svsmailus

Processwire worth it for non-coders?

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I've been involved in web design since 1995. However, I'm not a coder although I do know html/css and in the early days hand-coded sites. I then moved onto to Frontpage, then dreamweaver and finally created sites with Wordpress and also Rapidweaver. I know Wordpress extremely well, however, it is a headache. Updates, plugins and stopping hacks is becoming a drain on maintenance. So I'm looking to switch platforms and processwire was recommended. However, having installed a test site using MAMP, it seems the learning curve is pretty steep. As an example trying to set up the blog module ended with eveythings set up, but the blog displays as a blank page. It makes me realise that Processwire could easily become a time-sink that will require lots of time to try and do what you want to and there seem to be few tutorials that help you set up what you need.

Is Processwire a good fit for non-coders or would you suggest I look elsewhere before I invest too much time and get nowhere?

I've stuck with Wordpress for ten years and it has served me well, but Processwire failed for me at the first hurdle and that was in trying to set up a simple blog. If I have to spend days to set up a blog, gallery, insert videos, create rss feeds and create podcasts, I'd rather know now from experienced users that maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree.

many thanks

Simon

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You need to know php to use processwire.

Read this post and the replies to it.

And maybe this too

 

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Fbg13 is right, in that you will need a working knowledge of php. However, my knowledge of php is not up to par (to some of the members here), but I am still able to code out a lot of "complex" pages.

It can be as simple as getting the page title/body (very basic example.

<h1><?php echo $page->title; ?></h1>
<p><?php echo $page->body; ?></p>

I guess what I am saying is not to get too discouraged. A simple site (with a bit of knowledge in php) can be made quite quickly. I have learned more than ever with just doing and various other forums. Also, the forums here are great to search through to find answers to your questions. Looking back, I have asked some pretty "silly" questions that now I can tackle no problem.

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I would argue that as @louisstephens pointed out, much of the php you need is simple echo'ing and foreach'ing and a willingness to learn.

As for the problem with the blog, perhaps we should get the blog module author @kongondo in on the discussion to see if he can get you up and running.

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45 minutes ago, adrian said:

As for the problem with the blog, perhaps we should get the blog module author @kongondo in on the discussion to see if he can get you up and running.

My guess...Blog was installed without the demo content  option (i.e. 'Blank Template Files' option was selected), so, no output

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I suggest you have a dig in the forum since this question has already been answered from many angles in the forum.

Forum jumpstart:

https://processwire.com/talk/topic/4173-grouped-forum-posts-links-articles-tutorials-code-snippets/

The answer is yes. To start with Processwire you don't need to know full blown php just a few basic applied php rules like for each, echo, include( ), etc. All the slick templates you see out there for wordpress you can make your self with Processwire but without the need for a dozen plugins. Processwire is fully decoupled so you can use your own html and css frameworks like bootstrap, uikit, etc. or use your own css. My experience: I tried a dozen other cms systems before and if webdesign is your serious work then Processwire is the best to invest your time and energy in. But don't take my words for it, try it out for your self:

The tutorials are always a good place to start,

https://processwire.com/docs/tutorials/but-what-if-i-dont-know-how-to-code/

https://processwire.com/docs/tutorials/hello-worlds/

https://processwire.com/docs/tutorials/

 

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5 hours ago, pwired said:

After my few years here, I'd never actually seen that tutorial by Joss, but was going to bring up his name when I saw this thread.

In ProcessWire, the front end of your site is completely up to you. One of the things that does make WordPress appear simple is the availability of themes. The concept of themes is fine from one angle, but the implementation makes it difficult for novice users and non-coders, especially when you need to do complex work.

This is where PW comes in. By not providing a theme framework, it gives you an opportunity to start from scratch and learn the basic easily, because every single aspect of the front end is up to you, and you're also aided by modules where the need arises. And, as has been pointed out, it's super-simple to get started with a basic site. The API is as simple and easy to grasp as they come. With that in mind, ProcessWire sites can be whipped up much faster than a WordPress equivalent and that's just the beginning.

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Many thanks for your comments. I've read through the links you all posted and they have been very helpful. I will start working through the tutorials. I was intending to learn PHP some years ago, but never followed through. This now gives me an opportunity to make that a reality. Is there a specific version of PHP that is recommended? I have a book that teaches v5.2.

6 hours ago, kongondo said:

My guess...Blog was installed without the demo content  option (i.e. 'Blank Template Files' option was selected), so, no output

Many thanks, after checking through the settings your guess was correct. I did a cleanup and reinstalled with the demo files and now everything appears fine.

