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Is Tiki dead or alive?

posts: 7 United States

That might seem like a stupid question here on this forum. But if you have been seeing things the way I have lately, it would be a very serious question.

I have been looking to convert my political web site into a community site. And after a god-awful amount of time and research, Tiki was chosen as one of 4 systems to be tested, to find one to base my site on. The other three are Drupal, BitWeaver, and WebApp.

I cant say I am very happy with any of them, including Tiki.

I wont bother going into the problems I have with the other programs, since they dont belong here. But I will say what I think about Tiki. For my purposses, Tiki fits the bill. It does have all the features I need, and it is fairly easy to use. The last is important to me, as I am a user, not a programmer. But it, like the others, has some serious issues as well.

The first I ran into, was a lack of decent skins, or whatever Tiki chooses to call them. That is annoying, but otherwise minor. And, to be fair, sucky or not, it comes with more skins than any other program I have looked at.

The second, would be a complete deal-breaker, if any other program had all the features and ease of use I need. Tiki, even here, has a very bad habit of logging me off while reading or composing posts. I have already lost several hours of writing because of this. I can use any other site or forum, and never have that problem, so it is unique to Tiki. I posted about it on another heading, and the problem, as well as many other posted problems from other users, were completely ignored. That is a very bad sign right there. Whether or not you can help with a problem is not the issue. The issue is in ignoring those who have problems. That shows a lack of respect for those using your program. Whether its a true lack of respect, or just an apparent lack of respect hardly matters to those being ignored. I'm sure many have already gone someplace else where they will not be ignored.

Even that problem I could work around, if need be. When I choose to be, I can be a royal pain where the sun doesnt shine, and can be very effective at getting attention.

But then comes the most serious problem, and one that cannot be gotten around. Is Tiki alive or dead? Outside of this forum, I have seen no sign of life at all from Tiki, since last October. So this project, if not dead, sure seems to have been in a coma for half a year now. Combine that with the fact that version 1.9.4, the version I am testing, has known security issues, with no known patches or updates available, according to the security sites I checked with. I came here and found there is a newer version, but found no info about that security issue (Cross-site scripting.). But even if that issue has been fixed, no new activity in six months is a very bad sign. If I were to install Tiki as my CMS, how can I be sure it will not be abandoned tomorrow, and be a target for every hacker and script-kiddy the day after that? Whether it has what I need or not, it would be pointless to use a program thats a dead fish. (You may be interested to know that BitWeaver, a derivative of Tiki, seems to have been dead even longer. Nothing from them since last September.)

So while my question might seem stupid here on this board, it is not so stupid from where I sit.

I expect the knee-jerk answer to be "No, we are not dead.". But if this project is not dead, then it needs some very serious face-lifting and PR work done on it. Because as things stand, anyone doing a cursory check on this software would conclude that the project is dead, and look for something more active. And anyone like me, a user instead of a developer or programmer, would head for Drupal or WebApp instead. Compared to Tiki, those are poor second choices. Drupal is aimed at developers, not users; and while WebAbb is aimed at users, it doesnt yet have features to compete with Tiki. To be brutally honest, if WebApp did have the features, I would not be here writing this, I would already be using WebApp.

Should be interesting to see what, if any, reaction I get from this.

posts: 3631 United States

First, I'm sorry you're having problems. But I think you're wrong about a number of items.....some that I personally have to take issue with...

[snip]

> The first I ran into, was a lack of decent skins, or whatever Tiki chooses to call them. That is annoying, but otherwise minor. And, to be fair, sucky or not, it comes with more skins than any other program I have looked at.
>

Have you seen the the Tiki Themes site? There are some fabulous options available. Additionally, Tiki makes it very easy to edit the CSS or TPL files to create your own theme. Speaking only for myself, I've created custom looks for most of my Tiki sites.

Personally, I agree that (for the end-user), Tiki's default interface and templates pose a substantial usability problem. For my part, I've started blogging about some of my tweaks, mods, and fixes, in an effort to help folks improve their Tiki.



> The second, would be a complete deal-breaker, if any other program had all the features and ease of use I need. Tiki, even here, has a very bad habit of logging me off while reading or composing posts. I have already lost several hours of writing because of this. I can use any other site or forum, and never have that problem, so it is unique to Tiki. I posted about it on another heading, and the problem, as well as many other posted problems from other users, were completely ignored.

Actually, it was answered more than a month ago (by me!). In fact, you inspired me to hack an even more elegant solution.



> That is a very bad sign right there. Whether or not you can help with a problem is not the issue. The issue is in ignoring those who have problems. That shows a lack of respect for those using your program. Whether its a true lack of respect, or just an apparent lack of respect hardly matters to those being ignored. I'm sure many have already gone someplace else where they will not be ignored.

