Is PivotX Suitable For A Middle School Student Newspaper?

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Is PivotX Suitable For A Middle School Student Newspaper?

Postby luke_seubert » Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:37 pm

Good day everybody.

I am helping a middle school teacher friend of mine set up an online student newspaper. PivotX is one of the CMS's under consideration. I have already qualified PivotX as meeting requirements with respect to freedom, small codebase, documentation, multiple users and administrators, GUI administration, themes, and plugins. I have also set up an active test site on a spare account for further exploration.

However, this online student newspaper project will have some unique requirements. Does PivotX meet the following needs?

Security and Privacy
- All newly written content must remain in unseen draft form until approved and published by administrator
- Users should never be able to read each other's unpublished, draft content
- Anybody outside the school community is blocked from contacting students in any way through the website

Versioning
- Need to be able to undo changes and revert to a previous version

Bliki Capabilties
- Need for both dynamic and static pages
- Need blog capability for frequently updated content, such as News, Reviews, etc.
- Need primitive wiki capability for static pages, so multiple users can collaboratively edit content

Thank you for your assistance,
Luke Seubert
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Re: Is PivotX Suitable For A Middle School Student Newspaper

Postby hansfn » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:47 pm

Thx for considering PivotX.

Short answer: No, PivotX doesn't meet all of your needs. (Will expand my reply in some minutes.)
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Re: Is PivotX Suitable For A Middle School Student Newspaper

Postby luke_seubert » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:32 pm

hansfn wrote:Thx for considering PivotX.

Short answer: No, PivotX doesn't meet all of your needs. (Will expand my reply in some minutes.)


hansfn, thanks for your reply. I appreciate your prompt response. I am sorry to hear that PivotX doesn't meet the requirements - I like it since I have been experimenting with it. If you find the time, could you let me know more details? Thank you.

Cheers,
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Re: Is PivotX Suitable For A Middle School Student Newspaper

Postby hansfn » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:25 am

Security and Privacy
- All newly written content must remain in unseen draft form until approved and published by administrator

This can be accomplished by clever use of categories, but it's not a standard feature.
- Users should never be able to read each other's unpublished, draft content

This can be accomplished by writing a small extension. Correction: This can be done using the (hidden) "show_only_own_userlevel" setting as pointed out by Marza in a reply below.
- Anybody outside the school community is blocked from contacting students in any way through the website

This is OK - PivotX doesn't offer any means to send messages.

Versioning
- Need to be able to undo changes and revert to a previous version

This is the biggest problem. PivotX doesn't support revisions. It's a feature we very much would like to add, but it hasn't happened yet.

Bliki Capabilties
- Need for both dynamic and static pages

All pages in PivotX are dynamic - generated on the fly using PHP and a database. (There is a built-in cache to handle high loads.) Not sure what you mean with a static page.
- Need blog capability for frequently updated content, such as News, Reviews, etc.

This is the core feature of PivotX - it was a blogging engine before it turned into a more general (light) CMS.
- Need primitive wiki capability for static pages, so multiple users can collaboratively edit content

This isn't supported.
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Re: Is PivotX Suitable For A Middle School Student Newspaper

Postby luke_seubert » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:40 am

hansfn wrote:Versioning
- Need to be able to undo changes and revert to a previous version

This is the biggest problem. PivotX doesn't support revisions. It's a feature we very much would like to add, but it hasn't happened yet.

Ah, that's too bad. Yeah, I really need versioning capability, in case something gets past the moderators and gets published, and later need to be backed out and reverted to an earlier form.

hansfn wrote:Bliki Capabilties
- Need for both dynamic and static pages

All pages in PivotX are dynamic - generated on the fly using PHP and a database. (There is a built-in cache to handle high loads.) Not sure what you mean with a static page.
- Need blog capability for frequently updated content, such as News, Reviews, etc.

This is the core feature of PivotX - it was a blogging engine before it turned into a more general (light) CMS.
- Need primitive wiki capability for static pages, so multiple users can collaboratively edit content

This isn't supported.

My apologies for in confusing language. By static, I meant infrequently changed articles - the wiki articles. By dynamic, I meant the blog pages - News, Reviews, etc. These would be the more actively posted, changed, and commented pages. Alas, as you point out, the wiki capability isn't there.

Anyway, thank you very much for taking the time to consider my specifications and letting me know in greater detail about PivotX's capabilities.
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Re: Is PivotX Suitable For A Middle School Student Newspaper

Postby Marza » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:18 pm

Just a few thoughts, that may make PivotX a workable solution:

hansfn wrote:
- Users should never be able to read each other's unpublished, draft content

This can be accomplished by writing a small extension.


This is already possible by adding 'show_only_own_userlevel ' to the configuration.

hansfn wrote:
- All newly written content must remain in unseen draft form until approved and published by administrator

This can be accomplished by clever use of categories, but it's not a standard feature.


It is possible to set the default post status to 'hold'. So if you can trust students not to change that into 'publish', it will be doable.
Another option might be to hide the 'publish' and 'publish on' options from a certain urse level by means of css. At least I expect this can be done with css.

As for the version capability, you could figure out a system in which articles are first published in a special (not public) category. The rss feed of this category could than be used for backup of the original version.
It wouldn't allow one click reversal, and wouldn't cover later edits. But if backup of originals is the main goal, and a little extra work for administrators in rare occassions reversal is needed, is not a problem, it could work.

As for the wiki part: you could install a simple wiki on a separate subdomain, to function side by side with PivotX.
Or, if full wiki functionality is not important, and edits don't have to be visible instantly, you could work out a system in which students can suggest changes in the form of comments, after which administrators will have to do the actual editing. Those comments can either be shown, or hidden if you use a specific category and separate template for wiki-like entries.
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Re: Is PivotX Suitable For A Middle School Student Newspaper

Postby Schop » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:37 pm

Off topic: That would be a really awesome newspaper for a middle school. My daughter still brings home newspapers made with MS Clip-Art and Comic Sans!
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Re: Is PivotX Suitable For A Middle School Student Newspaper

Postby hansfn » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:45 pm

Marza, thx for standing up for PivotX.

I just wanted to confirm that you are correct regarding "'show_only_own_userlevel" (which is documented here). This setting will hide other users entries from the overview lists. In a security perspective you could imagine users trying to guess entry IDs for entries written by other users, but that attack vector fails because you by default can't edited or view unpublished entries by other users. So, it seems PivotX actually fulfills the "Users should never be able to read each other's unpublished, draft content" requirement after all :D
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