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6 minutes ago, svsmailus said:

Is there a specific version of PHP that is recommended?

As a general recommendation, its best to work with the newer versions, which are 7.0 and 7.1. You could also use 5.6, which still has security support until end-2018.
PHP 5.2 is no longer supported by the maintainers of PHP (it's really old now).

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15 minutes ago, svsmailus said:

I have a book that teaches v5.2.

That's really old, like from 2006 old.

If you know programming basics (conditional statements, loops, functions etc) it will get you very far before you need something more.

To get you started on PHP:

http://php.net/manual/en/

https://www.tutorialspoint.com/php/

https://www.tutorialspoint.com/php7/

https://github.com/EbookFoundation/free-programming-books/blob/master/free-programming-books.md#php

 

 

 

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hi @svsmailus and welcome to the forum!

 

7 hours ago, abdus said:

If you know programming basics (conditional statements, loops, functions etc) it will get you very far before you need something more.

totally agree!

19 hours ago, svsmailus said:

Updates, plugins and stopping hacks is becoming a drain on maintenance.

sounds like you'll like PW ;)

if i was you i would create one simple project (personal website, or something for a friend) and then decide if you like it or not.

as you can see the community here is great and always offers a lot of very useful help. pwired already linked to the hello worlds planet tutorial that i would also recommend as first step. after that i would continue to the blog-post of markup regions ( https://processwire.com/blog/posts/processwire-3.0.62-and-more-on-markup-regions/ ) this post shows a new and easy to understand way of the two main output strategies: direct output (like in the planets tutorial) and delayed output (that offers a lot more flexibility).

edit: sorry, early submit - wrong shortcut ^^

2 general tipps for having fun with processwire:

1) use google to search the forum:

 i use this approach to search content inside the forum typing "pw my search keywords" and the api by typing "api maxSize()"

2) read through all the blog posts as there are plenty of useful informations around

3) subscribe for pw weekly newsletter

4) read the forum and learn from others

5) have fun :)

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@svsmailus ... I would recommend starting with W3 SCHOOL ...
This course also looks quite good: Clever Techie ...
I also recommend that you also install this site profile:
READ ARTICLE  => DOWNLOAD PROFILE ...
Uikit 3 admin theme:
READ ARTICLE => DOWNLOAD ADMIN THEME ...
See Short VIDEO how to install the Site Profile and Admin Panel ...

How to new TEMPLATE system works and VIDEO  ...

HOW TO USE FIELDS ...

The latest version of Processwire 3x to be compatible with UIKIT Profiles:

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15 hours ago, Mike Rockett said:

its best to work with the newer versions, which are 7.0 and 7.1

I would partially disagree here, especially in the case of a newcomer. I think currently php 7.0.x is a good compromise. One is less likely to run into issues with third party modules when using 7.0.x, I think.

@svsmailus If you really want to become a coder, ProcessWire is a very good choice if not the best one. I started with SilverStripe about six years ago and has been through similar experiences as you are having with ProcessWire now. I did not give up and never regretted it, although I no longer develop using SilverStripe because I switched to ProcessWire :) PW gives me more freedom. Period.

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7 hours ago, szabesz said:

I would partially disagree here, especially in the case of a newcomer. I think currently php 7.0.x is a good compromise. One is less likely to run into issues with third party modules when using 7.0.x, I think.

Fair point, though Ii'm specifically speaking within the context of learning PHP in general. In most common cases, PHP 7.1 is no different to the others.

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On 02/10/2017 at 6:31 PM, svsmailus said:

As an example trying to set up the blog module ended with eveythings set up, but the blog displays as a blank page. It makes me realise that Processwire could easily become a time-sink

I wouldn't start by installing a Module such as Blog etc. I believe for you, a better approach would be to gradually build your own from scratch. You'll learn a lot more that way.

Start with a few individual pages based on a template called "blog-post" and add a few basic fields. Just title, summary and body would be fine.

Once you can make and view them then try to create a blog overview or homepage displaying the title and summary of each and a link to each full post. Lets say that template is called blog-posts (plural)

You'll get a real kick out of just being able to do that and you're just echoing simple tags and getting to know "foreach" statements.

Then try to add a date field to each blog post and add that to both templates.

Later you can try adding a main image, maybe even an author and then move onto tags and categories.

I think you'll get much more enjoyment out of building your own and a better understanding of the fundamentals.

 

 

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Starting with the modules or plugins, despite being productive initially, causes more issues in the long run. This is also, I think, the major disadvantage of WordPress. Majority of the backend is inaccessible to beginners, and the core is obnoxiously complicated. How can showing some posts be so difficult (you know, "the loop"). This forces you to use plugins over plugins and the only thing you learn in the process is how to prevent them from spontaneously disintegrate. 