Again, speaking only for myself, I try to answer n00b questions as quickly as possible — even those that are answered in docs and FAQs. I will ask you this... have you even looked at the FAQs? Or the docs? I personally have contributed to the FAQs. They truly do represent the most frequently asked questions.

I'd also strongly encourage you to go to the Tiki IRC channel. I have personally had nearly all my questions answered. The folks that monitor the channel are fantastic.



>
> Even that problem I could work around, if need be. When I choose to be, I can be a royal pain where the sun doesnt shine, and can be very effective at getting attention.
>
> But then comes the most serious problem, and one that cannot be gotten around. Is Tiki alive or dead? Outside of this forum, I have seen no sign of life at all from Tiki, since last October. So this project, if not dead, sure seems to have been in a coma for half a year now. Combine that with the fact that version 1.9.4, the version I am testing, has known security issues, with no known patches or updates available, according to the security sites I checked with. I came here and found there is a newer version, but found no info about that security issue (Cross-site scripting.).


I suggest that you read the release document for 1.9.7. It states "..better protection against XSS..." I believe that, for security reasons, the specifics of the issues and their fixes are not discussed in the clear. Please see TikiSecurity for details. If you're doing testing, I strongly recommend testing the current version — not 1.9.4.




>But even if that issue has been fixed, no new activity in six months is a very bad sign.


The change log clearly shows that there was checkin activity on March 2, 2007. I'm not sure about your calendar, but according to mine tht is only 3 weeks — not "six months." The CVS monitor shows 100s of commits so far this year. I'm confused by your suggestion that Tiki is "dead"...



> If I were to install Tiki as my CMS, how can I be sure it will not be abandoned tomorrow, and be a target for every hacker and script-kiddy the day after that? Whether it has what I need or not, it would be pointless to use a program thats a dead fish. (You may be interested to know that BitWeaver, a derivative of Tiki, seems to have been dead even longer. Nothing from them since last September.)
>
> So while my question might seem stupid here on this board, it is not so stupid from where I sit.
>
> I expect the knee-jerk answer to be "No, we are not dead.". But if this project is not dead, then it needs some very serious face-lifting and PR work done on it.

Here, I totally agree with you. This issue has been raised before (once by me!). FWIW, I also feel that Tiki's #1 problem is that it doesn't sell well. Content-wise, there are very few CMSes that can match Tiki but, as the saying goes...

Content is king.... but sex sells.




>Because as things stand, anyone doing a cursory check on this software would conclude that the project is dead, and look for something more active. And anyone like me, a user instead of a developer or programmer, would head for Drupal or WebApp instead. Compared to Tiki, those are poor second choices. Drupal is aimed at developers, not users; and while WebAbb is aimed at users, it doesnt yet have features to compete with Tiki. To be brutally honest, if WebApp did have the features, I would not be here writing this, I would already be using WebApp.
>
> Should be interesting to see what, if any, reaction I get from this.
>

How's this for starters? I see that you've only posted 2 questions in the forum. The one that I answered last month, and this one. If you are having problems or issues, don't hesitate to ask. I, for one, will do my best to help... that's the power of an opensource community.


-Rick


posts: 19

eek TikiWiki has the best end-user and administrator ease-of-use and features of the CMS's I have evaluated. Typo3 being the most extensive, elaborate also the most end-user confusing of them all. Drupal, Joomla and eZ Publish being the other easy or easier ones to use that I also tested. Everyones needs are different you will need to throughly evaluate all your options, visit http://www.cmsmatrix.org/ for comparisons of CMS's. The easiest isn't always the best option to use, you will need to take into account what your doing and what features you need and may need later on.
You will need to have someone help you evaluate your needs and to help compare your choices. I'm sure you'll find that TikiWiki may be your top choice or very close to it when compared to the others, depending on your needs/wants.

In my use (your experience may be different) the simplest to use (interface and WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) content management wise) is mambo but the features are limited (no user wiki, user based features, upload files etc), the menu structure for multiple levels is very confusing and customization is a lot harder if your not html savvy. But this is not a problem as most businesses/institutions, etc, get a web developer to make the template customizations for them, they just need a pretty interface thats easy to use to add the content and make updates, etc.

NOTE: I have had no text formatting problems with TikiWiki unlike mambo and some of the others that are using a WYSIWYG interface. They do the wiki or html style coding for you but the code is all hidden. When you copy and paste text in it can have hidden line breaks and font tags and you cant find then to remove them, that can make you pull your hair out more so then learning the simple wiki code.

posts: 7 United States

For my own purposes, I need a forum, articles, blogs, and wiki. The best CMS for all these things, that will work on my server, is Tiki. Its also one of two that are easy to admin, with WebApp being the other. BitWeaver looked good, but my first install failed badly. And after going thru their docs, as near as I can tell it cant be installed right on my server (I'm on a shared system, so I do not have server root access.). Drupal for the most part has what I need too, but their docs are confusing as hell to a non programmer/developer.

