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Does anyone have any experience with this type of thing they would like to share? I'm looking for versatile software that is easy to alter.
If you are looking for a portal, try out phpBB at [phpbb.com...] - this is only the forum part, but it can be manipulated through the use of templates to make it into whatever you want.
Plus, to be honest, most PHPNuke sites look VERY much like one another and blend into mediocrity as soon as they have done loading.
I agree that PHPNuke and Postnuke sites all tend to look the same very fast. The features are very exciting, but very few webmasters have the content to make them work - you end up with the same default templates with insubstantial customizations, and features that don't work. It can be very much like using an elephant to transport feathers. That said, it's a great way to start for someone wanting a dynamic site who does not to spend the time learning PHP or other coding.
Some considerations: how heavy duty of a script will you need. You don't want something hopelessly under powered or over kill either.
I use PHPNuke and for my application it works fine. My requirements were simple, give me a portal package that I could learn and manipulate quickly, that had variety and above all else - I needed to find, choose, download, and get it set up in 2 days (customization included)! I did some research and found PHPNuke mentioned the most and rather than waste additional time researching I went for it. The site is up and running (and I did it 16 hours) and it has served it's purpose.
Would I choose PHPNuke again - probably not. In the process of customizing it's various components I agree with what seems to be the consensus - it's fat (reminds me of another software developer many of us love to hate). Reason for the bloat is the same, trying to accommodate the neophyte.
Next round - after we get our feet under us and let the business plan settle in - I will either build my own or use phpbb. I'd feel better if I built it cause then I'd know it inside and out.
Both the articles and the discussion forums will really need pictures, and a general gallery may be of interest. Member's diaries (sort of blogging I guess) may be another useful feature.
The other feature I want to put on the site is a sort of Yellow Pages directory. I will probably write this mtself because I haven't seen anything like I want, and keep it fairly independent of the community pages, but integrated in appearance etc.
That being said, given what you're looking for, you could probably either cobb something together with scripts from Hotscripts.com (or other) or just write your own.
Best 'O Luck.
The other aspect was the ability to syndicate that content and php offerred both a RSS feed and a javasceript output. But for a more sophisticated person other products might work better.
I have seen a couple of sites done with Moveable type and they have impressed me the most. It might have been the servers but it always seemed very fast.
PHPNuke does have the ability to turn off the modules/blocks you don't want to use. It's relatively easy to modify once you understand how it works.
I have PHPNuke installed on one site I have, and my webhosting has a simple install for it available, but I started to dislike it when I had to alter things. So I was just looking round to see if people have any other preferences.
Since Toolman suggested phpWebSite I've had a look at that. Haven't looked at the underlying code and much customisation yet, but it installed easily and had quite a clean appearance. There was some info about combining it with phpBB that I'll also be looking into.
Let me know how you like phpWebSite and phpBB?