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I'm Dying Here...

I'm Dying Here...

Thursday 01 May 2003 4:24:54 pm - 14 replies

One of the most discouraging things a user can experience is having a 'killer app' he can't do anything with. This is what I'm experiencing right now with eZ systems.

I attempted to get instructive feedback over in the installation section of this forum, but suddenly folks stopped responding to me.

My position is that this application is really not user friendly. The tutorials and "how-tos" require a PhD in physics to follow. New users certainly don't want to go into ini files before they even try the product and the product online manual is a not very good at all.

In truth, I'm amazed wizards weren't provided to get things going. The application installed beautifully. Apache is running like a champ, and yet when I attempt to go into the modules I get the error message "object not available."

How on earth am I supposed to know what that means? Then when I go to the tutorials all I see is instruction on how to set-up access, etc. In other words, whole chapters are missing from the beginning of eZ setup book. This is insane. It's like getting your first computer and being told to figure out things on your own.

This is also unforgivable. Today, thousands of applications use the same tried and true method of teaching people their product. The "Dummy" series books show this method well. The method is simply this: Begin at the Beginning.

For example, besides not knowing what "objection not available" means, I haven't the slighest idea how to test php scripts with eZ. Why isn't this explained somewhere?

Also, nothing I've seen yet explains exactly how to deploy each module for external access. And speaking of "access" the tutorials I've seen on this topic so far are impossible. In one of them, six new terms were introduced in one paragraph. That's insane. You don't do that. You don't assume the new user knows what "regexp" etc means. Also, you really shouldn't require the new user to start fooling around in directories before he's even got the product up and running. That's not user friendly.

In short, I'm sure there are many people who hear great things about this application, download it, then drop it like a hot potatoe once they discover the manual is impossible to follow.

Anyway, I'm willing to help change this if you folks will work with me. I write pretty good. Step me through this product and I'll provide a tutorial that even a dummy like me can follow.

First question: Now that I've successfully installed the application, what do I do next?

Ric

Friday 02 May 2003 9:04:04 am

Ric, we're currently in the process of updating the documentation for the next release 3.1. This will be better than the current and hopefully it will make it quicker and simpler to start using eZ publish.

We will focus on the introductions to eZ publish and tutorials. There will also be some re-structuring of the documentation, as it's a bit hard to find what you're looking for in the current sdk/manual.

I you would like to help out we have a community documentation available where the eZ publish community can edit and create documentation directly online. You can find this here:

http://ez.no/developer/ez_publish_3/documentation/ez_publish_3

As for you'r question about what to do next, you will most likely need to create one or more classes ( content structure definitions) and templates for them.

For other questions please use these forums and we will try to help as much as possible.

--bård

Friday 02 May 2003 10:39:49 am

I can understand your reaction. It took myself quite some efforts to learn ezp3 (back in the days only the concepts where available) and I feel I'm still at 10% of its potential.

Currently, the audience is still at "developers" to some degree. One cannot use ezp 3 as a "black box" as it has no user/admin interface to everything.

I think an additional simpler demo setup (which results in a useable site) with a tutorial on install and the inner workings may help quite a few potential end-users that just fall of the edge right now.

I may publish such a thing in a few weeks, since I'm building such a "simple" general setup for internal use as a starting point for more complex sites/portals.

Stay tuned, ezp 3.0 is growing up and will be closer to you in a few months.

Perhaps ezp could also create some example sites and sell them as "off-the-shelf" applications (but honestly I prefer all resources go to the development of new/improved features now).

Regards

Paul

Sunday 04 May 2003 9:55:37 am

Don't worry, it is always hard to use a new released Software, it takes time for the Developer and Community to make the Documentation and to understand. Use the old one or older other Systems and everything is fine or take the challenge in the new System with the Standards xml, soap, xhtml, and a good Database Design AND for Publisher easy to use. That's why I stay tuned.

Greetings, ekke

Sunday 04 May 2003 12:38:58 pm

In a away, you're working with more a technology preview than a fully finished app (there ain't no such thing anyway, but you get the point). If you expect a .0 version of a product to be totally useable and documented, you're mistaken.