And I did make extensive use of the CMS Matrix site. Its a great site.

A WYSIWYG editor would be a nice feature, but for me its strictly optional.

And I'm not a business, and have no money to pay a developer, so I need things I can use myself. But most CMSs that I looked at are not aimed at end users, they are aimed at professional developers instead. A few have even openly stated on their project boards, that users shouldnt even be trying to do sites, they should all be hiring pros to do it for them. I found that attitude to be extremely offensive and patronizing.

So far I have not had any problems with formatting in Tiki, other than the usual thing of finding out what is usable where. So far the only problem I had there, was when I tried to post one of those quiz things (What kind of killer robot are you.). It was mangled in the wiki, but worked in the blog. Just means that some html wont work in the wiki. No biggie at all.

Except for the problems I spelled out above, I very much like Tiki. It has all I need, and its fairly easy to admin right from the start. No great learning curve to work thru. There are some things in it that I dont understand at all yet, but those arent needed right off the bat. As it is, it would let me set up a decent site the way I want it, without any huge headaches, or hundreds of hours of work. In my opinion the docs need a lot of work, but they were enough to get me started at least.

So in no way was I ever putting the system down. Its a great system. If it wasnt, I wouldnt be here.




> eek TikiWiki has the best end-user and administrator ease-of-use and features of the CMS's I have evaluated. Typo3 being the most extensive, elaborate also the most end-user confusing of them all. Drupal, Joomla and eZ Publish being the other easy or easier ones to use that I also tested. Everyones needs are different you will need to throughly evaluate all your options, visit http://www.cmsmatrix.org/ for comparisons of CMS's. The easiest isn't always the best option to use, you will need to take into account what your doing and what features you need and may need later on.
> You will need to have someone help you evaluate your needs and to help compare your choices. I'm sure you'll find that TikiWiki may be your top choice or very close to it when compared to the others, depending on your needs/wants.
>
> In my use (your experience may be different) the simplest to use (interface and WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) content management wise) is mambo but the features are limited (no user wiki, user based features, upload files etc), the menu structure for multiple levels is very confusing and customization is a lot harder if your not html savvy. But this is not a problem as most businesses/institutions, etc, get a web developer to make the template customizations for them, they just need a pretty interface thats easy to use to add the content and make updates, etc.
>
> NOTE: I have had no text formatting problems with TikiWiki unlike mambo and some of the others that are using a WYSIWYG interface. They do the wiki or html style coding for you but the code is all hidden. When you copy and paste text in it can have hidden line breaks and font tags and you cant find then to remove them, that can make you pull your hair out more so then learning the simple wiki code.


posts: 7 United States

First, thank you for your very quick response.

Second, I did try your script fix for the timeout problem. But either I mucked it up, or its not compatible with1.9.4, as I now have code showing above the edit window, where code should certainly not be seen, and I do not get a countdown in the bar. I'll have to go back and undo those changes. I did try to be very careful in making the changes, but no doubt I still did it wrong somehow. Like I said, I'm a user, not a programmer. And I made the cardinal mistake, of not backing up the file before changing it. I deserve a size 10 in the backside for that one. At any rate, its minor and I'll get it fixed.

But what would be best from my own point of view, would be if the timeout could be set to more than 30 minutes. If I could set it to 60, that would eliminate 99% of problems. But as it is I use the simple workaround, of having a second window to the site open, and every few minutes I go and change pages in that window (Well, tab, since I use Firefox.). Not the best solution, but it works for now.

No, I did not go and check out any add-on themes, for Tiki or any of the others. I was going just by whats included out of the box. In sheer numbers, Tiki blows the rest away. But most are anything but good looking. At least in my opinion. It was my intention from the start, to eventually create custom themes for my main and sub sites. So included themes were only looked at in the light of making the site presentable until I could make custom themes. But included content, such as themes, are also an indicator of just who the software is aimed at. If its aimed at developers, themes are an afterthought, since they can easily create their own.. But if aimed at users, more are generally included, to make the users life easier. Being a user and not a developer, thats a strong selling point to me.

I see you did answer my original post. Thank you for that. But I am not used to waiting for a week or more for responses, so I gave up watching the thread shortly before you posted it. I do try to be patient, but I also have my limits. That does bring up something tho. It would be nice if Tiki had an email alert system, so that users could choose to be alerted by email if someone replies to their post. Thats a feature I enjoy in some forum programs.

LOL, yes, I have looked in the docs and FAQs. I'm not only an oldhead, but I'm an oldhead NERD, I've been online since the days of the BBSs, before the Internet was opened to the public. So I have a long history of using discussion systems. I was even a Sysop way back when. So while I might be a noob to Tiki, I'm an old hat at most things.

