Noel Boss

ICF Women's Conference Website based on Processwire

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» A more exhaustive version of this article is also available on Medium in English and German «

First, we'd like to thank the very helpful community here for the excellent support.
In many cases we found guidance or even finished solutions for our problems.
So a big THANK YOU!!!

 

We are pleased to introduce you to the new Ladies Lounge 18 website. The next ICF Women’s Conference will take place in Zurich and several satellite locations across Europe. We embarked on bold new directions for the development of the website — in line with the BRAVE theme.

1*EPnT0gjexmbCItMLiP3mnw.png1*KnDC4PMldCathGwyuO32zQ.png1*f07HDro9EgI1zml1nHJLvA.png

Ladies Lounge 18 — ICF Woman’s Conference website on Processwire

ICF Church is a European Church Movement that started 20 years ago in Zurich and since experienced tremendous growth. There are already well over 60 ICF churches across Europe and Asia. ICF is a non-denominational church with a biblical foundation that was born out of the vision to build a dynamic, tangible church that is right at the heartbeat of time.

With the growth of the Ladies Lounge from a single-site event to a multi-site event, the demands and challenges to the website have also increased. A simple HTML website no longer cuts it.

1*xJ6inYQOJC-evj6A2_w1AA.gif
Simplified frontend

Our goal with the development of the new site was it to present the different locations — with different languages and partly different content — under once uniform umbrella — while at the same time minimising the administrative effort. In addition to the new bold look and feel, this year’s website is now simpler and easier and the information is accessible with fewer clicks. 

Some highlights of the new website

  • Thanks to processwire, all contents are maintained in one place only, even if they are displayed several times on the website
  • 100% customised data model for content creators
  • Content can be edited directly inline with a double-click:

 

1*Ke7RafXpLpbxJjqBoV0-6Q.gif

  • Multi-language in the frontend and backend
  • Dynamic Rights: Editors can edit their locations in all available languages and the other content only in their own language
  • Easy login with Google account via OAuth2 Plugin
  • Uikit Frontend with SCSS built using PW internal features (find of files…)
  • Custom Frontend Setup with Layout, Components, Partials and Snippets
  • Only about 3 weeks development time from 0 to 100 (never having published a PW before)
  • Despite multi-location multi-language requirement, the site is easy to use for both visitors and editors:

1*IzpwG3bkBZZbpLJl3ssGlA.gif 1*Lq5Jz185O3qLVkdLYQ-4tw.gif

 


 
The search for a good CMS is over

It’s hard to find a system that combines flexibility and scope with simplicity, both in maintainance and development. The search for such a system is difficult. By and large, the open source world offers you the following options:

1*mls8uuuit7ljHJoLy6jK9Q.png

In most cases, the more powerful a CMS, the more complex the maintenance and development

It is usually like that; The functionality of a system also increases the training and operating effort — or the system is easy to use, but is powerless, and must be reporposed for high demands beyond its limits.

Quote
With Processwire, we‘ve found a solution that offers just that: the greatest possible flexibility and yet a very flat learning curve. 

Quite different Processwire : You do not have to learn a new native language, you don’t have to fight plugin hell and mess around with the loop, you don’t have to torment yourself with system-generated front-end code or even learn an entierly new, old PHP framework .

All our basic requirements are met:

  • Custom Content Types
  • Flexible and extensible rights-management
  • Multilanguage
  • Intuitive backend
  • Well curated Plugin Directory
  • Actually working front-end editing
  • Simple templating with 100% frontend freedom

In addition, Processwire has an exceptionally friendly and helpful community. As a rule of thumb, questions are answered constructively in a few hours . The development progresses in brisk steps , the code is extremely easy to understand and simple. Processwire has a supremely powerful yet simple API , and for important things there are (not 1000) but certainly one module which at least serves as a good starting point for further development. Last but not least, the documentation is easy to understand, extensive and clever .

Our experience shows, that you can find a quick and simple solution with Processwire, even for things like extending the rights-management — most of the time a highly complex task with other systems.