I agree with what @Peter Knight said. Even though there are modules for most scenarios, I enjoy recreating those modules by hand, because I get to practice coding and explore new/better/faster approaches, and I also get familiar with the inner workings of ProcessWire. 

Maybe in the future I'll get bored of building things from scratch but then I'll have built an array of modules, templates, snippets, and will know exactly when to use which.

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Thanks guys, as I'm in no hurry I will look into your suggestions. Most sites I maintain are blogs, although one contains PDF's and Audios and Videos. I have a local MAMP installation on which I can start building my first site.

Does Processwire save files into it's database? I ask as many hosts no longer allow storage of files on their server unless they are contained within the database such as Wordpress.

How complex/trivial is it to move a local site online?

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12 minutes ago, svsmailus said:

Does Processwire save files into it's database?

It only stores path and metadata for the files. Actual files go to site/assets/files folder.

12 minutes ago, svsmailus said:

How complex/trivial is it to move a local site online?

Migration is quite easy, just dump the database, import into remote server, update database credentials in config.php, upload files, check file permissions, and done.

Or use Site Profile Exporter module

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16 hours ago, Peter Knight said:

I wouldn't start by installing a Module such as Blog etc. I believe for you, a better approach would be to gradually build your own from scratch. You'll learn a lot more that way.

BTW in above statement I should clarify that you should try building a blog yourself as opposed to building a Module. 

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11 minutes ago, svsmailus said:

many hosts no longer allow storage of files on their server unless they are contained within the database such as Wordpress

There must be a misunderstanding here. When you upload a file in WordPress, it lands in /wp-content/uploads/... Also, modules normally write all sort of files into /wp-content/... Am I missing something? Normally in WordPress no "files" are stored in the database, the most complex thing in the db is JSON.

If you are talking about hosting companies trying to force you not to use your webserver for file sharing – well – that is a different story...

I would not worry about files being an issue. A WordPress site with lots of plugins usually means 10000-30000 files, whereas a ProcessWire site with lots of modules is 2000-5000 files, excluding uploaded media files, of course.

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Sorry, my bad. It does store them in uploads. What I intended to say is that files in the Wordpress setup are ok, but recently on a non Wordpress site, my host deleted all my mp3 files that where displaying on the site as podcasts, stating they don't allow file storage, but they left the Wordpress mp3 alone. I'm now hosting files on Amazon s3.

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17 minutes ago, svsmailus said:

my host deleted all my mp3 files

1 hour ago, szabesz said:

If you are talking about hosting companies trying to force you not to use your webserver for file sharing – well – that is a different story...

Yes, this a recent trend which is against all common sense but we don't live in a world where common sense rules...

 

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1 hour ago, svsmailus said:

my host deleted all my mp3 files that where displaying on the site as podcasts, stating they don't allow file storage

If it was a shared host then that is normal, if it was a vps then it's another story. 

1 hour ago, svsmailus said:

but they left the Wordpress mp3 alone

Maybe the files weren't downloaded as much on the WP site.

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1 hour ago, fbg13 said:

If it was a shared host then that is normal, if it was a vps then it's another story. 

This is normal now, but wasn't a few years ago. When I was with bluehost files were never removed. It's pain to have to place all the files for a site somewhere else than where you site is hosted and makes "unlimited" very limited.

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@svsmailus you don't particularly need deep working knowledge of PHP. The API is really simple to use. I came into this with almost zero knowledge of PHP (but a basic knowledge of general programming principles), a year later and I'm doing some really cool things. Not as cool as some of the guys here but this isn't a competition, they are very generous here with sharing the knowledge. In my opinion, if you want to progress in any CMS, this forum is the place to be.

Processwire has allowed me to do things in the one year that took me much longer to achieve with the convoluted and plugin dependant ways of other CMS systems, including Drupal 7 & Wordpress.

My templates output exactly the HTML I want and no more and querying the database is so simple. This in turn has saved me a bunch of time with the CSS as I don't have to style out classes chosen by the plugin developers thus being able to reuse code a lot easier across multiple sites.

In regards to hosting, after changing a few times over the years, I use 'Kualo' now. They have been absolutely outstanding for support and the live chat is great.

If you're anything like me, that is, very curious, like to ask a lot of questions and are keen to learn, then there's nothing stopping you! I am also working on a blog with a bunch of basic tutorials for people right at the beginning like yourself, hoping to go live within a couple of weeks (once I have some more content).

Good luck :)

==EDIT==

p.s. welcome to the forum!

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