Forum OpenACS Development: Porting News Module
I have been using OpenACS on Oracle for a while. Very nice, lately I
have been trying it out on Postgres. 2 of the sites that I am
building uses news module. They are fairly small sites so Postgres
is the likely candidate. To may suprise the news module has not been
assigned and no porting has been done.
I have a couple of email exchanges with Don Bacus about this. One of
the issue that arised is that one may not need news module since CMS
or ETP has the news functionality or more. But then CMS and ETP is a
lot more complex, news being a simple CR app.
We would like to get your opinion on this matter:
Do you think that its worth to port the news module? Given the fact
that CMS or ETP can do the news function? Or a news module gives
OpenACS more choices in this case a simpler option than CMS or ETP?
These site-wide content modules allow all of your pages to be managed with one interface. So you can designate a page as News or FAQ or Article or any other number of content types you can dream up.
You can still delegate authority over news to one individual using either of those packages, so that is also not an issue.
I think one package that can handle all or most of your site generated content is a better solution. Even if ETP or CMS are not the right application for a site you are building, a general interface to building site content is a better solution than several small packages that are unrelated.
There's a difference between content management, performed by official site maintainers, and collecting contributions and feedback from more casual users. ETP and CMS are targeted at the former audience, and for the latter, we have bboard, news, and general-comments. Each of these three packages provides the capability for any user to enter something, using the simplest possible interface, and the capability to delay publication until approval by the site's editorial staff.
Granted, it's too bad that bboard, news, and general-comments each contain similar code for putting stuff in the content repository. Perhaps the system could be simplified somewhat by implementing bboard and news with general-comments. This would definitely make integration with the search package easier. The biggest code cleanup task facing us, however, is to eliminate the vestigial "acs-messaging" package that bboard depends on.
I might volunteer if I can arrange some stuff with my boss. Hopefully I can help better this time than when I wished to help you with ETP.
A good point indeed that news, comments and bboard are the informal way to get content in. I have never though of it that way. So your idea is more like slashdot or php-nuke. Pretty good since those style is proven to work.
Maybe in the next release of OpenACS things can use more common stuff. But as of now I think a port of news removing the additional useless permissions and defering sws should be good. The code or data model reuse stuff is very good. Its one of the things that is good about 4.x against 3.x. Although there maybe down sides too like tight dependencies. This is evident in the OpenACS porting when some modules get broken because modules that is uses is being revised. Up to what level of code/data model reuse will the OpenACS aim for? A couple of hours ago I did appreciate that ACS 3.4.10 has very separate data model. One of the sites had a problem in file storage. I can easily go to fs_files and fs_versions table and nuke out the offending file. How easy can we do that on OpenACS 4.x? Dont know since I have not yet dug real deep in the data model.
Code sharing usually wins and I see no reason for OpenACS 4.x to not fit this common scenario.
I agree that Luke's made a good point. These separate packages also provide simple-to-use functionality for sites that perhaps don't want to run the CMS system or even ETP. They're a lighter-weight approach.
Jun, if you do have time to work on News let me know. I don't think it would be hard to port. I looked at it, it's a bit messy but relatively simple.
Ok I will give my commitment later this week. If ever I do it here is what I plan to do.
1. Remove added permission and SWS on Oracle. I want to start the PG port with no bad baggages.
2. Port to PG.
3. Use the new search service contract.
Aside from the porting docs, pg docs what is a good resource for PG specifically to help me in porting?