TinyPortal

Started by lurkalot, February 12, 2005, 04:43:00 AM

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Doug Heffernan

Quote from: AndalayBay on January 07, 2022, 03:47:09 PMIn general, SMF's documentation is terrible. The development community has been working with SMF for so long, you guys think it's obvious. I appreciate all the help I've gotten getting things set up, but it's been rather frustrating. I keep having to post on the forums to ask how to do something or if something can be done. Even when I get an answer, I usually have to post again, saying "where?" or "how?". I'm migrating from other forums. Our forums have been in use since 2006, so this isn't new. But they are organized quite differently than SMF and SMF's UI could really use some improvement.

In this specific instance, I didn't EVEN KNOW I was supposed to configure the blocks and panels. There is no documentation on how to get started. Not that I could find anyway. At this point, I only wanted to check out the downloads module. I thought I got it configured and then it told me it wasn't enabled. I couldn't find the setting to enable it. There was something about being able to disable or enable it completely, but I couldn't find the setting. Then I looked at my forums and they were a mess. I tried turning the other stuff off, but couldn't get it to the point where they looked like "vanilla", so I uninstalled and deleted the mod. We're still in the process of migrating the data, so there's a lot of html embedded in the old posts. We've written a program to strip it all out, but that means that displaying most of the panels and blocks wouldn't work at this point.

Lastly, TP has two settings that are just called "Settings". I suggest renaming one of them. :) I saw the icon was different, but it was meaningless to me!

Sorry, but you come off a bit arrogant to me. It looks like you want everything to be handed over to you, but you do not even want to lift the pinky finger to help yourself.

SMF's documentation is well written and contains all the necessary details and then some to get one started. Why do not you do some searching yourself then, and save/spare yourself and others the time, rather than complaining and moaning here. Unbelievable.

Quote from: @rjen on January 07, 2022, 04:27:57 PMAnd I am pretty sure that you are actually invited to read the docs site when you installed the TP package... but who reads those text anyway...  ;)

Je krijgt stank voor dank maat.

AndalayBay

Actually I did. I wouldn't complain about the documentation if I didn't actually try to read it. ;)

Perhaps the main issue is this:
QuotePlease note that the Docs links in the blocks below are for the latest version of TinyPortal and applicable to TinyPortal 2.0.0. that was released on 20th of August 2020.

I'm using SMF 2.1 RC4, so that's TP 2.1. As I said, I seriously couldn't find the setting to enable TP downloads. I also wasn't able to disable everything else. Personally, I would have preferred nothing enabled so I could explore and enable things one at a time.

@Doug Heffernan seriously? Fine moving on.

@rjen

I do remember starting with SMF and having to figure out stuff. Those are interesting times.

What helped me immensely was that I created a test forum first: there I could play around with board settings and permissions as well as mods (TinyPortal was one of them) and make sure that when I applied any settings change to the real forum I knew what the result would be.
I have NEVER installed any mod on the real  forum without testing it first.

The work I did to the TinyPortal docs pages (which was quite a lot of work actually) has made them to what they are now: intended to showcase TinyPortal and be informative on all settings and options.

It is just a shame if they are not found and people discard the mod just because 'it is too complicated'  and 'the documentation is terrible '
Running SMF 2.1 with latest Tinyportal at www.fjr-club.nl
Testing SMF 2.1 with next version Tinyportal at test.fjr-club.nl

tinoest

Quote from: AndalayBay on January 07, 2022, 04:46:07 PMActually I did. I wouldn't complain about the documentation if I didn't actually try to read it. ;)

Perhaps the main issue is this:
QuotePlease note that the Docs links in the blocks below are for the latest version of TinyPortal and applicable to TinyPortal 2.0.0. that was released on 20th of August 2020.

They are still largely applicable for TinyPortal 2.1, if you look at the changelog we really only changed the shoutbox and fixed some bugs.

Your feedback of I couldn't find it is a bit vague. It's on the menu on the left and also I can search for it and find it. So could you let me know what you did/typed so we can improve that area.

https://www.tinyportal.net/docs/index.php?page=Tpdownload-settings

That page to me is quite clear and answers your questions about the downloads, unless I'm mistaken?

Doug Heffernan

Quote from: AndalayBay on January 07, 2022, 04:46:07 PMActually I did. I wouldn't complain about the documentation if I didn't actually try to read it. ;)

Perhaps the main issue is this:
QuotePlease note that the Docs links in the blocks below are for the latest version of TinyPortal and applicable to TinyPortal 2.0.0. that was released on 20th of August 2020.

I'm using SMF 2.1 RC4, so that's TP 2.1. As I said, I seriously couldn't find the setting to enable TP downloads. I also wasn't able to disable everything else. Personally, I would have preferred nothing enabled so I could explore and enable things one at a time.

