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Zephyr

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1

Sunday, July 12th 2009, 4:22pm

Content management system for krpano

Hi all,

I've been away for a while. But I'm back. For my graduation assignment, I've been pondering to create a CMS for krpano. This CMS would be a 2 part system. 1 for the client in which they can alter the tour, limited to
-adding/adjusting hotspots
-adding/editing text
and couple other simple things

The other part is for myself, which includes adding locations, styling, maps etc

It's a massive project, especially for someone with little knowledge of php (I'm more of a actionscript/javascript guy).

To make things clear for myself, I need your advice. I have 3 possible solutions in my head. 1 demand I have is that the CMS must be webbased (atleast for the client).

1) The tour will have a password protected admin mode. When admin mode is enabled, the user has access to certain tools and can edit the location. Like adding a hotspot by a click (performing a addhotspot) Once done, he presses "Save"much like the editor plugin,but performing a php save. Or perhaps a save after each addhotspot... Or perhaps no php but using Flash 10 ability to write files to server.

Benefit: They see the tour how it is instantly
Downside: Its different program languages intwined (krpano api, with php and sometimes a bit of actionscript). Crosscommunication is always something thats tough.
Downside: It can be hectic and the user can get lost.

2) Instead of using the tour and a combination of php. Make it all php. I upload the tour along with thumbnails of the locations and a lowquality big preview. User clicks the thumbnail in the CMS and a lowquality preview will load. User can click within that image and a hotspot will be added. Once he presses save, the coordinates of the hotspots in the image will be converted to krpano coordinates and with a for loop put in hotspot.xml
Within the tour xml I include the hotspot.xml.

Benefit: 1 Language
Downside: the user sees a spherical image of the location (Or when I shoot cubic, he will see 6 images...)
Downside: I have to learn php...

3) I've seen forumusers use Word Press and Joomla for krpano tours. I've been wondering if they can alsoo edit the tour xml, hotspots etc from within wordpress or do they only embed a link to it?

Benefit: Secure system that proven itself worthy
Downside: Writing modules is tough for existing CMS's especially if you dont know php.

So what you guys think?

Another advice perhaps?
Clients usually want the tour on their own server. But If I give them the php files of the CMS system they could easily resell it. So how would I solve this? Create a own database with keys and let the CMS contact my db first and compare to the url. or keep the CMS on my server, but then my CMS needs to write to another server (which would require technical knowledge of their part). Keeping all files on my server would solve it, but that could give troubles with the client. My experience is that clients want to GET something for their money and not something on someone elses server.
3d childrens game using krpano Game
Minify your xml with my krpano XML Compressor
Krpano XML Parsing Error Checklist
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2

Sunday, July 12th 2009, 6:22pm

Having it developed as wordpress, joomla & gallery2 plugin will be better & you will have more users.
Wordpress has a FPP plugin already you may want to look at that.
On the other hand developing solely for 360 view you will have freedom to design everything the way you want.

I saw few site which has hosted panorama & display using krpano they do work on some kind of CMS to serve the images.
http://www.360cities.net/
http://pan0.net/

kimblarsen

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Sunday, July 12th 2009, 7:45pm

A krpano CMS that will work with joomla and or Wordpress is something I for one would be willing to invest in.

Cheers,
Kim
Kim Baumann Larsen
Placebo Effects | 3d photo film design

Zephyr

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Sunday, July 12th 2009, 10:35pm

Yeah but then I would be depended that the Client has a Joomla/Word Press website (which isn't that common in the netherlands). So I rather make a global CMS and then when thats done, make a module connecting to that CMS for joomla. Any advice how to start on such big project?
3d childrens game using krpano Game
Minify your xml with my krpano XML Compressor
Krpano XML Parsing Error Checklist
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Tangent12

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Sunday, July 12th 2009, 11:54pm

Hi Zephyr,

I am unsure as to what you are trying to offer your customers with the interface. Sorry for sounding dumb after your in depth explanation.

