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Infrastructure Changes

Posted May 19, 2007 by Ted Kulp

Hey all, Sorry if I haven't been around as much lately. As least with the forums, blog and working on 2.0. It's just been a hectic month. However, I do have some good news. We're in for a few infrastructure changes onver the next few weeks. Here's the quick rundown... I've purchased a new server. In fact, this blog has been running on that new server for about a week now. It has double the memory, way more than double the hard drive space and is MUCH faster. The existing server is really struggling with the increased traffic load we're received over the past few months, so this should help get rid of some of that down time. I'll be moving the main site, wiki and forums over tonight (sometime around 4 to 5 AM GMT -- May 20, 2007). The downtime should be minimal, and it's pretty much the slowest traffic time of our entire week, so I'm not TOO concerned about it affecting too many people. If I see a problem and have to abort, I will. In fact, I was going to do it last week, but mediawiki wasn't having any parts of it, so I gave up. The issues are resolved now, so it should be good to go. Gforge ( will not be making the move, unfortunately. Gforge is great and all, but it's entirely too much system for what we do with it. The mailing lists are annoying, it's creating all kind of users and directories on the server, it's cron jobs are taxing the system, etc. Instead, I've rewritten a minimal gforge replacement in ruby on rails and figured out how to migrate the data. The rewrite isn't complete yet, but it's very close. I should have something working in another week or so, at which point I'll be asking people to help to beta test and work out the kinks. Then when it's time for it go live, we'll just do a final database migration and shut gforge off forever. :) After the first version goes live, I'll be looking for people to help add some new features, so stay tuned for that. After all this is done and the old server is off... the summer will be spent on 2.0. I'll have another announcement regarding that soon, but the dev team and I have to work out a few scheduling issues before I'll announce what it is. I'll make sure I post an update to this message after the migration is complete, for the curious... Thanks! Ted UPDATE -- The sites are moved. Everything seems to be working correctly. Let me know if something isn't.

Featured site -

Posted May 10, 2007 by Tatu Wikman

Petersburg O.E.C Ok, so Featured Site Of The Week is just two months late, sorry Singapore kept me busy :) As I came back from Singapore and started browsing through new sites mentioned in cms show off forum I was greeted with tens of great sites all around the world. Great job everybody. Todays site comes from Ivan with the usual questionnaire. tsw) Who are you and where are you going to? Ivan) We are The Design Tribe, small creative web design studio based in Galway City on the West Coast of Ireland. ‘The Design Tribe’ consists of a three person team, Ivan who is responsible for all design and CSS, Alan the PHP/general ‘code monkey’ & Sue-Anne in Admin/Accounts. As a team, our main objective is to diver web design/solutions that are well designed, easy to use and functional. tsw) What is this site all about? Ivan) is a website for an Outdoor Education Centre in north Galway. The centre provides outdoor education courses to all age groups. The aim of the site was to promote the centre and to excite potential visitors about the possibility of using its facilities. We designed a site that used the strong bold colours often associated with the outdoor clothing industry. The site also features a one minute long ‘Petersburg Adventure’ flash animation that quickly shows the viewer where the centre is located in Ireland and also gives them a flavour of what awaits them in a days’ activities. tsw) Why did you choose CMSMS? Ivan) Having evaluated several open sources CMS’s - we chose CMSMS as it (A): had a beautifully designed end-user interface and (b): it allowed us great flexibility in delivering a perfectly tailored solution to each clients particular needs. CMSMS is just perfectly positioned in terms of functionality & features - it’s neither to simple nor to complex. I could go on all day listing out the various reasons why we like CMSMS – but basically - it allows us to produce multifaceted, well designed sites, relatively easily. tsw) How do you create your designs? Ivan) The design phase of any project starts with listening to the client and trying to ascertain their needs, tastes and wishes. All our designs start as a blank page in Photoshop so we boot it up and start determining the layout & colour schemes that best suits our clients’ needs. From here the design can go anywhere but the objective is always the same – a well designed usable site. Our designs are always a mix of eye-candy & functionality. Websites are meant to be used by users - so in our opinion usability comes a first, followed closely by eye-catching design. tsw) What have been your major problems with CMSMS? Ivan) Debugging can be slow. We've made a some modifications nearly creating our own development branch, but this means that we can't upgrade our base install without a lot of work. tsw) What has been good about CMSMS? Ivan) The framework that it provides, initially the learning curve is a little steep, but once you figure it out you can customise any site & provide great functionality quickly. The entire package is well engineered, big kudos to Ted and his army of helpers. tsw) Did you use extra modules? Ivan) Yeah, used Album & feedbackform, hacked one together and we have a nice beta Property Manager on the way - which may be good enough for the community (good enough for the community to hack apart anyway J ) tsw) How did the site launch go? Ivan) Flawlessly – after the launch the client had a few changes/additions – CMSMS made them a walk. tsw) In your own opinion what's good about this site and what's bad? What would you do differently? Ivan) We could have done with a bit more time to configure the album layout for the Gallery module. Otherwise we were very happy the project. tsw) Thank you very much on taking the time to answer these questions. Now, what would you like to say to fellow CMSMS'ers. Ivan) Dia daoibh! & CMSMS rocks! Nicely done site, Thanks Ivan! Hopefully I will have more time to write these articles more often during the summer!

CMS Made Simple 1.0.6 Released!

