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Jeffro

Wp Tavern Article And Processwire Themes

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Hello there, I'm the author of the article on WPTavern, the infamous 30 minute trial article! I figured it would be nice to go to where the conversation is versus the other way around. So if you have any questions for me regarding my experience or anything else for that matter, I'm registered to the forum, but wouldn't want to derail the purpose of this thread. Also, thank you to those who have responded to the article in a respectful manner. I'm sure some of you think my article is like someone taking a crap on the project which is not what I did. The article is a simple documentation of my efforts to use and learn about the platform in 30 minutes in which case, that's all it took for me to decide it wasn't for me. The question is, how many people find ProcessWire, install it, and don't even give it 30 minutes before reaching the same conclusion? Is that even a concern or are those the people you don't want as part of your userbase anyways? 

Anyways, I'm happy to start a new thread specifically about my article or if someone else wants to do it.

*** Moderator ***

This topic was splitted from here. the original article that is discussed here can be found from here.

-apeisa

Edited by apeisa
Splitted from: https://processwire.com/talk/topic/2311-processwire-on-the-web/?p=68791
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@Jeffro: Great to have you here! Thanks for joining the community, and thanks for writing about ProcessWire. 

@Joss: Just read your comment posted there and that is epic, you always have a way with words. I wish I had your gifts with words... composition... voiceovers... humor.... plants... and who knows what else you've mastered, but just glad you are here! 

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Not a problem. I also wanted to join because in my seven years of sort of being the beat reporter for the WordPress community and ecosystem, I might be able to lend some advice or point folks in the right direction for this young, up and coming platform. For instance, I see you folks already had a conversation about a module validation team and how to treat it because apparently, that's one of the big negatives of WordPress, the wild west plugin directory which isn't as wild as people make it out to be.

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Jeff, first of all, welcome to the forum.

I'm the one that commented in a less respectful way from your point of view. I give you credit for actually trying PW before commenting, I've seen others that didn't even do that before emitting an opinion, but I just don't think that's enough. Just think of how you assumed that one didn't even read the post to the end only because one didn't write an extensive and paternal comment (no pun intended Joss, your comment is great), or that one thinks you're taking crap on the project only because one didn't agree with you. The truth is that you didn't only document your 30 minute journey, but you had an ostensively negative tone against PW and against Mike's article that was 1000 times more careful, more scientific and more neutral than your own.

edit: I also give credit to the fact that you're here. Don't take the above as an offence or something similar.

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You bet I did. Hey, great for Mike that he found a project that is more in line with what he needs out of a CMS and congrats on hiring the lead developer to work on the site, that's not something everybody can do. But his arguments against WordPress, especially around bloat and plugins are flawed. So of course I was negative. As for PW, hey, take it as a case study on the platforms New User Experience. I had a negative experience, so I wrote about my negative experience.

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As I told you before, you did wrong but well, whatever... it's an empty discussion and I doubt it will get richer than this. Maybe others will have the patience to listen to what you say, and I hope they will. I don't.

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Hi Jeff

The first thing is about the young bit.

Ryan first developed PW as a commercial system quite some years ago (he can give you the history if you are interested). He then made it open source in more recent years.

Consequently, the core of ProcessWire (the Wire bit, if you like) is very stable and very developed.

However, quite a few of the users on this forum are very experienced developers and coders, and this has helped speed up the development. I should point out, though, that this has not been at a break neck speed; Ryan is very much in control here and development is carefully undertaken.

There are many differences between systems like PW and others like WP. The main difference between PW and WP is about the design philosophy.

ProcessWire does not have any templating engine or system, it simply has a templates directory where you do most of your playing. The default install does have files in there, but to be honest, you could chuck most of them away (with the exception of admin.php) if you wanted to. Most of us do. 

So, if I want to design a site using, for instance, the Bootstrap CSS Framework, I simply shove it into the Templates directory as I would if it were going to be a static site.

I can now create my file structure as I would normally. Perhaps a header and footer file, for instance. Maybe call these into a main template that I am using for a bunch of pages as I would do any other PHP structured website by using includes. 

