[Typo3] Minute Website

J. Michael Adams jma26 at bigfoot.com
Mon Jun 6 01:14:43 CEST 2005

I'm probably continuing a thread that should die immediately. 

Please excuse the great length of this post. My real motivation for writing it is to thank Kasper and the Typo3 team for this marvelous product. I hope the world can understand what they’ve accomplished and how much they’re appreciated. 

I want to explain how I am learning Typo3 because I think it’s important to show the kind of effort that should be expended to master a serious product like this.

I can understand the frustration of young "or ko" because I've experienced it many times myself. 

Forty years ago I knew nothing about computer programming, but I was hired as a programmer anyway because there was such a desperate need (how times have changed). My new boss dropped a FORTRAN manual and an assignment on my desk and told me I had two weeks to produce a working program (that was a very short time, considering that you had to wait 24 hours to see the result of one compile).

The frustration was intense, but I did it. And that's how I've learned just about everything I've done since then – through determination and frustration. I never had the luxury of Computer Science courses.

Typo3 is the third CMS that I've used this year to produce a test web site. After that experience, I often feel immense gratitude to Kasper et al for the wealth of documentation and tutorials they have provided. I suggest "or ko" try to implement another open-source CMS to see what “missing information” really means. I was directed to Plone, for example, because you can actually buy published reference works from Amazon. Well, I bought and read all three books, but still can’t produce a truly customized site.

“Or ko” might try Plone if he wants to get a simple site up fast. It’s good for that, and will likely impress his clients. But just don’t try to create your own template in Plone. The books include a lot of detail but won’t help you much (they’re written in very good English, however).

If you want to produce a working system, with any CMS, you must put in the proper effort. 

Just as an example of what you might do, let me explain what I did when I decided to learn Typo3.

First I installed Apache, PHP, and mySQL on my laptop. I had never used any of these before, so I had to learn to configure them and make them work. That was surprisingly easy.

I knew nothing of PHP or mySQL, and my CSS was weak at best. So I bought two wonderful books on these subjects from Sitepoint press, and I read them and reproduced all the examples.

Then I approached Typo3. Following Kasper’s advice, I downloaded the Quick Start video and went through it methodically, with the video in one window and Typo3 in another. I reproduced everything that Kasper did as he did it. 

Then I did the same thing with the Modern Template Building video, and I printed out the Modern Template Building manual.

I noticed that the manual had more info than the video, so I re-installed the dummy database and went through the manual page-by-page and did every example. I took the manual with me to bed at night and read myself to sleep. I studied the relevant sections in other manuals whenever they were referenced.

Then I experimented with the MTB template - changing it and adding to it just to see what would happen.

Then I made my own HTML template with Photoshop and Dreamweaver (guess how I learned to use those products). I created a simple site structure in Typo3 and defined a template record and – Presto! – after a mere 6 weeks I had a rough site. 

And, of course, this is only the beginning.  It’ll be at least several more weeks of similar effort before I can have it the way I really want it.

Six weeks may sound like a long time to someone who is anxious to get a site up, but there is another alternative: beat your head against the wall for six weeks and have nothing.

Yes, there were times when I was frustrated, and I even cursed a few times, but these are familiar parts of my learning process. Believe me, the frustrations were much greater with other CMSs. I expect many more frustrations as I continue. Missing information is part of the game, for anything like this -- unless you’re using a proprietary system and paying beaucoup bucks for consultants and classes.

But the forums exist for this problem, and if you ask nicely and understand the etiquette, you will get your answers. Remember, no one is getting paid for the time it takes to answer your questions, and they don’t have to answer.

Maybe I’m way off, and “or ko” did put in this much effort. But from his posts it doesn’t seem like he’s willing to do so.

BTW, I’m astounded that “or ko” didn’t see that the Minute Web Site is a joke, that it’s just Kasper playing around. Did “or ko” actually go into the kitchen and griddle his template?

- Michael.   


> or ko wrote:
> Right...
> 1 Who said use your real name and surname. I didn't see that post. And 
> anyway, incase what happens? It doesn't matter what name I use you 
> will not find out if it is real or not. How about if I use John Smith? 
> Is that ok. Is that my real name or not. Can you tell? It might be you 
> know... Or it might not. Like I said "Incase what happens?".
> 2 How else am I supposed to take that. You do not get to patronise me. 
> I have been working hard and spending a hell of a lot of time on this 
> and yes it hads been driving me nuts and yes I have got frustrated. 
> But actually part of this frustration has been caused by not incorrect 
> information but missing information.
> Am I supposed to just know this stuff? If I don't automatically know 
> this stuff is there something wrong with me. I made some important and 
> valid criticisms and they should be listened to. There is a really bad 
> attitude on the internet that the only way you can produce or submit 
> anything is by having a Phd in everything to do with computers. And 
> that just puts so many off that have so much to offer. This is why I 
> like typo3 - if I can understand it and get it to work I can help 
> other poeple to access the internet more easily and creativly and they 
> won't have to have a Phd in anything.
> BUT I need the information. And some of it isn't there or easy to 
> find. I am having trouble finding out how to get the log in forms to 
> work. I am also having problems getting the guestbook to work. I know 
> how to add new content and I know how to create users and usergroups 
> but I can't get it to work. I have looked through and read extensivly 
> many tutorials and I cannot find out what I am doing wrong. I have 
> just installed the Minute Website and they still don't work which I 
> think means that I am not doing anything wrong I just haven't been 
> told what to do.
> If you look at http://typo3.org/documentation/articles/minute-website/ 
> you would think it was easy but there are many things wrong with this. 
> For example this doesn't make any sence:
> 3. Grab the HTML template and dip it into the fileadmin/templates/ 
> folder
> Like I said in a previous post - what HTML file? It's the one from 
> Modern template building and anyway you need the res and image folder 
> aswell. Doesn't say that though...
> And then just gloss over all the server error problems that came up. 
> If anyone went to that page they would think it was p*** easy to do 
> this. Who’s fault is that?
> I am so willing to put in the hard graft to understand this but the 
> information has to be there for me to learn it. This is something that 
> needs to be addressed.
> 3 Don't take this the wrong way but I looked at your website and your 
> English is crap. Either try harder or give up. :p

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