It's been more than 6 months since i took a paying php job. My friend Stam from fmscout.com asked me to build a charts module for Cotonti, to show information about his site activity. It supports several areas both from core and 3rd party plugins:

  • Authors
    • Top Forum Posters
    • Top Pages Contributers
    • Top Comment Posters
    • Most Thanked Users
  • Articles
    • Most Viewed
    • Most Commented
    • Most Thanked
    • Most Downloads
  • Forum Topics
    • Most Viewed
    • Most Replied
    • Most Thanked

Every section includes cut-off date options, like since last week, last month or overall, fully customized from the modules settings. Most of the information is easily retrieved except for a few areas where extended work was needed to actually collect the data. Not really a hard job, maybe a little boring but not bad for a 6 months comeback if you exclude komposta cmf.

 

fmscoutCharts1.png fmscoutCharts2.png fmscoutCharts3.png fmscoutCharts4.png 

 

Cotonti Charts

 

fmscoutCharts5.png fmscoutCharts6.png fmscoutCharts7.png 

vBSed was the very first huge project i ever completed in php/mysql and it was for my own website 3dacc.net (r.i.p). Till this day i believe it was one of the very few proper content management system ever built for vBulletin v3.x.x before v4.0 even came out with its ugly ugly ugly cms. 3dacc.net was originally powered by ldu/seditio cms. At some point while the site was growing i decided seditio was lacking in forum features and decided to use the famous vBulletin. But while vBulletin was the best in bbcode forums apps out there it didn't have a proper cms official or not, vBSed was born.

vBSED = vBulletin + Seditio

vbsed_home.png vbsed_list_categories.png vbsed_list_pages.png vbsed_page.png

 It wasn't a poorly written bridge it was written from scratch as vbulletin product (module) and was based on all the things i believe made sedito a great cms, simplicity, easy to use, easy to extend easy to maintain. It included unlimited levels of categories, pages with different types like articles, downloads, links, a file manager and various homepage widgets.

vbsed_admin_categories.png vbsed_gpudb.png vbsed_pages_stats.png vbsed_sfs.png

 Some may not like the term proper cms but consider that at the time the best solutions out for vbulletin were a front-page mod with widgets and a fake cms that was camouflaging forums into categories and topics into articles. I think there were a few paid mods but  they weren't very popular. At a latter point a terminology section was added to vBSed which was embedded in all the site's content: forum posts and pages, linking terms back to their definitions (wiki style)

vbsed_termsdb.png vbsed_termsdb_term.png

The site was doing ok, for the last two years i kept it open without spending a dime on the dedicated server's cost, but i lost interest and web designing and development won me over. vBSed never got its public release and i closed the site 3 years ago. I wish i had released this project, who knows maybe now i wouldn't be in job searching...

When i started komposta CMF two months ago i focused mainly on backend development and i gladly accepted twitter bootstrap benefits. It is so easy to capitalize on how complete it is and apparently i wasn't the only one who thought so. But there is a huge catch, designers are getting lazy, and so many sites look alike, it's like brainwash, hence the title of this post. 

With Joomla 3.0 and the new bootstrap facelift things are going to get worse. There are at least a couple more open source projects, as far as i know, undergoing the same UI surgery. Until B.B (before Boostrap) you could unmistakably guess what cms/blog sytem a site was using which is bad but the huge variety of apps out there balanced things out.  A.B (after Boostrap) things are looking grim for internet unique looks.

I had decided i would do something about boostrap as soon as komposta would reach a satisfying level of features. In the beginning as i was mesmerized by bootstrap awesomeness i decided to build on it. That unfortunately doesn't work, you end up with a bad camouflaged look which doesn't really give a unique look, and you still have to use html mark-up that you might not even like.

The solution for me was to pick the most important components of Bootstrap or any other CSS Framework you choose and start from there. Writing on top of the full package is impossible because firstly bootstrap is already huge. With all the components it's about 0.20MB with the custom css to camouflage it you will end up with 300Kb just for CSS not including images or other 3d party JavaScript libraries. Secondly you have to live with the suggested mark-up like it or not. The number one thing you must not use are the Buttons+Navigation components, it's the number one identity give away clue. The complete list of components i used from bootsrap:

  1. Normalize (not really bootstrap's)
  2. Typography (with 13px/18px font-size/line-height)
  3. Tooltips
  4. Breadcrumbs
  5. Alerts
  6. Form bits

It's not like i couldn't live without them but for me that's the minimum setup. For the form bits i used only the absolute necessary styling from BT and i changed the HTML Markup to Definition Lists (<dl>) which i think is more appropriate. 

