Thinking about giving up.....

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I've had nothing but trouble with Concrete5 and am thinking about giving up. I'm using v5.7.
This is my first experience with a CMS. (In the past, I've built a simple website by coding directly in HTML/CSS. I'm trying a CMS for my current project so that it can be maintained by a non-programmer.)
I am having to fight with everything in Concrete5 - it's not intuitive. Mind you, I'm not a beginner with computer applications - I'm very comfortable with a wide array of editing interfaces!
I can't find information that I need in the Editor's Guide or the Concrete5 tutorials.
I've posted several questions to the forum and have had some nice, helpful replies. But it's slow going having to stop and post and wait for a reply for every little hurdle I bump into.
I've been working on my website in my spare time for almost a month and I only have one page almost completed. I am fighting with some of the most basic things. The interface seems extremely buggy.
I'm thinking about trying Joomla but don't know if I'll fare better with that. Like I said, this is the first CMS I've tried. I don't know if the others work any better.
Any words of wisdom or encouragement from any of you old pros?

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goodnightfirefly replied on at Permalink Reply
5.6 might be better suited to your needs.

It is the previous version, but it is 'tried and tested' with more documentation and addons/themes available.

Note: 5.6 and 5.7 (concrete5 version 6 and 7 respectively) are different under the hood, themes you have purchased for one are not compatible with the other (unless a developer has updated their theme/addon for 5.7, make sure to use the correct version). There is also no direct upgrade for 5.6 to 5.7, something you should take into consideration.
charmcello replied on at Permalink Reply
Well, I had read that v5.7 was new and buggy when I chose it. But I didn't want to start with a dead-end version that I'd have to completely redo eventually, so I decided to chance it.
But it's worse than I thought.
Does it have anything to do with the browser I'm working in? I started in Safari (out-dated on my Mac); now I'm working in Firefox and it seems to work a little better. Would I have better luck in a different browser?
Maybe I don't have the very latest C5 version. I should check that.
How long do you think we'll have to wait until all the bugs are stomped out? I like the C5 concept and would love to stick with it, but I also need to get this website done ASAP.
goutnet replied on at Permalink Reply
Well, the c5 team is working hard into getting stable.

If you find bugs I would encourage to post a github issue about to let us know about it. It may feel a bit frustrating at first but don't worry things are getting better and better, and if you stick with 5.7, at least it will keep on improving. After all you are one of the 5.7 pioneers :)

As far as it goes, I use Google Chrome, and have very few issues, I guess this might be a better choice, but there again, andrew is a Mac user, so he might be using safari too (I have no ideas).

5.6 has more addons yes, but few addons are submitted to it now, so I guess this situation will change soon. Anyway, 5.7 should be a lot more stable by 5.7.3 (to come soon), and it will be even better with next version, etc…
charmcello replied on at Permalink Reply
OK, total newbie here. How do I post a github issue? And what if I don't know if it's an actual bug or just me not understanding how to do it?
Here are my main issues at the moment (I'm using the Fundamental theme):
1) I can't find any way to edit the footer(s). I've tried everything I could think of, and I couldn't find any documentation for it. I should be able to just highlight the demo text and type over it, but that doesn't work.
2) Once I navigate away from the home page, there's nothing to click to get back to the home page. I would expect to the see "Home" on the Auto-nav panel. I've set my Auto-nav settings to starting at top level. Apparently, "Home" isn't the top level? Also, I want to get submenus that don't show up until one clicks or hovers over one of the items in the main menu. Haven't figured out how to do that yet.
3) I need to an unnumbered, un-bulleted list style. I'm trying to write our address in the Contact page, and it looks like this:
1234 Anywhere Lane

Yourtown, XX 123456


which just looks silly with the double spacing.

4) I'm confused with the multiple headers sections present by default. I've tried to add a graphic to the header sections on pages other than the Home page (the Home page header graphic works), but the graphic doesn't show up when I exit edit mode.

Those are my main issues right now. Any words of wisdom?
bcron replied on at Permalink Reply
you are right. we are also confused with many features.
simple things like adding class is a complicated process of adding it first to the page_theme.
many things do not work. we might switch back to the legacy version.
tallacman replied on at Permalink Reply
I wont build anything with 5.7 for my clients for at least 6 months. The add ons just aren't there.
charmcello replied on at Permalink Reply
I'm wondering if I'd be better off designing the website in v5.6. It may be faster to set it up in v5.6 and then redo it in v5.7 later, than to slog through all the bugs right now. I've hardly been making progress so far. Any thoughts? I do need to get the website up ASAP.
WebcentricLtd replied on at Permalink Reply
for what it's worth I came to Concrete5 with pretty much the same background as you.
But this was a maybe 4 years ago and with version 5.4.

