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GeekLog Introduction/Tutorial


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epretorious

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Junior
Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 26
I'm having a difficult time wrapping my mind around the concept of blogs (I'm more acustomed to bulletin board sites and more typical CGI-driven sites) but I'm really interested in GL- It's very attractive even to an inexperienced blog user like myself. Where can an inexperienced user/admin find a more complete introduction to GL? (e.g., plugins, blocks, and themes - What they are? Where to find them? How they're usually installed?) Or maybe some information about installing/configuring GL?
Eric P. Sunnyvale, CA

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dreamscape

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Junior
Registered: 22/01/02
Posts: 30

I'm having a difficult time wrapping my mind around the concept of blogs (I'm more acustomed to bulletin board sites and more typical CGI-driven sites) but I'm really interested in GL- It's very attractive even to an inexperienced blog user like myself.

weblogs: A blog (weblog) is normally a web page that is frequently updated with short posts arranged in chronological order. You can think of a blog as an online journal.

Is GeekLog a blog? Not in the truest sense of the word, it has grown to be a lot more than a blog, and more into a full blown CMS site along the lines of slash (/.), phpnuke, postnuke, etc. However, you can use GeekLog to purely make a blog.

The Future holds a lot more for geeklog. It should develop into a full blown web application container so to speak, handling the internals (security, user accounts, and some glue code to let other peices use the database etc), but will use other applications called modules to actually create your site. At this point, it will be very easy for someone to go from just a "blog" homepage, to a family website with photo gallerys, links, anniversaries and stories, to a full blown corporate intranet, etc.

Where can an inexperienced user/admin find a more complete introduction to GL? (e.g., plugins, blocks, and themes - What they are? Where to find them? How they're usually installed?) Or maybe some information about installing/configuring GL?

Themes: are a very small slices of a template page. Essentially very creative types will design something really cool in gimp or photoshop or equivalent, slice it up, and start coding the peices into these small template files. Geeklog then takes these little template files and rebuilds the page to be displayed to the user, filling in variable information on the way. In this manner template designers leave a place holder, something like , and geeklog will replace with an image link pointing to your sites graphic.

Blocks: There are actually several different types of blocks, so I'll describe them seperately.

  • Normal Block: essentially this is a small area where you can put any markup you want. Some people use this to put backlink graphics (those nifty little buttons that have the site name for other people to use to link to your site). You can use it for anything, a static message to users, anything.
  • PHP Block: this is a block that allows some coding (php) behind it. You traditionally build your phpblock_function() in lib-custom.php (so it doesn't get wiped out during an upgrade) and have it return your output. There are several examples of these, shoutbox, the random image block, weather block, sports block. You can find almost all published phpblocks at http://squatty.com
  • Portal Block: is a way to syndicate news from other sites. Thousands and thousands of sites publish an RDF that adheres to standards and can be parsed by Geeklog. Geeklog will then display that information in a block, it could be stories (titles linked to the story) from other geeklog sites, it could be the new inventory at thinkgeek.

Plug-ins: are more sophisticated that phpblocks, you can think of them as tiny applications that need to use the geeklog security and user module. The static pages plugin is an example, so is the journal plugin and the "classified ads" plugin. I think again, squatty is the place to go for phpblocks and plugins. However, gxblock has the journal plugin I think. And the classified plugin is Dirk's, at www.geeklog.info warning to filthy americans that only speak english -- it's in German. (I speak only english). Dirk might actually have this somewhere else.

Configuration: should mostly be handled by the config.php file you have, there are a couple exceptions, image size restrictions.

Installation: seems to be the bane of our existance. We're trying to figure out how to make the documentation better and more complete (anyone with ideas is strongly encouraged to submit ideas to either geeklog-devel@lists.sourceforge.net mailing list or come talk to use on #geeklog on opn. )

Finding out more: depends on how you learn. You can install it and start tinkering. You can come hang out in #geeklog and listen or chat with us. Subscribe to the mailing lists and listen to what other people are talking about, and go read through the archives to see where we are, etc.

