SimplePortal => SimplePortal Feedback => Topic started by: Amoochi on August 25, 2012, 07:23:16 AM

Title: Ex-vBulletin Site Owner
Post by: Amoochi on August 25, 2012, 07:23:16 AM
I just wanted to offer some feedback as someone who is a new member of the SMF and SP community. As someone who has been using various other forum and portal software over the last few years, mainly vBulletin, but I have decided that SMF and SP is the way forwards for my sites, partly for financial reasons (have you seen the price of vBulletin recently?), partly due to the sofware itself, as vBulletin is getting plain rediculous with the constant bug fixes, patches, updates, etc for their increasingly dodgy and fixture over burdened software, etc, etc, the sort of thing i'm sure has been heard umpteen times already on here and over at SMF.

Anyway, the first thing I found, was just how different installing addons is with SMF, as you do with a new install on a clean server, unpack, upload, install, read instructions later if it doesn't work. Obviously attempting a manual install of the SP package without reading any instructions didn't get me too far as my first attempt, lol.

So, brand new fresh install of SMF in place, my first thing to do was put a front page portal on it and having done some research, I found myself here with the SP script as it looks clean, simple, well supported and looks pretty good straight out the box (although I intend doing some heavy customisation). Having navigated to the admin centre, found the package manager and the uploads bit in the downloads section (that has to be an SMFism), I managed to get to the point of installing the package. This is was my first slight niggle, the installer... If you do any little thing wrong, you seem to get a somewhat generic error message. First of all, it turned out to be the temp folder not being created, so after that, try again, same message, double checked all of the chmod settings, all fine, tried again, bingo, all appears to have installed... Except upon the screen auto refreshing, it takes me back to the normal admin screen, no errors, just not showing anything portal related. Ok, so fiddle around, change some settings, nothing, nothing at all, the forum still works fine, but nothing at all portal related is showing and at this point, it will not let me uninstall or install the SP package, so i'm stuck at this point... So, uninstall everything, reinstall the forum software then step by step go through every single detail again, 3 times over this was done, in the end, it turns out that the path to the forum for the ftp was simply not being accepted, even though the exact same path had worked fine for the forum install, but not for the portal install for some bizarre reason that I can't fathom, maybe user error, maybe not, suffice to say, I got it working eventually and everything is now installed perfectly, so now I can have a good play around with what looks like a very straight forward and simply to navigate admin system (little anxious that there doesn't seem to be a seperate admin system with SP and SMF though, which feels to me like a bit of a security weakness, although i'm sure it's fine and that there are plenty of addons to make it much more secure anyway)  and get used to the differences between this software and the SMF itself compared to vBulletin and the old portals I had used with that.

My only gripe thus far, is that the error messages are not particularly user friendly and leave you digging around in the dark trying to find the issue, which is not too much of an issue for someone like myself who has a fair bit of experience with this stuff, so know all too well that patience and calmness is needed, but I can imagine it could possibly be a pretty big off putting experience for any newbie to this stuff giving it a go if they encounter similar issues.

Otherwise, from myself, it's a pretty big thumbs up thus far.  :)
Title: Re: Ex-vBulletin Site Owner
Post by: AngelinaBelle on August 30, 2012, 08:16:09 AM
Welcome to Simple Portal, and welcome to SMF!

I'm sorry you had such difficulty with the SMF package manager.  I'm going to tell you what you hate to hear: these Package Manager problems are purely SMF issues.

The SMF package manager is a little bit clueless about some things. Sometimes, it thinks the install has gone OK when, in fact, it has not happened at all (often due to some permission setting being incorrect), or only happened part way.  This seems especially likely to happen on hosts who use suphp.

The FTP path is used for some operations, but not for others, depending on your server.  So some steps can happen just fine with an incorrect FTP path (which is quite different from the URL-based path, as you have discovered), while others, which require the FTP path, will certainly fail with a bad one.

You are not the first to run into these difficulties with the package manager, and I encourage you to take your questions and concerns about the package manager to the simple machines website, to the 2.x support board.  Be sure to state who your webhost is.

In the meantime, I hope you can enjoy our documentation on solving common problems with Simple Portal installs.  If you feel something is missing, please let us know.

Thanks, and good luck!
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