The reason I say this is that the main feature of the interface you want to offer the customer is the ability to add their own hotspots. I can't see what a customer would get out of that; if it was to link to other panos then they could only link to panos which you have shot so you might as well put the hotspots in; if it is to create a popup with some text in it then this could be feasible but surely you are providing them with a tool for something which should/would be defined in the planning stage.

Ultimately though, are you not just limiting what you can bill the cutomers as a chargeable item? It is your skill in creating panos and hostpots that they are buying. Another thing to bear in mind, and I have seen this from other CMS systems I've worked on but not for panos, give the customer too much power and they will make a total mess of it. You could argue that it is their problem to tidy it up or they could pay you to do it but while it is in a mess it will be your name on the pano somewhere (I presume). I also find that customers who make a mess of things tend to blame your system for being to easy to make mistakes in, yet if you don't give them powerful enough tools they are not happy with this either.

I have been planning to make a customer inteface for my future panos as I am planning to take my hobby a step further after I have had some great feedback and actual requests for work. The idea behind this interface is much simpler than your ideas. I am planning to give the customer the ability to tweak some of the settings stored in the KRpano XML which is easy to generate dynamically via PHP. At this point I do not know how far to take it but they will be able to change colour schemes, update their logo, add text to textfields (for predefined hotspots which I will create), and more, I won't know fully until I get started.

This is the pano side of things, the other features I want to offer is the ability to update the webpage that holds the pano in the first place.

I definetly plan to keep the panos on my server, it's really the only way to have the conrtol required. I would be using subdomains so for a customer called Bighouse Properties for exapmple their panos would be bighouse.tangent12.co.uk?panid=123456 or something. The other benefit to this is that they don't even have to ask their existing web developers to do much to their site, just embed a link. I will hopefully be charging them an initial cost to design their page on my server to look like their existing website. Most users would not see that the domain had changed and who would be bothered as long as there is clear links back to the site and there is always the back button.

I don't feel, from my point of view at least, that there is any point in creating intefaces for Joomla or Wordpress because there is too much hassle for a potentially tiny target customer base. If your customer doesn't have the right package then it will have been a waste of time. The way I describe above would work for any website or CMS, they all allow you to embed a link. Bear in mind as well, not many serious businesses will have a site built in Wordpress, if they have they have probably made it themselves which means they didn't want to invest in professional web design and development, chances are they won't want to pay for your panos or your CMS. Again, this is only in my experience and opinion.

I'll let you know how I get on with my customer interface, I'm going to be wortking on it proper during August.

Hope this helps.

T12
Liverpool based panoramic photography, virtual tour and
web media organisation specialising in high quality web experiences.

Zephyr

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Monday, July 13th 2009, 12:39pm

Quoted

The reason I say this is that the main feature of the interface you want to offer the customer is the ability to add their own hotspots. I can't see what a customer would get out of that; if it was to link to other panos then they could only link to panos which you have shot so you might as well put the hotspots in; if it is to create a popup with some text in it then this could be feasible but surely you are providing them with a tool for something which should/would be defined in the planning stage


Good point. Hotspots linking to different locations will be set by me, because I have to shoot the panorama's anyway. So the only thing that would remain for the customer to alter would be the styling and text, onclick or onhover, a so called description hotspot. Predefined could be fine, but isn't adding a hotspot, not the same difficult level as altering the text or styling? I usually work on not yet existing real estate and infrastructure plans. I show people how it's going to look like (a 360degree artist impression) while they start building. But in the time they are building, information changes. And having like a couple of fields where the client can enter stuff would be handy.

Quoted


Ultimately though, are you not just limiting what you can bill the customers as a chargeable item? It is your skill in creating panos and hostpots that they are buying.


