Site Builder for Direct Admin

magixman

Verified User
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
41
Dear Direct Admin Users,

I wanted to alert you to a new site builder designed specifically for web hosts and that supports Direct Admin. It is called siteZen. If you are considering a site builder you should have a look at this product. It is a complete drag and drop WYSIWG site builder rather than an HTML page editor. It comes with over 85 site templates to get users started.

siteZen comes in two versions. The entry level version is really easy to use and gives novices a satisfying experience getting a professional looking site up and running quickly. The more advanced version has features more on a level with leading offline tools and can be sold as an upgrade when the user needs more capabilities.

siteZen supports Direct Admin specific features such as multiple domains per user and sub-domains.

A server license is currently $150 and allows an unlimited number of users of the entry level site builder. For a limited time this also includes 10 free upgrades to the advanced version of the site builder. There are other licensing options available including per-user licenses.

Please visit http://sitemagix.com for more details.
 

nobaloney

NoBaloney Internet Svcs - In Memoriam †
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Messages
26,118
Location
California
I'll start by writing that this is the best looking site buider I've ever seen. And I've looked at a lot.

But I'll add that:

Presuming you used your own technology to write your own site, it doesn't create sites that work properly with Mozilla on linux; on your own site the menu items don't work at all unless you click on them multiple times. On the main page there's some overlapping on Mozilla on linux. I don't know about Mozilla on Windows.

A major problem for me is that the tool requires Windows IE. We, like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, don't believe in MS Windows IE. And even if we did, Bill Gates doesn't believe in us; he doesn't create it for Linux desktops :( .

Looking at your demos and instructions, am I drawing the right conclusion by saying it appears as if the only way the user can get a site s/he can actually use is to pay the upgrade fee? That's what it looks like to me.

It appears to me that I'm paying you either $1 per user or $150 per server just to put your software on my server so users may demo it, but in order to actually create a site I/we/they have to pay for the upgrade?

The reason I believe this to be true is because the demo says only if I buy the upgrade can I change the "Company32
name or slogan" type of wording, and obviously that wording doesn't work on a live site.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

While testing with MS IE 5.5, I got a window that said Microsoft IE encountered an error and had to close. If this happens during alive run is my site saved, or do I have to start over?

Are there any advanced features, such as forms, any included cgis? Or do I have to include them myself?

Thanks.

Jeff
 

magixman

Verified User
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
41
Presuming you used your own technology to write your own site, it doesn't create sites that work properly with Mozilla on linux; on your own site the menu items don't work at all unless you click on them multiple times. On the main page there's some overlapping on Mozilla on linux. I don't know about Mozilla on Windows.
On Firefox/windows you have to hold the mouse over the text of the link (the cursor changes to a hand) rather than just positioning it anywhere on the graphic. Other than that they work fine. We are still trying to find Javascript for the menus that gives the best results with both broswers. I have not tried Mozilla/Linux but I know that older versions of Mozilla had some issues with the menu script.
A major problem for me is that the tool requires Windows IE. We, like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, don't believe in MS Windows IE. And even if we did, Bill Gates doesn't believe in us; he doesn't create it for Linux desktops .
Users that prefer Mozilla for browsing hostile sites can still use IE safely with siteZen. All security flaws in IE have been to do with sites hijacking the browser. This is not an issue in this case. We would love to support Mozilla but it is not possible to have WYSIWYG editing with the state of the DOM as defined by the W3C today.
The number of end users running Linux desktops is a fraction of a percent of the population so really the main group of users left out are those on a Mac. This is unfortunate but still represent a very small part of the market. I realize, however, that a number of hosts use Linux desktops and this can be an issue for supporting end-users.
Looking at your demos and instructions, am I drawing the right conclusion by saying it appears as if the only way the user can get a site s/he can actually use is to pay the upgrade fee? That's what it looks like to me.
No you can publish sites with either Instant Zen or the Full Zen product.
The reason I believe this to be true is because the demo says only if I buy the upgrade can I change the "Company32
name or slogan" type of wording, and obviously that wording doesn't work on a live site.
You are talking about the flyover help prompt which indicates that you cannot change the header. You can actually change the text in the header including the "Company Name". You can also double click on the logo and change that (changing it to none eliminates it).

Instant Zen is fully functional and people have built great looking sites with it. What you cannot do with it is to change the layout itself which puts Instant Zen more or less on par with other site builders while still giving those users who want additional control the possibility of upgrading.
While testing with MS IE 5.5, I got a window that said Microsoft IE encountered an error and had to close. If this happens during alive run is my site saved, or do I have to start over?
Your work is saved contemporaneously so you don't have to start over. Obviously with the demo you have to start over because it deletes your site on exit. We have had reports of browser crashes with some SPs of IE 5.5. IE 6.0 is much more stable with siteZen.
Are there any advanced features, such as forms, any included cgis? Or do I have to include them myself?
You get form mailers if you install a formmail.cgi script on your server. With some control panels this comes standard but not with Direct Admin so you would need to modify a conf file to use the form mailer with siteZen and Direct Admin.

