Howdy! Welcome to my humble web presence. I'm Mark Hamstra, the CEA at my latest venture modmore, where I spend most of my time developing and providing support for awesome tools and extras for MODX Revolution.

This website is where I share my thoughts, cool projects and other oddities related to MODX, xPDO and ExtJS. Sometimes I post three blogs in a day, sometimes there's no update in a few months. Read a random post.


It's been a while since I published anything on my personal website. Work at modmore and for my freelance clients simply take a lot of time, and blogging has never been something I did on a regular schedule. 

That doesn't mean I don't have ideas on what to write - quite on the contrary. There's probably two dozen unfinished posts I've been meaning to complete and finish, but I never had the time.. or rather, the feeling it was urgent enough to make time. Do people even visit my blog anyway?

Now we've built something really cool with modmore that is going to change that - and already has.


The all-new shiny website is a project from modmore that aims to be a daily-ish news source for all things MODX. It complements official sources, like the MODX blog, with editorials, reviews, tutorials and links to other interesting articles around the web. And with a weekly reading list, anyone can stay up to date with minimal effort too. 

But best of all though, it's a project for the community. Anyone can submit an article and I hope that people who didn't feel like they have a platform to publish their thoughts and knowledge, will find their way to now. Together, we can build and maintain an awesome news platform that keeps people updated and excited about the many initiatives and great tools around MODX. 

Christian Seel did the design and front-end, while I worked on making it work and writing a bunch of content so we have a buffer to get through the first few weeks while we continue producing content. There are some great articles lined up, including a preview of the new Premium Extras from, answers to age old questions about the MODX brand, a couple of tutorials going into more detail on how we built and lots more.

So go ahead, check out the articles we published so far and links on (also on Twitter and Facebook). 

As for this site? It's still a place for me to publish some of my thoughts, so maybe we'll see some more posts here now that I've been getting into the habit of writing more. Maybe not. Time will tell!

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The MODX Alphabet

Add-ons will be called Apps in 2.3, but the name doesn't matter - it's the extensibility that makes MODX great.

Blue and orange is what MODX used to look like.

Caching is the key to a successful MODX deployment, so do it properly and learn more about how it works.

Designers and Developers love MODX for different reasons.

Evolution is the MODX Legacy that oldies wont forget, and is still being used by some.

Forums are the heart of the community.

Global would describe the MODX Community best, aided by many available translations.

Huge numbers of MODX sites are out there, but nobody knows exactly how many because it's impossible to track.

Integrating custom markup into MODX is as easy as copy, paste, replace content with tags.

Join the MODX Weekend 2014 for 15+ sessions of MODX & Web goodness, on September 19-22 2014.

Koalified Professionals are ready to work on your MODX projects.

Large or small, MODX handles them all.

MoreGallery is how clients can easily manage galleries, for MODX Revolution by modmore.

Nothing is impossible.

Open Source, of course.

PhpThumbOf is getting some fierce competition from PhpThumbsUp, PhpThumbOn, pThumb and more.

Quantum Physics will be possible in MODX3, or it will not.

RTFM supposedly means Read The Free Manual, but we all know it doesn't, right?

SiteCheck is a great addon by community hero and author Bob Ray, available here.

Templates and Tags are what makes up the bulk of MODX sites. They're simple yet super powerful.

Users can easily and intuitively manage the entire site with the sitemap-like resource tree.

VersionX can save your content and elements when editors make mistakes, so install it when you work on a site.

Web Content Platform is my preferred term for describing what MODX is, over the more prevalent CMS or CMF

XPDO is at the core of MODX and provides a secure, object-oriented way of dealing with any data.

You can help make MODX better by reporting and confirming bugs, developing patches or contributing documentation and tutorials.

Zero letters are now left in the MODX Alphabet. Now post your own..

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MODXpo 2013 Live: Distros for Success: the 6Ps

17:51 And that's all. This means (almost) the end of the conference. Thanks for tuning in!

17:51 Suggested to use Vapor instead.... yep, that's going to happen soon.

17:50 The download is not a transport package, just a dump of an actual MODX installer.

17:49 Bert is plugging his command line installer that lets you choose (by responding yes or no) what you want to install (editors etc). This is different from a Distro as you only install what you need. Somewhat sounds like the configurator mentioned before. Find his installers here.

17:49 [Q] Do you also update packages? [A] Packages are not bundled with the distribution, they are downloaded directly from the MODX package provider using the APIs.

17:47 [Q] How do you stay up to date with the official release? [A] Patch versions (2.2.9 -> 2.2.10) are manually upgraded locally. This is then tested. SiteCheck from Bob Ray helps with this.

17:46 A configurator (like Foundation) would be great, but the distro is not there.

17:44 Everything we saw today is in the download link for people to try.

