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Recommended Content Management System?

by Jazz (Curate)
on Jul 20, 2002 at 06:49 UTC ( #183561=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

After much consideration, we've decided that the tutorials/article division of our site more direly needs more significant revamping/updating than our script listing division.

This decision has come because a variety of publishers (who must remain anonymous for now) has offered to republish sample chapters of their perl-related books and offered that their authors provide interviews/articles to contribute to our site (I can only hope they feel good about that). Additionally, we also have individual prestigious authors/developers interested in the same, as well as a few articles that were previously submitted to the Perl Journal (but TPJ had not been responsive perhaps due to the odd administration during the change-over to Sysadmin). Not to mention a few authors of high repute who have written articles specifically for our site already.

Also, Stas Beckman has provided us his complete mod_perl tutorial (before it was published sequentially on perl.com), but we simply didn't have the infrastructure for such an inundation of articles. We still intend to publish the mod-perl series because it will reach a different audience than perl.com does -- We figure that perl.com reaches current users of perl; our site reaches new or borderline users.

Please note that our site has pretty much grown based on our viewership. I'm only one person who had an idea ... the site and its viewership (~1 million page views/month) has grown far larger than the simple idea imagined. Yes, I freely admit that the short-sightedness is causing the problem that I'm in now.

What's driving me nuts is how to organize it all. I simply (and unfortunately) don't have the time to write my own article/content management system. Even more unfortunate, being the President/CEO/Treasurer of two companies, I hardly have time to program at all, except for my days off, which isn't enough to do anything significant... it's barely enough to get the creative juices flowing :(

Banner advertising isn't doing anything, so I'm giving publishers free advertising on perl-related books. I guess if the site no longer generates funds, the least we can do is promote better Perl education.

But I digress...

What we're needing is an article management system that support both "article" and "issue" based publications. We've looked at the following...

Program Benefits Downfalls
Any php-based program Several sounded perfect for the task. Our users are very biased. We heard many outcries of "why php on a Perl site?!?!?". Please see the reference to our previous dilemma at http://www.perl.com/pub/a/2000/12/advocacy.html by MJD.. We've recently found a great perl-based substitute.
Slash

Logons
NewsFees
Themes

It seems to work well, but doesn't "behave" from a publishers' standpoint. It would be nice if users can react to an article/tutorial, but we don't want users to initiate articles/tutorials.
Spine Access Restriction
Webbased Administration
On-Line Help
Styles (Templates)
Sitemaps/Navigation bars
Macros
Built in search engine
Logging
Articles
Still under development. Sadly lacking in documentation.
Zope User management
Scripting
Dynamic content
Web based administration
Templates and shared elements
Object database
Support for other databases
Support for FTP and WebDAV
Support for XML
Integrated search engine
Large developer community
Flexible, but rather confusing, and it's Python instead of Perl (remember those finicky users?). Root access needed. Yeah, I have root, but I'm smart enough to know that I'm not smart enough to tinker around too much with it until I feel like I deserve that level of access.

The above reflects only the "best" of the hundreds I looked at. If anyone knows something else, I'm eager to see it.

I've seen, and incorporated the suggestions from this thread to no major success. We already have a well-used forum and most of the other "community-based" programs aren't suitable. Of all those offered at that node, Bricolage appeared to be the most suitable, but I hadn't heard of it before.

But I suppose the real meditation of this Meditation is whether or not the Perl community needs another tutorial/article site. Thoughts?

Thanks for any suggestions or insight you may be able to offer,

Jasmine

Update: Added links to the site in question.

edited: Sat Jul 20 14:48:32 2002 by jeffa - added reamore tag

Comment on Recommended Content Management System?
Re: Recommended Content Management System
by cjf (Parson) on Jul 20, 2002 at 10:54 UTC
    Any php-based program
    ...
    Several sounded perfect for the task.

    Problem solved. Why use a less suitable system just to please a few irrational visitors?

      Heh, what have you got to do if most of those irrational visitors are your manager(s) you happen to report to? ;-)

      The choice of a suitable system really rests with the sort of audience you expect. From my experience, I know that developers are less picky and wouldn't buckle at a system that requires more intellectual involvement in exchange for greater flexibility. Take this site for example. To type out a decent and well formatted post, I have to literally use raw HTML. Further, there's a set of 'special' tags that are unique to this site (or rather post parser, or whatever the name ;)

      Whereas as a developer I don't mind this extra effort to ge the post done -- in fact, I appreciate the flexibility I have now --, non-developer types may find this feature inappropriate to them and more of a hassle than a benefit. ;/

      _____________________
      # Under Construction
        what have you got to do if most of those irrational visitors are your manager(s) you happen to report to?