Once I have done that, I just need to add the PW API to retrieve the information.

Okay, so there is a little more to it than that, but the point is that anyone who has used Bootstrap would look at the templates and recognise just about everything that is going on there.

That is incredibly powerful - it makes it accessible to many different levels of designers and developers very quickly. And that is important too - to a greater extent these are people trying to make a living; they need a system that works for them and does not force them down a particular route. More structured CMSs like WordPress need you to work in their way with their methods. That is great if that is what you want, but if you need to break out of that, you either have to get very imaginative or hope someone has done "a plugin for that."

There is no doubt that you can get a fully featured WP site up faster than a PW site - but the PW site will be a lot more specific and tailored to the brief, and for most of us, that is far more important.

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We can take criticism here, it's always helpful. It's true that 30 minutes really isn't enough to understand or evaluate ProcessWire, but I do like hearing the 30 minute perspective because I can see that is something we need to work on. While I think our audience is currently a bit different than WordPress, WP is the largest CMS platform by far and so we always have to pay attention as to how we're perceived by the WordPress community. I would like that perception to be one where people that enjoy WordPress would consider ProcessWire when they have needs to develop something beyond what WordPress specializes in. Not that WordPress couldn't handle it (it's powering some quite large and comprehensive sites) but that ProcessWire can accommodate more custom, complex and larger sites quite a bit more easily and efficiently, at least once you know ProcessWire. WP and PW are both useful tools for any developer to keep in their pocket. While you can develop quite a nice blog in PW, you may save yourself time to do it in WP. Likewise, you can develop quite large and complex sites in WP, but you would save your save quite a bit of time to do it in PW instead. That's an oversimplification of differences, but just saying that these tools aren't mutually exclusive. We're both on the LAMP and GNU teams too. 

As a side note, ProcessWire is here in part because of WordPress, or at least the founder. I didn't even know about WordPress at the time (beyond hearing it was something like Moveable Type), but was really inspired by Matt Mullenweg's speech at SXSW (I think it was 2006, it's been a few years), and that led me into open source. The way he spoke about open source struck a chord. We exchanged a couple of emails afterwards and I thanked him and told him I was going to develop ProcessWire as an open source project because his speech was such an inspiration. Prior to that it had been in development, but as a closed source project. It took more than 4 years and 2-rewrites before it was released, but that's where PW started as an open source project. 

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Greetings,

Wow, 30 minutes!  I think the author will spend more time reading the comments than he did with ProcessWire.

Up next: after one hour with PHP, he decides it's not as good as Python.

Unfortunately, I have spent way more than 30 minutes using Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress, so I could not help but weigh in on this one.

Thanks,

Matthew

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Well, I have spend under 30 minutes reviewing many systems. If it doesn't meet any of the expectations, then 30 minutes is more than enough. I find Jeff's article pretty good - I would assume that first impression is pretty much that, if you just wander around admin and look for buttons that do cool things for your site.

If we want to go after big wp audience, then we would really need to focus on things like themes, plug and play modules etc. I would keep our audience where it is (people who are build websites, rookies and experienced). When developers are in, the rest will follow.

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If we want to go after big wp audience, then we would really need to focus on things like themes, plug and play modules etc. I would keep our audience where it is (people who are build websites, rookies and experienced). When developers are in, the rest will follow.

I strongly agree with apeisa here and, to be honest, I really don't understand this discussion about WP and PW. How could one compare this two systems? Imho PW targets a completely different group of users. Trying to move significant market share from WP to PW  would mean to give up what makes PW unique. PW is a high precision instrument meant for experienced surgeons while WP is part of the medicine chest found in an average household. The have very few in common. I'm glad that it is like this and that PW can't be evaluated in 30 minutes (wait: it can. If you are experienced with web development you will discover its potential within 30 minutes while it takes some time to understand how to make use of it).

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Apeisa and Totoff are quite right - it is a different audience.

