Archive: May 10th, 2004

Got Blog?

The RSS grapevine is fairly humming today with the news of the Blogger redesign.

It’s one of those dream collaborations between Doug Bowman, Adaptive Path and Google that turned out like a cross between 37Signals and AOL (taking the best elements of both).

It’s a clear, friendly and attractive design although I must say I’m begin to grow weary of the ubiquitous drop-shadow motif. Perhaps I’m quicker to tire of these trends than the average web surfer but designers, beware: I could be a canary in a coalmine in this case. If I’ve got a case of drop-shadow fatigue, an epidemic may not be far behind.

For the web, and indeed the world, the Blogger redesign is A Very Good Thing. For myself, however, it’s a slap in the face. It mocks me.

"Aren’t you supposed to be writing your own Content Management System?", it says in a sardonic tone.

Smug anthropomorphised bastard.

Mind you, the voices in my head do have a point. Why am I writing a CMS when Blogger and Movable Type are already out there?

Mostly it’s because I’m a stubborn control freak but there are a couple of other issues that I’d like to address:

I want to have a CMS that scales well from single posts (like blogs and news stories) to multi-page articles (like magazines), all in the same interface.

I also want to address the two trickiest parts of allowing anybody to update a web page: links and images.

That’s it really. Oh, and I want to use XML files rather than a MySQL database for storage.

The problem, as usual, is scope-creep. Just how "bare bones" can a CMS be without running the risk of being practically useless? And how "full featured" can a CMS be without running the risk of becoming an overwhelming piece of vapourware.

I clearly need to scope out my little home-grown CMS a bit better.

One thing I would like to include when the specification is finally worked out, is this great Flash image-cropping tool from Max Ziebell. He continues to plot world domination from his isolated Mediterranean island. It’s only a matter of time before his visage appears on a wallscreen in the UN, enumerating his demands.