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Wp Tavern Article And Processwire Themes


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Why anyone would seriously want to compare both systems is beyond me.

I want to like this post multiple times but the forum software doesn't allow me to do that.

So: Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like. Like.

Honestly: It's comparing apples to oranges. PW is strong. It is the most intuitive, the best designed (in terms of API and UI) CMS out there with the smallest footprint possible. I recently used again the multi language support. I mean, look at the API. Look at the solution for a problem each CMS has. It is just beautiful. You have several ways to solve that problem (as always with PW). But it is there, written in the core, well documented on one(!) API page, because it just works intuitively, it is just simple. Every addition to the core is an addition which solves general problems and the way Ryan solves them is just genius. There is no addition you have to scratch your head when reading the new API. You always think: "wow, clever". And this is the way to go with the core.

Make it simple, make it smart, make it beautiful!

Regarding themes, profiles and such: It is already possible. It is out there. Provide a custom profile for a real estate agent: Give him a set of modules, fields and templates to handle his offers. This is no problem! This is even easier and more flexible than it ever will be in WordPress, because it goes way beyond a custom theme and can be installed with one click. But: Nobody will care at the moment, because ProcessWire has no own category in theme/template websites, because ProcessWire has not the attention of other plug&play systems. And this is totally okay! Think of TYPO3, a widely spread system, mostly used in enterprise environments and even on small sites (dunno why), but the point is: Everyone (at least in Europe) knows it, it is one of the most used systems in the business sector (not on private children soccer club websites). But: this is the goal! Be the system developers use. Don't be the system every idiot wants to use.

Concentrate on performance, flexibility and most of all: beauty of the API! 

The rest will follow.

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Think of TYPO3, a widely spread system, mostly used in enterprise environments and even on small sites (dunno why), but the point is: Everyone (at least in Europe) knows it, it is one of the most used systems in the business sector (not on private children soccer club websites).

I totally agree. Especially in Germany, TYPO3 has that weird reputation of being the best and most professional CMS/F in the room, although I perceived it on the editor/usability- and templating-side as unnecessarily complex (I tend to think that the service ecosystem that developed around this complexity tries to keep it that way).

Since both TYPO3 and ProcessWire are relatively big here in Germany (each on their own scale) one could emphasize the "also a perfect business CMS" aspect on http://de.processwire.com even more :)

Communication-wise, there's plenty to learn from the big fishes.

/edit: I started a new thread on this topic since it's not really related to the WP tavern article: https://processwire.com/talk/topic/7184-lets-highlight-processwires-ability-to-be-an-enterprise-cms/

Edited by marcus
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If you all read and review carefully, you'll notice that Ryan has not posted but has "Liked" many comments and replies here.

He is very well aware of your opinions and wishes - as he always has!!! He's the one that adds all the valuable core necessities.

I think it is awesome beyond awesome that we have such a leading developer that tailors HIS project to OUR wishes.

The idea of templates and site profiles is a good one. They already exist!

Not as simple as "One Click". But if you are a developer, designer, web oriented tech savvy person, it's just as simple to download a site profile and extract into the appropriate folder.

This "One Click Theming" idea was made insanely popular by the folks that made WordPress, and frankly it is something that ProcessWire should probably avoid!

Personally: I don't need it. I don't want it.

So far, every ProcessWire site I have created has been 100% totally custom. The ONLY thing that I have reused or duplicated is my beloved Foundation CSS framework. Other than that, the sites are completely different, different jQuery plugins, different ProcessWire modules, different everything.

When I think of templates, I think of these: http://foundation.zurb.com/templates.html

If Ryan and the rest of the ProcessWire team should lean towards the way of offering templates and themes, then they should offer a small variety of layouts with different content.

A generic Blog template could have title, author, publish date, summary, images fields, etc. with comments or without?!

A generic Orbit template could have title, image url, image description, etc. for various images.

A more advanced Realty template could have address, phone numbers, map coordinates, various images, etc. A search feature.

A simple drag and drop prior to installation. And then when installed, all the fields and templates would be prefixed with an easy to distinguish name to connect them all together, so noobies can see how it all works.

