Serendipity 1.0 Release Progress

Discussion corner for Developers of Serendipity.
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gizmola
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Post by gizmola » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:19 am

These are of course my opinions, but ones that I think have some validity, as I've been involved with s9y as a user and plugin author since around version .05-06.

First off, I agree heartily that branding is important. The efforts you've made are fantastic. The new wiki/portal/logo looks great, but I'll return to that in a minute.

Branding:
I think you're quite right that branding has been an issue. The biggest and long acknowledged problem is that the name of the product has never fully connected with the branding, nor has an attempt been made to connect it.

Let's look at the definition of the word:
ser·en·dip·i·ty Audio pronunciation of "serendipity" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (srn-dp-t)
n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties

1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.

Not the greatest basis for the actual product, since the design and development of serendipity has been from what I can see quite the opposite. However, we also have this note:

We are indebted to the English author Horace Walpole for the word serendipity, which he coined in one of the 3,000 or more letters on which his literary reputation primarily rests. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that “this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word.” Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of “a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of....”


Perhaps if the product was called "Serendip" there might be a successful deconstruction (Serene-Dip?) or perhaps a new more fitting name is in order? These questions should be pondered before the consideration of whether a fancy new logo actually helps with the original problem.

One thing I do know about branding, is that a good logo scales up and down, and many people (myself included) are concerned that the current atom is far too busy to achieve that scalability.

I also don't know how the phrase "Tell the world" crept in there, but in a world where words are cheap, I tend to think that idea ought to be put up for community review as well.

One of the biggest problems that serendipity has always had is the paucity of documentation, the relatively few and somewhat bland templates, and the difficulty of letting users know which of the many plugins do what, and how and when to use them to accomplish what goals. No doubt that this is because so many of us are programmers, we don't mind messing around with plugins, and looking at source code.

Lately the themes issue has been improved a great deal thanks to the efforts of the theme contributors. We finally have http://themes.s9y.org! A great and necessary step that will continue to help boost visibility, and sell serendipity to the people that are looking at the window dressing.

However, from what I can see, the main reason that serendipity has thrived is the developer focus. The core group and the plugin developers have brought s9y.org a long way, and when I argue to people that it's a great blog, my arguments are almost always technical, and often involve pointing out the people from the php community who have been involved with the project, and the people who use it.

What else could be/should be done? A plugin developer portal at http://plugins.s9y.org to match http://themes.s9y.org/ would really help sell it, if my experience with mambo and joomla are any indication. I don't see Serendipity being able to compete with Wordpress or MT etc. without promoting it on its merits, which have always been features & architecture. Those that could care less will now have the pretty pictures and gallery of themes to choose from.

I said I'd return to the logo, so here goes. I agree with many of the other respondents that the atom logo is just too big. For comparison, I've included a bunch of competition logos/mastheads, and threw in a few cms logos for fun. People should definately keep the mambo and joomla logos in mind although I've left them off, as they were already linked to previously (or at least Joomla was).

While I appreciate that a consensus of the "core devs" was obtained, I'm left wondering what the purpose of soliciting input from the community is when the message you're receiving is that the new logo, while a vast improvement over the coffee cup, could still use some work?

Image

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snafu
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Post by snafu » Thu Apr 13, 2006 7:48 am

good morning folks, having easter holidays i spent some time for an extra try in reducing the s9y atom logo, please have a look at this one:

Image

i think it is a bit more "crisp" :-)

carl_galloway
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Post by carl_galloway » Thu Apr 13, 2006 9:00 am

Serendipity has had a long tradition of being beta software, and we are about ready to launch version one, very closely followed by version 1.1 with many more user features. As gizmola rightly says, the entire project is known for its developer community which still maintains a personal connection with the userbase. Some of the other packages mentioned have reached the stage where they are no longer developed in this manner, in fact a couple that I can think of seem to have embraced a commercial aspect.

I don't consider myself a developer, I have no knowledge of PHP, and I'm not even a designer. In my professional life I am now a lifecoach, but my background is in senior management. I have a great deal of respect for the developer community who have brought Serendipity as far as its come, but guys you've produced something that average people want to use, and when a stable version one is announced I believe it will open the floodgates of new users, most of whom are likely to be average mom and dad types. Most will care very little about the way we market the product but they will need to see a consistent look and feel and have something to identify Serendipity with.

The logo that Dave has produced is currently the most professional looking logo to have been presented, it won't embarass us. If there are any designers haunting these forums who are able to do better I'd say they are running out of time to show us something, and may I add that this process has been ongoing since March of last year. At some point a line in the sand needs to be drawn. Version one is ready to go, it just needs the green light.

Finally, once a stable version one has been released it is likely that the global web development community will start to notice Serendipity and then the theme selection will no doubt improve to the same level as many of our competing packages. I've been talking to a few of the designers who consistenly win awards and from what they've seen of Serendipity they tell me they're impressed. They are however waiting for version 1.1 before committing any designs.

The line in the sand has now been drawn, and if we delay too much longer then all the publicity and excitement about Serendipity that some of us have been generating recently will be lost.

Carl

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snafu
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Post by snafu » Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:48 am

never mind to reject my logo samples, i just love to play around with pixels and vectors. all the more as i do not know the internal discussion process ...

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garvinhicking
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Post by garvinhicking » Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:54 pm

Snafu: Many thanks for your logo! I am really glad of people like you just playing around and trying to help. This is VERY much appreciated!

