8 Replies Latest reply on Jan 7, 2007 1:24 PM by ][odine

    ideas needed for colaborative app

    ][odine
      Hello all! Firstly let me start off by saying my knowledge of flex is fairly limited - but my knowledge of flash and AS are as i would describe as intermediate/advanced.

      I am trying to create an app for a community im involved with in which we produce a monthly eZine. We have a team of some 20-30 people working on different articles and content. What I am trying to accomplish is build a very superficial CMS in essence. An online app where firstly, the editor can specifiy the content for the upcomming month (i.e what needs to be done) the team members may then submit their articles and so forth for each section specified by the editor, and finally where I (the publisher in this case) can view each piece to finally compose a finished eZine. All this - each month!

      Here is a little of my thought proccess.

      Start with a Login screen. This is where i would split up the various roles, allowing access to different parts of the app depending on their role. The editor would be able to go the an admin section where, each month, she may specifiy which sections are going to be included this month. The team would be able login to see what needs to be done each month, sign up for it, do it, then submit it. And where the publisher can view what should basically be a summary of the content submitted both thus far, and finally.

      For the editor, I would have a list of all the possible sections that could be included at any given time. Beside which would be a panel with a list for what is to be included this month (i was thinking a drag and drop from the list of possibles, over to the list of "to be included") once she is satisfied with the content she has layed out, she could hit save, and the list she dragged to ("to be included") would be saved.

      Team members would then see a list on the left with all the sections needing to be done this month. Then some sort of system...be it color coded, tick box, something to allow people to see what is being done, whats completed, and what needs to yet be done, as well as what has/has not been proofed by the checkers (explain about them later). Perhaps when an item on the list is selected on the right it would load up a few things: at the top a tick box reading "proof read" (that only the checker role would be able to modify, but all could see) if no one is yet signed up to do the selected item, there would be a button they could sign up, which (based on their login name) would assing them to that article and the article would then only display who is doing it, not the button. and then a text box for copy/pasting or typing in the article, and a field for uploading images for the article. They could then save it. If the article has no one assigned to it, the text box would be greyed out, and if someone is viewing it that is not assigned to be doing it, they can only read - not modify. (unless they are a checker).

      Checkers would be able to modify all the articles, as well as sign off on the article, by ticking the check box (perhaps adding their name beside it so we know who proof read it, maybe not), as well as apply to do articles themselves.

      Publisher, would be able to login and have a summary button in which all the content is compiled into one long document broken down by headings so i know what is what, and can then bring into inDesign for publishing.

      Now, i know this is not a simple undertaking - and I have been fiddling with ideas and what not. I was toying with text files, or xml, all of which i have pretty much ruled out - not to mention the fact i have had no luck with roles and such with a login, other than by declairing simple "if" statements. Not ideal by any means. I have managed to get a simple upload script working - nothing exciting there, nor entirely usefull at this point.

      I am using this as a method for me to learn, becase i learn by jumping in at the deep end. And to be completly honest - up to this point i have been slightly regretting the afformentioned metophor. If anyone has any idea, or better yet! the drive and enthusiasm to team up with me on this, I couldnt be happier. Anything anyone can offer would be great! After all, im floundering here! Cheers everyone - and thanks for staying with me up till now.

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        • 1. Re: ideas needed for colaborative app
          chris.huston.t10 Level 3
          Sounds like an interesting project. I have developed a CMS that overlaps somewhat with what you are trying to do, particularly in terms of roles for users and content creation. I used Flex as the front end and had all my users and data stored in a MySQL database via PHP. Content Creators could upload images, audio, and video to the server and text data was kept in a content table in the database. For the user roles, I defined a base user class and then used the decorator pattern to add additional features for editors and administrators. If you need any help, I'd be happy to collaborate with you.

          Vygo
          • 2. Re: ideas needed for colaborative app
            ][odine Level 1
            Masamune,

            thanks for the reply! Sounds like you certainly have tangled with a few of the concepts i was working with as well! do you have it around somewhere so i can see how it went? or is it actually in production somewhere?

            Regardless, i very much appreciate your willingness to lend a hand! im sure I will take you up on that. Do you happen to have any sort of IM?

            Im trying to figure out a good starting point for this. I bodged together a really unfortunate piece of development which i am hardly proud of, but suits some functionality i guess. But i will most likely scrap it all, i really think the way you have done it - with the sql DB and php is the route i would like to go.