17:44 [Q] Have you seen SiteCheck? [A] Yes. It's a great tool, find it here.

17:43 [Q] What about performance? [A] Haven't noticed much but if you would profile carefully it would likely be a bit slower than a clean install.

17:42 End of presentations, time for Q&A.

17:42 Get the package: If you have any feedback, email

17:42 In the next version there might be some work for purging unused elements. Bob Ray's Orphans can help.

17:41 You either love MIGX, or you hate it. Steve loves it, and Susan will have its children.

17:40 More commerce is on the work too.

17:39 A lot of elements are in the database, but putting stuff on the filesystem through static elements is what will likely happen next.

17:38 Beanstalk acts as a holding server. Deployments are made via a number of bash commands over SSH. This is manual, but explorations into automating are being made.

17:37 Everyone works on a local machine. Every change is made locally and comitted. They're using Beanstalk and Subversion (no Git yet, but it sounds like that wont take long).

17:37 Next subject: Workflow.

17:35 On to Elements. There are 10 templates, 32 template variables, 56 chunks, 30 snippets and 5 plugins. That's before any Extras are installed.

17:34 There are no less than 52 resources pages in the default install. This includes home, contact, sitemap, robots, pages for login management etc. Most of these are hidden from the client.

17:33 When clicking the MODX Support button, it goes to a form on the Blaze Concepts website. The Help Videos provide a MODX modal with general instructional videos for working with MODX.

17:31 This dashboard was for the admin. Now we're looking at the client dashboard, which is very stripped down. The Elements and Files tabs are gone. In the dashboard there still is the Manager Quickstart and a resource list, as well as some additional Help & Support sections.

17:30 There's pre-flight checks too showing reports of resources to see if all the required information is there, such as aliases and titles. The update buttons opens the quick update.

17:28 But there's more! There's an email check to make sure the system email is properly adjusted to go to the client.

17:27 Some developer tools include export database, a link checker and a link to Pingdom to check the speed. The Manager Quickstart checks if certain extras such as Articles are installed, and provides links to commonly used stuff.17:27 Here comes the custom dashboard. Using Christian Seel's custom dashboard buttons and a list of media sources.

17:25 A bit of ecommerce is installed as well, including custom manager pages. Loads of commonly used javascript bundles (like fancybox, sliders, carousels) are preloaded as well. A number of PHP libraries (such as Zend for SimpleSearch, dropbox and youtube) are also in the distribution.

17:24 Custom Dashboard screenshots are coming up in a bit. As the team uses Foundation, that is also pre-loaded, under version control and available immediately.

17:23 My ClientConfig is installed with 5 tabs of settings in this distro too. :D It also installs cart configurations for ecommerce.

17:22 Awesome slide to explain why lexicons are changed...

17:22 Additionally, media sources and form customisations are also pre-configured and set up, along with some lexicon changes. This is one big distribution!

17:21 ACLs and Resource Groups are also pre-configured to skip the complexity.

17:20 A package installer will download 25 extras with one click and install them all as well. Lot of extras, but they're all often used.

17:19 By using a custom installer with a checkbox to install a default database, the setup process is super simple. Unchecking the checkbox is enough to get a clean, normal MODX install. Some other small changes (file paths, thumbnails and ExtJS) have been made as well.

17:18 The general distro that will be available after the session is no less than 50mb and 7.1k files in size. The normal MODX setup is a mere 5.7K files and about 8mb, so definitely a lot bigger.

17:17 The main benefits for distros include Team Consistency, no repetitiveness (only creating snippets or chunks once), a higher development speed and a more efficient support for clients.

17:17 Steve emphasises it's just their way of doing things and that it can be done differently as well, of course.

17:15 Custom distrobutions are cost effective, and it helps being as prepared as possible. It's easy to make certain features available for clients, just by publishing what they developed before and charging big bucks for it.

17:14 Definition of a Distro: An industry specific, pre-loaded installation of MODX that can be rapidly deployed and developed upon. Not a complete solution, but more a bedrock for development.

17:13 Steve was doing a lot of similar work in the education sector, and as they were all asking for the same thing they wanted to build stuff smarter. Constantly using the base install of would be silly.

17:12 The 6Ps is a mantra for Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents (Piss) Poor Performance (and Pain).

17:11 Talking about what we'll hear about today. Distros for teams, manager customisations, workflows and case studies are coming shortly.

17:10 Greame is also live blogging.. would be interesting to see the differences in reporting! Check it out here. I didn't grab a pic of the monkey unfortunately :D

17:08 Technical problems sorted, we're starting!

17:05 We're still waiting to start, shouldn't take much longer. Thanks for tuning in!

17:50 In about 10 minutes we'll start live blogging the presentation by Steve King: Distros for Success, the 6Ps.

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