We will be introducing more goodies in the spring in the form "widgets" that wrap php/cgi scripts.
 

thoroughfare

Verified User
Joined
Aug 11, 2003
Messages
575
No Firefox support? :(

IE is becoming less popular, and Firefox now has about 10% of the browser market.

Matt
 

magixman

Verified User
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
41
To be fair Firefox currently has about 5% of the market as of December 2004 . Their stated goal is to achieve 10% of the market by the end of 2005 and this may be achieved or even exceeded. There is no question that Firefox is gaining quickly and has a loyal following.

The real point here is that siteZen is more of an application than a web site. Even if you could use Firefox it would look the same and you would not leverage any of the benefits Firefox has on offer. Almost all Windows users have IE and they can use it safely to create sites with siteZen even if they are loyal Firefox fans who use Firefox for their general surfing. Most importantly, once they create a site it can be viewed by people who have Firefox.

For us it was a simple decision: Create a superior product that supports true WYSIWYG editing that can be used by virtually everyone or to create a product without rich text editing so it would be compatible with Firefox. Only time will tell if we made the right choice. Hopefully the W3C will introduce the features needed for us to support Firefox so that this decision will become obsolete.
 

rldev

Verified User
Joined
May 26, 2004
Messages
1,074
How else does it support DirectAdmin? Is there a plugin available? How does a DA user log into Site Zen? Is there some type of integration with the control panel?
 

magixman

Verified User
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
41
How else does it support DirectAdmin? Is there a plugin available? How does a DA user log into Site Zen? Is there some type of integration with the control panel?

siteZen is actually a daemon and so does not fit the plugin model. To logon you ask your users to go to <domain>/zen. They login with their normal unix/id password and can create sites for any of their domains (full siteZen) or for a single domain (Instant Zen).

As an administrator you can enable/disable upgrade/downgrade users via our control panel. Our next release will have package synchronization so that you can include Instant Zen or the Full siteZen as a feature of your hosting packages for fully automatic activation.
 

rldev

Verified User
Joined
May 26, 2004
Messages
1,074
Sounds Interesting.

Some more questions:

1. While you boast many templates, they mostly look the same to me. Aby plans for different designs?

2. Also functionality is clearly lacking as compared to Soholaunch. Where are the plugins?

I do like your product a lot. Let us know when you have a better ecommerce offering then you currently have and more plugins for customers to use.

While I like your interface much better then soholaunch, you really must add more scripts to compete. Keep up the good work. I will be most likely making a sitebuilding purchase in the next two months. I will certainly revaluate your software. Keep up the good work.
 

SteveK42

Verified User
Joined
Jul 11, 2004
Messages
43
I think siteZen is an outstanding product; I helped Sam get it working on DirectAdmin. When he says it supports DirectAdmin, he means that it works with the directory structure, subdomain setup, etc. If you've ever worked with cPanel, you know that the directory structure and certain other aspects are different.

As for the comparison to Soho, I've found Soho to be a PITA software. My users all hated the interface and hated the sites they got out of it; by comparison, every user that has tried Zen has absolutely loved it.

InstantZen is just fine (the $150/server version) for most users; and if a user wants something better, you upsell the product to them. They have to buy the full version. The marketing scheme is actually very good for you and your clients.

The administration of it is easy; you set up a daemon through a great install script, then your users just go to theirdomain.com/zen. You manage through yourdomain.com/zenadmin. It works out very well and has full branding and administrative support.

As for the firefox support, I use firefox as well. Yes, it's a pain to have to use IE to create your site; but remember that the sites that are MADE with Zen are fully visible with Firefox. The point does stand, if you want a good looking builder with a good interface, you still have to use IE because FireFox isn't dynamic enough just yet. I'm sure its day will come!

Gotta say, I actually think Zen is an awesome product, absolutely perfect for a hosting company without the personnel to write a custom site builder, but who wants a better interface for their users.
 

rldev

Verified User
Joined
May 26, 2004
Messages
1,074
Just so that I'm clear, I never suggested SiteZen wasn't a good offering or that it was expensive. The problem is that it lacks some important functionality. There are a lot of people today who want more then just basic html pages. They want to easily send newsletters, a decent ecommerce offering(not just the current payl pal offering), Blogs, etc. These are all items already offered in other product offerings.

As for the interface, as I stated previously I like SiteZen much better. Otherwise I wouldn't even be writing this. It is definitely more polished and has great potential. The templates are very professional, even if they all look mostly the same.

As for the marketing aspect, the Pro version at this time really doesn't offer that much more than the Lite version. At least not enough to justify it's price being 10X more then the lite version. If they bundled it with programs it would be a very attractive offering. Is SiteZen going to charge even more money for a Blog or a Guestbook, etc?

