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Author Topic: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?  (Read 10319 times)

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Offline andy

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Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« on: September 16, 2011, 09:18:58 AM »
FYI
I posted this over at SMF and really maybe useful here as feature request.. But general discussion will do.



Which portal? Everyone has a different idea but not many give detailed reasons.

 I used other portals on several sites for about 5 years with message boards in iframes or bridged. It was hard giving up 'true' portals but necessary now. Previous site looked a lot more professional but the SMF portals with good themes are not so bad.
 Still playing around with the site and I'm no expert.
 
 I have been using SMF only this year and started testing SMF portals recently. I have no axe to grind, and no group to support. This is my honest, simple appraisal of portals for SMF. I'm sure not everything here is correct!


 http://outdoorclubjapan.com/
 
 _______________________
 
 Shared hosting account on Bluehost.... not the cheapest option.
 
 SMF 2.0 (plus about 20 mods - almost all set up with no manual edits)
 Bloc SMF 2.0 theme
 
Tested
 Simple portal 2.3.3
 Tiny portal 1.0 rc2
 Dream portal 1.0.5
 Ez portal 0.5.1
 Adk portal 2.0
 Portamx 1.41
 _______________________
 
 Setup
 
 Simple portal 2.3.3, Tiny portal 1.0 rc2, Dream portal 1.0.5, Ez portal 0.5.1 All set up perfectly.
 
 
 Adk portal 2.0  - gave up!
 Required manual edits to admin.php and index.php
 After edits admin panel looked ok but clicking  the portal admin produced another another error (...user/something/pear/...)
 Would probably be ok on a clean install of SMF but most others setup fine on fully modded. Their SMF mods are very good...
 
 Portamx 1.41 - destroyed forum!
 White screen after clicking install mod (no warnings) - refresh click again - no website - no access.
 Exactly the same thing happened on almost a clean install of SMF 2 rc5 about  8 months ago.
 would liked to have seen it working = looks like a big portal in terms of code.
 
 ________________________
 
 From here only these 4 tested
 Simple portal 2.3.3, Tiny portal 1.0 rc2, Dream portal 1.0.5, Ez portal 0.5.1
 
 
 Appearance - Frontend
 
 Simple portal 2.3.3
 Graphics from old theme showing on block corners - looks terrible. Easy to fix if you know you have to ftp the portal css to the theme directory. Why still needed!?
 
 Tiny portal 1.0 rc2
 Some theme graphics problems though generally ok. But old blue collapse buttons on all themes look terrible!
 
 Dream portal 1.0.5, Ez portal 0.5.1
 No problems - look good.
 
 ________________________
 
 
 Appearance - Backend - Admin
 
 Simple portal 2.3.3
 Admin - easy to use and well laid out. Panel, columns, pages - easy to use.
 
 Tiny portal 1.0 rc2
 Its ok - panel looks like old portal systems with icons. Navigation easy.
 Panel, columns, pages - easy to use.
  Ez portal 0.5.1
 Ok, easy to use, except dual % and pixel for columns - annoying behavior when trying to adjust.
 
 Dream portal 1.0.5
 Looks very nice (sleek) ... full marks for general layout and drag n drop but page layout system is not easy to understand or use.
 Clone block is nice but others have copy function.
 _________________________
 
 Blocks (most have the same generic blocks but options vary)
 
 Simple portal 2.3.3
 Easy to use and lots of options - more than others.
 Custom block coding looks very active on the site - and they work.
 
 Tiny portal 1.0 rc2
 Options ok... Custom blocks out of date and usually give error messages.
 One example of core calendar block which fails to work. Support forum - 'click custom block below, select custom calendar, click overwrite - it should work this time' ... it doesn't anymore.
 
 
 Dream portal 1.0.5
 Not a lot of extra options for blocks.
 Not many custom blocks on the sites ... I didn't see them.
 Not easy setting up blocks on custom pages, even after setting up layouts page IDs - didnt work. Sure it does though.
 
 
 Ez portal 0.5.1
 Integrated with other SMF mods pages like downloads, gallery, contact page - useful!
 Not many custom blocks on the sites ... I didn't see them.
 