Now some of the downfalls. You will probably end-up with quite a huge list of bugs and serious issues with older browsers for a less pleasing look at least in the beginning. But i promise you won't regret it and you will be able to use components and stuff from various sources, making your creation unique at least in the eyes of your none designers visitors ;p

 kompostaPhrasesAB.png kompostaOptionsAB.png kompostaLogsAB.png

 

What do you think ?

Btw i added a much needed contact form at the top if you need to reach me.

Komposta cmf is using a a lot of third party libraries except lithium one of them is HTML Purifier. It is used to ensure security in pages and comments. Komposta has an extended configuration page to setup multiple profiles and you can absolutely play with all the settings from purifier for 100% control. In my last post i embedded a youtube video and it only took me 45 minutes to setup the pages profile lol.

 

komposta_purifier_1.png komposta_purifier_2.png komposta_purifier_3.png komposta_purifier_4.png komposta_purifier_5.png komposta_purifier_8.png

 

There are a lot of applications out there relying on html purifier but with limited configuration. I like configuration ;p

komposta_purifier_6_4.png komposta_purifier_6_8.png komposta_purifier_6.png komposta_purifier_7.png komposta_purifier_8_5.png 

 

Updated Screenshots 2012/11/16

 

I haven't posted anything for days, being busy with komposta CMF trying to reach a dev level that i am confident to share it with a few friends. One of these friends who is from UK asked me about the name of the project. Komposta is greekglish (Greek  text with English characters) for Κομπόστα which according to google translates to compote. Yeah i am not big on names but by coincidence komposta has a national anthem ;p

 

Terror X Crew was one the top Greek hip-hop groups before they split in 2002...

State Scholarships Foundation (IKY in greek) is the official organization who manages scholarships in Greece and once again i was asked to develop a web platform to manage applications for scholarships. If you read my previous post i had already worked on a similar project for a different scholarships program, but for some reason it wasn't organized and managed my IKY but by a sub-division inside the Ministry of Education. Till this day i haven't figured out why. Greece the country of amazing and bizzare things ;p

Thankfully IKY knew how to run things and it was so much easier to work with them. The web platform beside the applications it had to also manage the evaluation process. The sytem had to manage evaluators who were independent professors from all over the world and blind assing applications to evaluators with the proper scientific background. Huge project and probably my best work from last year. Time for info and pictures

  • Powered By Zend Framework
  • PHP/MySql/Html/Css/Jquery
  • Completion Time: 6 weeks plus 8 weeks for tech support for applicants and evaluators
  • August - November 2011

ikyhome.png  ikyappbefore.png ikyapp1.png ikyapp2.png

 

The website was hosted here http://apps.gov.gr/minedu/iky_scholarships, unfortunately this year they didn't use my application. Back in February i got an email from my old partner in Greek Ministry of Education asking for help. Unfortunately i had no time to spare and my military obligations were coming up and i kinda ignored him. For some reason all the programmers in Minedu and IKY didn't do PHP. Most of them were java and asp programmers. My guess is that they didn't found someone who could manage my application and decided to either make a new platform from scratch or and most likely gave the job to a private company. They were going to do the same last year as well, their budget allowed it, but as i later learnt they couldn't find a company to finish the project in such a short time.

 

 

 ikyapp3.png ikyappafter.png ikyadminhome.png ikyadminexport.png

I am really regretting not responding to my old partner, now i am broke, unemployed and too embarrassed to call them back asking if there is any opening for a web programmer.  Hopefully something will come up soon.

 ikyadminappsmanage.png ikyadminapps.pngikyevaluator.png ikyevaluatorevaluate.png

This was the first project i competed for the Greek Ministry of Education last year. Through bilateral agreements students from Greece can apply for scholarships to study abroad and the opposite. The selection is done by the students country and they are accepted by the univercity abroad whithout interviews and cv. The project had problems from the beggining. Part of the blame is on me because of my inexperience at the time, i though i had to work with people who actually understood the problems of transferring an application form from paper to web. It turned out they were bureaucrat apes and because of them the ministry missed the deadline to send the students information and hundreds of Greek students missed the opportunity to study abroad. As far as i know they didn't attempt to run the scholarships program this year.