There are so many ways to do things in ProcessWire (it's a beautiful thing - ain't it?). Templates and themes shouldn't be any different. Keep it out of the core.

Contributing users can offer their own site profiles (as they already do on girhub/elsewhere). Provide a nice interactive click through demo on their own site, or demo.processwire.com/template=?XYZ

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I agree with OrganizedFellow, that templates and themes should be separated from core. 

But it should be made easier for a not so tech-savy webmaster/developer, to install profiles (= themes) and to customize them to their needs. To accomplish this, i would suggest the following:

  • develop ready-to-use profiles (maybe these could be named "PROfiles"?) for the most demanded website-types, e.g. coprorate site, blog, gallery, portfolio, shop, ...
  • make it possible to install PROfiles side-by-side and as easy as installing modules, so that a corporate site could easily extended with a blog by installing the blog-profile
  • proceed the fields/templates for each profile with a separate tag, e.g. all fields for a corporate site are prefixed with "corp_" + field name (except title-field or maybe others)
  • all these PROfiles should be based on the same css-framework, i would suggest foundation, as ryan used it already for a profile. this makes it easier to use different PROfiles together with consistent styling
  • PROfiles should use minimal styling. But maybe different CSS-styles  could be made available for color-schemes or similar
  • the templates should contain layout-files for special parts of a page (think of widgets or partials), so that developers could easily reuse these parts to create their own templates (e.g. on a corporate site display a list of the lastest blog-entries in the sidebar)
  • PROfiles settings should be made available on one admin-page, maybe each Profile get its own tab (or whatever ui fits best), where the respective settings are shown

As one conclusion, this makes it necessary, that markup is generated by the PROfile for outputting the content. I already hear the complaints about that this is not what is processwire intended for, thats right.

But this is totally optional, not in core and you mustn't use it at all, you still could use your own code. It only would make it easier, even for developers, to get started with processwire by installing already tested and optimised profiles by processwire pros.

There should be a PROfile-team for maintaining and ensuring consistency of things throughout the distinct PROfiles.

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But it should be made easier for a not so tech-savy webmaster/developer, to install profiles (= themes) and to customize them to their needs.

1. Not only do not change anything in the core but also not in the shell to make it more accessible

    for not so tech people. We are all here because we love the core and shell, exactly as it was made.

2. Instead learn them what they have to know to (start) use processwire and make your own templates.

3. This has already been discussed in the forum before, just look for it.

4. It takes only basic php like echo, for each, etc. and basic pw api to be able to start with processwire.

5. Most starters with less or no coding experience have difficulties with pw for not having templates/system.

6. We can safely asume that processwire starters already have some experience with html and css.

7. So, it takes only simple tuto's to show how to put php code between html tags and include inc files.

The more websites you make, the more you realize there is no escape from learning at least php and css.

So better help people with that where they need it, like in this forum with processwire.

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@nico: i saw your module right after submitting my post, great effort!

@pwired: I know all this already, i'm already in love with processwire!

But what is about the devs who don't want to invest that much time in processwire to estimate its power? You could dive in the forums or use tuts, not everybody has the time or desire to achieve this at first look. So why not give them one more possibility? And after discovering the power of processwire, you could use the other ressources to answer upcoming questions for further customization of the website and using the api yourself.

My suggestions would make possible to establish a basic theme groundwork for using different themes together, nothing more. It shouldn't been considered as the default way for theming or integrating this in the core. It's just another way one can go to processwire put in use.

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@pideluxe: agreed. That (basic theme groundwork) is exactly what I've been trying to suggest all along.. and exactly what Nico is doing with WireThemes project, so we're definitely on the same page here. I don't see having (more) 3rd party site profiles and/or themes (whatever you call them and however you put them together) as something that would seriously harm ProcessWire as a project, but that's just me  :)

Also, anyone repeating the "themes shouldn't be in core" mantra, take a closer look at this discussion: unless my memory is failing me, no-one has suggested such a thing. We're discussing third party themes here. Please don't get dragged into pointless argument over whether customisable, interchangeable themes should be in core -- they shouldn't, period.

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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.