This is also reflected positively in the user interface. The otherwise so “simple” Wordpress crumbles when coping with more complex tasks. It sumbles over its apparent simplicity and suddenly becomes complex:

1*5LAVYTuL_TGilDugGRGm7w.png 1*KHVbyqJZvW_VidQAzYGMqw.png

Old vs. New — Simple and yet complicated vs. easy and hmmm … easy

 

 

Our experience with Processwire as first-timers

Before we found out about Processwire, we found CraftCMS on our hunt for a better CMS. We were frustrated by the likes of Typo3, WP or Drupal like many here. CraftCMS looked very promising but as we were digging deeper into it, we found it did not met our requirements for some big projects in our pipeline that require many different locations, languages and features. Initially we were sceptical about Processwire because;

A. CraftCMS Website (and before UiKit also the admin interface) simply locked much nicer and

B. because it is built on top of a Framework

It was only later, that we found out, that NOT depending on a Framework is actually a very good thing in Processwire's case. Things tend to get big and cumbersome rather then lean and clean. But now we are convinced, that Processwire is far superior to any of the other CMS right now available in most cases.

The good

Processwire is the first CMS since time immemorial that is really fun to use (almost) from start to finish— whether API, documentation, community, modules or backend interface. Every few hours you will be pleasantly surprised and a sense of achievement is never far away. The learning curve is very flat and you’ll find your way quickly arround the system. Even modules can be created quickly without much experience.

Processwire is not over-engineered and uses no-frills PHP code — and that’s where the power steams from: simplicity = easy to understand = less code = save = easy maintanance = faster development …

Even complex modules in Processwire usually only consist of a few hundred lines of code — often much less. And if “hooks” cause wordpress-damaged developers a cold shiver, Hooks in Processwire are a powerful tool to expand the core. The main developer Ryan is a child prodigy — active, eloquent and helpful.

Processwire modules are stable even across major releases as the code base is so clean, simple and small.

There is a GraphQL Plugin — anyone said Headless-CMS?!

Image and file handling is a pleasure:

echo "<img src='{$speaker->image->size(400, 600)->url}' alt='{$speaker->fullname}' />";

I could go on all day …

The not soooo good

Separation of Stucture and Data

The definition of the fields and templates is stored in the database, so the separation between content and system is not guaranteed. This complicates clean development with separate live- and development-environments. However, there is a migration module that looks promising — another module, which is expected to write these configurations into the file system, unfortunately nuked our system. I'm sure there will be (and maybe we will invest) some clever solutions for this in the future. Some inspiration could also be drawn here, one of the greatest Plugins for WP: https://deliciousbrains.com/wp-migrate-db-pro/

Access rights

The Access-Rights where missing some critical features: Editors needed to be able to edit pages in all languages on their own location, and content on the rest of the page only in their respective language. We solved it by a custom field adding a relation between a page the user and a role that we dynamically add to the user to escalate access rights;

	/**
	 * Initialize the module.
	 *
	 * ProcessWire calls this when the module is loaded. For 'autoload' modules, this will be called
	 * when ProcessWire's API is ready. As a result, this is a good place to attach hooks.
	 */
	public function init() {
		$this->addHookBefore('ProcessPageEdit::execute', $this, 'addDynPermission');
		$this->addHookBefore('ProcessPageAdd::execute', $this, 'addDynPermission');
	}

	public function addDynPermission(HookEvent $event)
	{
		$message = false;
		$page = $event->object->getPage();
		$root = $page->rootParent;
		$user = $this->user;

		if ($user->template->hasField('dynroles')) {
			if ($message) {
				$this->message('User has Dynroles: '.$user->dynroles->each('{name} '));
			}
			// for page add hook…

			if ($page instanceof NullPage) {				// click new and it's get, save it's post…
				$rootid = wire('input')->get->int('parent_id') ? wire('input')->get->int('parent_id') : wire('input')->post->parent_id;

				if ($message) {
					$this->message('Searching Root '.$rootid);
				}

				$root = wire('pages')->get($rootid)->rootParent;
			} elseif ($page->template->hasField('dynroles')) {
				if ($message) {
					$this->message('Page "'.$page->name.'" has Dynroles: '.$page->dynroles->each('{name} '));
				}

				foreach ($page->get('dynroles') as $role) {
					if ($role->id && $user->dynroles->has($role)) {
						if ($message) {
							$this->message('Add dynamic role "'.$role->name.'" because of page "'.$page->name.'"');
						}

						$user->addRole($role);
					}
				}
			}

			if (!($root instanceof NullPage) && $root->template->hasField('dynroles')) {
				if ($message) {
					$this->message('Root "'.$root->name.'" has dynamic roles: '.$root->dynroles->each('{name} '));
				}

				foreach ($root->get('dynroles') as $role) {
					if ($role->id && $user->dynroles->has($role)) {
						if ($message) {
							$this->message('Add dynamic role "'.$role->name.'" because of root page "'.$root->name.'"');
						}

						$user->addRole($role);
					}
				}
			}
		}
	}

With the Droles and Access Groups Modules we were not able to find a solution.

