg mob - sitarane, globetrotter_tt, morillo?). after work, hamburg isn't the worst place for entertainment;)
Update: Jean-Yves overtook me while posting. What he says about "it's not the tool, it's the action" is basically true. Just another system won't do it. But maybe drupal makes it easier, so it's worth a try. A deadline for this discussion would be helpful, it's great to have it here and now (and for a while), but at a certain point - with no concrete results about the usage of drupal in the bw-context - it will only stop bw.rox-development.
posted 2009/03/11 15:38 Visibility: World
I think our language tools and the geo-implementation are the biggest problems if we want to switch.
Also regarding the data we have already I wonder wether we would have to throw it all away or move it somehow over to drupal...
I think I'm gonna try to build a drupal-clone for the template we use in the bw-layout-branch right now.
posted 2009/03/16 22:23 Visibility: World
I am always up for a hackathon in Hamburg or somwhere else, but unfortunately not for the easter weekend, i will be probably on the road then.
Hamburg might be a good location, and of course i can help with providing technic (pc, network, video projector, etc) and space for accommodation.
posted 2009/03/17 12:58 Visibility: World
I guess sustainability is the key. So far the programming for BW is not sustainable as no documentation exists for future volunteers to easily step in and take over. We can't afford and even less expect volunteers to waste their time and energy in a system when they could use the same time and energy to improve the features and implement new ideas (and there s no shortage of those!).
Now, I m not at all a technician so I can t comment about the feasibility of a switch - but sure a tech volunteers meeting would be great for that :-)
posted 2009/03/17 17:53 Visibility: World
posted 2009/03/19 20:14 Visibility: World
posted 2009/03/23 12:41 Visibility: World
To apply for the Google Summer of Code would have been an option for bw.rox...
posted 2009/03/23 18:45 Visibility: World
I just worked with drupal once again over the weekend and all I can say its pretty easy to in design point of view...
ok this isn't so stylish ;) but we were in hurry to get content and site running....
posted 2009/03/23 20:33 Visibility: World
posted 2009/03/27 18:32 Visibility: World
because its just a vavicon and has not priority "high" ;)
but I changed it :)
posted 2009/03/28 20:08 Visibility: World
It's really cute. Congratulations.
Now, all the drupal based sites I visit have pretty much the same taste. I definitely can tell when they are made that way.
posted 2009/03/30 20:00 Visibility: World
I will just write here some experiences with drupal on the bbc site....
Today I tried openID:
first: core module openID in drupal 6.x
I couldn't get my blogspot, flickr or yahoo account running. always errors or "this is not a vaild open ID"
than I tried the google friendconnect stuff:
in the comment section there was just a "loading ...." what was the end of investigating further for this module
then I tried the friendsconnect gadgets which comes with the google open ID function: which offer a way to add a profile picture to your drupal site.... well that not what I thought about the whole openID thingy. You can't use the BBCdrupal tools like blogs, forum, profiles etc...after you login into your google account....
After 2 hours I realize that the basics are there but it's still not working out of the box.
just my few cents....
posted 2009/03/31 17:04 Visibility: World by midsch
last edited on 2009/03/31 19:05 by midsch
But I didn't use a big OpenID-server, this could make a difference. I run the simple script from http://siege.org/projects/phpMyID/ on one of my one sites. So not an option for everyone. Paranoid as I am I don't want yahoo, google or whoever to know when and where I login.
Besides it's not an official drupalmodule and some problem reports at drupal.org I don't (wanna) know anything about googlefriendconnect. I'm no friend with google anyway, but here is no reason to blame drupal ...
posted 2009/04/03 06:59 Visibility: World
posted 2009/04/06 09:30 Visibility: World
Hey, actually you can already help with translation. Contact this member, she'll give you the access to our translation engine (that is a beautiful thing, in all fairness :) ).
posted 2009/04/11 08:24 Visibility: World
posted 2009/04/14 15:25 Visibility: World by adia
last edited on 2009/04/14 17:31 by adia
Yes, it is known that Drupal needs a lot of time for fine tuning and an eye for detail. I would not say that all Drupal sites look the same... I am very often suprised how much they can change (when there was a good designer).
Nice one: Drupal versus Wordpress versus Joomla: http://cmsshowdown.com (Final Outcomes: Drupal - http://drupalshowdown.com / Wordpress - http://wpshowdown.com / Joomla - http://joomlashowdown.com). However, not much new... more interesting points are a.o. connected to how open it is, how easy it is to update and how it can be developed / developes further...
posted 2009/04/20 20:41 Visibility: World by lemon-head
last edited on 2009/04/20 22:43 by lemon-head
Found an interesting thread,
http://drupal.org/node/33425 - Can Drupal do this?
This is what the guy wants to get done:
The website should be able to:
- Store user information in over 10 different languages.(MySQL)
- Have search capabilities for that user information.
- Associate members’ records geographically.
- Ability for administrators to send emails by geographical areas and areas of interest. (I guess a query for all emails where "option == true" could do the job)
- have multi-lingual bulletin boards, or if possible (I believe it's not possible) one that translates to each particular language set on users profile.
- Allow members their own blogs or web-pages and to sign up their own members.
posted 2009/04/20 20:52 Visibility: World by lemon-head
last edited on 2009/04/20 22:53 by lemon-head
posted 2009/04/20 21:07 Visibility: World
Now, all the drupal based sites I visit have pretty much the same taste. I definitely can tell when they are made that way.
