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site redesign

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Subject:site redesign
Summary:site redesign using dojo - the javascript framework
Author:Aveesh Kumar
Date:2009-10-14 08:02:52
Update:2009-10-16 19:00:10

  1. site redesign   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Aveesh Kumar Aveesh Kumar - 2009-10-14 09:01:44

I am a PHPclasses registered user, aveeshkumar and was very excited when I read this.

However, I realized that this is a contest for web design and not really web functionality.

I love the content on your site but finding it is a totally different animal.

The only real way is to read the content of the daily digest email to see if you want something or not

I propose doing a re-design with a javascript framework - I recommend dojo but that is because I know it. Some say it is not lightweight but I tend to work more on intranets.

It gives you a WEb 2.0 framework out of the box and its widgets would probably make much of your current effort much easier

Here is what I think phpclasses should be:
- classes sorted by subject - much as right now
- min reqd PHP version as an searchable attribute of the class as opposed to a PHP5 group
- ability to "subscribe" to a group (say database-user management) and that be stored with the username in the DB
- search across groups, sub groups, classes, class dependencies
- standardization of php classes submitted, as in all config variables in for DB etc
- web 2.0 interface/ajax (dojo)
- for phpclasses downloadeded, follow up email to rate it
- global search to locate "best of breed" php class - by multiple criteria
- ....

You are an excellent coder yourself so you probably have a roadmap of what needs to be done or should be done yourself

But if you think, you could use some help or ideas, feel free to get in touch.

  2. Re: site redesign   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Manuel Lemos Manuel Lemos - 2009-10-14 09:19:34 - In reply to message 1 from Aveesh Kumar
Thank you for the feedback.

As it was mention, this time is just for redesigning the main page templates that comprises common headers and footers, CSS style sheet and icons.

Maybe next year the site will allow to change other templates of other pages.

Anyway, the good news is that the site internal search, that until now was only available to the premium subscribers, will be available soon to all users. The only difference is that it will have ads in the pages.

Right now, the site search is powered by Google. The internal site search is much better because it shows the results split in tabs, one tab per each site section.

Here is a video of the internal site search: ...

As for using Javascript, the site content must be crawlable by search engines. 50% of the visitors come from Google. The user interface will be improved over time, but most functionality improvments will be only available to premium subscribers, as they are not exposed to advertising.

  3. Re: site redesign   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Mark Voorberg Mark Voorberg - 2009-10-15 21:36:25 - In reply to message 1 from Aveesh Kumar
I got really jazzed when I saw this entry in one of the emails I get from PHPClasses only to be disappointed when I read the blog post.

This site needs more than a style update, it needs to be completely redone. It's slow, hard to navigate, poorly laid out and just all around gross. Apologies to the site owner / developer but it's true. The site is barely usable in it's current state and I dread visiting it - I still come back because there's great content here, I'm very glad for that!

Hopefully the work you've done to date will apply to future site improvements as well.


  4. Re: site redesign   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Manuel Lemos Manuel Lemos - 2009-10-15 21:50:23 - In reply to message 3 from Mark Voorberg
As explained in the article, this initiative is for users propose new designs. Just complaining will not get you anywhere.

The site is very large. There are more than 50 types of pages with templates that could be changed to switch to a different layout. It is not feasible to redo the whole site in a few months.

So, this year only the main header and footer templates, style sheet and icons can be changed. In the future, other important site sections can be redesigned one by one.

As for being slow, that is the result of having advertising. Unfortunately advertising is necessary to keep this site financially viable.

If you want to get rid of advertising, you get a premium subscription. It is very inexpensive (USD $5 or less per month). The revenue from premium subscriptions will be used to create new contests to give money prizes to users that propose better designs for other site sections.

So, if you feel capable to propose a better design, please do so now. Otherwise you may still contribute to fund greater prizes that will attract the best designers by purchasing a premium subscription.

  5. Re: site redesign   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Aveesh Kumar Aveesh Kumar - 2009-10-16 15:37:09 - In reply to message 2 from Manuel Lemos

I understand that premium subscriptions are the way to generate money for your site and having the PHP classes repository is a great free way to developers who do not wish to pay.

If perhaps, there is some middle ground where improved search on the website for the freeloaders and/or improved daily news digest would not incentivise the freeloaders (incl myself) to move up!

