Forum OpenACS Improvement Proposals (TIPs): TIP#40: (Vetoed) New introductory text on home page

I propose to replace the first paragraph on the home page:

New text

  • OpenACS is an open-source platform for building web sites. Standard features include user groups, multiple language support, Calendar, Edit This Page (a CMS), Event Management, File Storage, Forums, Full Text Search, Photo Album, Weblogger with RSS, and over a hundred other packages.
  • The OpenACS/.LRN bundle of packages provides course management tools and a university-oriented interface.
  • OpenACS includes APIs for categorization, comments, content management, ecommerce, email, HTML forms and tables, internationalization, permissions, version control, workflows, and automated regression testing.

Old Text

OpenACS (Open Architecture Community System) is a toolkit for building scalable, community-oriented web applications. OpenACS is the foundation for many products and websites, including the .LRN e-learning platform. OpenACS is open source and is available under the GNU General Public License. See the Feature List.

(Edited to address Malte's suggestions)

Posted by Malte Sussdorff on
Hi Joel, good approach, thanks for starting this, here are suggested ammendments:

Bullet two: ".LRN is a vertical application build on top of OpenACS that provides Universities with a course management solution and an university oriented interface to the features offered by OpenACS".

Bullet three: Start with "The OpenACS plattform offers developers". This does not break the focus of your speech (either focus on the product or the users. As we do not have a clear target market agreed upon as of now, I would focus on the product).

Bullet four: OpenACS and .LRN are available for free under the conditions of the GNU General Public License (linked).

Posted by Joel Aufrecht on
Malte, I made a few tweaks.  I tried to keep it short.  The GPL stuff can go at the bottom; saying it's open-source should be enough.  I know I'm jumping a step by going straight to TIP instead of a forum, or else I'm adding too much bureaucracy by TIPping what I could just go and do - could we get some straight yes-no votes please?
Posted by Malte Sussdorff on
The vertical solution piece on .LRN is something which has been approved by a couple of people (including Al) and already been used in marketing efforts so far. Therefore if you ask for a yes/no vote.


Posted by Ola Hansson on
Bullet one - Why mention certain packages and not others? It seems kind of arbitrary. Maybe just mention the main features and provide a link to the packages (certainly better than showing them all)?

Hmm. Is "framework" a better term than "platform"? 😊

Apart from those tiny things the change is clearly for the better, I think.

Just to make sure, I'm not against change or much of the wording Joel has done. This is clearly better than what we have at the moment. But I think something like this needs to be properly discussed before we come to a yes/no conclusion (as I want to prevent us from going over this time and time again).

Outstanding issues for myself: mentioning of .LRN and Ola's comment about the packages, unless we come up with a reason behind including some packages and not others. And make sure (as it is the case at the moment) that we do not mention something twice (as an API and a package).

Posted by Dave Bauer on
I am not so sure the TIP process is necessary to changes to the web site.

I'd like to look into how the Tcl group does it. And find out what the rest of the community thinks.

Posted by Dave Bauer on
Ok, I changed my mind.

I think the process will work, and its what we have, so let's use it.

Here is all the TIP#0 for the Tcl project says:

"Everyone in the Tcl Core Team has write access to all the sources and the Web site, but they may only make changes consistent with approved projects."

Joel, can you modify the .LRN bullet to more closely match Malte's suggestiion?

Otherwise I think its pretty good. How about listing the packages that are most stable, and feature complete in the opening sentence? Is that what you did?

I'd rather not vote yes or no. Needs revision seems most appropriate.

Hi Joel,

Thank you for doing this.  I suggest we move the discussion to the forums for a week or so then create a TIP.  We can live with the old text for another week and I think its important to send a message to the entire community that we are interested in thier input and ideas.

I also want the time to contact some of the people who sell OpenACS and products based on it but don't develop or read the boards and ask them for thier perspective.

Thanks again for your time, work and initiative.

(please count this as a nice NO)

Posted by Tom Jackson on

Ola, I think it is more of a 'toolkit' built on a 'framework'. Depending on what features you want, it could be either. If you don't do more than configure, it is probably just an 'application' or 'suite'. I use it as a framework, but I think most advocate using it as a toolkit, adopting usage of the cr, ad_form, etc.

How does the new description identify OpenACS as something different than any LAMP solution?

Are design features of scalability and serving community-size memberships no longer significant development criteria?

Has OpenACS changed that much since circa 4.6 becoming stable, when I believe this last description was refined?

Ah, now Torben has raised a good point:

How does the new description identify OpenACS as something different than any LAMP solution?

Um, it doesn't at all, not even vaguely, and that's bad. No matter what you change the blurb to, the words "scaleable" and "community" should probably always be in there somehow.

Since the beginning of ACS, it seems on of the fundamental OpenACS claims has always been something along the lines of, "OpenACS is 'close to the database'; we're better at data modeling and our toolkit uses and leverages the RDBMS better than any other." I think that's both accurate and very valuable, but I can't think of any sane way to include it in the front blurb - and I guess it really doesn't go there anyway; it should be in the technical orientation/marketing literature instead.