@Doug Heffernan seriously? Fine moving on.

Yes, seriously @AndalayBay. You say:

Quote from: AndalayBay on January 07, 2022, 04:46:07 PMit's been rather frustrating. I keep having to post on the forums to ask how to do something or if something can be done. Even when I get an answer, I usually have to post again, saying "where?" or "how?"

You have gotten nothing but help here with all all your questions. And instead of being grateful to these kind people for all their hard work in developing this amazing software and mod for free and take the time to help you out as well, you are getting frustrated? And then complain and moan? I find your attitude unbelievable. Just saying.


Arantor

I can't vouch for the TP docs, but SMF's docs *are* terrible. Doc writing is also hard, because you know the thing, you don't know what someone else doesn't know, and with the best will in the world empathising is hard.

Especially when writing for someone who came from a platform that behave quite differently with very distinct idioms that don't align.

Then again I don't remember reading any TP docs, but I didn't try it until many years in where it could be said I was an SMF expert and knew how an SMF mod was likely to behave just by virtue of "it works with SMF so it probably works *like* SMF".
No good deed goes unpunished / All helpful urges should be circumvented

I have something to say: it's better to burn out than to fade away. There can be only one.

Doug Heffernan

Quote from: Arantor on January 07, 2022, 05:37:26 PMI can't vouch for the TP docs, but SMF's docs *are* terrible. Doc writing is also hard, because you know the thing, you don't know what someone else doesn't know, and with the best will in the world empathising is hard.

Especially when writing for someone who came from a platform that behave quite differently with very distinct idioms that don't align.

Then again I don't remember reading any TP docs, but I didn't try it until many years in where it could be said I was an SMF expert and knew how an SMF mod was likely to behave just by virtue of "it works with SMF so it probably works *like* SMF".

A bit off topic, but the thing is that one can do so much. Like in the example of doc writing. The users should help themselves as well. I mean one should not expect that everything is handed down to them. They must use the search system and take the time to get to know the software and the mods that they download. When they come across things that is really hard to grasp, then they can ask about it.

And another thing is, the way that a lot of users go about asking support. They are being very impateient, demanding and downright arrogant, as if the support is owed to them. Not understanding that this forum is being developed by volunteers on their own dime and free time. And the same goes for the support staff and every other member, like myself, who are trying to help out as much as we can.

P.s. Your signature says it all on the matter btw ;)

Arantor

No-one is disputing that users can and should educate themselves to a point - but that does rely on the documentation being there to help.

This is a wider SMF ecosystem problem though, that the SMF manual is written in a really unstructured way (because the SMF admin panel is really unstructured), and mods don't necessarily make it clear how to do anything, especially if they are larger and more complex - like TP.

I think it's also really hard if you've used a thing for a while to be able to see it from a newcomer's eyes - and I would suggest that there is a middle ground here... and lecturing users isn't really it. Especially from someone who saw fit to lecture me on my choices for offering help.

What I can suggest is that if a piece of software has a recurring support question - the same general question coming up time after time, this is indicative of a problem. The problem may be 'can we make this process simpler', 'can we make this easier to find' and it can be 'should we write this down'.

There will always be people who want it handed to them on a plate - but everything I've seen indicates that's not the problem here.

Using TP is easy - if you already know how to use it and are deeply familiar with it, just like anything else. It's also very easy if you're deeply rooted in SMF culture. But coming at it fresh (and worse if you're familiar with another platform since you have unlearning to do first) is a different story and maybe that's indicative of 'maybe someone needs to write some guides on how to do common tasks' and make that list really clearly signposted.
No good deed goes unpunished / All helpful urges should be circumvented

I have something to say: it's better to burn out than to fade away. There can be only one.

tinoest

Quote from: Arantor on January 08, 2022, 08:02:27 AMUsing TP is easy - if you already know how to use it and are deeply familiar with it, just like anything else. It's also very easy if you're deeply rooted in SMF culture. But coming at it fresh (and worse if you're familiar with another platform since you have unlearning to do first) is a different story and maybe that's indicative of 'maybe someone needs to write some guides on how to do common tasks' and make that list really clearly signposted.

This is why I've asked and am awaiting a response on why the docs we do have aren't easy to understand/find.

TinyPortal isn't easy to understand in a lot of instances, it has multiple features some which contradict each other but there are reasons for that, which make sense once you understand it's power. What I'd like to do is understand where the docs don't help or could be improved.

The person who raised the issue has only really said they ignored the docs as it says 2.0.0 and they are using 2.1.0 which doesn't mean the docs aren't valid in their current form.

