Hey Guys & Gals,

I hope that this post gets as much attention as possible. I've been discussing with Nicholas, and will most likely try to run a 'migration' operation of the Symphony website to Factory. I know that this will be a mammoth effort, to an extent considering the amount of information/data that we have currently on the website and it is long overdue (factory was done in 2012)

I think the below are the main issues we need to cater for:

  1. Unified Login. I think the proposed way of having an 'auth' section should work fine and that takes the login away from the main site to do it via API. It would also allow sign-in using github and linking of github with a members login. A feature which I think can be used elsewhere.
  2. Forum & Gitter (chat). Gitter has been a recent addition and not taken care of in Factory. This has seen a lot of day-to-day discussions moved there. The forum also requires someone managing it. Is it something that the community would still like to operate? In addition to that I'd think that it would be nice if we can in some way give access to gitter chat history from the same component of the forums. Maybe via a separate 'chat' single forum section, which is potentially connected via api. This would make chats searchable if not organised...
  3. Symphony Blog - seems like the blog has become an 'overkill and underused' do we still want to keep the blog or rather just use it to notify version releases? As the latter can be automated via github API. We still have articles in the documentation (see below) 4.Documentation - the most important component is kind of half way currently residing on github and with some much needed love. It contains a book. The major missing component here is the API, which still resides on the current site. I believe with a little bit of love we can take this out-of github into a sub-section/subdomain of symphony and kill the current learn section. (linking it to the docs)

I suggest that we will start with taking out the documentation off the current site and moving it to as a first step. The community can then send pull requests to anything which is within the docs github repository. And this would ensure that we have no two sections providing overlapping information. I'd appreciate feedback on the above and if you have any tips/hints or anything. But I think doing the migration is a necessary step, and my plan is to have it the process started in summer and built with Symphony 3.0

As I think a well-organized, focused and good-documented ecosystem that avoids redundancy wherever possible would be a huge win for Symphony I'd definitively support the idea of rethinking what should be and which content would be better off elsewhere.

I already posted a longer statement regarding this a few months ago (will copy&paste below as I'm in a hurry), but I'd like to add a few short thoughts to what I wrote back then:

1) Extensions

  • Should be completely removed from
  • Apart from the github-cosmos should become the one and only "official resource" for symphony extensions.
  • We recently set up "Symphony Extensions Network" which aims to become "the central place for discussing, organizing and optimizing the Symphony CMS extensions ecosystem" - the repo is just in its infancy and has a long way to go, but it should help getting this task done properly.

2) Forum & Chat

  • The forum contains lots of knowledge about Symphony that is found nowhere else and I personally see the current focus on Gitter as the main communication channel for active Symphony developers rather sceptical - it feels like a lot of newer information, tips & knowledge gets "lost" over there instead of becoming somehow "documented and searchable" in the forum.
  • So as long as a chat-solution isn't as well structured and searchable (at least via google) as the forum I'm all against removing the forum in favor of an "official supported chat".

3) Factory

  • I must admit that I'm not the biggest fan of the factory framework. I like lots of the ideas behind it, but In my eyes it looks like beeing made in 2012 (which it is ;) - a little bit to thin, a little bit so small, a little bit to "cute".
  • But I do think it could be a great base to built upon and maybe it's possible to work on "Factory 2.0" while starting to restructure and rethink

4) Documentation

"I suggest that we will start with taking out the documentation off the current site and moving it to as a first step. The community can then send pull requests to anything which is within the docs github repository. And this would ensure that we have no two sections providing overlapping information."

  • I'm all for that and would also vote for this as the perfect first step to getting started (alongside working on a better extension ecosystem).
  • Maybe it would be helpful to ask the guys who already worked on transferring content to github about the state of their efforts (and maybe also rejoining the operation).
  • Just like should become the one place for extensions the general aim regarding documentation should be to promote and maintain as the one and only "official resource" for symphony documentation.
  • could also become the first place where an updated factory-framework could be implemented, tested and improved. Just throwing th content won't be enough - compare this and that.

That's it for now - have to hurry, so here is a copy of my recent post I mentioned above.

Regarding I must admit, that though the website looks outdated and quite obsolete/overambitious in certain parts, I assume that it still does a pretty good job in giving interested folks (potential new users (may them be rare)) the best insights and information about the project that are currently available.