I thought it was hard to get absolute URLs out of the system — Ha! What a fool I was. So much for the topic of positive surprise. (Maybe you noticed, the point actually belongs to the top.)

But while we’re at it — that I thought it would not work, was due to a somewhat incomplete documentation in a few instances. Although it is far better than many others, it still lacks useful hints at one point or another. As in the example above, however, the friendly community quickly helps here.

processwire.com looks a bit old-fashioned and could use some marketing love. You notice the high level to moan with Processwire.

There is no free Tesla here.

Conclusion

Processwire is for anyone who is upset about any Typo3, Wordpress and Drupal lunacy — a fresh breeze of air, clear water, a pure joy.

It’s great as a CMF and Headless CMS, and we keep asking ourselves — why is it not more widely known?

If you value simple but clean code, flexibility, stability, speed, fast development times and maximum freedom, you should definitely take a look at it.

You have to like — or at least not hate PHP — and come to terms with the fact that the system is not over-engineerd to excess. If that’s okay with you, everything is possible — with GraphQL you can even build a completely decoupled frontend.

We are convinced of the simplicity of Processwire and will implement future sites from now on using it as a foundation.


Links & resources we found helpful

Plugins & Techniques that we used

 

 
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Nice! (or "chapeau", as we say in Zürich). The article even in two languages!

How did you do the inline frontend editing feature? Custom developed or a module?

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16 minutes ago, dragan said:

Nice! (or "chapeau", as we say in Zürich). The article even in two languages!

How did you do the inline frontend editing feature? Custom developed or a module?

Tankä, as we say in Zurich ;)

Frontend editing comes bundeled with the Processwire core! In addition we use Front-End Edit Lightbox (FEEL) like this;

echo $page->feel( [
    'text' => $page->template->get('label|name').' '.ukIcon('pencil'),
    'class' => 'uk-button uk-button-small uk-button-default cp-editpage',
    'fields' => null,
]);

 

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AFAIK you don't need to check $page->editable when using FEEL.

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Really great post, thanks for sharing @noelboss. Signed up to medium and did the above too, PW def needs some more exposure as does this write up.

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These are the articles we need! So many thanks @noelboss! We need more articles like this. We have built a great application for an international corporate using ProcessWire with over a million (1.000.000) pages and counting and hundreds of concurring users all over Europe and the United States. We built it right in the back-end of ProcessWire using ListerPro and +/- 20 custom Process Modules. Unfortunately I can't write a showcase (I'm dying too ...) due to legal stuff.

I could not agree more with one of the disadvantages:

6 hours ago, noelboss said:

Separation of Stucture and Data

The definition of the fields and templates is stored in the database, so the separation between content and system is not guaranteed. This complicates clean development with separate live- and development-environments. However, there is a migration module that looks promising — another module, which is expected to write these configurations into the file system, unfortunately nuked our system.

Thanks again! I clapped 50 times ;)

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3 hours ago, adrian said:

Hey everyone - don't forget to read the version of this excellent post on Medium:
https://medium.com/icf-church-developers/our-first-processwire-website-fab741e09707

Create an account and "clap" for the article - you can clap up to 50 times - let's see if we can get @noelboss's article on the Medium homepage!

Thank you @adrian !

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13 hours ago, arjen said:

These are the articles we need! So many thanks @noelboss! We need more articles like this. We have built a great application for an international corporate using ProcessWire with over a million (1.000.000) pages and counting and hundreds of concurring users all over Europe and the United States. We built it right in the back-end of ProcessWire using ListerPro and +/- 20 custom Process Modules. Unfortunately I can't write a showcase (I'm dying too ...) due to legal stuff.

You might still share some of your learnings, even if you can't disclose the customer? Thanks for the Claps on Medium.

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Hi @noelboss,

I've tried a few times, but I've found it really hard to describe the application without showing screenshots of the workflow. It is unfortunately not as easy as hiding the logo and branding. The customer has a lot of competitive advantage using this tool. I also moved jobs since. During the Christmas holidays I might have some spare time to work out a tutorial of a custom build application. Thanks again for your showcase.

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