I think the ability to alter a tour yourself outweighs calling/mailing the company who made the tour every time. It's the sense of control you're selling. It's like a monthly fee vs a 1 time payment. CMS cost more but you get more out of it. What sells better, a tour with 10 fixed info hotspots or a tour with the possibility to have endless of info hotspots? The client probably will only put down 10 hotspots. But they have the feeling they have more then the 1st product.

Quoted

Another thing to bear in mind, and I have seen this from other CMS systems I've worked on but not for panos, give the customer too much power and they will make a total mess of it. You could argue that it is their problem to tidy it up or they could pay you to do it but while it is in a mess it will be your name on the pano somewhere (I presume). I also find that customers who make a mess of things tend to blame your system for being to easy to make mistakes in, yet if you don't give them powerful enough tools they are not happy with this either.


This could be a problem yes. I think limiting the tools would be the ideal situation and just say that everything else isn't possible (unless they are willing to pay substantially more for development costs).

9/10 times a client already has a website or a website designer hired (common with government or big real estate agencies). We're just a little part of the whole thing. So usually we get either a logo and colorscheme send to us or we use our default skin. Since our tours usually are opened in a separate window and almost never embeded in the site it self.

A couple of questions.
How do your clients respond on the fact that you host it all? Doesn't it rob them from the feeling that they are getting something for their money? Do you have this stated in the contract that they buy a tour for on your website and if they want it on cd (for presentations) or other media they have to pay extra?

If you host it on your website, do you let them pay a monthly fee for space and traffic? Downside of this alsoo would be, that you are responsible for the uptime of the server. And every other silly question that the tour doesnt work (because they have a virus of some sort bugging their browser). Do you offer support? And to what extend?

Will your customer CMS alter the xml with php or will the tour load like php files that fetch styling info and such from a database?

The whole idea started from making a CMS for only me to use. Then I thought If I strip down some features, I have another product to sell. But you made me realize this wouldn't be that useful... I think it would be better writing a textfield plugin that connects to a php file. And that this php file fetches data from clients database. And that they are responsible for whats in it and just focus on my own CMS to cut down the workflow.
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Tangent12

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Monday, July 13th 2009, 10:30pm

Hi Zephyr,

great comments and a real insight into how things work for you.

First of all, my customer interface is not even made yet. I don't call it a CMS as this represents a content management system which is not really a good description of what I plan to do. My references to CMS systems stem from my day job, I am a web developer and I create web based systems for small to medium businesses, and a couple of biggies. Our systems are usually internal applications which are used by company staff 9-5, so usability is absolutely paramount or you can ruin peoples working life. Our company also creates websites which are based on a CMS system which I helped create but handed over a while back. This is where my experience if customers making mistakes comes from.

Panos are a hobby of mine but where I am based there are no companies who are creating good quality well shot and slick panoramics. I've showed some of my work to a cross section of businesses which I already know. The feedback was very good and it has sparked me to put more of my time into trying to make some money from it. At the moment I have no commercial photography or panoramic experience. I am well versed in dealing with customers and getting an understanding of what they want and providing a good system that suits them perfectly whilst allowing future growth and control by my company.



Quoted

Predefined could be fine, but isn't adding a hotspot, not the same difficult level as altering the text or styling?


Bear in mind that you are working with raw XML, to feed data for a text field will mean that your CMS only has to allow the customer to enter their data into a text area and save it to the database. Adding a hotspot would require a graphical interface for positioning etc. I know there is the KRpano Editor but I have not researched it much and wouldn't know an easy way to capture the finished hotspot XML and get it into the database.
Many other aspects can be changed very easily though, all text can be handled through text area input, colours by a javascript (I use jquery) colour wheel, image upload and cropping via javascript, a full HTML editor can be offered via jquery (Tiny MCE is a great HTMl editor which is very easy to install and configure).




Quoted

I think the ability to alter a tour yourself outweighs calling/mailing the company who made the tour every time. It's the sense of control you're selling. It's like a monthly fee vs a 1 time payment. CMS cost more but you get more out of it. What sells better, a tour with 10 fixed info hotspots or a tour with the possibility to have endless of info hotspots? The client probably will only put down 10 hotspots. But they have the feeling they have more then the 1st product.