Though I would put in the rider that the ProcessWire API does so much heavy lifting with such short phrases that it makes it amazingly simple to learn, even for novices (or old has-beens like me!)

While it also leaves enough in the PHP realm and html realm not to force markup and construction on you that you then spend half the night trying to override. (A big Joomla sin, that one)

A good, well balanced, tool box.

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I completely agree with these 3 comments. From a graphic designer point of view, it's like comparing inDesign and MS Word, you can, but for that you really have to focus on the audience. Might be a big temptation to try to please everyone, but PW would start suffering from the same problems that others do. I'm glad Ryan doesn't think like that, and we can be sure that PW will only get better.

edit: try to spend 30 minutes working with inDesign without knowing anything about professional publishing systems and see how frustrated you will get.

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it's like comparing inDesign and MS Word

I've tried 30 years to understand MS Word and didn't succeed ...  :'(

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:D

MS Word it's actually a great software if you actually learn how to use it well and take it to it's full potencial (I extend that to Open and Libre Office)

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I came from another CMS that really really works very easy for the "enduser", lot of templates, lot of stuff (at these days more and more older crap/stuff) addons, snippets and so on. Great to get some small and middle Websites run - but there was no development now so i've to jump from the dead horse....

I never ever did not compare these two systems (my well known cms with PW) - since i searched with the approach to find a new system with a new workflow that give's me more power with less effort.

I'm feeling like at home now - i'm kinda excited to push my first PW project and working on some private pages to test and getting more experience.

For me 30 min was enought to see that there are so much options to get the system you like and control all the content you/user produce.

I'm not a PHP dev - but i can sort things - read&learn a lot ->but the phrase "OneLiner" get a new dimension here with PW ;)

In my former CMS there was erverything - flamewars between other cms and userdiscussions on forks and so on....this leads to nothing.

The bad thing of such articles is that they rarely objective. So there is no real reason to discuss.

One opinion against the other.

Best Regards mr-fan

(sorry for the nonnative en)

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Ok, last one on this, but just so you guys know about the kind of journalistic quality we are dealing with in that blog post, this is the thumbnail that was used to illustrate it:

CMSCriticSwitchesToProcessWireCMSFeature

http://wptavern.com/tag/processwire

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Really interesting discussion here! Many very important aspects are already mentioned, many good points are made.

But: reading the WPTavern / "30 minutes" article, I stumbled over one particular sentence:

There’s no welcome screen

Wouldn't that be a nice idea? At your first login, right after the installation process (where such a thing would be misplaced).

This welcome screen could contain: 

If you are a designer, then (intro, links, resources).

If you are a developer then (intro, links to official tutorials, resources) and look at the beauty and effectiveness of this: 

$echo $pages->get("/products/2010/")->find("template=faq, body*=Tobiko")->first()->url; 

Such a screen could at least give a tease to the experienced developer to find out more. Therefore, the choice of links would be crucial. But, fortunately, an official set of tutorials is on the rise. And maybe, with such a screen, PW could increase the possibility to stand the "trial of 30 minutes." ;)

And for people like me, who start with a blank profile anyway you could offer an option to disable: $config->showWelcomeScreen = false, or so.

Edited by marcus
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@marcus: +1. Maybe something like this could be added to the "Finished install" screen :)

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@jeffro: Great that you joined this conversation over here! As far as I can see one of your main concerns is that ProcessWire doesn't offer ready-to-go themes. That's right and I think one of the points why processwire still is in the developer niche. But if you understood the ProcessWire concept (create fields, build a custom template/form and add it to pages) you should realize that it is probably not possible to create switchable themes for ProcessWire. It's like using WordPress with ACF and trying to find a theme for it which works out of the box with every custom ACF field.

Our approach was to add a thing called "Site Install Profiles" which is a compilation of the template files, the needed modules and the needed fields and backend configuration.

My suggestion was to offer like three default "Site Profiles":

 

Demo Profile

The Demo could include a guided tour through the CMS. Or we could build a "tutorial module" which could be in the /site/modules/ folder and would be deleted after the tour. Not sure on this point.

