Columnists Module

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Pentacle
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Columnists Module

Postby Pentacle » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:28 pm

I had an idea but it will be hard to tell because of language problem. So I will give an example.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/columnists/

Think of columnists as they are members of your Joomla site. You choose particular members, add their photos. Then, module fetches the content to show and your table is ready to show on your website.

Now I'm working on a module about this. In my country it's very very popular in news sites. But I don't know about the world-wide needs about this. Is it used much? If so some example and opinions and especially feature requests would be great.

Thanks,
Ercan.
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Re: Columnists Module

Postby AmyStephen » Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:24 am

Pentacle -

I like this very much. I think, in a sense, you are talking about customizing user parameters. I wanted to share two posts by Jinx for how to customize user parameters and data. I think this might be helpful for you.

Certainly, having an image, bio, blog link, email would be helpful information for a columnist - or even for a group blog environment.

Perhaps it would be helpful to provide several data elements that could be customized, as needed. So, you might provide a list of standard items that could be included or ignored. And then provide five (or so) addition fields that your users could provide a title and description for that would be used on the website. Then, if I wanted a place for people to share "their favorite movies", I could do so. And, if you wanted a place for people to share professional work history, you could do so.

Good luck with your project. I think it will be very helpful!
Amy :)

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Re: Columnists Module

Postby Pentacle » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:21 am

Hello Amy,

I think you misunderstood me, or the vice versa. :)

Your opinion makes great sense but a component will be needed for this, I think. So in this module, I'm trying to set the picture vs. using module parameters or in the future, using Community Builder like components.

I'll attach a screenshot of my module:

Image

(print screen eats mouse cursor, so hover effect seems a little weird) As you see, it's a user based latestnews-like module that takes its content based on user ids. The gray silhouettes are the changeable user photos.

Btw, thank you very much for your comments. :)
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Re: Columnists Module

Postby AmyStephen » Thu Oct 11, 2007 1:53 pm

Very cool! That's a nice touch to a Joomla! website. I was thinking about how you could include the image - that's why I jumped to Johan's posts on the User Configuration. Also, I believe Rastin is planning on releasing a custom user component. This might be a nice addition to that, too.

You are doing great - keep up the good work (and keep building those extensions!)
Amy :)

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Re: Columnists Module

Postby Pentacle » Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:00 pm

AmyStephen wrote:Very cool! That's a nice touch to a Joomla! website. I was thinking about how you could include the image - that's why I jumped to Johan's posts on the User Configuration. Also, I believe Rastin is planning on releasing a custom user component. This might be a nice addition to that, too.

You are doing great - keep up the good work (and keep building those extensions!)
Amy :)


If a module is capable of playing with user params, I'll try this. Right now, it just takes a picture file from a folder that's named with the user id. ( for ex. 62.jpg for Administrator) But your way is a lot more better than that ;)

And you keep up this optimism and motivation ability of yours please. :)

Cheers,
Ercan.
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Re: Columnists Module

Postby AmyStephen » Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:40 pm

Cool! Well, as these other solutions come in - Rastin's and others - perhaps it can be adapted to get the image from other locations, as well. It's not hard to be optimistic - there's neat stuff happening. :)

Amy

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Re: Columnists Module

Postby mgazi » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:37 am

I think columnists can edit, add their own column. İf you add that, this modul will be perfect!

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Re: Columnists Module

Postby dpk » Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:01 pm

This is a very useful module. The only other way to do this--indirectly--that I know of is the minifrontpage module from template plazza, which is a tad buggy, especially for Joomla 1.5.

With minifrontpage, *IF* you have columnists authoring everything in a single category, you can assign their photo to that category and minifrontpage will automatically insert it with the title of their latest article/s and/or introtext (you select number of characters to display) followed by the number of title links you select. This is a more automated way to have a "columnist" sidebar/module, but it's not actually tracking author names.

Ercan's module would be improved greatly if it had these kind of custom article display capabilities. A dropdown selector for authors to be included as well as a selection box for images to associate with authors would also ease the administrative workload and maximize the module's flexibility. If author aliases could also be treated the same way, that would be great.

Ercan's "Author Details" plugin is also a good one, and the ideal way to develop it is to have it include an author photo.

However, at this point what I'm asking for would be better done with a simple, standardized user profile extension that might be best included with the Joomla core.

Here are the core problems you can barely even do with extensions in Joomla:

-list all articles by the same author/user
-associate a text field and image with each author/user (photo and bio)

There are a couple of free and commercial extensions to do this, but committing to any of them creates problems due to a lack of intercompatibility with other extensions.

In general this points to the problematic lack of a robust user profile/user management system integrated with a robust ACL.

It also points to the lack of any real archival system and underlying tag/category "taxonomy" for content items. Joomla's archival system is more meaningless under 1.5 than it was under 1.0--now it doesn't even have the benefit of "clearing your desk" and it retains the "feature" of automatically unpublishing everything you unarchive. Many if not most content related extensions cannot "see" archived material and act as if it doesn't exist/is unpublished.

If you want a simple index page of links to articles by year, month, author, category, etc. You cannot do this in the core, and there is only one commercial extension that accomplishes this very poorly: ijoomla search and archive. It is buggy and will not work with even the core SEF.

Any blog system can do this--Joomla cannot.

I would guess that this situation overall explains why Joomla is not used much for journalistic purposes especially where a robust community and workflow system is needed. It may be necessary to get the insight of people with that perspective to understand what Joomla needs to have to be useful to them.
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Re: Columnists Module

Postby dpk » Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:16 pm

...I forgot about AlphaContent, which now has (as of 3 days ago) a native Joomla 1.5 release. You can make a good search/archive page with AlphaContent. I don't think you can make it work as a chronological index by default, however.

Online publications following on a print model or working in tandem with a print publication are not well served by Joomla if they want to retain a year/month based volume/issue format. This is only possible with iJoomla Magazine and iJoomla Search & Archive, which are not really "enterprise ready" or ready for anyone who doesn't want to be frustrated. Check out jxtended.com's magazine product. It looks good, but I have no experience with it yet.

iJoomla Magazine complicates Joomla immensely by trying to compensate for the inflexibility and limitations of the core content and front page components. jxTended's product may have a similar flaw, unless it hacks the core and is essentially a crypto-commercial fork of Joomla. If there was a way to get Drupal's CCK, Views, core SEF, and ACL into Joomla 2.0, it would be worth it even if there was zero backward compatibility.

I'm hungry for a fusion of the best features of each system--drupal and joomla. My skepticism about this ever happening is mounting, however, in light of things like jxtended.com (Joomla core developers) and others selling extensions that make Joomla do much of what it should do in its core capacities.

The problem with this is not the $70-90 fees for their (preferably GPL, unencrypted) code -- the problem is the dependencies it creates. For example, because Community Builder is free, many, many other extensions are built to integrate with it. But with things like these magazine extensions being commercial, they are less widely used and will probably lack integration with other useful extensions. Moreover, the kind of changes they make to Joomla would be best/most efficiently done by hacking the core--totally replacing how it handles content categories and display...in which case you'd have a fork--a "political" problem but at least an honest and clean one from a technical and usability standpoint.

Right now I am wondering if the Joomla core is really just becoming a piece of CMS crippleware that you have to augment with (increasingly) commercial hacks and extensions to make it worthwhile for serious, professional deployments. If so, that could work but only if we're honest about that too--so it's clear what needs to be bought, what it does, and what the upgrade reality will be like.
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