What developers need is not so much the content but often:
- "the" best class (or highly rated) for say, user management
- or say your "ez_sql" db class for mysql access - but that is not php5, yet

so instead of a static blog post/category, a dynamic searchable, subscribable, votable item/category

- perhaps premium has it/will have it but you know the developer mindset - "i bet i can figure it out" or customize a hotscript!!

- i will say this for myself - if everything was free and I ended up using something that really helped me out - I will donate, as i Do.
- look at it this way: professionals dont come to the site. developers who do are beginning to intermediate developers. Beginners come, looking for a cookie cutter way to do things. Intermediate developers like me come to either do things a better way or integrate functionality they may not have too much experience with. I get the daily newsletter and I concur with another poster who comments that is the real way I keep up!

- Perhaps I will switch to premium or wait - perhaps I'll just read up a lil and do things myself....:-) good luck

  6. Re: site redesign   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Mark Voorberg Mark Voorberg - 2009-10-16 17:50:50 - In reply to message 5 from Aveesh Kumar

I am a professional developer (only a little PHP though) and the classes found here are useful even if they need to be tweaked to suit specific needs. That said if the public side of this site is bad, why should I think that the 'Premium' version of the same website is any different? As I said, slow is only part of the problem, hard top navigate is the other biggie.

This site appears to be a custom, one-off. Perhaps it doesn't need to be that way. I do a fair number of Joomla! websites and there's nothing new here. There are Joomla! components to handle *all* of the functionality that I've seen. Anything that couldn't be accomplished with a stock component could easily be customized by the more-than-capable PHPClasses developer(s).

I'm not complaining in this thread, just providing my $0.02...

  7. Re: site redesign   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Manuel Lemos Manuel Lemos - 2009-10-16 18:51:01 - In reply to message 5 from Aveesh Kumar
Aveesh, what you are asking already exists.

If you go on the page that lists User management classes, at the top you see the top rated classes of that group. It is a large rectangle that appears on the top exactly with that label.

Furthermore, there is a link in the navigation bar that says "Top rated classes" that points to a page that lists all packages of that group sorted by user ratings score. That link also appears in the pages of packages of that group.

I have an hard time understanding why people complain about things they say they miss but those are there for a long time.

Maybe if you explain why you did not notice that before I can understand what I need to do to make it more noticeable for everybody.

As for donations, they are not a solution because they do not work. The site has monthly costs that need to be covered, not to mention that this is a business, not an hobby, so it needs to generate profit, or else I just shut the site and like everybody else that dedicates to a job that pays better. People that donate, only do it once for sympathy, but will not do it anymore. That will not do to cover the monthly costs.

As for professionals not coming to this site, it depends who you are calling professionals. The PHPClasses site has very useful PHP components that you will not find anywhere else. That was consequence in part of the Innovation Award that happens every month since it was started in 2004.

Even "professionals" that write all their code, they often come to the PHPClasses site to check what is the approach of other people that tried to solve the same problems they need to solve. They may not use any code they find in the PHPClasses, but they are registered users and often study the available code.

When people search in Google for things that PHPClasses has, often Google points them to this site and nowhere else.

As for the premium subscriptions, the benefits are listed in the respective page. One of the benefits is to get alert messages when a notable package is published.

You get information about why it is considered notable, so you can take a closer look and pay attention to details that made the package note worthy. Those packages are not necessarily the same that are nominated for being innovative.

For instance, yesterday the site notified all premium users about a notable package that lets you send free SMS messages to many countries by sending e-mail. Since the site publishes many packages, most users would not note these packages much, if it was not for notable package alert messages.

That is just one of several benefits of premium subscribers. You may want to watch a video in the premium subscriptions page that explains all the benefits.

  8. Re: site redesign   Reply   Report abuse  
Picture of Manuel Lemos Manuel Lemos - 2009-10-16 19:00:10 - In reply to message 6 from Mark Voorberg
Mark, there are more benefits for premium subscriptions, besides not being exposed to advertising. For instance, you can have priority access to the jobs posted in the site, if you are looking for a job; you can use the internal site search and register searches about topics of your interest, so you are notified by e-mail when new packages about those topics are published; receive notable package alert messages; ask difficult PHP questions in a closed PHP specialists forum, etc..

You may check all the benefits here so you can decide it is interesting for you:

As for using Joomla, it is unrealistic to assume that Joomla provides all the functionality that the PHPClasses site provides. Actually, Joomla misses so much functionality that it would take too many years to develop custom components to make it provide all the PHPClasses site features.

It is much more realistic for you to tell me what features Joomla provides that you think the PHPClasses site should have.