I havent been on IRC in a dogs age, so no, I havent tried that. If I stay with Tiki (And for now it looks like I will.), then I guess I'll have to look for a Firefox plugin for that.

I dont talk about specific security issues in the clear either, unless, as in this case, they are already very well known. This one was all over Google. Still, there was no need to go into exact details, and I didnt. Sadly, one of the other systems I am testing DID have a "security site" going into great detail about such a weakness, without even bothering to contact that project first. Such an act should be criminal, as in "aiding and abetting", but we all know how sloppy the laws for online things are.

"Tribal Data" is an interesting term I ran into yesterday. Means information generally known inside a community, but which is not known outside of that community. Yes, I am sure you have seen plenty of life signs WITHIN the Tiki project. But for those outside of the project, who just use some search engine, the project appears dead or comatose, just as I said. No new files or whatever appearing out on the rest of the net. I'm a bit more thorough than most in what I do. I generally have the time to spare. But anyone not taking the time to go to the source, who just does a quick web search, would conclude that the project is in a bad way.

"Here, I totally agree with you. This issue has been raised before (once by me!). FWIW, I also feel that Tiki's #1 problem is that it doesn't sell well. Content-wise, there are very few CMSes that can match Tiki but, as the saying goes...

Content is king.... but sex sells."

On this, we are as one mind. I have a business background, and I can tell you that the addage "Dont judge a book by its cover" is complete BULL! Everyone judges things by how they look. No point arguing whether they should or not, the fact remains that they do. And in business, wishful thinking has no place. You deal with what is, not with what should be.

And at the risk of offending people here, I'll give a dose of my infamous honesty.

Looking around at Tiki, the program, its skins, and its sites and forums, what I see is dull, boring, lifeless and completely uninteresting. By comparison, other sites, even the dead ones, tend to look bright, cheerful, alive, and interesting.

Do I really need to say which sites people would rather go to?

Without question, Tiki has the goods where it counts. But if it doesnt grab people's attention, how many will see that? Yes, some, like me, will look beyond mere appearance. But many wont.

And lets face it, I dont think any here are working on the project just for shits and giggles. They want to make a difference, and they want people to use what they have worked so hard on. So whether its "free" or not, the project and it's products still need to be "sold" to others.

And if you want to sell to others, you need to do two things, define who you want to sell to, and package your product to appeal to those people.

Without going into too fine a detail, your market is webmasters and wannabe webmasters. People who are or want to put up more than just a couple pages. Many would be business people, but there would also be community leaders and various groups. Such tend to be a bit conservative, but being online, not too conservative. They are also people looking for something dependable that they can rely on.

In a nutshell, thats your target market.

Now, how to appeal to them.

First, with anyone conservative, stay away from anything too flashy and gaudy, it scares them. You also want to radiate dependability and security, so think simple bold but not too bright colors. For the ultimate example of this, just walk into any sizable bank and look around. They dont look that way by accident. For online use, you want to be just a bit brighter than that. Say the same kind of base colors, but a bit more flash here and there to liven it up. And since the target market is a bit older than the average user, and likely their eyes arent what they used to be, increase text size a bit.

Just based on this so far, you want simple bold colors, with a bit of flash here and there to liven it up. Plus you want combinations that are easy on the eyes. Think greys, earth tones, and pastels, but stay away from yellows, reds, pinks, and purples.

If anyone thinks I'm just blowing smoke, dont take my word for it, go surf some business sites, and look closely at the colors and patterns they use. You'll see it for yourself. Businesses spend a lot of money on presentation, because they know it can make or break them. If there are any developers here, you know thats true. They want "just the right look", and they will do a lot to get it.

If Tiki is going to keep up with the competition, then it needs to start working on this. It has the goods to be proud of, so it should not seem to be sitting off in some corner somewhere. It should be standing up proudly right in the thick of things.

If you want someone that knows a bit about marketing to help out the project, I'd be happy to. But as you have already seen, I can be a royal PITA, and I can be very irritating. Those things served me well as an activist, but they certainly dont make me very popular. Far as my qualifications go, I am not the best around. But on the other hand, I come cheap. As in free. God knows I use open source often enough. But I have rarely been able to contribute anything in return. That offends my own sense of balance. So if given a chance to contribute something I do know about, I would be more than happy to.

posts: 1551 Canada

>
> If you want someone that knows a bit about marketing to help out the project, I'd be happy to. But as you have already seen, I can be a royal PITA, and I can be very irritating. Those things served me well as an activist, but they certainly dont make me very popular. Far as my qualifications go, I am not the best around. But on the other hand, I come cheap. As in free. God knows I use open source often enough. But I have rarely been able to contribute anything in return. That offends my own sense of balance. So if given a chance to contribute something I do know about, I would be more than happy to.


Can you help with the documentation?

Thanks!

M ;-)