 One thing I do like, which is also becoming common on some themes, is  mini avatars in blocks. Makes boring text more lively when you can see who is posting (Simple portal 2.3.3, Dream portal 1.0.5).
 
 _________________________
 
 
 Pages
 
 Simple portal 2.3.3, Tiny portal 1.0 rc2, Dream portal 1.0.5, Ez portal 0.5.1
 All manage pages well.
 
 
 Editor WYSIWYG option
 
 Simple portal 2.3.3 - NO! I need it. Don't like copying and pasting between editors and html only panels.
 Tiny portal 1.0 rc2 - Yes.
 Dream portal 1.0.5 - NO!
 Ez portal 0.5.1  - Yes.
 
 Same in blocks - just makes life much easier when its needed.
 
 ________________________
 
 Menu Tabs
 
 I dont think you can call it a portal if it can't add pages to menus. Its just a glorified 'front page' stuck on with blocks.
 This has got to be one of the worst features of SMF portals, and stone-age compared to standard portals. People need more than a front page these days - sticking everything in a forum isnt the most presentable option, though it may be well organized.
 
 Simple portal 2.3.3 - No, go and find an SMF custom mod for tabs to add pages to (which are not so good).
 Tiny portal 1.0 rc2  - Yes, but it doesn't work (tired of trying). Support links to answers broken. No guidance.
 Dream portal 1.0.5 - Yes, fantastic. Takes a few minutes to get used to the options but works like a dream - perfect.
 Ez portal 0.5.1 - No. Go and find some third party mod I guess.
 
 _______________________
 
 
 Alternate Language Management
 
 I think many website need to work in more than one language - always been a poor point of SMF and behind others in my opinion.
 Only Tiny portal offers language translations for block titles. Even then I had strange behavior at times.
 Hopefully in the future...
 
 _________________________
 
 
 
 Overall Rating (?)
 Like people say it depends on what your requirements are, and what suits you.
 
 I need to add menus and pages easily (Dream portal 1.0.5 ).
 Plenty of block option (Simple portal 2.3.3), and hopefully add them to custom mod pages/menu items  like downloads, gallery, links, and contact page (Ez portal 0.5.1).
 Custom code block development  (Simple portal 2.3.3).
 WYSIWYG editor (Tiny portal 1.0 rc2, Ez portal 0.5.1).
 
 Overall I will stick with Simple portal because it does most of what I want and its easy to use - I can use SMF mods for menus (just) - I can use other editors and copy & paste   :|.
 Simple portal does has an active support site and people building custom blocks - the others don't appear to be as active. Sad to say, Tiny portal looks like it is being left behind - not a lot of activity on the site.
 
 
 Can't see any sudden improvement coming in language management so ...
 
 I love the menu tab management on Dream portal and some block options on Ez portal, but other things about Simple portal pull me in that direction. Tiny portal would be great, if it was up-to-date.
 
 Simple portal with proper menu management (and maybe WYSIWYG editor) is the best compromise for me.
 
 Andy
« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 09:01:22 AM by igirisjin »
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Offline Old Fossil

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2011, 10:13:52 AM »
As you have posted this on a portal everyone here will of course state the best as being Simple Portal.

I would also state this could be seen as spam.
Daily backups mean less headaches

Block Set Up

I may be no coding expert but I am willing to help where I can.

I eat Spammers for breakfast

Offline andy

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2011, 10:58:08 AM »
Quote
everyone here will of course state the best as being Simple Portal.
not necessarily - not in every respect. As I said, it shows some of the good/bad points which could be used as feature requests. It gives a lot of good comparisons with other portal systems.


Quote
Overall I will stick with Simple portal because it does most of what I want and its easy to use...
Its certainly not the best in every department...

I think you are judging the book by its cover - not reading it.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 11:10:39 AM by igirisjin »
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Offline c23_Mike

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2011, 11:44:47 AM »
Hi there!

I have read his post at simplemachines.org already ... its quite good for SP, but there is also some things that could be better ... or missing. So his post is quite no spam, it´s from a basic user without attitudes how SP is being seen, in comparison with other SMF Portal software.

His conclusion to build in a menue maker and an wysiwyg editor are quite good ideas I think. The second I personally do not miss ... the first I would be VERY happy if included!

