The KOFIVE History and Philosophy

The Kofive History

Early in my web development career, I realized there are some clients who absolutely need to change the content of their sites on a regular basis.

 

At first, I looked into content management systems, Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal, and while these platforms are highly developed and outstanding for what they do, customizing them so they look the way I wanted my websites to look took a degree of expertise I didn't have, and was reluctant to spend the time it took to learn. Other drawbacks to them included the fact that they just won't do certain things, and they take up a considerable amount of space on the server.

 

So I looked for other solutions. I needed the solution to be easy to use for the site owner, and very inexpensive. Namely, free.

 

The first solution I found was embedded Google documents. These worked fine for a year or more. It was very easy for the client to put anything they wanted on their document, and when I embedded the document in their website, it showed up exactly as they wanted it to.

 

Well, mostly. If they made their document too wide for the content area of the site, they wound up with a horizontal scroll bar under the document; and the documents would not embed into a variable height window - I had to specify how high I wanted the embedded document to be, and it it was taller than that, they wound up with a vertical scrollbar as well. The final drawback to embedding these documents was the Google footer at the bottom of each document.

 

No way around that.

 

But at least it worked.

 

For a while.

 

Recently (as of this writing) , Firefox and IE both upgraded their browsers, and neither browser would then display an embedded Google document. Chrome would do so, but then, well, Chrome is by Google.

 

It was time to seek a new solution. Here's what I came up with.

 

I was already building my sites in PHP, with each site's main page being principally only a few lines of INCLUDES - the header, the menu, the content, and the footer. For many of the pages on these sites, I already had the content included, although at this time mostly as a Google doc in an iFrame.

 

I reasoned I could put the content that was currently in a Google doc into a TXT or HTML file, and simply include it that way; so if I could somehow provide the site owner with the ability to edit that content file, they could then edit their own content.

 

If I could find an open source HTML editor, and an open-source FTP client, I could have the site owners download the content file, edit it in a WYSIWYG environment, then upload the file, and presto. Problem solved.

 

Even better, if I could find portable versions of these applications, I could load them all onto a USB flash drive, and simply hand my clients this USB key with a minimal set of instructions, and they'd be good to go.

 

So I began searching, and what I found was both better and worse than what I'd hoped.

NEED 1: An open source HTML WYSIWYG editor, preferably in a portable edition.

FIND 1: KompoZerPortable. Not only is this an excellent WYSIWYG HTML editor, and a portable app to boot, it can also be customized.

 

BONUS: KompoZerPortable also includes a built-in FTP client so it can be used to edit HTML files directly on the website.

 

DRAWBACK: The default action of the application "helpfully" shortens IMG references to local instead of absolute.

 

KompoZer is available for Windows, Mac, and LINUX.

NEED 2: An open source FTP client, preferably in a portable edition.

FIND 2: FilezillaPortable. Not only is this an excellent FTP Client, it is also extremely customizable, so I can remove all the functionality my clients don't need.

 

FileZilla is available for Windows, Mac, and LINUX.

NEED 3 : An open source image editor, preferably in a portable edition. The three primary needs for an image editor are that it be able to reorient, crop, and resample an image file. Anything beyond this is just gravy.

FIND 3 : IrfanView Portable. This an outstanding image editor. It has the capability to reorient an image, to crop an image, and to resample an image, in addition to capabilities far beyond those the typical website owner might need.

 

IrfanView is available for Windows, Mac, and LINUX.

NEED 4 : An open source website viewer, preferably an application known as a "Single Site Browser."

FIND 4 : OperaPortable. I looked first at true Single Site Browsers, such as Prism and Bubbles, but was unable to find an easy way to make them portable. I knew that a number of common browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, come in portable editions, so I began to explore those. I found that Opera is amazingly customizable, to the point that I was able to remove virtually all controls from the browser interface, leaving only the website viewing window. This rendered Opera into an effective, portable Single Site Browser.

 

Opera is available for Windows, Mac, and LINUX.

The Kofive Philosophy

Here are the guiding principles for the development of the Kofive Technology:

  1. Simple For The Client To Use. The first and most essential requirement is that for the website owner, editing their content should be as simple as using a word processor. We have to recognize that the vast majority of website clients have only minimal computer (especially HTML etc.) expertise. Otherwise, they'd build their own sites.
  2. Inexpensive. Preferably free. The website owner - my client - is already spending quite a bit of money, probably more than they are comfortable with, for me to build their site for them. They don't need to have additional expense on top of this. So I need to provide them this capability at no additional expense.
  3. Easy to Build Websites For. It would be counteroproductive for me to give them an easy-to-use and inexpensive solution if it wound up costing them a couple thousand bucks more for me to implement it for them. Therefore, any solution I found would have to be extremely easy for me to build into their website.
  4. Portable. I want my clients to be able to edit their content from anywhere, with any computer.
  5. Cross-Platform. There's no way to predict whether our next website client will operate primarily on a Windows machine, a Mac, or a Linux machine. Therefore, the Kofive technology has to be usable from any of these platforms.
These are the basic tenets we use so far in this project. We're always open to new ones, or to discussions of these.
 

The Source Of The Name "Kofive"

It's pretty simple, really.

 

It started out taking letters from the first three open-source programs used in this technology:

KompoZerPortable, FilezillaPortable, and IrfanView. Kofive.

When I found out the domain name "www.kofive.com" was available, that sealed it.

 

So now we have the Kofive Project, to develop Kofive technology - website developers giving their clients the ability to easily and inexpensively edit the content on their own websites.