Arantor

Quote from: tinoest on January 08, 2022, 08:10:35 AMwhich doesn't mean the docs aren't valid in their current form.

I would suggest there's the first part of the problem. How would someone new to TP know this? It's a reasonable position if you know nothing of TP and little of SMF to conclude 'oh the docs are for 2.0.0 but I'm using 2.1.0, I have no idea if any of this is still relevant'.

Consider the same argument for SMF 2.0.0 to SMF 2.1.0 - the amount of change is so vast that the 2.0 manual is woefully inadequate in many respects, and it's reasonable to conclude the same about TP if you don't know anything else.

If it hasn't changed, put that in. Make it clear that 'this part of the manual applies to 2.0 AND 2.1' or whatever it happens to apply to.
No good deed goes unpunished / All helpful urges should be circumvented

I have something to say: it's better to burn out than to fade away. There can be only one.

@rjen

Quote from: tinoest on January 08, 2022, 08:10:35 AMThe person who raised the issue has only really said they ignored the docs as it says 2.0.0 and they are using 2.1.0 which doesn't mean the docs aren't valid in their current form.

Yeah, it means we have to make that more clear on the TinyPortal docs page I guess...
Looking into that now.

As for the guides to do common tasks:
we have added a number of those based on requests made over the last few years. Maybe we should create a guide that shows 'how to disable all deafult Blocks and Panels' for new users. Willing to do that, but it would be most appreciated that new users who find something is missing or could be improved would mention what it is they are missing, so we (at TinyPortal docs) can improve on it.

This was also why I would like to get some details...




Running SMF 2.1 with latest Tinyportal at www.fjr-club.nl
Testing SMF 2.1 with next version Tinyportal at test.fjr-club.nl

Arantor

Quote from: @rjen on January 08, 2022, 08:26:19 AMbut it would be most appreciated that new users who find something is missing or could be improved would mention what it is they are missing

That's a tough one. Sometimes the problem here is that someone doesn't know what they don't know. It's tough to ask 'how do I do x' when the preceding question is 'does this do x' and that might not be self-evident.

Would agree it would be nice if people said what they're missing but that relies on people actually realising that. Instead we can only proceed from what questions people do actually ask. :(
No good deed goes unpunished / All helpful urges should be circumvented

I have something to say: it's better to burn out than to fade away. There can be only one.

AndalayBay

Since this discussion has continued...

1. I did read the documentation
2. I tried searching.
3. Your search engine is awful, both in the forums and in the wiki.
4. I ask here for help.

If your documentation and SMF were well structured, I wouldn't be here on the forums in the first place. I have been trying to get my site migrated to SMF since October. I am writing a custom converter because the old site has been migrated so many times and has gone through so many forum software upgrades, it's a mess.

I find Doug's comments ironic. Can't be bothered to read the docs? Try reading the HL7 specifications. Seriously guys, if you've got insomnia, those puppies will have you snoring in no time. I'm a computer consultant. I've been programming for over 30 years. Lately I've migrated to business analyst work. I write documentation for a living. It's not hard, it's monotonous. There's a process to it. You can even automate some of it.

Back to the issue at hand. I don't know what you're using as a search engine, but it needs to be optimized to ignore connecting words. Unfortunately I don't remember my specific searches, but I do remember searching for something that had the word "to" in it. It found every single forum post with the word "to" in it. I had "to" in my search because I was trying to set something. I usually wind up using Google because it knows to expand that and search for the entire string. I often find what I'm looking for that way.

I looked at the TP documenation to see how to use the downloads module. There's no sense repeating what I said already. Basically I couldn't find the settings the documentation referenced. Then I saw the comment about it being for 2.0 and some things would be different for 2.1 so I figured things had changed. I came here to ask about enabling all file extensions. I then started going through the code and discovered that I would have to modify the code to enable all extensions. That's fine. I've modified so much SMF code already, that I'll have to make my changes again when the full release comes out. Hey you can't please everybody. Anyway when I found all the TP stuff was enabled, except downloads, I tried to disable the rest of the stuff, but I couldn't find all the settings. I need to get moving on my forums, so I uninstalled and deleted TP. This is on my localhost. Seriously guys, I not that bleeping stupid. I have a full copy of my old forums on my PC. We're migrating them and then they will be moved to the real server.

rjen asked me what was wrong with the documentation and why I deleted Tiny Portal, so I told him, stupidly thinking that would help them. Instead I got dumped on by Doug. That was insulting, given my efforts thus far. Since I don't have TP installed, I can't check the settings.

In terms of docs, you need a getting started section that literally says Click here, then select this... etc. With pictures. Having the Admin panel buried in the forums makes it very hard to use, in my not so humble opinion.