Posted April 24, 2007 by Ted Kulp

It's been brought to our attention that there is a potential SQL injection bug in stylesheet.php. We were due to release 1.0.6 anyway, but this just made us rush out a release as soon as we were notified. My suggestion is to update AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. If for some reason you can't then at the very least, replace your stylesheet.php with this file: This flaw has been in the code for awhile, so if anyone has a legacy version and wants to know if they need a patch and how to do it, let us know in IRC or email. Here is the ChangeLog:
 - Fixes a potential SQL injection hole in stylesheet.php - A new installer that uses smarty templates and classes. it doesn't look much better atm, but does have alot more power and is alot cleaner for the future. - Show the footer on tags about and help pages - Fixes to the expression that caused session_start to not always be called. - Fixes for errors in get_template_vars with newer php versions - (important) Fixes a problem where the wrong module could be unloaded from memory if module files had been deleted manually, without explicitly uninstalling the module first. - Fixes to the safe mode tests - Fixes for open_basedir issues in ImageManager - Repeated quick reloads should no longer violate the 'cachable' page property. - Add a download link for the admin log - Fixes for the umask test in global settings 

Thanks! Sorry for the alarm, but we want to get this resolved as soon as possible.

CMS Made Simple 1.0.5 Released!

Posted March 27, 2007 by Ted Kulp

We've released 1.0.5. It's basically a security release for FCKeditorX with a few bugfixes. I would suggest upgrading when you get a chance. Here is the changelog...
 Version 1.0.5 "Molokai" -- Mar 26 2007 ----------------- - Fixes to Global Settings - Fixes to Delete Stylesheet Association - Spaces are no longer allowed in UDT names - $gCms is now given to smarty by default - Added ability to test the file creation mask in Global settings - Added page alias on mouseover when in listcontent. - Added safe_mode check into the admin section - Modified listmodules to display a message when safe mode is enabled and installing files via XML could be a problem. - Appropriate modifications to ModuleManager and ThemeManager for safe mode. 

Post-CMS training

Posted March 15, 2007 by cuhl

All good developers using the CMSMS know how flexible it is and easy it is to develop a good website with solid design and good functionality. One caveat of the dilligent work we put into making websites is that 9 times out of 10 the client wants to take a stab at making the changes themselves. This is a major selling point for people, many of then used to phoning up a web company, only to request a few changes, wait forever for the work to be done to the right standard, meanwhile their own deadlines are shifting and bosses giving hassle wanting to know what is going on. Eventually when an invoice comes in the door in exchange for the hassle, they will only jump at the chance to take this painstaiking process out of their work day.

The important part to know about developing a site with the CMSMS is that the site isn't done on launch day. The training element is crucial to the successful website. Many days spent on validation and good code can be wrecked by someone in the client's company copy and pasting from Front Page, or Word, or some other horror that has been imposed on us all. This can invalidate the good put into the site and in the end affects your own reputation as a developer.

It is a good idea to think of the CMSMS not from your own familiar point of view of it, but from the client's noobie look at the back-end. Simple things like restricting their access to the really important (and dangerous) items such as custom content blocks, templates, stylesheets, php code etc can save alot of grief and questions in the long run. The more comfortable a client is with non-technical areas of the site and the less bewildered they are at the total package, the more eager they will be to make an effort at making changes without worrying about 'breaking' something.

Compliant standard editors (we use x-standard as a default) are helpful to clean up bad code inserted from the above mentioned offenders of bad code. But added to this, a small user manual is often helpful. Take the main important sections of the site that a client will be using and put the process clearly down on paper. Numbered lists of what to do in a step-by-step basis, along with screenshots helps guide them through editing or adding pages and images. This gets rid of the fear factor often seen by clients facing an imposing admin panel.

Taking the time go sit with them and go over the manual helps build your relationship with the client, adds to their own assurances that they will not 'break' the site and incur the wrath of their respective bosses, and lets them know they haven't been left on their own to fend for themselves. In our own experience as much as a client wants to 'do it all all by themselves', when the time comes to make the leap, they tend to hesitate on actually pushing the 'submit' button. A little hand-holding in the way of training goes a long long way to the future success of the website.

When updating problems occur.

Posted March 15, 2007 by signex

One important thing when running websites in corporate environments is the secure feeling that updates will work and be compatible. But when your biggest fear becomes reality and websites break down after updating to the latest version here are some step you could follow. You should, ALWAYS, have back-ups, not only because it could crash when updating but also if you experience a HD failure or whatever. If a website is critical for your business and down-time is not done, you can also restore a back-up in a sub dir on the same server with the same settings, and test the update before you apply it on a live website. If you have updated your website and it breaks down you can do the following; If errors occur on the front-end, and you cant fix them within an hour or so, restore a back-up, make a test dir and try again, if it al works well something in the update process went wrong, and you should try again. If it doesn't and you cant get it to work, get help on the forums, and just keep you live website un-updated for the time being. If the errors only occur on the back-end (admin) part of the website, you can take some more time trying to fix it because regular visitors wont notice, and if you cant work it out, the forums will probably help you out. Also make sure that modules you are using are compatible with the new updated version, you can, most of the times, see based on the Php error what file and path is causing what error, if the path is from a module, disable the module and see if everything works well. So what would be nice to see in CMSMS 2.0 for updating problems. If all hell breaks lose and no one else can help you, you can, apart from calling the A-team, make a clean install, export and import your theme, but if you have about 100+ pages and maybe 300 news items, it wont be fast job rebuilding the content. Regular page content and news items is probably the most used CMSMS content, I know lotsa websites have modules and such but they are restored pretty quick most of the times, and if updating really fails you, you have no choice. So it would be nice to see in 2.0 that one can export pages and news items like you can do with themes, this would make complicated updating errors allot less fearful, since in most cases you could be up and running within one hour if you dont have any special modules which are hard to restore content for. I you have more ideas on what people can do when having updating problems, or have an idea on how to make the updating safe/easier in the future and reducing forum topic about updating problems please comment.

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