            Im going to leave this here for now, just posing the questions if you have that project online somewhere i can see? and if you have any sort of IM available so i can contact you easier! if not, this will do as well. I guess i can move on from there.

            Cheers Masamune!

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            • 3. Re: ideas needed for colaborative app
              phi2265 Level 1
              I am developing an application for publishing our articles/photos online. I work at a small newspaper.
              As of now, I have everything based in xml and text files. I have an asp script that reads the structure of a driectory and outputs it as xml so that i can use the xml in the flex app. This seems to work pretty well. For the photogallery its just paths to photos, but for the news portion of the app its a path to text files and photos. It all works, I'm just fine-tuning it right now. Let me know if you're interested.
              • 4. Re: ideas needed for colaborative app
                ][odine Level 1
                Hey Phi2265,

                Sounds like a great solution as well! i would be very interested to seeing it in action! let me know if thats possible!

                by the way, i am almost always online on MSN @ (abba_man@hotmail.com)

                Cheers

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                • 5. Re: ideas needed for colaborative app
                  ][odine Level 1
                  Masamune, i have taken another look at what i have setup and am now certain it will require mostly rebuilding (considering im sure its not very streamline by any means as it sits now)

                  http://mattgroth.echointernet.net/test/main.html if you want to see how it looks at the moment. admin/pass to login - then your best bet would be clicking the administrate button lol.

                  So thats where I am at, and i described in the beggining where i need to go, any ideas?

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                  • 6. Re: ideas needed for colaborative app
                    artoix Level 1
                    Vygo,
                    It is definitely very interesting to me what you've developed, since I'm currently working on similar project: backend made with PHP/MySQL, frontend - with Flex.
                    Could I ask in what way you made communication between Flex and server? I considered using WebService, but its becoming a challenge defining all server methods (and there gonna be lots of them) in wsdl file. On this forum I recently asked ( http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/webforums/forum/messageview.cfm?forumid=60&catid=585&threadid =1229199&enterthread=y) for the way of communicating with server w/o wsdl file and was advised to use HTTPService instead. Haven't gave a try yet.
                    So, I'm just interested how others solved similar task. Would appreciate any info.
                    • 7. Re: ideas needed for colaborative app
                      chris.huston.t10 Level 3
                      I made a simple CMS that does what you were asking for, I think. It uses HTTPService to call PHP scripts which then interface with a MySQL database. Have a look here:

                      http://www.mgu.ac.jp/ezine/ezine.html

                      You can login as administrator/publisher with:
                      User: Admin
                      Password: pass

                      or as a Proofer with:
                      User: Proofer
                      Passwrod: pass

                      or as a Writer with
                      User: Writer
                      Password:pass

                      The interface is not overly polished--I mostly focused on getting it functional.
                      New users can register and are automically assigned to be Writers. This role can be changed by an Administrator.
                      The content tab shows a datagrid of the currently selected issue with all the sections and their status. By clicking on a section, it is possible to register to write or proof that section or to simply read it. Images can be uploaded for each section and are displayed in a list. They can also be added to the text of the section by shift-clicking an image name from the list. Ctrl-clicking will delete the image from the server and the list.
                      The Admin tab allows for new issues to be added and for sections to be added to an issue via drag and drop. User roles can also be edited here by selecting the role from the comboBox for a given user.
                      The Publisher tab allows an Administrator to view all of the articles in a selected magazine issue.

                      Let me know if this is something that might be helpful for your project.

                      Vygo
                      • 8. Re: ideas needed for colaborative app
                        ][odine Level 1
                        Masamune - that is, and i mean truely, fantastic! you have done an absolutly stunning job!

                        You took my rediculous over zelous idea and really brought it to a stage i would have been completly unable to do myself! It es near exactly what i was invisioning! To answer your question, may it be useful? hell yes! lol...its damn near perfect!

                        Let me know where we can go from here. Once again...thats amazing!

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                        I did notice a thing or two while browsing - and please do not think i am picking this apart, because trust me, i am on the floor - well chuffed with your work! I just noticed, On the proofer account, the proofed? checkbox stays grey. Also i wonder if i would be possible (for the publisher view) to put a horizontal devider between each section, i noticed the images seem to make it a little squirley. but man...i cant tell you enough how amazed I am...!!!

                        Cheers Masamune