NorbertH

Making PW more userfriendly

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@Thomas108, something like this: http://wiki.processwire.com/index.php/Basic_Website_Tutorial

Thanks Joss

No, that website tutorial is already way too much text about html and adding styles and philosophy.

On the other side there is the api cheatsheet which is great for developers, but for a non coding beginner too condensed and even a bit scary.   

I mean something like an extended version of the api cheatsheet, and also with more complicated snippets and their output.

So that even a noob can look at a piece of code and immediately see what it does by looking at its manifested html output.

And everything on one page, just like twitters bootstrap docs:

php ....

the html output

php ....

the html output

and so on.

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No, that website tutorial is already way too much text about html and adding styles and philosophy.

On the other side there is the api cheatsheet which is great for developers, but for a non coding beginner too condensed and even a bit scary.   

I mean something like an extended version of the api cheatsheet, and also with more complicated snippets and their output.

So that even a noob can look at a piece of code and immediately see what it does by looking at its manifested html output.

And everything on one page.

Something like when you click on "more" on the cheatsheet items -> ie. http://cheatsheet.processwire.com/pages/built-in-methods-reference/pages-find-selector/ ?

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Quick hint: already saved snippets.pw and trying to create a blog/snippet collection so you get easier into pw. But it's only a concept at the moment.

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No, that website tutorial is already way too much text about html and adding styles and philosophy.

On the other side there is the api cheatsheet which is great for developers, but for a non coding beginner too condensed and even a bit scary.   

I mean something like an extended version of the api cheatsheet, and also with more complicated snippets and their output.

So that even a noob can look at a piece of code and immediately see what it does by looking at its manifested html output.

And everything on one page, just like twitters bootstrap docs:

php ....

the html output

php ....

the html output

and so on.

Thomas it's very hard to please everyone. I also found this difficult when I started using PW.

The main reason why there are no clear examples of the best way to do something is that there are so many ways. It is both a strength and a weakness. It is essentially PHP that is being used and that is where most people who have learned to use PW have found their "snippets" or examples of how to do things.

The tutorials are improving with the help of people in the community though. Soma has a list of some more complicated gists here https://gist.github.com/somatonic

Something like when you click on "more" on the cheatsheet items -> ie. http://cheatsheet.processwire.com/pages/built-in-methods-reference/pages-find-selector/ ?

The cheatsheet is outstanding and the extended functionality is great.

May be a nice feature in the future to have a few examples underneath on the extended part (a bit like php.net, but better of course :P)

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Yes - the php.net examples drive me nuts, especially the ones that turn out to be plain wrong! grrr!

(Mind you, if I actually knew php properly, then this would be less of a problem.... :) )

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Something like when you click on "more" on the cheatsheet items -> ie. http://cheatsheet.processwire.com/pages/built-in-methods-reference/pages-find-selector/ ?

Yes and No. When a non coder clicks on "more", he sees only more scary php stuff :rolleyes:

Well, at least when one is no coder and very new to PW.

Maybe I am the only one, but if a see a piece of php code, I try to understand it and I may understand it correctly or not. In any case it takes me quite some time. 

On the other hand, if I see a piece of code and its immediate html output the learning is much faster, more easier and more accurate. 

So I am missing html output examples.

@Nico Knoll: Yes from the domain name it sounds like something I would love to see.

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Quick hint: already saved snippets.pw and trying to create a blog/snippet collection so you get easier into pw. But it's only a concept at the moment.

send me a pm i you need help or something else - i'm absolute not skilled enought with pw but i did build several tutorials and wrote for others (in german - my english is to bad) so maybe i could share some experience on this.

May be a nice feature in the future to have a few examples underneath on the extended part (a bit like php.net, but better of course :P)

that is something indeed i'm missing since i am not so skilled.

my workflow is to search the cheatsheet and copy&paste the calls in the Google Forum Search so i get some examples from some interesting posts....but this is not good handling for people willing to learn more.

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One thing that is getting missed in this conversation is people like me.

Anyone who reads my signiture might notice it says:

Be nice - I am not a proper programmer and haven't the foggiest idea of what Soma/Apeisa/Ryan/et al are talking about.

The point is that when I started my php knowledge was very, very, very minimal. I understood what it did, but I didn't know how to use it beyond the basics.

It is not a hell of a lot better now, but it is better.

The reason is that PW is a very good platform on which to LEARN php, and jquery and, of course, the PW API.

So much so that one day I will create a profile that is expressly a tutorial profile - in other words, it will teach php to complete novices as well as teaching PW.

ProcessWire is a developer tool - there is no getting away from that - and it requires a developers approach to use it. But, as I and others have proved to themselves, it does not shut out non-developers and can actually turn novices and others into devs. This is partly because of the design logic built in by Ryan and partly because of the community.

But, despite that, despite the fact that an old composer/writer/advertising bloke like me can create websites, it is not any use for those with no knowledge at all who want a quick site without having to get any knowledge. They are better off using Wordpress.com or the plenty of other plug and play, ready hosted offerings - that is what they exist for.