The things that appealed to me most about Concrete5 and made me follow up with it was that it was so easy and intuitive to create themes for it and to add little bits of code where you needed to. It was far easier that Joomla, Drupal or Wordpress.

5.7 is somewhat more difficult conceptually because it is more 'grown-up'. If I'm being totally honest had I started with 5.7 it might have been a different story. Although I must say I've found Joomla, Drupal and even Wordpress just so arcane that I think I would have persevered with C5 because of the client benefits re editing / plugins etc.

I think you'll find 5.6 much more straightforward and it will prepare you for 5.7 when the time arises.

I'd play around with 5.6 for a while and see what you think - it is more straightforward.
JohntheFish replied on at Permalink Reply
Just because 5.7 is new and shiny and clever doesn't make 5.6 obsolete. At the moment and for a while to come, 5.6 is a more mature, more robust, better documented and better supported platform.

Even when all the wrinkles are ironed out of 5.7 and the marketplace catches up a bit, 5.6 still won't be obsolete. Just different.
mesuva replied on at Permalink Reply
Cahueya replied on at Permalink Best Answer Reply
Go and build with 5.6.

There are many add-ons and themes available, massive content about can be found in the forums and like everyone here can tell you something about how to use it.

I am using 5.7 only on a local installation to "get to know it", even though I have not yet experienced any of the bugs described in the forums.

I honestly believe it will take +1 year until version 7 can be really used by laymen, until addons and themes are available in variety, documentation, hints and tutorials are ready to the extend like 5.6 has...

And even after 5.7 is "ready", there is no need to jump for it immedeateley. 5.6 is good and stable, security issues will be taken care of by the vivid community, I am sure about that. I believe 5.7 will grow parallel instead of "replacing" 5.6...

I believe that I will not update some of my sites that quick, some of them maybe never or only when they are "re-done" anyway.

Depending on your needs you can have a website set up and running with 5.6 very quickly.

In my opinion it is a fault to present version 5.7 as "ready to use" on the download page as if it was fully usable just like 5.6... it is just not. And with every day presenting it as the "actual version", more people are trying to start their project with it and fail because of its "not-readyness".

It should still be called a "dev version" or "soon-to-come-but-not-fully-ready" version for who wants to play around but does not need the whole spectrum of addons and themes right now....
JohntheFish replied on at Permalink Reply
yes, the downloads page is misleading. It would be better to present 5.7 and 5.6 side by side, rather than leaving 5.6 below the fold where many newcomers don't even see it.
yellowwheel replied on at Permalink Reply
Wow. I really wish I had read this before, as a CMS newbie, I slogged through making a website with version 7, what proved to be very counter-intuitive process and with little support and resources. Could cry.
Cahueya replied on at Permalink Reply
Sorry :(

If you know what you need in your website, 5.6 can be really quick in getting it on the road. Look into it, if you still have the energy :)
charmcello replied on at Permalink Reply
I'm impressed that you actually finished building the site! To my mind, there are things that just don't work, and I can't figure out how to get around them.
Cahueya replied on at Permalink Reply
Can you be specific about that? Maybe people here can help ...
charmcello replied on at Permalink Reply
That would be great. See my post above which outlines the specific issues I'm having right now: Dec 18, 2014 at 5:58 pm
Nobody's responded to that one yet.
I've pretty much figured out the answers to 2) and 3).
For 2), the theme (Fundamental) doesn't support submenus in the side nav, only in the top nav, which is disappointing. I bought the theme for the navigation features! :(
For 3), I'm guessing I'll just have to go into the HTML/CSS and fix that.
I believe 1) and 4) are actual bugs. I certainly can't get them to work, and it feels like I've tried everything.
Thanks!! :)
Cahueya replied on at Permalink Reply

1) the footer is only editable if there are editable areas in it. If your theme is not designed that way, it cannot be easily changed through the interface. But you can always access your server with FTP and find the „elements“ folder in your theme folder. Make a backup copy of footer.php and apply all the changes you want to have.

2) The „Home“ page is sometimes by default „invisible“ in the top nav. Go visit your sitemap, open „attributes“ of the „Home“ page and check if there is „Do not show in Nav“ checked. Uncheck it and it should be there. (Save & clear Cache)

To add a navigation into a sidebar, all you have to do is dragging it there. Depending on what pages you want to display, you get into the properties of the Nav-Block and change whatever level of your sitemap you want to display. This can sometimes be tricky, depending on how your sitetree is structured.