Hopefully that gets you close......


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efarmboy

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Registered: 26/02/02
Posts: 147
Now - if there was a place to keep this so all new users to the site could review it.

How about a topic for GL Features or static page that has some links to:

GL Feature summary - like this note and other writeups How-To's FAQ's

Better yet - a Doc Mgmt plugin to store these gems and allow it to be maintained.

Cheers,
Blaine


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epretorious

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Junior
Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 26
Blaine's onto something: Could a section be added to the GL site? Maybe a section like...
  1. Learn About GL
  2. Getting Started with GL
  3. Intro to GL
  4. etc.
Eric P.
Sunnyvale, CA
Eric P. Sunnyvale, CA

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epretorious

Forum User
Junior
Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 26
Dreamscape:

Thanks for the excellent overview - This really brings everything into focus! I'm going to download GL tonight and - If I'm able to make it work - vow to contribute to GL's instruction set.

Eric P.
Sunnyvale, CA
Eric P. Sunnyvale, CA

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epretorious

Forum User
Junior
Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 26
And another thing: Would it be possible to maintain a directory of themes, plug-ins, and blocks for GL-related software? Sort of a YellowPages® of GL components?

Eric P.
Sunnyvale, CA
Eric P. Sunnyvale, CA

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squatty

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Registered: 21/01/02
Posts: 269
Not so easy! The biggest problem is that almost all the "add-ons" are crated and maintained by non-GL developers. It would be almost impossible for a Dirk or a Dreamscape to keep up on all the development. This is where I've stepped in (or at least tried to). On my site I've attempted to collect and distribute ALL of the GL themes, plug-ins, blocks, and "cool hacks". One solution is to have the GL team agree to make "official” some of the outside code and then version control it within CVS? Just a thought.
In a world without walls and fences, who needs Windows and Gates?

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dreamscape

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Junior
Registered: 22/01/02
Posts: 30

anything.....is possible, come one man. Smile

Like I said right now squatty is doing the best job over at squatty.com

obviously we'd like to keep it on the community site as well, that seems to make sense where it should go. We're working on expanding what Geeklog.sf.net does...


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dreamscape

Forum User
Junior
Registered: 22/01/02
Posts: 30

As far as that subject is concerned, Mlimburg is supposed to be working on full blown document management that should solve some of these issues. Hopefully when he gets this done we'll move it onto gl.sf.net for everyones use.


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dreamscape

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Junior
Registered: 22/01/02
Posts: 30

Good luck! We'd obviously like to see your site once it gets geeked (if possible), but yes please give us whatever feedback you can. Thanks.


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epretorious

Forum User
Junior
Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 26
Dreamscape: I've been living with GL for a week now and I can not over-emphasize the need for well-written docuementation for a system like GL (if it is to grow and prosper). e.g., The command `grep "^function " /path/to/geeklog/system | wc` revealed 76 functions in lib-database.php, lib-sessions.php, and lib-security.php, and lib-plugins.php. IMHO, GL really needs something like an overview/roadmap - a document that describes each component of the system and it's function - or an overview that describes GL's interaction with plugins. If I ever get to that level of understanding, I promise to share my insite. Until then, I continue to flip between screens reading, re-reading, grep'ing, and trying to piece it all together. Crash, burn, learn- Eric P.
Eric P. Sunnyvale, CA

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Dirk

Site Admin
Admin
Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 13073
Location:Stuttgart, Germany
I don't think a documentation of the inner workings of Geeklog is something that is needed urgently. Instead, we need an updated user documentation, i.e. stuff like the above and an updated list of the contents of config.php and what you can do with them. I notice that in the week since 1.3.5sr2 has been released (with the updated installation instructions) the amount of calls for help with the installation has dropped significantly. Now, if we could update the user documentation a bit, this may do the same for the calls for help with the setup and use of Geeklog. Any help and input on this is welcome (but probably best moved to the geeklod-devel mailing list). bye, Dirk

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