Offline Old Fossil

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2011, 11:46:56 AM »
I disbaled WYSIWYG on my forum as I personally can't stand it.

What do ya mean by menu maker?
Daily backups mean less headaches

Block Set Up

I may be no coding expert but I am willing to help where I can.

I eat Spammers for breakfast

Offline c23_Mike

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2011, 12:05:17 PM »
Hi there!

For creating pages some wysiwyg would be nice, for not so good html coder.
Menu maker is for:

Quote
Menu Tabs
 
 I dont think you can call it a portal if it can't add pages to menus. Its just a glorified 'front page' stuck on with blocks.
 This has got to be one of the worst features of SMF portals, and stone-age compared to standard portals. People need more than a front page these days - sticking everything in a forum isnt the most presentable option, though it may be well organized.
 
 Simple portal 2.3.3 - No, go and find an SMF custom mod for tabs to add pages to (which are not so good).

Offline andy

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2011, 12:50:06 PM »
If you had tested the other portals you would understand ... a real WYSIWYG editor! Tinymce is one.
I agree, the one with SMF is cr*p. I always get bbc bold all the way through a message when I use the tag for a few titles.

Tinymce is totally different. In the portals its used for admin in pages and blocks... I didnt check it in boards.

With the same menu tab maker as Dream portal and the option of a proper editor, I think it would then be the best.


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Offline Doctor Deejay

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2011, 12:52:31 PM »
I'm not sure if there are already plans for a menu editor in SimplePortal, but when I have some free time I can try creating one and give it to SP if it works as it should :)
Doctor Deejay
Simple Portal - Language Team
SMF - Localizer
Vienara - Lead Developer

Backup both your files and database before modifying anything!

Offline andy

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2011, 01:00:45 PM »
It should be easy to make it an option to enable or disable - most cms do it. I was surprised its not a mod option for smf. It might be a bit heavier on resources but thats in the old days I think.

Everyone is a volunteer here so please try and make a small donation to keep the Simple Portal website running


Offline Doctor Deejay

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2011, 01:01:42 PM »
Yeah it shouldn't be too hard. The only problem is editing existing ones, but that should be possible
Doctor Deejay
Simple Portal - Language Team
SMF - Localizer
Vienara - Lead Developer

Backup both your files and database before modifying anything!

Offline andy

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2011, 01:30:26 PM »
We were actually talking about it being used in admin rather than on the board as a whole. I was just comparing portals making html pages and blocks - SP doesn't have any editor for that but it does have bbc. I have to copy over large chucks of html text and edit. I think a lot of people using SP are coming from something else so they need to transfer pages over.... links and details always need updating.
It would be a big problem for bbc mods if it were used in posts on the frontend. Maybe a button could be added to load an alternative WYSIWYG editor in that case.
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Offline Bullet

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2011, 04:36:04 PM »
Don't get me wrong, I love SimplePortal, yet I am the founder and a core developer of Dream Portal.

The real decision is what you want to make your website into. Dream Portal is for more complex websites, something that you have the time to write modules for, customize, edit menus, and turn the entire site into a CMS-like forum without actually using a CMS.

SimplePortal is more geared towards being simple-- a simple portal that adds blocks and such to every page if wanted, permissions, a shoutbox, a small articles system, and the like. It's possible to really customize SimplePortal, but the license prevents you from distributing full alterations and you have to instruct others how to alter it (and depending on their skill level, they might not be familiar with PHP enough to make the edits).

It all depends on what you, as the admin, wants out of your portal. I haven't really used PortaMX, EZPortal, or Tiny Portal, mostly because their development is really lacking in the SMF department. From what I know, PortaMX is completely OO PHP (which is completely non-SMF), TinyPortal uses native administration functions as opposed to integrating with SMF, and EZPortal lacks a lot of polish in the design scheme of things.
Previously known as Leekoberries

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Offline andy

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2011, 11:40:50 PM »
Quote
Dream Portal is a portal system designed to function with SMF (Simple Machines Forum).

As the goal of any portal system, which is to allow you to easily manage your site and webpages

I didn't think 'simple' portal meant that it was low on features, but simple to use.

