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Status update: IMC CMS and short-term plans for Samizdat

From: Dmitry Borodaenko
Subject: Status update: IMC CMS and short-term plans for Samizdat
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 00:16:30 +0100


The IMC techs once again decided to do something about the situation
with Indymedia codebases. The results of the previous attempt in 2002
inspired me to start development of Samizdat. This time, this push for
better codebase gives me incentive to move Samizdat forward.

Samizdat has come a long way since 2002, here is a quick sketch of
where it stands now with regards to the features needed for new
Indymedia CMS (see details at the above link).


yes # anonymous open publishing
not yet # distributed content storage
yes for uploads, not yet for messages (only at DB level)
yes/no (out yes, in not yet) # syndication -out/in
? # search
plenty of: RDF search in addition to (dumb and slow) full-text search
? # ability to create multiple instances
yes, easily
yes # multimedia handling
yes # categories
yes # good performence on affordable hardware
yes # customisability
yes # internationalisation / translation
yes # comments
?  # anti-abuse measures
no captcha, no spam filter
yes # easy moderation
not yet # calendar
yes # features
yes # documentation
no # send article to a friend
? # scaling
Easily clusterizable: uploads can be on a different machine with some
mod_rewrite magic, DRb takes care of syncronization between multiple
cgi servers.


  * User logins (network wide)
yes (not network wide, could be done jabber-style)
  * access controls - more sophisticated permissions system
yes (site&role wide only - not per resource or individual user)
  * notify moderator button
no (trivial to add)
  * user moderation - open editing
  * profile: - list of articles by user; - re-edit articles, my space
yes/no (article by user, re-edit, no friends yet - designed, but not
  * pod/vodcasting - site wide, by topic/tag and by user
no (can be added as smarter audio/video syndication)
  * redundancy (DB content storage)
yes (uploads mirrored with wget, the rest on PostgreSQL level)
  * version control
  * user notifications (feedback form to contact contributors)
no (easy to add - user mailing is implemented via sendmail)
  * customisable skins by user
yes (CSS only)
  * accessability 0 xhtml validation
  * gis
  * licensing options
  * image manipulation
no (not yet)
  * p2p integration
yes/no (can publish BitTorrent trackers, P2P hooks ready)
  * wysiwyg
no (easy to add)
  * tagging: -search notification; - inc. ability to moderate
yes (same as open editing?)
  * anti-bot systems like captchas
no (easy to add)
  * easier installation
no (in progress)
  * cross site search
  * i'd like to see very, very easy to use api's exposed to the world
    at every level of content
yes (RDF)

While Samizdat covers a lot, many important features a missing, and
most of them can be added without big changes to the architecture. So
here is the roadmap for the next few weeks:

- bug: fix for current libgettext-ruby
- install: setup running default site
- security: block external images (via xhtml.yaml)
- doc: update docs, unit tests

I plan to finish this today or in the worst case tomorrow. Once done,
I will finally release the long-overdue Samizdat 0.6.0, and upload a
package of it to Debian/unstable.

- security: notify moderator button
- security: captcha
- security: spam filter
- bug: supplement published date with modified date
- ui: inform guest users that they can't edit even open-for-all messages
- ui: show file size in non-inline messages

This stuff can be done within this week (including weekend). What will
help me do that is 1) pointers to some ready captcha (or the like)
modules and web-ready spam filters for Ruby; and 2) help with testing,
pointing out bugs, and keeping translations up to date.

- design: get rid of remains of built-in focuses
- feature: wysiwig HTML editor
- feature: image manipulation (thumbnailing, galleries)
- feature: user notifications (research existing mailers)
- bug: fix translations (?)
- speed: mark-and-sweep in cache
- ui: show nested comments
- feature: import RSS feeds (filtered syndication of blogosphere)
- feature: pod/vodcasting
- install: research PostgreSQL clustering
- install: restart Apache in postinst
- bug: catch and report db connect timeout error
- bug: reproduce and fix boud's Sanitize issue

All this is a more difficult or lower priority work, I'm not going to
start on it until I finish with the previous two batches. I would be
really appreciate if someone could pick up one or two of these tasks,
the ones marked as features and ui are more easy marks as they are
relatively straight-forward and can be done without deep knowledge of
Samizdat internals.

Now let's see how much I can before Sunday and how much help I can get.

Dmitry Borodaenko

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