It really depends how you approach it. If you start with a Drupal install, and then begin thinking about the layout, then it's no wonder that it will look like a Drupal site.
What we usually do at my work place is to start with a photoshop design and then reproduce this design with our home-grown CMS or, most recently, with Drupal.
In my experience almost every desired look can be achieved using Drupal 6 theming. Though, it can be a tedious job to identify the variables available in a specific template file.
One thing I have not yet fully figured out is how to properly theme forms, or even create my own forms for content creation and editing. I guess I need to learn module writing, this will do the trick.
posted 2009/04/20 22:10 Visibility: World
posted 2009/04/21 09:30 Visibility: World
posted 2009/04/21 12:54 Visibility: World
Just wondering: were frameworks other than drupal considered? I probably wouldn't bother investing much energy in trying to switch BW to drupal because that's just going to make things much more sisyphos like.
Maybe there would be some synergy-effects in switching to drupal, i.e. code reuse between BW and other sites. But if we're looking for a platform to attract more developers and to ease coding then I'd much rather switch to Zend. It's a nice platform, there's a lot of code reuse to go for, a big chance of giving something back to the community as well, and a lot of devs know it and have worked with it. Plus, a major benefit, code structure is not that different between Zend and BW.
Just my thoughts on the topic
Peter - Fake51
posted 2009/04/22 21:37 Visibility: World
> Now, all the drupal based sites I visit have pretty much the same taste. I definitely can tell when they are made that way.
Right now I'm working on a project to convert an existing ASP site into Drupal. The look will be exactly the same and all incoming links (such as Statistics/Index.asp) will remain working :D
posted 2009/04/22 21:53 Visibility: World
If we were to change and to leave rox, CakePhp will probably be a very intersting canditate.
But really, should it be Drupal, Zned or Cake (I hope Guka is not suggesting asp ;-) ) it will be considerable work.
To who wants to proposes such a platform change, I strongly suggess to first program something using ROX to start to understand a bit how big work a switch to something else will be.
It will be better to use a most popular environment, but please, try also to be realistic: as far as I cans see, there is nothing impossible to do with the current rox platform.
May be in three years, when the BW platform will have all the whole feature it needs, it will be time to give it some youth, then, considering the most popular platform, at this time, will make sense.
But for now, I think it's wasted time.
posted 2009/04/23 10:02 Visibility: World
posted 2009/04/23 22:00 Visibility: World by lemon-head
last edited on 2009/04/28 18:49 by lemon-head
Just a quick intermediate rant about Drupal (version 6, for my case).
Warning: Developer speak!!
As I am using it, two experiences fight each other:
- I am more and more amazed how many things are possible by finding the appropriate modules, and creating theme files (starting with CCK + Views).
- Finding out which files I need for theming, how I get the theming variables I need, or how to change a specific line of text, can cost a lot of time.
- With growing expectations, it happens more and more that I run into the limits of Drupal and its currently available modules. There are a lot of unfinished modules, open feature requests etc. Quite obvious for an ever developing project, but in some cases this can be a dealbreaker. Last example was simplenews - a great module in itself, but it's only fun in combination with some other modules, some of which are currently very unfinshed.
- While a lot of things can be customized with hook implementation, sometimes I could not get around patching / hacking third party module code.
- I imagine that it can become tricky to run a Drupal project in different branches, with different databases. A lot of things need to be set up in the database via the admin backend, and can thus not easily be managed with version control (SVN).
- For some strings I still could not find out how to change them. update: I tried the "string override" module, which does the job.
- I am still having my troubles in theming forms.
- The code itself is mostly floating functions, classes and objects are rare. (It's all trying to be PHP4 compatible). A lot of data is stored and passed around in arrays. Objects would be nice at least for having well-defined semantic interfaces for passed-around data containers.
Maybe some of this will change once I get better at module writing, but for now it's all quite nasty.
posted 2009/04/24 17:08 Visibility: World
Is it possible that Drupal, in it's current state of development, is not mature enough to sustain a project of the size of BeWelcome? If that was the case, it would be good to produce a list of "required Drupal improvement" that will eventually happen and that, when the whole list is green, we will have the optimal window to switch.
posted 2009/04/26 21:47 Visibility: World by adia
last edited on 2009/04/27 19:57 by bwadmin
There are Drupal sites with http://buytaert.net/tag/drupal-sites10.000+ active people and millions of hits a day... PS: I guess it will be worth to get an application ready for the next http://buytaert.net/google-to-invest-90000-usd-in-drupalsummer of ce.[edited by BWADMIN link fix]
posted 2009/04/28 13:10 Visibility: World
The main questions to answer are: 1) how easy will it be for us to move our code-base and 2) how easy will it be for us to make exactly the things we want. Going by Lemon-heads points and experiences of friends, I think drupal are equal measures liberation and prison.
Personally, I really don't want to get bound up by another framework that it's going to be hard to modify. We don't need it, we've been there (... we're still there, as it happens). I don't really care for all the modules and all the sharing of drupal - chances are we'll either a) have to accept things that are not exactly as we want them (using modules done by others) or b) have to code our own modules in just another framework. I don't think we need either.
Personally, I'd be happy to see us move to Zend or perhaps CakePHP (which seems like it could provide the same kind of freedom as Zend) but I don't care for drupal.
Peter - Fake