I suppose you mean "does not support" in means of CSS, that it does not have a nice styling for the vertical nav in the sitemap. I dont know fundamental theme, but this might be, yes. If this is the case, you need to get into the CSS.

There are some nice tutorials for styling the Nav in concrete5 online, I don't know about the classes and IDs in 5.7 Nav, but it should be somehow the same.

3) You could create your own style presets for that, or style it directly in the „Design“ dialog when you click the content.

It would be even better if you style it as a „vcard“, you can do that by inserting the HTML block and add the content wrapped in vcard classes (google it), this will not only give you new opportunities to design, but it helps search engines to actually identify your address better. Look up microformat markup, it is pretty straightforward and „the future“.

4) I don’t know the theme, but some areas can be optimized to display specific blocks and if your image for example it too big, it is not displayed at all.

Thats the case with the foundation theme from formigo in version 5.6, and can be the same. Just check what size the „example“ graphic in the live demo of the theme has and size your logo / image to the same dimensions, this should work.

Hope this helps.
juddc replied on at Permalink Reply
#3 - Use a line break on paragraph text. Shift-return.
yellowwheel replied on at Permalink Reply
My two biggest issues at the moment are firstly that after finishing the site, it looks like absolute garbage on mobile browsers. It's all messed up, things overlapping, navigation doesn't work/drop down at all. I'm feeling pretty dismayed.

Secondly, C5 is so rigid when it comes to placing and resizing boxes/content. I have to constantly guess at and fiddle with the padding and margins (which are limited to only -50) to try and move things around, and that often creates unpredictable and contradictory responses. Something like Wix just lets you click are drag the margins around and I expected C5 to be like this also. It makes things really difficult when I wanted a CMS so that techno-illiterates could edit the site.
Cahueya replied on at Permalink Reply

This depends very much on the theme you are using. Go check out the marketplace for a „responsive theme“, I’d consider paying something to get a „good one“.

Customizing the „responsive behavior“ is much more different for all areas/blocks, that it is to change colors and fonts. So look for a theme that suits your „structural needs“ and don’t be afraid of changing things like colors etc. later - that is rather easy to do.

With that in mind, the „design“ dialog should not be much used after inserting all the blocks.

You should be clear that in „responsiveness“, the structure (margins, paddings) of the areas of a theme are very often „relative“ in percents or „em“ or „rem“ - not very much in pixels.

So when you add a „fixed dimension“ to on of the areas (like margin-left: 50px), this will mess up the whole theme once you scale the viewport (browser window). Do not do this if it can be avoided in any way.

If you need to change the behavior of any of the blocks/contents of the site, apply the changes in percent (relative to the parent container) this is more adequate to responsive design, but the best would be to create a page type that contains all the necessary areas using the original CSS of the theme (bootstrap, foundation …) This is „clean“.

The „box sizes“ are defined in the Theme CSS, it can be changed through concrete5 but thats not how to do it „correctly“ if there are many changes to be done.

Can you attack screenshots on the precise problems?

Hope I can help :)
Hypocrite replied on at Permalink Reply
@Cahueya pretty much nailed it but I would like to add my two cents.

When I was first learning concrete5, I very fast learned that that if you understand HTML and CSS, it is usually much faster and easier to build your own theme than trying to make a ready made theme work like you want.

Compared to other CMS's concrete5 is very friendly for theme developers and you can very quickly turn a static HTML template into a theme. There are many good videos and tutorials at least for 5.6 how to do this. I know 5.7 adds a few extra steps how to make this work but they are still relatively simple. And if you are going to try 5.6, this won't matter.

As Cahueya said, the whole idea behind responsive templates is that they are not pixel based so that they can adjust to different viewports or widths of the device. So basically usually they are constructed so that you have for example 70% for the main content and 30% for the sidebar. Now if you use the Design part of the UI and add for example 50px of margins you get 100% + 50px and that surely messes up every view. I don't think you can easily adjust a ready made themes margins etc. without digging into the CSS and adjusting the values from there. So you would for example need to change 70% -> 65% and 30% -> 35% so make it work.

I am not familiar with how the other system works you mentioned but probably when dragging things around, they do that exact thing. I think you can do the exact same thing in concrete5 if you add a grid layout to an area. That gives you your choice of columns and then you can adjust their widths as you like.
charmcello replied on at Permalink Reply
Thank you, Cahueya and juddc, for your help! I will try your instructions on my website next time I have a chance to work on it.
I really appreciate!
juddc replied on at Permalink Reply
I'm a Safari user. works well for me here on v7+. I launched a brochure-style site last week with 5.7 and other than a few issues here and there, it worked well for me.