I couldn't agree more with Apeisa here. It comes down to a choice: if you want ProcessWire to become popular outside of that group of traditional developer types then you have to appeal to those with 30 minutes to spare and low technical experience. If on the other hand people here are happy to let ProcessWire grow slowly, organically, continually appealing to more technical mindsets then it is doing a great job already and should simply continue on that path. There is nothing wrong with either route and it all comes down to the expectations of the community here.

One word of warning about expectations though. I watched the Drupal community grow from version 5, 6, 7 onwards and the bitterness that resulted within the community when WordPress started to dominate the market (around Drupal 6) was palpable. The Drupal community believed that they had a far better system with more flexibility and inherent security, but they were very scathing of the fact that WordPress (sometimes described as 'HerdPress' within the Drupal community) became so popular and Drupal didn't. My point (eventually) is that until very recently (with the advent of Drupal 8) the Drupal community missed the reason as to WHY WordPress was dominating so. They thought it was marketing, but really, it wasn't. The simple reason was that Drupal was engineered for developers and encouraged very little involvement from the design community. I couldn't count the amount of times designers would attempt to engage in the forums and request a simpler theming system only to be sounded out by the developers there - sometimes very aggressively. WordPress on the other hand encouraged the design community and became easy enough for designers with traditional design mindsets to pick up. WordPress actively engaged that audience and a theming system was built that partially catered towards them. Combine the WordPress theming system and an admin interface which is one of the nicer ones to look at and use and you have a package that appeals very strongly to a lesser technical mindset.

The whole concept of growth and whether to cater towards the less technical mindset then comes down to choice and expectations. If ProcessWire continues down its current path, it will build a very strong following of developers (and some slightly more technically minded designers). However, it will never grow beyond a certain scale and will always be less popular than many other choices already out there. Again, that's okay if the intention is there to focus on that audience to the exclusion of others. However, the market out there for the designer / CMS administrator type of profile is vast and much larger than that of a development centric audience. It's a simple truth and one which would need to be catered for with better turnkey solutions if ProcessWire wanted to better engage the non technical mindset. The community would also need to welcome them (which I don't think will be a problem from my experience).

If ProcessWire wanted to engage and grow its audience to compete with the 'bigger' and more popular systems it's already (in my opinion) in a much better place than Drupal to capture a less technical market. It's API is streets ahead in terms of simplicity for frontend development and it's community is less hardcore. However, some things need to be more readily available to cater towards the designer type who isn't a frontend specialist. A theming system is central to that need (again, in my opinion). The traditional designer mentality is one that is only very slowly moving in a more technical direction (in a typical sense). The Photoshop GUI and knowledge of CSS being as technical as it gets for that type of user. Therefore, having pre-built examples and tools that are easy for a designer to iterate on are essential. Having a packageable theming system would not only help others coming from other systems with ProcessWire, but would enable designers to have less complex starting point to suite different needs.

I work with a number of designers coming out of university who still have poor technical skills, they barely know Photoshop to the level that is needed. ProcessWire is unfortunately too great a step for them. Whereas WordPress is easy for them to pick up. In WP they can install a theming base and then iterate from that quickly, they also have plenty of how-to guides catering towards their mindset. Most of the time, they will use a theme base as a starting point for their PHP and XHTML markup and CSS, completely altering the CSS and some of the XHTML, but barely touching the PHP 'voodoo'. However, after a few months they start to become more comfortable with PHP and will then iterate on that layer as well. Then, a frontend developer starts to emerge! They are now very comfortable with WordPress because they have had success with it.

I won't tell to much but I'm currently working on a theme module anyway. Website is already kind of ready: http://processthemes.com/

But I think we all should agree on at least one thing: ProcessWire should never integrate a real theme engine in it's core. never.

Nico's solution I think is perfect for the ProcessWire community. Simple, elegant, potentially very powerful and more importantly optional. When this reaches maturity, you could combine this with a series of tutorials and profiles engineered towards a designer mindset and you have a very simple way to better engage that type of audience and attract them to the ProcessWire project. As a by product of catering for that designer mindset, you then also have the potential turnkey solutions that an even larger audience profile thirst for...
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