emergency weblog; or: epersonae; or: elaine nelson

in which I write about stuff

cms roundup

interesting & useful, more so than I expected.

Categories: sxsw 2008

came in 15 mins late, but with interesting reasons. (aside from the fact that this place is freaking HUGE) more on that later.

catapult systems on sharepoint. variations for internationalization, mobile. “my site” for intranet.

drupal. is that the lullabot guy? who has heard of? like 80-90%. “vaguely creepy logo, weird name” built by the people who use it. “hobbyists, businesses, volunteers, belgians” (2 top contributors: 12 year old named Dimitri; 50 year old woman who wanted to write about taking care of elderly parents)

fast company. all existing content, 10 year old social network, plus NEW stuff with citizen journalism. whew. (Oh dear god I want to make OlyBlog look cool.) Lifetime TV. musician with flash (!) site where backend is drupal. UN end poverty. DC comics + IBM site. US magazine. (Dave told me the other day they just finished a site for Harlequin books. Remind me to send that to mom.) The Onion. “now that Onion & CNN are cross-sharing headlines, my world is a lot more disorientating.” heh.

“drupal can look like whatever insane photoshop files your designers throw at you.” approx 3000 modules.

graphic of the layers (need to find that image). core (can do “enough” with just that) -> modules -> users (in different roles. does that say “plebians”?) -> content ->  views of content -> theme.

looks lame by default, because default theme is blog-style. yeah.

not good for: “I just want to make a page” (like swatting a fly with a buick), “the next twitter”, brochureware sites (altho I did it), just a blog.

good for: user-generated content, communities, many kinds of content, many views of content (mailings, calendars, etc), if you care abt open apis, web standards. big community that works on integrating with apis from other site. openid is part of core in the latest version. most of the good theme designers are good with standards & accessibility.

sony artist sites. building traffic by being dynamic; roll out new artist sites fast (2-3/week), Sony BMG is one of the largest contributors to drupal now.

expression engine. “a fool that needs pity.”  handful of EE users. just giving a specific example. “I have no technical expertise” no custom php on the site at all. (mr. t & me?!) everything is standards compliant, and has been since 2004.

using php to find double-pipes, breaking content apart, then mashing it back together. can have custom field for every single bit of content. (asked if drupal now does the same, I think the response was yes)

too hard to see the screenshots. should’ve had a close up over the big screenshot.

has used on abt 20 sites on his own. abt $200 for commercial license. with paid support staff on the forums.

shows sites for other clients. on EE side, coded the whole thing in one day, after the design was built in HTML/CSS.

new presenter: “cms agnostic” case study of art institute of chicago. “we’re still thinking about our ‘real’ cms.” round 1: dreamweaver, bits of custom php (1500 pages) “interim solution” quick & easy, discrete scope. …but: doesn’t stay interim: to this day that events module lives (in PHP4, MySQL4), never added another page, nav was nightmare to do in dreamweaver.

round 2: serena collage. “design-time product” switched to text-based navigation. nice master-page structure. added breadcrumbs. “wcms”? greatest asset is being “metadata-driven” design-time aspect can be frustrating, can’t just do a database query. spit out static files (ala MT?). still using it. master pages were great; workflow; version control one of the most used features. “links as assets” managed, change in one place & propogates throughout. good for internal, not so much for external. training contributors was easy. training developers much more difficult, hard to keep staff: tedious. don’t have people work on back-to-back collage projects. very slow interface. not Mac-friendly. interfered with php code, no support for dynamic framework: nothing interactive. end-of-life product: no more licenses being sold. “maybe this is the announcement” (!!!!!!)

round 3: drupal. “really into drupal now” added a “my collection” feature. drupal controls the menuing, easy to bring together various sources of content. everything about any particular work. their digital collection management system is custom, and drupal works pretty well with it. using an orange variant of garfield for management. their main system is the main source of information, and drupal lets it be. (or something.) then microsites for major exhibitions. they don’t have web staff, can use color picker to generate new skins. user management is “awesome”, they like jquery. drupal 6 didn’t come thru in time for them. drupal isn’t as good with one-off exceptions (edge cases), which make

q: resource for people new to drupal? “like a garbage truck full of legos” community is putting out more resources. (yes, that is the lullabot guy.) biggest failing of drupal. suggestion from (? woman) they have some resources. I missed some of that. “pro drupal development” I looked at that in the trade show, and it’s 5, not 6.

q: certain feature that’s not included, do you try to lean them to something that exists or create from scratch? often better to find something close, but in some cases you need to do something specific. also, consider the expertise of the client. “impressed at the willingness of clients to release custom work back into the community.”

q: drupal & workflow: “workflow” module, also “actions” — states that content can be in.

[EE guy keeps saying, “it has that built in”]

missed question about designing a cms or something.

q: cost structures? per site, start-up, monthly. how do free products make money?

“it’s microsoft so it all depends” number of people for external, flat fee for internal (abt $25,000) holy moses. edu installs get huge huge discount.

“everything in drupal is free” downside is that you need knowledge. hiring a company or spending the time to ramp up. lullabot does a lot of work getting clients thru the ramp up stage, training internal staff.

EE: personal license abt $100, commercial $200-$250. subscription fee to the code, might have to buy in again with upgrades.

agency: time & materials estimating. collage was very successful in higher ed, “until yesterday” — $80,000 – $200,000 fee. ouch.

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One Response to “cms roundup”

  1. Jeff Eaton says:

    that slide did indeed say ‘plebians.’ ;) Glad you found the panel interesting! I think there was a pretty interesting range of CMS packages represented.