Useful Resources for sNusers

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Installing sNews:  Main  Install 1.4  Install 1.6 or 1.5  
Server Installation:  Install XAMPP-XP  
Databases:  For sNews  SQL Files  Multiple Installations  
sNews Installation Tips

sNews Installation Tips

Preface...

To start with, sNews is a developer's tool. It is not a consumer-based product... but it might be some day in the future. Although installing and running the sNews CMS engine is a fairly simple process for experienced developers, many first-time users have very little or no coding experience. Even something as simple as inserting a database username... or chmodding... or FTP'ing... sounds confusing if you don't know what these terms mean. My aim is to provide information and tips as clearly and completely as possible, to help you minimize problems you may experience working with sNews. I hope you find this site useful as you get started.

Version History

Since its first release in late 2005, the sNews CMS engine has evolved through versions 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, and now 1.5, for use with MySQL databases. The first three versions have also been available in 'flat-file' versions, to store data in text-based files instead of database tables. The flat-file versions were created by sNews users (not its author) who wanted a way of using sNews on servers that did not have MySQL database support.

The current version (as of December 5/06) is 1.5.30 - the stable version that followed 1.5.29 (RC3).

Preparing for sNews

Before installing your sNews package, there are a few points to consider. The information on this website is based on my personal hands-on experiences gained while using sNews versions 1.4 and 1.5 (mysql) only. All of my sNews work is done on an ordinary 2 year-old PC with the WinXP operating system. To make my experience a lot less frustrating, I run a Free application package called XAMPP that turns my PC into a genuine Apache Server with full mysql and PHP support. This way, I can learn to work with ANY PHP/MySQL-based packages at my own speed... without having a registered domain name or access to a hosted server account. When I know my site package is stable and ready for online use, I use another Free application known as Filezilla to upload it to my host server.

Again, if you are new to working with content management systems that use mysql databases, keep in mind that they do not run on servers that do not support PHP and MySQL. SNews in particular, will not run on an Apache-based server that does not have its mod_rewrite module enabled. I explain how to enable the mod_rewrite module when you install XAMPP on your own PC. On that same page, I also walk you through the easy steps to create a new database and populate it with your sNews tables. The same steps, if followed correctly, are the same for either version of sNews, both offline on your own machine or on your host server.

When you are ready to put your new sNews-powered website online, you should check with your host ISP to make sure the server you will upload sNews to is running Apache Server with the mod_rewrite function active, and provides support for PHP and MySQL databases. If not, my best advice is to find a host that does and make the switch. In my case, I purchase a large block of wholesale space from a small ISP that I know and trust. This allows me to host an unlimited number of sites, for me and to re-sell to my clients.

You will also need to have a working knowledge of PHP, HTML and CSS stylesheets, particularly if you wish to design your own html template(s) and use them with the sNews engine. SNews does not come with any modifications and addons that have been created by sNews Community Users after each version is released. The authors of sNews keep the package plain and simple for a reason... to keep it small and fairly easy to work with. You will want to work with mods and addons, or even create your own mods and addons, and sNews is perhaps one of the easiest content management systems to do it with. If you are nervous about working with code, the experience will be both challenging and rewarding. Your experience will be more rewarding if you develop some good housekeeping habits right from the start.

Begin by creating a new directory in a safe place on your hard drive for Special Projects. Create a few folders in there for stuff like Downloads, Resources, Tutorials, Utilities (and so on). When you download a new doo-hickie that comes in a .zip file, put it in its own folder and un-zip its contents to the same folder. When you are ready to work with it or modify it, take a copy from there to your work-space (server). This way, if you screw up a file, you can always go back to your main source for a fresh copy and start over. When following a procedure or starting a modification, open a Notepad file and record what you did and how it worked out. Keep your work logs in an organized file structure as well, project by projecct. You will be glad you did when tracking down a bug you created... or need information on something you did in the past for future work projects.

OK... enough on the preliminary stuff. Get your copy of sNews and scroll back to the menu strip at the beginning of this page for links to the Installation Pages.