Anyway enough of my badmouthing. Some application info and pictures.

  1. Powered by Joomla 1.61
  2. Work involved php/mysql/html/javascript
  3. Hosted at http://apps.gov.gr/minedu/scholarships (now dead)
  4. Full Administrative Application Management
  5. Completion Time: 2 Weeks + 3 Weeks tech support during the apps period

sc1app1.jpg sc1app2.jpg sc1admin1.png sc1admin2.png

When Sedio cms came out it took a while util people decided to update from LDU (predecessor). I gave it my best to make as much as possible to support that effort. The skins below is what i offered to the community, or what i manage to find in my locker. Some works are missing prob lost forever but anyway here is what i managed to save.

 

sedtheblaster.png sedterminal.png sedgreenday.png sedexodus2.png sedexodus.png sedblaster2007.png sedbelagio.png sedaqua.png sed3dfusion.png

If something seems interesting to you here are the download links.


Unfortunately Seditio died last year and although i left the community disgusted a couple of years before that i still believe it was a great cms that never managed take off because of stupid reasons. I learnt PHP\HTML\CSS working on LDU\Seditio and for that i will be forever grateful.

High School students in Greece are admitted to public Universities based on their final exams during their senior year. They are submitting forms with their information and a selection of schools they want to attend. Last year the ministry of education of Greece decided to simplify the applications procedure by making it web only. Two teams of programmers were formed one managed the web platform for students who finished high school in Greece and another for Greek or foreign students who finished high school abroad.

I was part of the second team which consisted of only two people. I was in charged of building the web platforms and Athanasios Rouskas was something like the project manager bringing me all the specifications and dealing with other departments delays and bureaucracy.

Below you can find screenshots from http://mixanografiko-eksoterikou.opengov.gr/ where the application is hosted.

selectSchools.png review.png massEmail.png main.png form.png adminMain.png adminApps.png 

 

The web platform was used again this year, with no updates.  The second application, which had minor changes to meet the state criteria for foreign students, was actually completed by Rouskas who had never seen php code before but he was so damn eager to learn and he learnt. That application was also used this year here http://mixanografiko-alodapon.opengov.gr  

Edit: 15/8/2013
I am actually very proud to see that both platforms are online this year again, 3 years and counting (
2011-2013)

The application was build with Zend Framework/MySql/Jquery. Below you can also find the sample documents the system creates with Zend_Pdf for the users to verify that everything went fine. 

T3-Faq plugin v2.5 is a powerful faq-knowledgebase script with easy configuration and smart structure to support unlimited levels of categories and subcategories.

Read the help.html inside the docs folder for more information

 

Version 2.5 Speed Fighter
------------
- Pre-Parsed BBcodes in anwsers. In some cases over 400-600% performance improvement.
- Added Question counters for categories, -1 query in categories list.
- Added Comments counter for questions, -1x query in questions list.
- Added Ratings Average for questions, -2x/3x queries in questions list.
- Added 4 new maintenance modes to support the new version.
- Added 2 new modules for the main page, most commented and most rated.
- Adopted jquery for the main ajax call, hopefully now it will work for everyone.
- Updated various code blocks. Nice and Clean.
- Updated Template files is now as simple as possible.
- Replaced sort options with a form, more easy to use.
- Fixed various small bugs everywhere.

   

Features :
1 : Unlimited levels of categories and subcategories.
2 : Easy and smart edit of categories and Q:A
3 : Protection from deleting by accident a category that contains Q:A
4 : Smart category navigator.
5 : All phrases are in the language file.
6 : Easy skinning.
7 : BBcode and Html parsing.
8 : Let your members ask questions.
9 : Comments and rattings for every Q:A
10 : Powerfull configuration
11 : Header Notices


Download T3 Faq v2.5