Actually it's not a matter of "rejection" or of dislike, but just as Carl mentions, the logo issue has been worked on for nearly a year now with no apparent progress, so we are at a stage where Davids logo has been pretty much accepted by most people, and that the general direction is well with it. To get on with the release, we really need to stick with that logo now.

So it's not a decision against your logo works, but more a decision for using david's logo, on which we have now had a basic positiv feedback.

I hope you don'T mind, and I hope we will be able to use your help on graphics and stuff on themes, templates and other improvement works in the future?

Best regards,
Garvin
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snafu
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Post by snafu » Thu Apr 13, 2006 3:25 pm

i don't mind at all, i stomped in here, posted around my stuff and ignored all things before...:-)

no, to be serious, if there is work to do, maybe to find a color scheme together or to have something like a corporate identity in future, i would be happy to join this thread and help, if i can...

i just wanted to add my two cents for this project, as i use serendipity with lot of appreciation.

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Post by carl_galloway » Thu Apr 13, 2006 7:11 pm

snafu, please accept my apologies, I've read my post again and it seems a little heavy, I hope I haven't caused any offense. I actually do respect your design work, I particularly liked your first attempt, the cartoonish look, and I would love to see something like that developed as a children's theme for parents who want to give their kids a blog.

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Don't Like the Logo

Post by TKS » Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:24 am

Heya Everyone.


Feedback on the logo: Not that great...don't really like it at all. No offense, but two blogs that have recognizable logos come to mind. The first is Nucleus CMS and the other is BlogCMS. Both of their logos are the simplistic approach that s9y needs.

http://nucleuscms.org/
http://blogcms.com/

The only other thing you need to do in order to attract a butload of people (besides improve the webpage) is to have one set of theming/skinnning/templating docs that are clear, concise, and easy to follow and readily available on the front page. The ability to template is the main reason people choose wordpress...there are so many themes available they can get one they like and pick it apart a bit. Wouldn't it be great if theming were so easy and spelled out for you that you only had to read for about 10 minutes and you're set?

Make things that easy for people and s9y will flourish...more templates means more people in the blogosphere.

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garvinhicking
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Re: Don't Like the Logo

Post by garvinhicking » Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:54 am

TKS:

Exactly, we need documentation. A lot of that. Would you like to help? The wiki is free-editable on many errors. We just need the help of the community. :-)

About the logo: Well, we'll never get full agreement from everyone. I for one really dislike both the Nucelus and Blogcms logos. They both are so very boring and nonsensical to me, I'd never like to have that for Serendipity. But that's personal preference, so it'S really hard to make it right for everyone.

I think with the new look, s9y will attract a much larger community, and then the people can help us to improve the documentation. Technically, s9y has IMHO the nicer templating options than WP.

Best regards,
Garvin
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Josh
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Thank you for all your hard work

Post by Josh » Sat Apr 15, 2006 8:35 pm

I am sorry I can't contribut due to lack of knowledge (and time), but I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate all your work and dedication and committment very much!

You folks know what you are talking about, great, kind and creative! Keep up the good work!

S9Y rocks!

doolang
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Swish Logo

Post by doolang » Sun Apr 16, 2006 8:41 pm

Not to undermine the efforts of its creator.
To me the arrows are dispersive, they go off in every direction. That's actually confusing because too many choices are presented.
The atom is scientific and technical and cold and signifies to average people that this is beyond my comprehension.

Serendipity is supposed to be Simple and Magical, Effortless like the wave of a wand.

Perhaps a simple "S" swish of a wand making an "S" shaped trail of stars against a twilight gradient background.
:)

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Post by stm999999999 » Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:51 pm

another example of mini-sized logos used in a offline-blog-editor:

http://www.wbloggar.com/images/wb-tools.png on http://www.wbloggar.com/

I think, the new s9y-logo must fit in these.
Ciao, Stephan

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Post by carl_galloway » Sun Apr 23, 2006 7:57 pm

That's a great looking tool, and you're right that maybe our logo should be able to work in situations like these.

Then I thought a little harder about it and Serendipity is evolving so quickly at the moment, and probably will continue to do for the next year, so if w.bloggar was to support Serendipity it might break when users update the version of Serendipity. Garvin knows more about our database, and might disagree with me, but quite a few of the latest nightlies have required a db update so we would have to slow down our release cycle for users to get much benefit from software like w.bloggar. And even though I think a stable 1.1 is going to be the pinnacle of current Serendipity development, I'd hate to think that a stable 1.5 or 2.0 would be delayed by several months so that software like w.bloggar could catch up

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garvinhicking
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Post by garvinhicking » Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:01 pm

Carl: I'm sorry to hop in, but w.bloggar is just an XML-RPC editing tools. XML-RPC is a free API that serendipity also implements with the help of a plugin. So all changes made to serendpity should never affect that API working. If anything breaks the API, it's a bug - and it should always be doable to not break this. :-))

Of course, any XML-RPC tool can not give you the flexibility than using serendipity itself. For example all extended properties of an entry cannot be maintained usin XML-RPC editors.

So actually we support w.bloggar since aboug 2.5 years now ;)

BTW, I do think David's latest favicon would work well in w.bloggar :)

Regards,
Garvin
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oxygenws
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Post by oxygenws » Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:03 pm

hahaha, i'm new to this topic.... let's play :D

first collection :P
12 simple and similar logos!!
colors and dimensions are not important here...
logotypes are not included. (ah, these are my works for 20-30 minutes!! really you want logotype too?!!)

Image

waiting for your sugestions.
My Blog, powered by s9y is http://oxygenws.com/blog/

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