I'll grant you that some of the docs are simply not there but then again, you get the product for free ("Open source is only free if your time has no value"blunk.gif Emoticon so you're not really in a position to complain.

As to missing objects, that will usually happen if you DON'T install the demo data (the simple stuff that gets installed otherwise is screwed, you can't edit content classes and even the basic template is broken).

I'd suggest you delete all the files you have and the database too and start from scratch, watching out to install the demo data. That way, it worked everytime for me, without even looking at the docs.

Trust me, the current installation process is one of the very best in open source CMS ever. There's maybe one other product that has a comparable one but Typo3 is so weird to use (it has, however, lots and lots of docs).

Monday 05 May 2003 2:37:01 am

There is a lot of room for improvement in the manual and tutorial. I have used and installed another open source CMS and found that it is much easy to follow and comprehensive. Unfortunately it does not use PHP and need a separate engine in addition to Apache. After looking around, I am now seriously considering ezp3.

I have just installed ezp3 and was lost at the beginning where I should unpack the files. The manual (Install Manually) vaguely indicate that it should be in <httproot>. I first unpacked the files in Apache's document root e.g. /usr/local/apache2/htdocs/ and when it is not working, I was wondering if it should be in Apache's root e.g. /usr/local/apache2/.

Much later, I noticed in the in manual under 'Install using setup guide' that it should be unpacked in Apache's document root.

At this moment, I still cannot get the Login loaded.Maybe to do with some directory priveleges not setup properly. I have not given up yet and still very much alive and kicking.

Will contribute an article on installation experience if I can get it working.

Modified on Tuesday 06 May 2003 1:36:13 am by HK Lam

Monday 05 May 2003 3:54:12 am

? Apache 2 - have you seen
http://ezwiki.blanko.info/index.php/3XPS_Apache2
David

Monday 05 May 2003 4:25:55 pm

I have added the AcceptPathInfo in directory container in httpd.conf

e.g
<Directory "/usr/local/apache2/htdocs">
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks Includes
AllowOverride None
AcceptPathInfo On
Order allow, deny
Allow from all
</Directory>

eZ publish is installed in Apache documentroot

e.g. /usr/local/apache2/htdocs/ezpublish-3.0-2/

The problem still there

Thanks

Modified on Monday 05 May 2003 4:26:40 pm by HK Lam

Tuesday 06 May 2003 2:02:27 am

David, Thanks for your help

My actual posting of the problem is at

http://www.ez.no/developer/ez_pub...install_configuration/login_problem/

Modified on Tuesday 06 May 2003 2:30:56 am by HK Lam

Tuesday 06 May 2003 7:52:39 am

As someone also battling to get eZp 3 up and running, I'd also like to add my two cents worth (read 'rant') here and say that I think that good documentation could make the difference between just another open-source project and a true CMS package.

From a marketing perspective, I think that eZ Systems should concentrate on getting the basics right, trying to bringing in new users and going as far as possible to help these new users get the system up and running. Wizards and other setup tools are one way of doing this, but good documentation can be produced more easily. Once a solid base was in place, you move from there.

In my opinion, to rapidly change course in look and feel from version 2.2 to 3 went against this theme. I was just beginning to work with 2.2 and was coming to grips with it's modular interface and how it all worked (which wasn't all that easy). Then, out comes a whole new application with version 3, with the suggestion that this is what new users should work with. I understand the long term thinking - that's why I'm still struggling to try to get it working - but you nearly lost me.

I actually uninstalled eZp and schlepped over to the Mambo CMS camp for awhile. Easy to install, good interface, etc.

Anyway, I'm back at eZ Systems because, like I said, I understand the long term thinking. But, my boss is going to want to see some progress. And, I'm not going to buy any support until I can see it working in the first place.

Bottom line: Basics first. And, more documentation ASAP!!! Pleeaase! Or, as Norway's too far, maybe the boys at eZ could do an around the world training tour ; )

Regards,
Geoff

Tuesday 06 May 2003 9:15:18 am

Dear Community!