And while I think most parts of might as well (or even better) be managed elsewhere, loosing the forum - as a starting point for beginners, a place for posting symphony related things without knowing/caring about the deeper infrastructure of the project and, maybe even more, as a huge archive of symphony knowledge - would be quite a big loss in my eyes.

In addition to that loosing the "main website" not only won't help in trying to gain/help new adopters, but also might reduce trust in Symphony by potential clients that one tries to convince to rely on Symphony as codebase for a project.

So what about not giving up as a whole, but stripping it down to it's minimal "core needs" (maybe complemented by a fresh & simple "repaint").

Without any claim to be exhaustive this is what comes to mind when thinking about the most basic needs of such a reduced set of content/features:

  • Home (One page, looking good, showing off, selling the main idea & trying
  • About/Features (One single page promoting Symphony's core principles and features)
  • Forum (Wouldn't need to change much - apart from the search feature maybe)
  • Download/Resources (One single page for promoting the latest version + an overwiew of all outsourced resources)
  • FAQ (Could be reduced and should not try to act like documentation/tutorial-stuff - but some basic answers and a simple "where to find what" would be very helpful for beginners)

Some kind of "News/Blog" feature would surely be nice, but not as long as nothing is written ;)

Extensions and issues already have been completely outsourced. If this could be achived with all the deeper knowledge (documentation, api, tutorials, articles, etc. ) and the more obsolete/outdated parts like ensembles, showcase, hosts, testimonials, members, etc. were dropped we would remain with a simple set of mostly static content that would be a lot easier to maintain (and style/redesign) than the current all-inclusive-version of the website.

And thanks for taking action Jonathan :)

Re Symphony Extensions I agree it should be it's own thing. But not sure if we want to keep it as a separate site or a subdomain to consolidate eg and are both ways of going about it, but yes there should not be a way to post extensions elsewhere in my opinion.

it feels like a lot of newer information, tips & knowledge gets "lost" over there instead of becoming somehow "documented and searchable" in the forum.

This is why I think that we can maybe have a 'chat' section within the Forum which pulls up data from Gitter. and then we can possibly make it searchable too. My 'issue' with Gitter is I'm not sure if/how we can group discussions and move them in the appropriate sections.

Another plausible idea is that anything on the forums would be posted on Gitter, and we'd have some special syntax to reply back to issues etc. Logging them into the right place, since gitter has been around I've kind-of abandoned the forum because i notice gitter issues whilst I don't get notified of Forum posts (no other reason really)

I'm doing this for 3 main reasons

  1. I love symphony and use it pretty much exclusively for new projects.
  2. I believe we can make the learning part much easier.
  3. Invigorating the community, having this happen might awaken the dormant members

I know there is a lot of knowledge, and I'm aware that I'm one who probably has a lot to share at this point in regards to possible workflows, extensions and learning symphony. I've been doing it recently with a guy I've hired and it seemed like the learning curve wasn't that hard as most think it is. But maybe that's because he's had support of someone who's pretty familiar with things.

But I do think it could be a great base to built upon and maybe it's possible to work on "Factory 2.0"

A Factory 2.0 I am assuming in-terms of styling, I'm not sure I'd have the resources to go into that too. And to be fair I don't have a super-experienced designer with me. If the community is willing to provide suggestions all well and good. My guess that you're mainly talking about CSS related changes, which could be implemented after the 'migration' is done. Considering we've had this site for as long as I remember... having a 2012 version is already a good step up. At least anyone coming across symphony won't think it's a very 'old' tech.

This will need dictatorship in order to get done. All the endless democratic discussions in the past led nowhere. If Jon is willing to take leadership for this one I’m happy to trust him.

(I wouldn’t ask for dictatorship in politics though ;·)

@animaux, that's the plan.

  1. I see what feedback there is
  2. Take a position - check in with Nicholas and move forward

But at least I'd have involved the community to an extent of what the idea is.

@gunglien Make it so!

Finally! there is light at the end of that endless tunnel. Great to see someone picking this one up again. The Factory project was an exciting prospect at the time. It would definitely be a shame to see it fall to the way side and left for dust. If Jon is willing to take the reigns and there's a core team of helpers on hand, let's pool our efforts and make it so.

If you need to delegate any tasks my way, I'd be happy to help where I can.

Go Team!

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