        It's an entirely different issue if you're being paid to run the site. From the sound of it Jazz's site isn't run to make money.

        Secondly, managers are never irrational, they're infallible. If for some reason a developer can't understand their manager's reasoning, it's either because they are simply intellectually inferior to the manager or that they have less information about the true goal of the project. Take Java for example, they obviously have some confidential information that justifies it's use for even the most seemingly unsuitable projects.

        If you still think it's necessary to please a few logic-impaired visitors, use the php system but change the file extensions to .pl, they'll never know ;-).

Re: Recommended Content Management System?
by PhiRatE (Monk) on Jul 20, 2002 at 14:46 UTC
    Check out WebGUI (http://www.plainblack.com/webgui) its pretty decent. User management, articles, all-perl with database back-end, not hard to add modules to, decent set of existing modules, small but active developer community headed by JT who has an excellent user focus.
      this site seems down unfortunately --matt

      Updated: Well it seems to be back up now, I just checked. I'll check out WebGUI and I am currently seriously considering OpenInteract since it seems more mature than last time I checked, though I'd like to find reports from people who have used it.

      And thank you whoever it is for voting me down. Bored?

        Works for me at this time (Sun Jul 21 22:19:39 NZST 2002) with the URL from the page. Let me know if you continue to have problems.

        Heh. They voted me down too. No idea what thats about :)

Re: Recommended Content Management System?
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Jul 20, 2002 at 15:28 UTC

    I'm curious as to the drawbacks of Slash. What do you mean? I'd also throw AxKit in there for the sake of completeness. (Everything seems like a bit of overkill.)

      From everything I've previously seen and read about it (up until your reply made me dig deeper), Slash didn't suit the purpose because it permits users to submit top-level posts, or "stories". We need a system that permits only a handful of people of our choosing who can post articles and tutorials. A "features list" or more thorough description of what Slash does or doesn't do would have been helpful. I couldn't find anything that remotely resembled an official features list on slashcode's site.

      I looked at many of the sites that run Slash, and they all look pretty much identical with the exception of a few simple color differences. They all have the site logo on the left, the search box on the right, two link columns on either side, the slash credit on the bottom, the left column always has the polls, "Most Recent Journal Entries", "Older Stuff", etc. This would indicate to me that either it's not a trivial task to make the site conform to a different look and feel, that they all prefer the standard Slash look or that 90% of the users are lazy ;) Perhaps it's that they are "working on the documentation".

      But! There were a couple of sites using slash that looked and behaved exactly like what we want.

      I'll download Slash, run through it and see how it goes. Thanks!

      Jasmine

        You can disallow user submissions, and the standard system does permit editors to choose exactly what to post and where. All of the look and feel is done through templates (Template::Toolkit, even!), and is highly customizable. There's even a handy plugin mechanism, where you can do offbeat things.

        I suspect the users are, in fact, lazy. I certainly am. :)

        I happen to co-run a slash site. We started running it in the slashcode 1.x days (still using 1.x now, actually). 1.x can be a real pain to configure, otoh, it is a pretty scalable and flexible system. I've heard the Bender codebase (2.x) is a lot easier to use. As far as users submitting top-level posts/articles/stories, is this really a bad thing? You do have complete editorial control over what gets published in the slash system as a top-level content node (i.e. story/article).

        I don't know if this is a factor, and I've heard it's changed in 2.x, but slashcode is a pain to virtual host.


        --
        "I aim for the stars. Sometimes I hit London."
        ~ W. von Braun
      As someone who has used Slashcode for at least three sites I can confirm there *are* drawbacks. 1) Lengthy setup time, and steep initial learning curve, even if you buy the book co-written by chromatic :-) 2) No simple way to modify the workflow (it is set up for the Slashdot.org workflow and no other) 3) Not easy to modify the layout of the main index pages 4) Does not work straight out of the box (but that is perhaps the same point as number 1) I'd seriously looking at Squishdot (a Zope product) for my next slashcode-like site. PS I'm Alex McLintock - not "vroom" - is this a security flaw? or is "vroom" the "Anonymous user"
Re: Recommended Content Management System?
by FoxtrotUniform (Prior) on Jul 20, 2002 at 18:43 UTC
Re: Recommended Content Management System?
by PetaMem (Priest) on Jul 22, 2002 at 08:14 UTC
    Hi,

    we're using Zope for our Intranet and for our Webpresence. It's true, that one of the first things we've done was to figure out how to do perl scripting in it. The biggest + is the flexibility of the system, the biggest - are its performance and the (lack of) localization.

    Bye
     PetaMem

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