XOOPS is at the same time a software package, a network of Web sites and a very friendly and supportive community spread all over the world. The tie that binds together software, sites and community is the Web, the graphical face of the Internet.
To learn about the sites all you need to do is to point your browser to any of the XOOPS sites and there you’ll feel the warmth and strength of the community. To learn about the software, your best bet is to download the latest package and to begin playing with it. What? No documentation? Yes, we know (remember? We’ve also been there). XOOPS suffers from a lack of enough good documentation, and though this has been an effective incentive for many webmasters, for many more it has been a turnoff.
That’s part of the reasons behind this manual. It’s part of a really much wider and deeper collective effort that goes under the moniker “XOOPS Documentation Project” and that is being tackled slowly but surely by a team of dedicated xoopsers (or xoopers, as some others call XOOPS fans: xoopies?).
So this manual will explain, with enough detail to also serve as a reference guide, the main workings of XOOPS, the software. Since there’s already another document called XOOPS Installation Guide (XU-002), we’ll assume in this document that you’ve already installed your XOOPS package and have now a live XOOPS site. We’ll deal here with that oh-so-very-common-question that comes up once an again: what do I do after I install my XOOPS?
OK. We’re ready to begin. If you’re set, let’s proceed at the beginning.
XOOPS is a tool to manage dynamic Web sites. This simple definition may serve you to have an initial grasp of the usefulness of this singular package. But it’s so general that it’s almost as saying nothing. Let’s try again. XOOPS is an open source set of scripts written in PHP that, when installed in an Internet host that has support for PHP, a web server such as Apache, and a MySQL database manager, allows the easy creation of dynamic, complex and content-rich Web sites, from personal weblogs all the way up to corporate portals.
XOOPS means eXtensible Object Oriented Portal System, and even though some call it ex-oh-oh-pi-es, the standard pronunciation of XOOPS is more like ‘zoops’.
Derived from other open source projects (XOOPS is a descendant of the venerable PHPNuke, through a branch called myPHPNuke. A good part of the package was completely rewritten, although there are inside the scripts pieces of old code that show their age when compared with the most recent parts.
As its ancestors, XOOPS is strongly oriented towards the construction of community sites. But it is flexible enough to serve as a single-webmaster site (a blog, for instance) and as an enterprise content-oriented portal.
In this introductory chapter, we’ll take a quick look at some of XOOPS main features. In later chapters we’ll see in detail how is it that XOOPS does its magic.