Archive: March 29th, 2004

Content management

It has been quiet around here lately, hasn’t it?

As usual, an online lull equates to an offline increase in activity. Specifically, I’ve been working on knocking my home-grown CMS into shape with an eye to releasing to the world.

The thing is… once you start trying to do the right thing with overhauling an existence web app, it’s hard to know when to stop. Just how expandable should it be? How many bells and whistles should it have?

If there are too many features, they can be overwhelming and the development time could well stretch on to an unacceptably long period. On the other hand, if the CMS is too limited then it won’t be of much use to many people.

Then there’s a question of audience: should it be aimed at fellow web-savvy developers or at technophobes who just want to publish online without learning a new technology?

I’m probably going to go for some kind of compromise solution. If I can come up with something that suits the needs of my site and Jessica’s, then it will probably be of some use to somebody out there.

I’m not completely re-inventing the wheel here, by the way. I know there are lots of fantastic pieces of blogging/CMS software out there like Movable Type, TextPattern and WordPress. Most of them require a MySQL database though, and I’m interested in using XML files instead.

I’m also interested in making the writing process as painless as possible. Tools like Textile go a long way to helping but I have some ideas of my own on ways to enter links and images.

I don’t expect to be done with this anytime soon. I seem to be spending an inordanant amount of time staring into space and thinking about how things could work instead of spending time actually making them work.

So, for now, my CMS remains vapourware. I don’t even have a catchy name for it. All the best ones are taken.

I was thinking about giving it a recursive acronym like XMS which could stand for XMS Management System. But that’s silly.

Meanwhile, out in the real world where people are actually accomplishing things instead of just thinking about them, Max Ziebell has written a plug-in for TextPattern that uses my JavaScript image gallery. Now that’s the kind of extensibility you want in a CMS.

Max wrote the code and uploaded it over a satellite connection from his top secret island hideway somewhere in the Mediterranean.

You think I’m joking, don’t you?