Things I Learned (TIL)

I’ve learned a lot about web sites and Content Management Systems (CMS) today. Not that I didn’t already know a good bit about them. I just learned that there is an almost infinite number of variations on the whole CMS theme.

For instance, WordPress, the software that I use to publish this blog is a CMS. It is an extremely flexible CMS. Another popular CMS is called Drupal. I have played with Drupal several years ago which means that I  have very little idea how it works in its present incarnation. Both of these packages are primarily intended for use by bloggers.

Another CMS is the XWiki package that I’ve been talking about a good bit of late. It adds the added feature of acting like a Wiki. If I’m not mistaken, WordPress has a wiki plugin but I haven’t investigated it yet. Drupal may have one as well. The difference being, I suppose, that XWiki comes with the Wiki functionality built in as a primary feature.

Dave Winer has written a number of CMSs starting with Frontier and ending up with his latest, They are good products. They are based on his wonderful outliner software. They are fairly minimalistic in their formatting capability out of the box. To get flashy pages you have to be a web developer and understand what he is doing to render the content. That is in no way a criticism. It is how the product works and it is a great product.

What I’m looking for is a flexible framework for building a web site that is maintainable by any number of people, most of which having little or no experience with html, css, or any other web development technology. So far, I have to say, out of the box XWiki is the most capable. It is also the easiest for an honest to goodness web developer to extend in such a way that the content is still maintainable by mere mortals.

Now for the hard part. I have to put together a plan for migrating to XWiki. That includes a schedule. I am not good with schedules. Especially considering that I am dealing with a technology that I’ve only known existed for about a week. The good news is that there is not much to the web site that I am “porting” to XWiki. I’m not sure what the bad news might be. That’s the thing about the unknown. It sneaks up on you and says “Boo!”

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the people you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.