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EE-like Web Data Portal Design for Distribution as OpenSource Package

Hi there,

I am really impressed by the way EE can be updated to the newest version. With other CMSs, it’s really a painful procedure, which I prefer not to go through…

Meanwhile, I've read a bit about CI, but that's all I know about it...

I was wondering how the rigid separation of “back-end” machine (EE) and “content” (website) could be possibly adapted for a dynamic data portal web site. We’ve developed that site ( http://geodata.grid.unep.ch ) over the last years; it gives UN organizations (and in principal: everybody) access to a broad range of data, with possibilities to draw maps, graphs and tables and to download the data in various formats.

Now, we’re thinking of developing an “opensource” package, which interested bodies (especially Environmental Ministries with whom we’re working) could download, install and use to serve/distribute their data.

But how would then the updating of these portals been done, when a new release (with new functionality or/and fixed bugs) appears? As they will surely customize the interface with some local pictures etc., it’s difficult for me as a non-professional-developer to understand how this could be achieved.

We’re working with PHP templates… so layout and functions are somewhat separated. But I guess this has to go much further, transforming our existing functions into PEAR libraries for example or using webservices for some of the dynamic stuff…

If anyone has a moment to give us a hint or two, that would be great!

Thanks a lot,


(PS: We’re using Linux, PHP, Postgres, Minnesota Mapserver and JpGraph.)


I think you will need to think about the organisation of your application ro figure this out.

If you are used to putting files in a single directory (or all over the place for that matter, then your work will be cut out for you.

Code Igniter has some organisational sense, for example, the application directory is seperated in views, models, ... directories).

You could extend that so that you use subdirectories, for example, you could seperate views into.

+----> portlet 1
+----> portlet 2

You would probbaly want to manage a configuration with versioning information so that you can know if you need to upgrade.

Hope this sends you on your way.

Thanks for the info. Already now there is a file structure, with different folders for the modules, for the "admin" files etc. It can surely be greatly improved. And, yes, I think the strategy to separate the template files even more from the "view" files could make sense...

What about CI and Zend resp. PEAR? I guess, Zend and CI are just two different Coding Environments? And the ZEND and PEAR libraries can be used anyway...

It's so diffiult to get a more precise idea of in which direction we should be going...

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