Oh, boy, I’ve blown an entire morning reading about content management systems, the differencs between off-the-shelf blogging platforms and professional CMS applications, the wisdom of hacking at free blogging systems to fill unique needs, and the growing desire to have an easy, extensible framework to build one’s own CMS system to do what the user wants without hacking, plugins, or ju-jitsu. (Having bounced around five or six websites, run through the comments, and absorbed the discussions, I feel small and pitiful in comparison to some of the talent that’s out there.) You may have noticed the popularity of CMS-based posts in the linkblog recently—that’s because I’m still looking for the right one.

Let’s say I’ve got a client who needs a simple update application so that they can add content to their site when it comes up. I can A. hire someone to write such an application, B. buy an off-the-shelf CMS application, or C. use one of the free blogging apps out there and hack away at it myself to get the results I need. A. is usually prohibitively expensive, B. is ridiculously expensive, and C. can be hard to justify and support when everyone is used to the Microsoft model of business applications.

In the last two cases, this also means a certain amount of hacking is in order to excise the “features” the end user doesn’t need-comments, RSS feeds, bulletin boards, etc., which often takes more time than is reasonably necessary, often breaks other parts of the CMS, and usually blows up once an upgrade of the engine is performed. (My main complaint of of open-source scripting code and applications are that they are crammed full of “features” the authors thought would be cool, as opposed to stuff that actually might be useful.) I’m not a programmer, nor do I play one on TV; My skills are rudimentary, but I can look stuff up and make educated guesses as to how to fix things. So I can’t write the stuff myself; I have to depend on other folks to do that for me.

The solution is to have a framework for developing the application(s) I need. Something that’s smart enough to let me define my needs and help me build it, then just work and get the hell out of the way. This is my basic understanding of Django—that it’s a framework for building what I need in the method I choose.

I think (you’re saying, ‘ha ha, Dugan, you’re changing course again‘) that in order to get ahead of the curve and not merely six months behind it, that I’m going to do some more research on Django and Python, buy some books, install the code, and see if I can’t roll something of my own.


Subtraction, The Movable Feast Got Away from Movable Type

Jeff Croft, On personal content management.

Blurbomat, Annual Post Where I Question the Tools I Use.

Date posted: October 12, 2006 | Filed under art/design | Comments Off on Spinning Head.

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