A front page and throwing everything else in an articles section with 1 menu link isn't enough to build a simple website around a board these days. As stated on DPs site .... the goal of any portal system, ... to allow you to easily manage your site and webpages.
I don't consider having a simple menu manager is for only "complex websites".

Sp mission statement on the About page
Quote
Although always developing, SimplePortal is produced with the user in mind first. User feedback is the number one method of growth for SimplePortal, and our users are always finding ways for Simpleportal to grow. SimplePortal stays competitive with other portal software by adding numerous user-requested features such as articles, block types and the ability to completely customize the portal page.
All this and SimplePortal has remained Simple! SimplePortal is built for simplicity and ease of use; ensuring the average forum administrator can install SimplePortal, configure a few settings, and show off the brand new portal to the users in minutes. Confusing menus, undesired pre-loaded blocks and settings that cannot be found are all avoided as much as possible.

Having the ability to add menu tabs to SP pages doesn't make it confusing -  bad personal website design might make it confusing.
Dream portals menu system, as I said, is a simple one to add menus and pages. It would make a great feature on SP.


By having to use the custom tabs mod at SMF, I am making my site 'confusing' because of the mods limitations - 4 pages per tab. So now I have to put double the number of tabs across the top rather than put 7 website information pages under 1 tab. Or put some pages in another category to fit them in - confusing. A simple portal should have the ability to organize a few simple sections with menus (my case... 'Information', 'Join',  a few external links). Its not a lot to ask, and the Dream portal system for menus and pages is 'simple' to use.

Andy

Or, just an idea ... perhaps, ccbtimewiz and the people over at Dream portal could make a proper SMF Menu Manager mod with the code they have?. That would solve a lots of problems.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 12:05:14 AM by igirisjin »
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Offline Bullet

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2011, 12:48:43 AM »
I didn't think 'simple' portal meant that it was low on features, but simple to use.

You're absolutely right, the term "Simple" was used because of how minimal it actually is in the full scope of things. SimplePortal is pretty much a portal, designed from the core for SMF and treated as if it was really integrated into SMF.

A front page and throwing everything else in an articles section with 1 menu link isn't enough to build a simple website around a board these days. As stated on DPs site .... the goal of any portal system, ... to allow you to easily manage your site and webpages.

Correct, the goal of a portal system is to make it easier to manage and streamline your content.

I don't consider having a simple menu manager is for only "complex websites".

Well, most portals don't have anything that edits the menu. I'm at a loss to explain why, as if a portal is capable of adding multiple pages and making a site feel more like a CMS than just a forum, not having a method of easily editing the navigation bar is stupid. That's why it is included with DP.


Dream portals menu system, as I said, is a simple one to add menus and pages. It would make a great feature on SP.

I suppose it would.

Or, just an idea ... perhaps, ccbtimewiz and the people over at Dream portal could make a proper SMF Menu Manager mod with the code they have?. That would solve a lots of problems.

The menu editing component of Dream Portal is called Dream Menu, and we released it separately from Dream Portal for a time, but eventually decided to keep it default in our package. I don't think there are any plans of separating them again, but there are other tab management mods on SMF's customization site that you could look at.
Previously known as Leekoberries

Imagination rules the world.

Offline [SiNaN]

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2011, 05:17:35 AM »
"simple" in SimplePortal means "easy to use". It's powerful enough to compete with other mods and while being easy to use.

You don't need to make full alterations and distribute SimplePortal to extend it. It's not perfect but it still has a pretty solid base. Here's an example package which shows how customizable SimplePortal is:

http://simpleportal.net/index.php?topic=3990.0

The reason why we didn't include a menu system when we introduced custom pages feature is SMF 1.1 support. Coding such a feature for SMF 1.1 versions is more problematic. It's in our list for the next major release though.
And slowly, you come to realize... It's all as it should be...

Offline andy

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Re: Anything goes here - sure? Which SMF portal is best?
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2011, 09:07:21 AM »
Menu support ...
Quote
It's in our list for the next major release though.
Thats nice to hear, I was just on my way over to Dportals download section. I will hang on and juggle my pages till its released.  :nervous-happy:
With menu management, any kind of website built around the forum is possible.
 ;)

« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 09:13:32 AM by igirisjin »
Everyone is a volunteer here so please try and make a small donation to keep the Simple Portal website running