I look forward to revaluating the software soon to see what kind of progress they have made. Afterall this is a fairly new product. Good Luck.
 

nobaloney

NoBaloney Internet Svcs - In Memoriam †
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Messages
26,118
Location
California
My two cents is that we've looked at the others, and we were about to buy the Tucows product.

We're going to wait another month or two and see what develops.

Jeff
 

resolveit

Verified User
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
764
Installation on DA server

Hi magixman,

Despite your claim that it works on DA I cannot get it installed for evaluation on my development/test server. During the instalation it sticks on the mySQL password for [email protected] DA does not have this user defined. See this thread regarding the way DA works.

Unfortunately I am unable to evaluate this tool for usability on my systems. Let me know when you've solved this problem and I will have a look at your tool again, in the meanwhile I'll have to look at other tools :(

Regards,
Onno
 

magixman

Verified User
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
41
Despite your claim that it works on DA I cannot get it installed for evaluation on my development/test server. During the instalation it sticks on the mySQL password for [email protected] DA does not have this user defined. See this thread regarding the way DA works.
The [email protected] user does still exist and you can find the password that you will need to install siteZen by looking in

/usr/local/directadmin/scripts/setup.txt

the mysql= parameter contains the password

None the less your point is well taken and we will consider looking in /usr/local/directadmin/conf/mysql.conf in future versions for the password so DA folks won't run into this. In the mean time I have put in a knowledge base article for this on our help desk.

If you have any other installation issues please use our help desk and submit a ticket. This will get things resolved quicker.


http://sitemagix.corpdesk.net
 

resolveit

Verified User
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
764
magixman said:
The [email protected] user does still exist and you can find the password that you will need to install siteZen by looking in

/usr/local/directadmin/scripts/setup.txt

the mysql= parameter contains the password

None the less your point is well taken and we will consider looking in /usr/local/directadmin/conf/mysql.conf in future versions for the password so DA folks won't run into this. In the mean time I have put in a knowledge base article for this on our help desk.

If you have any other installation issues please use our help desk and submit a ticket. This will get things resolved quicker.


http://sitemagix.corpdesk.net


As this is an important issue for DirectAdmin users I will continue to post here.

I just tried the installation again with the mySQL password located in /usr/local/directadmin/scripts/setup.txt as you suggested but I'm afraid it still does not work.

Let me know what else I can try...

Regards,

Onno Vrijburg
 

magixman

Verified User
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
41
I just tried the installation again with the mySQL password located in /usr/local/directadmin/scripts/setup.txt as you suggested but I'm afraid it still does not work.
We do technical support via our ticket system. Please submit a support ticket and we will get to the bottom of this.

http://sitemagix.corpdesk.net
 

resolveit

Verified User
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
764
Hi,

Normally I would but you claim that this sitebuilder works with DirectAdmin. The installation procedure is obviously not written for DA and people with DA will have problems installing your SiteBuilder. I would like to keep this discussion here so that you won't have to have this discussion with every DA user that would like to use your tools. This is benificial to you and the DA community.

Regards,
Onno Vrijburg
 

magixman

Verified User
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
41
resolveit said:
Hi,

Normally I would but you claim that this sitebuilder works with DirectAdmin. The installation procedure is obviously not written for DA and people with DA will have problems installing your SiteBuilder. I would like to keep this discussion here so that you won't have to have this discussion with every DA user that would like to use your tools. This is benificial to you and the DA community.

Regards,
Onno Vrijburg
This site builder is running a number DA systems. If you would like to get it working on your DA system then you need to let us help you by following our process. When it is all sorted out you can post a summary that will help other users.
 

blacknight

Verified User
Joined
Jan 30, 2004
Messages
269
Location
Ireland
How come you cannot offer a WYSIWYG editor that works in firefox?
Our web developers were able to supply one for our CMS which uses Typo3.
More and more of our users are moving away from IE and none of our technical staff use IE as their primary browser, with a number of them using *nix only desktops. If they cannot see what the end user sees there is no way for them to offer any level of technical support.
 

magixman

Verified User
Joined
Jan 10, 2005
Messages
41
blacknight said:
How come you cannot offer a WYSIWYG editor that works in firefox?
Without going into an in-depth discussion of the capabilities of the Document Object Model it is suffice to say that it was never designed for being able to edit formatted text (HTML) within the browser. Certainly not in the fashion that we require. IE was designed specifically for this. We hope to address this in more detail in an upcoming white paper to provide a more specific answer.

All Windows users have IE and can use it safely with our product to edit sites. Sites produced with siteZen can be displayed on other browsers. As much as we would like to support non-windows platforms we will have to wait until the W3C addresses this. We hope that as applications such as this gain in popularity, the W3C will consider amending future versions of the spec.
 
Top