Thank you all for your feedback. This will help us improvehappy.gif Emoticon

I would just like to make some comments:

eZ publish 3 is a totally new concept, which you will not find anywhere else. It is a very flexible framework with powerful functionality for e-commerce, publishing, collaboration, intranets plus much more. But all this flexibility and possibilities also mean that it requires some more from the developer who is to set up the solution than right out of the box solutions like eZ publsh 2.2. eZ publish 3 should be compared with framworks like Zope, not right out of the box solutions. And if you do so you will see that eZ publish 3 is much easier, but still has the power and flexibility.

Our experience is that developers getting into the system can set up complex solutions very fast, but that the learning curve to get there is still steep.

But we have an ambition to make this power available to as many as possible, from the ones with little programming knowledge who wats to set up a simple website or intranet to experienced developers setting up complex enterprise systems.

We know that there are lots of improvements we can do to make it easier, and of course a good documentation helps. It is of course a continual process to improve all this and we will contantly strive towards this. We are already well on the way doing this, the main focus of the 3.1 release (release end of June) is to make eZ publish easier to set up and use. We will introduce functionlaity in the admin interface to help you set up your system faster, more structured and much more easily, and we will improve the admin interface making it even easier for the end users. Documentation is also highly prioritized.

We will also make it easier to use eZ publish right out of the box from the demo implementations.

We have also made some effort to get community interaction to help us in the development of eZ publish and there are already many very active persons in this community contributing with their code, translations and helping others in these forums. I would also mention that there is a large section with community contributes documentation, which is steadily improving.

You are all doing a great effort, thank you. you are all very important to the success of eZ publishhappy.gif Emoticon

One of our ambitions is that the community contribute with more out of the box solutions based on eZ publish 3. This way we will get lots of contributions that different users of eZ publish can start their implementation from and thus save them time and effort.

Good luck with eZ publish 3 happy.gif Emoticon

-Aleksander
eZ systems

Tuesday 06 May 2003 11:47:53 am

> eZ publish 3 is a totally new concept, which you will not find anywhere
> else. It is a very flexible framework with powerful functionality for e-
> commerce, publishing, collaboration, intranets plus much more. But all
> this flexibility and possibilities also mean that it requires some more from
> the developer who is to set up the solution than right out of the box
> solutions like eZ publsh 2.2. eZ publish 3 should be compared with
> framworks like Zope, not right out of the box solutions. And if you do so
> you will see that eZ publish 3 is much easier, but still has the power and
> flexibility.

> Our experience is that developers getting into the system can set up
> complex solutions very fast, but that the learning curve to get there is
> still steep.

I agree (or actually I can only guess it) ezPublish is "a very flexible framework with powerful functionality".
But in my humble opinion some of those difficulties are caused of lack of USABILITY. "Powerful functionality" is always a good argument to do this problem ignored. Don't you recognize: "My digital watch can perform 399 functions which are programmable from only one button. I paid only one dollar for it"?

It is not a secret that usability is hard to achieve because it needs multidisciplinary knowledge in the team (it is not software design) and promoting good usability (including performing usability tests) is expansive.
Fortunately, both users and software designers use to ignore it.

Modified on Tuesday 06 May 2003 11:49:54 am by George P.

Tuesday 06 May 2003 4:55:17 pm

Yes,

We agree with you, and as I mentioned above the point about usability gets a high priority from us and is one of the most important parts of our next release (3.1).

- Aleksander

Wednesday 07 May 2003 11:44:32 pm

I strongly sympathize. I can understand that the product is layered and that some knowledge of the supporting products is required, but ...

In a Windows environment, getting the demo installed and operational is a non-trivial undertaking. I've got Apache up. I've got eZ Publish up. I've got MySQL up. I even unpacked the demo. All of the pieces seem to be in place, but I can't get the demo running. It's frustrating. My next move is to fall back on 2.2.8. If I can't get that up and running, then I fear that eZ Publish just isn't aimed at people like me. It shouldn't be this difficult to get something running.

Bob Fabian
P.S. It's been years since I last taught programming, but I have made an effort to keep up. If I can't make a Windows demo happen, I fear for users who lack the background. See http://www.fabian.ca

Thursday 08 May 2003 12:09:22 am

Bob,

Just curious, did you use the ezp installer on windows? If yes, was there another web server (eg IIS) running which occupied the web server ports and hence prevents ez publish from running?

Paul

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