Like the name said this would on the one hand a module do demonstrate how you build a template for designers / developers and on the other hand an template for presenting how Processwire works to your clients (with the backend tutorial stuff).

 

Starter Profile

I would rename the "default" profile to "starter". It should include all the fields an average user would use (like title, headline, body, images, files, ...) and should be the main profile which is included in your default installation. This one is a ready to go solution.

This "starter profile" would be the profile we could design Themes for and stuff like that. So like I said a ready-to-go profile for the average user who don't need customized stuff. This would be the profile for my mother  ;)

 

Clean/Air Profile

The third profile should be for advanced users who like to set up their own fields and templates. Kind of how Soma's blank profile is. It would be shipped without these amount of templates and demo pages.

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Processwire: used by people who were looking for something better

and used by talented coders who recognized pw´s internal core.

Processwire is chosen and not followed. For some hard to swallow.

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Greetings,

Apeisa & Totoff: I agree that comparing WordPress and ProcessWire is a flawed approach.

What can you do in 30 minutes? You can conclude that the systems are inherently different. But the review we are discussing here, after 30 minutes, still ends by comparing ProcessWire on WordPress terms. Any review that can't conclude that the systems have very different concepts, and are for very different audiences, has failed.

My analogy from woodworking: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are like pre-made project kits. All the wood pieces are cut to the right sizes for you, numbered according to how they must be assembled, with pre-drilled holes. You even get a set of various sized screws, a little bottle of glue, three mini cans of paint (just enough for the project), and a set of instructions you need to follow. With ProcessWire, it’s more like you have a project idea, and you jot down the sizes of all the parts and make a list of all the hardware you need, choose your own paint colors and glue. Then you go to the store to buy it all. In the end, the project kit looks like everyone else who bought the same one. The one you made yourself takes longer, but it does more, and it’s unique.

Thanks,

Matthew

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I think most of us go little bit too hard on this article: it was mostly a well written response to a Mike's "PW vs. WP" article, responding some of the reasons that Mike underlined why they moved from WP to PW. It was honest about the scope regarding ProcessWire (30 minutes, looked for demo, visited forums etc, but mainly just first impression). It also has nice summary about why PW is not Jeff's next publishing system:

  • PW audience seems to be developers (instead of "I just want cool looking website without any coding")
  • It doesn't do out of the box things that Jeff excepts from publishing system 
  • PW doesn't have themes

PW and WP are totally different tools and I think that both Mike's and Jeff's articles showed that it is pretty hard to have "head to head" comparisons between these two. I really enjoyed reading both articles, and I believe that most developers who end up reading those articles (and their comments!) probably will at least try ProcessWire.

Now we should also try to get people from Laravel, Zend, Django, Drupal etc. crowds to try PW. I think that is much more interesting crowd than your regular "hi, I created WP site in 5 minutes" people. Developers using those frameworks are building the greatest stuff there is currently. Of course lot to learn from WP camp also, but I would really focus on developers and framework side of PW instead of "best website builder there is".

It's not surprise that WordPress seems to be heading also to more "general cms / framework / platform" direction instead of "easy to use publishing". The latter is very competitive market, with all those website builders like squarespace, virb, weebly, wix, google sites.. even facebook etc. You need keep developers happy, to make sure cool things are coming in future too.

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The main point that 'Wordpress Defenders' as I like to call them seem to make is that wordpress has a simple way to install out of the box themes for the frontend of the site.

I can understand this point especially for non technical users that want to build and control their site themselves and switch to any out of the box theme of their liking fairly quickly.

But imagine for a moment what the Wordpress Defenders elite  would say if there were 2 Processwire versions.

One as Processwire is now for developers and designers open to all possibilities(my preference) and one version that included a template system that was built for easily changeable themes that also had the power of the original core processwire to add on customisations as needed.

I am not sure if this is really possible but it is an interesting concept.

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We should keep the core together and don't have two independent versions. But that's what I like about the way I explained before. Having one default site profile containing the most important fields which you can build themes for and a clean one for developers. 

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