An Article About the Export Ensemble Extension

I was surprised that people at the Symposium in Germany were completely unaware of the work I've done to try to improve the Export Ensemble extension. So to publicly announce that I have assumed ownership of the extension with Alistair's departure, I have created an article: Symphony CMS: the Export Ensemble Extension. This is not to say that I want to be solely responsible for the extension, but that I saw some holes that needed to be filled, and since no one else was picking up the work, I felt this was an area where I could contribute.

If anyone has other suggestions about how to make the extension better, please let me know, or even better, just go ahead and add your own improvements and submit a pull request on the official extension repository.

Documenting the Process for Creating Ensembles

The article is a prelude to first documenting my process for creating ensembles, as a recommendation for a standard approach to building ensembles (which differs slightly from designermonkey's A Symphony Workflow).

The Default Symphony Ensemble

Based on the decisions we made at the Symposium, I'd like to move ahead with creating an ensemble to replace the default ensemble to be included in the official Symphony download and to replace the default workspace.

Bare Bones Ensembles

Next, the plan is to build bare bones ensembles to complement the default workspace, so we will end up with the following basic ensembles:

  • Blog
  • Gallery
  • Products

Developer Ensembles

This is what I'm most excited about: the possibility of creating a library of ensembles that provide examples of more specific use cases for Symphony, providing the templates and collections of extensions that demonstrate how to craft more complex sites.

Community Contributed Ensembles

Soon after our first Symposium, GitHub add the organizations feature. I reserved the builders organization for the possibility of creating a group of Symphony designers and developers who would be able to collaborate on community contributed ensembles, which would include the redesign for the Symphony CMS site.

This organization will be distinct from the symphonists organization, which is now reserved for community curated extensions, where the original extension developer is no longer actively developing the code. The code may still deserve a place in the Symphony extension library, so the community needs to take over the responsibility of maintaining the code.

Anyone who would be interested in helping to build these ensembles, please let me know, and I can add you to the builders organization on GitHub.

I've also created an organization called 'symphony-dev' which I will use for the Symphony Development Network (work in progress). Perhaps we should merge these two organizations, because they seem to aim at the same target group?

Very nice Stephen, I confirm I'd gladly help with the default ensembles :)

@remie, I'm pretty excited about the work that you are doing to build a Symphony Development Network. Perhaps we should merge the organizations. Some discussion at the Symposium led to the idea of using the existing GitHub organizations as a way of organizing collaboration: symphonists for extensions and builders for ensembles. But I'm open to whatever works for the community. I'd love to hear more about what you're up to, Remie :-)

@alpacaaa, thanks for offering to help! You're already a part of the builders organization, just not publicized yet. Feel free to publicize your own user for the organization.

2nd on the default Ensemble front where help is needed!

I think a Multilingual Ensembe could be useful too.

@guillem_l, that's a very good idea! Perhaps @klaftertief would be able to provide some expertise in that area.

It looks like @moonoo2 should also have some expertise in that area.

I am just starting to get into github, which seems to be essential for contributing in symphony development. besides that i am pretty busy at the moment. Once i set up a confident git workflow and have some time left i am really motivated to help out ensemble development. I will keep my eye on current states and try to contribute if i can...

@bauhouse, does the current Export Ensemble Extension, deal with the .htaccess additions that multilingual setup would have in place? i.e language-redirect .htaccess rules?

Just thinking, that if a Multilingual Ensemble is created, there would either need to be some explanation in a readme for the .htaccess stuff or that the provision is catered for in the Export Ensemble in the first place maybe? thoughts anyone?

P.S Yes, Multilingual makes up 90% of the sites we build at work, so happy to contribute on the Multi Language Ensemble front. Would be good to discuss what sort of ensemble to build for Multilanguage too? i.e Portfolio, Blog etc.. these would possible need different approaches... blog for instance might just use a language select box approach like Jonas showed at the Symposium, wheras a corporate site, might use the whole Language Redirect, Multilingual Field and PageL Handles for every instance of an Entry and page.

@moonoo2, the Export Ensemble extension has no control over writing the .htaccess file. See my extended response with more information about how the .htaccess file is generated by the Symphony installer.

Builders Collective

@remie, @alpacaaa, @moonoo2, @guillem_l and @Cremol: I have added you all to the builders organization on GitHub. You just have to publicize membership to officially join the organization. (Or let me know if you'd like to be removed.)


It would be good to discuss some goals for the default ensemble and other community contributed ensembles. Perhaps we should start a thread for each. Or we could discuss what works best as a communication tool for collaboration.


Ideally, I would want to keep communication open to everyone who is interested and keep it tracked on this forum. But we might want to experiment with what works best for longer, more focused discussions (IRC, TalkerApp, Google+, etc).

Or should we follow the lead of the core developers and keep all communication in GitHub? This would then assume that anyone who wants to contribute needs to be Git-literate and have a GitHub account. The advantage would be that there are email notifications for communications in GitHub, but on this forum, we are still waiting for a notifications feature to be added.

A Builders Forum

Another option is to create an ensemble for the community to use for communication that goes beyond the bounds of the Symphony forum. I don't necessarily want to start splitting the community by adding yet another tool for communication, but there are limitations to what can and should be discussed on the Symphony forum and what we could create as a more open forum for discussion of all topics that are outside the Symphony forum guidelines (specifically, the bonus guideline: number 4).

I've been wanting to open source the site and intranet that our agency has been using, so I'll see if I can strip it of all design and proprietary data so we can use it as a starting point for a Builders Collective ensemble. Plus, it can be a sort of staging area for all sorts of features that we might like for the Symphony site when it is redesigned.

I don't know what you mean by publicizing membership but, anyway, I'm doing that right now (whatever it is) so that I can be considered part of the team right? :D

I like the idea of having a separate place where we can discuss things that don't necessarly belong to this forum, the only requirement would be to put up something working quickly so that we don't waste our time building the infrastructure needed to actually build the ensembles.

Keeping the discussions on github sounds fine by me.
I think github is the place for discussing and collective devellopment.
It will be a good exercise for me to get into the git-workflow and i think most of the members are comfortable with git. Creating a special builders forum might be a good idea, but besides of the fact that it needs to be created first what are the limitations compared with github?
We could open a special thread on the symphony forum that contain links to the discussions on github and special announcements. But keeping the main discussions on github?
Just some thoughts...

Github for conversations cool with me! Excited now.

@alpacaaa, when I am logged in to GitHub and I go to the builders organization main page, there is a list of Repositories on the left and Organization Members on the right. I think if you are a member, you might be able to see your username in the list of Organization Members, but it is greyed out until you click the "publicize membership" button beside your username. I have created a team called the Collective for the organization members, which have push, pull and administrative access to the organization. (I am currently the only one in the Owners team.) It looks like I can, as the organization owner, click on the button to "publicize membership", but I wanted to leave that to each member to decide for themselves.

Oh what a noob I am :D I've clicked da button but nothing happens, will try later.

Hmm. You're right. I just tried clicking on it and nothing happened for me either. Must be a GitHub bug.

I just sent a support message to GitHub about the issue.

Hmm, so it wasn't just me... :)

I think it works for me... I'm a builder!! :D

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