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To keep a positive idea in this heavy ideological topics

I like the idea of a snippet gallery this would be a nice addition on the tutorials for beginners?

With the 2.5 it should be possible to export needed fields and templates and show some example calls on that fields.....so it would be a easy start.

Like i wrote the wiki tuts was great but old and not really linked with the current docs.

A dev use the great API documentation and the cheatsheet!!

But a newcomer has to search the forum (and hopefully since the forum search isn't that good find first this or this post)

Yep,

so a newcomer can see at a glance the basic commands with output examples as well as a lot of working snippets in one place.

Ideally everything with only basic styling and with the pw version number, when it was written / updated.

If one needs more reading material one can look in the forum, if one needs less one can look at the stylesheet.

Something for every level :rolleyes:

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The wiki is not being maintained, and all the relevant information is now on the main docs on the PW site.

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The wiki is not being maintained, and all the relevant information is now on the main docs on the PW site.

Er ... at least I am working on that. .... Cough!

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My opinion?

I think PW is already very userfriendly seeing the clear API and it's possibilities and the freedom in creating templates etc. Afcourse you have to have at least a basic understanding of PHP (that's where I was when I started with PW).

If you really need a top of the bill user friendly cms and don't want to learn PHP, then PW is maybe just not the right cms for you. For the ones as me that start with PW and are willing to learn a (little) bit more PHP to really enjoy all the possibilities of PW indeed a central place with more snippets would be an idea.

But, on the other hand, reading through the forum, posting questions and googling when I had a problem helped me I think more in learning then having a maybe to easy big copy and paste snippets library.

I'm still struggling frequently but that's then more with PHP then with PW and I still enjoy the learning involved.

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Hi,

wow, what a vivid discussion. A lot of people seems to be very much concerned about this topic.

I'm outing myself as member of the "please, PW, stay as you are" party! Honestly, I fear all this requests for more "user friendliness". It turns out, that I seem to have a completely different understanding of "user friendliness" as some colleagues have - to me, PW is the most user friendly CMS I've ever worked with. I started my career as web developer with Contao and got sick of it within one year. It simply didn't allow me to do what I want, or it was a tremendous effort, to put things in the right direction. I then discovered Textpattern (r.i.p) and it was kind of a relief - for the first time I was able to realize my ideas as I wanted it - not only in terms of design, but also in terms of content management (yes, it's all about that). When Textpattern aged, I came via the TXP forum to PW and immediately understood that this tool will give me the freedom I needed. Since then, PW has never disappointed me. I can keep my head up in every meeting with a prospect answering "yes, we can do that. No problem", and rest assured that I will be able to keep my promises. And I am not a developer at all (I studied design and marketing). Which other system can give you that?

Norbert is talking about a new user who is not a developer who likes to dive into code ocean to get wet. He is refering to ordinary users who want to build sites, who have enough HTML/CSS, etc skills to do so, but only lack coding skills.

Imho, this users are not the target group of PW and I personally don't want them to become influential on the system. Sorry. Every powerful tool needs at last a minimum skillset to make proper use of it. How would you like to build a house if you don't know how to lay bricks?

Apart from that, I strongly second Joss' postings.

EDIT: reems was quicker ...

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As i already stated its perfectly ok to say , nope no standards. As PW is a system that attaches to almost any thinkable HTML/JS Template in a  perfect way its a great thing as it is. But if you think that way you have to make sure not to attract people from conventional CMS with false promises.

A friendly and powerful open source CMS with an exceptionally strong foundation.

First sentence on PW homepage.

As it is its a CMF that allows you to build the custom CMS for your Template in an instance.

Maybe we should even invent  a new paradigm for this one, like PW is a new PFT CMF  (Page Field Template)

The PFT concept allows for extremely easy generation of content that integrates easily into your existing HTML/JS Template.

That way designers can concentrate on designing and a developer can easily convert this design into a fully functional webapplication.

The powefull selection engine completely removes the need for complex data models...

... :P

The problem is that pepole(non developers form WP, Joomla..) expect a CMS and got really frustrated. As science found out , if you got angry about something you tell that to an average of 10 people thats a hell lot of bad publicity. So we better should advertise PW as a CMF and make people happy about finding how simple this can be instead of making people unhappy if they expect something like a normal CMS ...

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Guys, thanks for all the comments, hints, tips and encouragement to keep on trying. I appreciate that. Reading back I also notice I was rather grumpy last night. Sorry about that, I should not engage in these kind of forum discussions in the middle of the night. Being very tired I have a tendency to be much blunter than I normally am.

Some people made the remark that modern website creation often involves some form of coding, more than 5 to 10 years ago. That's true, and indeed at the heart of my frustration. While my general site building skills have improved with the demands of the market, my coding skills lag behind. So the discrepance between what I CAN and what I WANT is becoming bigger. What I want is the more or less ready to use functionality of a CMS like WebsiteBaker, Joomla or Wordpress, combined with the flexibility and power of PW. My first impression was that I would be able to create custom stuff pretty easily, but after trying for a week orso I was disappointed. Partly in myself and my lacking skills, partly in my expectations that turned out to be too high (in relation to my skills), and partly in PW because a number of things are really not user friendly (enough) in my opinion.