@rjen

Sorry to read that it everything is so bad.

I will not comment on SMF documentation, but I am interested in improving the TP pages.
Unfortunately I cannot create click by click instruction for Anything any user may need (Simply impossible).

I had a look at the TPdownloads pages today and found they are more outdated then I remember, so those are updated now (thanks for the alert)

In TinyPortal docs we do have a 'getting started' section and based on your comment I will add a howto article that explains how to deactivate the blocks, frontpage and TinyPortal menu option on a clean install.
Running SMF 2.1 with latest Tinyportal at www.fjr-club.nl
Testing SMF 2.1 with next version Tinyportal at test.fjr-club.nl

AndalayBay

Quote from: @rjen on January 08, 2022, 03:31:03 PMSorry to read that it everything is so bad.

I will not comment on SMF documentation, but I am interested in improving the TP pages.
Unfortunately I cannot create click by click instruction for Anything any user may need (Simply impossible).

I had a look at the TPdownloads pages today and found they are more outdated then I remember, so those are updated now (thanks for the alert)

In TinyPortal docs we do have a 'getting started' section and based on your comment I will add a howto article that explains how to deactivate the blocks, frontpage and TinyPortal menu option on a clean install.

I was referring to SMF's documentation, not yours.

ssduser

Hello,

I've had the luxury of inheriting an old forum which needed to be migrated to a new domain and upgraded. I uninstalled all mods, upgraded the SMF version to latest, reinstalled all mods back, and it was great. However, I'm currently running into an issue with TinyPortal, in which after I install the latest version (or any version prior to 2.1), there is no sign of TP on my forum, no TPAdmin, no settings to change, nothing. I've tried different versions of TP and also backed up and removed anything in the database involving TP.

There's no error with the install, but when I click on "Go to TPAdmin" after install, I'm lead to my forum's home page with "/index.php?action=tpadmin" in my URL. All currently installed mods are as thus:

Ad Managment - 3.5d
SMF 2.0.19 Update - 1.0
Pretty URLs SEO Pro - 2.0.3
Forum Firewall - 2.0.0

My forum sits on my sites subdomain, and so I've got redirects set up. The old forum was migrated from the old site as /forum/, and now is forum(dot)site(dot)com (if this information is relevant). As a side note, all TP related files that are installed have no contents, they are just blank files, which I thought was interesting. I'm not finding anything related to my issue, and if there is, if you would be so kind send me to that, I would be so grateful.

@rjen

No clue, not a 'known' issue.

But you moved the forum.
I assume you have run repair_settings TWICE after you moved the forum?

Please check by running repair_settings and check the file paths...
Running SMF 2.1 with latest Tinyportal at www.fjr-club.nl
Testing SMF 2.1 with next version Tinyportal at test.fjr-club.nl

Dave J

Quote from: ssduser on January 20, 2022, 06:44:40 PMAs a side note, all TP related files that are installed have no contents, they are just blank files, which I thought was interesting. I'm not finding anything related to my issue, and if there is, if you would be so kind send me to that, I would be so grateful.

Just a thought...

Firstly have you checked that the install wrote the TP code to relevent templates?

Secondly have you tried overwriting the files, using ftp connection, with no content with new files you know have content?
All Quizzes can be downloaded here

ssduser

Quote from: @rjen on January 21, 2022, 02:39:50 AMI assume you have run repair_settings TWICE after you moved the forum?

Please check by running repair_settings and check the file paths...

Yes, I have run the repair settings and all the paths look right.

Quote from: Dave J on January 21, 2022, 02:47:06 AM
Quote from: ssduser on January 20, 2022, 06:44:40 PMAs a side note, all TP related files that are installed have no contents, they are just blank files, which I thought was interesting. I'm not finding anything related to my issue, and if there is, if you would be so kind send me to that, I would be so grateful.

Just a thought...

Firstly have you checked that the install wrote the TP code to relevent templates?

Secondly have you tried overwriting the files, using ftp connection, with no content with new files you know have content?

I'll need to look at the install files to check that, and then find a way to see what all changes the TP install makes to core files. Then I could potentially manually install the latest version.

Before I do that I'll try pulling down the old TP files from the old forum and try doing it that way. At the very least, I could have the old version (v1.3) of TP working, but I worry about vulnerabilities.

I would have thought that I could see some sort of error log with the install, but nothing is written to the error log in the database.

@rjen

You cannot exchange TP1.3 files with a TP2.1 install, can you Uninstall TP2.1? Or does it not show installed?
Running SMF 2.1 with latest Tinyportal at www.fjr-club.nl
Testing SMF 2.1 with next version Tinyportal at test.fjr-club.nl

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