I cannot comment on what your customers would prefer and I am sure it must vary from customer to customer but sometimes a customer will not want to pay a premium for having access to a CMS when they may only want to change something once a year or less. Although you may not be charging any more for your work when offering the CMS, I have had customers in the past who say they want a reduced price for a static website when it can often be easier for us to build the site in the CMS in the first place. I think it's just about guaging each customer individually.



Quoted

I show people how it's going to look like (a 360degree artist impression) while they start building. But in the time they are building, information changes. And having like a couple of fields where the client can enter stuff would be handy.


I agree, a simple back end would be perfect for updating text and keeping your panos alive with up to date information and this can easily be achieved using dynamic XML. I am hoping to do some panos for a restaurant in my city and plan to use flyout hotspots for the menus, wine lists etc. It is a much better offering to the customer if they know they can change their pano menu when they change their real menu.



Quoted

How do your clients respond on the fact that you host it all? Doesn't it rob them from the feeling that they are getting something for their money? Do you have this stated in the contract that they buy a tour for on your website and if they want it on cd (for presentations) or other media they have to pay extra?


As mentioned above, I have no clients for this system yet but I have seen similar hosted services on offer in other parts of the UK. Again, it depends on the customer but I know many would be thankful that configuring their panos will not require the additional cost of setting it up on their site or even creating a new site. I would also offer this to clients as well though. But for large companies who have predesigned template pages for viewing properties for example, if there is no pano already embedded amd there isn't room for one they may welcome a simple link. If the pano page is designed to match with their site then it is only the address bar which changes. Bear in mind if they worry about intellectual property you can give them the swf too, it is only done to provide simplicity.

I think though, that there is no reason why it would not work on external domains ie. give the customer the pano swf and whatever else you normally provide, but the XML path will link to a dynamic page on your webserver, I have not tested this but someone must have done it who visits these forums. I will give it a go at the weekend though. That way you can keep your CMS on your server let them log in and customise their pano through your interface. The pano then points to a dynamic PHP file on your server which retrieves their custom data, probably mixes it with standard XML which applies to all panos and is accessed via a customer ID or some other identifier.



Quoted

Will your customer CMS alter the xml with php or will the tour load like php files that fetch styling info and such from a database?


I think I've answerted that above, but it will definetly be a PHP file which pulls all the custom data from a database, constructs the XML structure including all standard XML required and then is parsed by the XML path on the pano.



Quoted

The whole idea started from making a CMS for only me to use.


Same for me. The minute I saw the XML it made me want to buy KRpano over its competitors (apart from its clear prowess), XML I understand, Actionscript is my weakness. There are tonnes of possibilities. I'll keep you updated with my progress.

Thanks.

T12
Liverpool based panoramic photography, virtual tour and
web media organisation specialising in high quality web experiences.

Zephyr

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Saturday, July 18th 2009, 9:18am

thanks for the advice. Keep me posted please about the progress :)
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Minify your xml with my krpano XML Compressor
Krpano XML Parsing Error Checklist
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kimblarsen

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Saturday, July 18th 2009, 9:23am

Support for Joomla would not be for customers as I see it. It would be for developers / designers who would like a more streamlined way of adding panos to exisiting sites built with Joomla.

Kim
Kim Baumann Larsen
Placebo Effects | 3d photo film design

dapix

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Thursday, October 14th 2010, 1:41am

CMS for virtual tours based on krpano

We finished our own CMS for building virtual tours with panoramas, articles, maps, hotspots...
and made a site "Stanislaw: virtual IvanoFrankivs'k"

260 50MPx panoramas
over 4000 hotspots
15 articles (editors are just writting new one)

Our team can integrate it for clients, including custom language support (recentle system is in ukrainian)