I do feel that PW could benefit from having ready to use functions/modules/profiles/whatever-you-call-them that can be regarded as absolute core functions of any website: regular pages, blog/news, form, gallery. I'm not talking about time management, full blown ecommerce, forum, or anything fancy like that. No one expects that in a core CMS setup. Just the basic stuff to build any regular informational website, like a typical small business website. It's not important if that would be part of the core, or separate addons, they just need to be readily avaliable without having to heavily edit underlying code. I don't see why that would harm PW as a developers framework.

That aside, I do feel I need to PW another go, if I have the time. All comments have given me a new impulse to try again to overcome my own current limitations.

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A small quote from Wikipedia.

A content management system (CMS)is a computer application that allows publishing, editing and modifying content, organizing, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface....

   ...CMSs typically aim to avoid the need for hand coding, but may support it for specific elements or entire pages.

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wow, what a vivid discussion. A lot of people seems to be very much concerned about this topic.

The only thing I am concerned about, is this repeated pressure on processwire

to make it more user friendly for non coders. I really - really hope the pw core

with it´s template/field/backend will stay untouched.

So we better should advertise PW as a CMF

The use of processwire is not based or focused on CMF at all.

Processwire can be used as a cms / a cmf / and even as a cme, (thanks to the core)

which is a content management engine (thanks to Joss).

We should find a way to learn beginners to focus on how widely processwire can be used.

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...CMSs typically aim to avoid the need for hand coding, but may support it for specific elements or entire pages.

CMSs make hand coding by editors obsolete (as it was usual in the ancient times), thus allowing content to be published quickly and easy. That's what I understand from this sentence. I don't understand, that CMSs allow to build web applications (sites, apps) without coding skills. Even WP requires coding skills if you want to take it one step further (in fact, it requires much more coding skills than PW does ...) .

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@argos, great to hear that. I would feel a bit responsible if you would have the opposite reaction and give up on PW and on us... But, if you say you feel that you are getting behind and frustrated for not being able to implement your ideas, I would say that you arrived to PW at the right time. Go through the tutorial calmly, don't hurry. Start with replacing the content in your html by simple PHP like <?=$page->body?> and ignore all the complex stuff that people write in the forums some times, later you will understand them. Don't jump to the cheatsheet without first reading the API Docs. Read why Ryan decided not to use {{these kind of tags}} and use pure PHP instead. Give yourself time to learn something that you feel you needed for some time. By the time you will feel comfortable with PW, you will realize that you also know PHP. Oh the joy :)

---

As I said, I understand the need of discussing the tool and also the way that it sells itself to people. But it's how the core of PW is structured that makes it such a flexible tool. Changing the way it works would start removing that flexibility and make it become heavier and heavier. It's what people will do with PW that will make it grow stronger and directed towards other publics, not as it's core, but as the tool behind each of those applications.

A friendly and powerful open source CMS with an exceptionally strong foundation.

Couldn't be closer to the truth! PW is a very friendly CMS to those that will use it as a content management system, your clients,  and is a powerful tool for you, the developer, to make sure that they will get the absolute best experience. EDIT: totoff was faster :)

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The only thing I am concerned about, is this repeated pressure on processwire

to make it more user friendly for non coders. I really - really hope the pw core

with it´s template/field/backend will stay untouched.

and for me as a non coder I hope that too, because I like the way pw works. pw should not become another droomlapress.

It could be just way easier and faster to grasp pw for newbies willing to learn pw and php, if there was an "all in one place" page with up to date code and output examples

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A friendly and powerful open source CMS with an exceptionally strong foundation.

Nope its a CMF , a content management framework that allows you to make an easy CMS for your HTML

Not being precise causes lots of frustration

Wikipedia again:

A content management framework (CMF) is a system that facilitates the use of reusable components or customized software for managing Web content. It shares aspects of a Web application framework and a content management system (CMS).

here we go , and btw. we are listed there. :-)

A lot of people seems to be very much concerned about this topic.

Quite a while ago drupal stated "we stay OOP free", then they added OOP step by step caused by pressure from outside.

At last they are now based on Symphony framework. So Drupal once was special now its like any other crap around.

So yess, i can understand that fear.

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It seems some devs are afraid that improving usability is quivalent to decreasing power and flexibility. In my opinion these things should and could go hand in hand, and are intrinsically not contradictory.

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Developers or Designers who have real talent have nothing to fear from others learning the trade.  The PW forum is not populated by an elitist bunch of coders.

Usability will be improved and believe or not you are an important part of that discussion.  It's not a case of us against you.  You are now a part of the PW community and we hope that you learn and succeed.

I can only speak for myself, but my hope is for the PW core will remain as is (with continual enhancements).  I support others creating all the usability functionality that has been proposed, just not in the core of PW.

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