Feng Office

When you want to manage a lot of little projects with the requirements in external documents, an office application suite can handle the documentation. A small number of extra features can handle time recording and task tracking. Feng Office attempts to combine document processing with project management. Common uses include documentation projects, translation projects, and content creation projects.

This article is based on Feng Office 1.7.3.1.

Requirements

Javascript

You have to switch Javascript on in your Web browser. When you try to login to Feng Office, the page accepts your login then sits in a loop displaying Loading... I installed using one browser with Javascript on then tried to login using a different browser with Javascript off. I do not know if the installation process fails when Javascript is off.

mysql

Make PHP install either the mysql extention or the PDO extension with the mysql option. Feng Office does not use the mysqli extension. When you run the installation process, Feng tells you mysql is missing. After you install mysql, you get the option to use either mysql or PDO mysql.

INNODB

You have to use the INNODB database engine in MySQL, not the MyISAM engine. I have both installed. Old servers and hosting accounts might have only MyISAM.

First use

SPAM script

There is some sort of SPAM script in the Web page that looks like it is selling an anti IE 6 project.

Error messages

Error messages appear to be suppressed. There is an error debug option in /config/config.php that you can switch from false to true but Feng still did not list errors or warnings at points where it should list errors or warnings.

Security problems

Feng creates some files from the Web scripts and leaves them with permissions that prevent normal access by the Web site administrator. This is a common problem with Web sites where the Web site runs as user nobody. You can fix your Web server before you install applications or the application installation process can supply empty files for editing during the installation process.

Here is how you fix Feng Office. Feng reads /config/empty.config.php then creates /config/config.php. /config/config.php should be provided as part of the installation so that it gets your permission when you copy it in. Feng can then copy the edited configuration into /config/config.php during the install. The file then keeps your access in place.

Additional plugins are required to display all the media on this page

Feng Office presents a home that requires something not documented anywhere. I think the only download missing from my Firefox is Flash and that is for security. I am not going to allow Flash on any of my computers and will switch from Feng Office to one of the many alternatives if Feng Office is so antiquated and stupid that they use Flash.

Unfortunately Firefox does not tell you what is missing. You have to select the install button and let Firefox identify your computer to some creep site on the Web before Firefix reports the missing bit.

Loading...

Feng Office might just sit there in a loop forever displaying Loading... Switch Javascript on in your Web browser.

Missing lang.js:

The Missing lang.js: error message is splattered all over the home page. There are lots of Web pages reporting the error and many of them contain a fixed in the next release reply. The error has occurred in several releases over several years. The last fixed in the next release reply promised it would work in 1.7.1 and I have the problem in 1.7.3.

You get Missing lang.js: all, Missing lang.js: email tab, Missing lang.js: messages, Missing lang.js: new, Missing lang.js: search, Missing lang.js: tags, Missing lang.js: workspaces

I made a quick change in /application/layouts/website.php to fix the problem for my test. I replaced the following line.
getLocale() . "/lang.js"); ?>
The replacement is:
getLocale() . "/lang.js"); ?>

Javascript

Feng Office uses a lot of Javascript and does not use a standard Javascript library, such as jQuery. A quick look at the Javascript files shows things that might save a tiny fraction of file size, less than one percent, and do cause problems in Web browsers. They need to reverse out some of the space saving techniques so their Javascript will work. They can save far more time by reducing the download overhead with a simple Javascript file merge.

Feng Office elements

There are a few elements you can create and interconnect including workspaces, notes, contacts, companies, documents, events, milestones, presentations, tasks, file uploads, and weblinks. They are described on a separate page.

Conclusion

Feng Office looks good and is held back by only a few things, the difficulty of finding the free community edition, the ongoing Javascript problems that are never fixed, the permissions problems that stop first time installers, and the lack of connection into other areas.