I've been using XOOPS for a number of community projects and websites, and am ready to take it further for my own purposes. I've also built a couple of modules for clients (but can't release them publicly due to contracts) for websites I put together for them using XOOPS.
I'm now building an ASP capability to release to my hosting clients overall and want to use XOOPS due to its foundation and such. However, I'm running into a number of issues and then found this thread. I want XOOPS to do well because it's underlying structure has a number of overwhelming strengths including caching and overall ease of modifications.
Because of their popularity, I've also tried Joomla and Drupal recently for some other projects I'm working on. They both have great out-of-the-box (OOB) experiences because they are quite pretty and have a ready-to-go set of basic functionality (like XOOPS used to have). Further, Drupal has some interesting extensibility of their datasets and an very organic category system (but very confusing to many of my clients).
But, I think XOOPS is still the best overall.
XOOPS has many strengths:
* Excellent caching. Extremely configurable
* Lightweight server application (due to caching)
* Object-Oriented design (much easier to understand)
* Separation of presentation and functional layers
* Smarty Templates (nuf said)
* Strong Security (assuming modules are developed using XOOPS functions)
* Modules - many excellent, solid modules that provide solid functionality for many users
XOOPs however lacks a few things. I've contributed to the Module developer's guide, but we do have some stuff to tackle. I certainly want to help.
* Incomplete Documentation - user guides and such way out of date. No complete documentation on stuff
* Common Administration Interface - there are a number of modules that have begun to use a similar style for the administration area, but still need more commonality in this area including pop-up/context-sensitive help
* URL Rewriting/SEO - The easy ability to rename modules so that paths make sense to people using the site and hides the /modules/ directory.
* Directory renaming - Easy way to rename modules so that the directories make sense to people reading them.
* Custom Profiles (although SmartProfile begins to fill this void for PHP5 and over users, I've just finished porting to PHP4 and moving to profiles directory ala 2.2.x)
* Workflow - The ability for users to have/need approvers for content. So a user's posts in any module either requires approval and/or generates notification for/to approvers. So many clients ask for this. We kludge it somehow or go without and trust more.
* In-Line Glossary - where words and phrases can be highlighted for in-line content to pop-up glossary information (ala tokens in Drupal).
* Event History/Audit Log
* Cron Management - capability for modules to have cron jobs that are hooked into the system (for those that have ability to add a cron job)
* Easy ability to integrate other best-in-class PHP- and OO-based applications into XOOPS (ala xosCommerce).
* Aliases - yes, it's easy to do this manually in .htaccess file, but let's provide an even easier web interface for users to manage these.
* Old modules
* Fragmented community - the XOOPS community has become somewhat fragmented. While I'm not a high participant, I do keep an eye on things here. We need to come back together and make sure we're implementing the best-in-class modules.
* Events and Conference/Session Registration/Management Module with payment mechanism through osCommerce and/or Subscriptions (latter may work fine for most needs).
* Handbooks - easy ability to manage structured handbooks (for manuals, employee handbooks, etc.)
I won't go further on modules at this point, because I still have more research to do on some of these.
The biggest thing that we can do to make XOOPS an excellent reality is to provide an excellent OOB experience for the new user. This includes an easy installation (which XOOPS has), an excellent first template for "curbside appeal" ala looking for a house (lacking), a comprehensive set of modules that are easy to use and work similarly with well-executed templates. I know XOOPS moved away from a core set of modules, but this can be a strength. Coupled with a beautiful theme, it's the main reason Drupal and Joomla are so popular despite the fact they aren't as configurable, easy to modify, and have a major CPU impact compared to XOOPS.
I'm willing to help and looking to engage more.
Pessimists see difficulty in opportunity; Optimists see opportunity in difficulty. --W Churchill
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