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CODE4LIB  February 2014

CODE4LIB February 2014

Subject:

Re: Python CMSs

From:

Tom Keays <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 14 Feb 2014 15:15:12 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (323 lines)

Here's a little digression, getting away from talk about the underlying
technology...

Most CMSes, rather than being *content *management systems, are actually *page
*management systems. They provide a few different page templates -- blog
posts, about pages, product descriptions, etc. -- but when you get to the
point of creating of creating or editing content, you are asked to fill in
a form that, other than requiring a title, author, date, and simple tags or
categories, is mainly just a big-old-chunk-o-unstructured-text.

Read the following post by Christopher Butler, a web developer, that
describes this problem and proposes a new way of thinking about content
management.

http://www.newfangled.com/the_way_you_design_web_content_is_about_to_change

AFAIK, none of the CMSes mentioned in this thread so far do anything that
approaches what this article is talking about. Drupal is constantly
restructuring itself to be more modular. I keep having hope. But it remains
cumbersome to reuse content in Drupal or any other CMS I've looked at.
Ultimately, CMS modularity is still tied to page templates.

The one exception seems to be LibGuides. I think the reason that librarians
and libraries like LibGuides is the ease of creating modules of content
that it offers. In the process of building a guide (a suite of pages on a
topic), you are largely creating boxes of structured content. In those
boxes, you can create links that can be shared and reused in other guides;
you can have a user profile that can be slotted into any page; and even the
most unstructured content, the "rich text box", can be cloned into other
pages or guides. Entire pages or guides can also be cloned and reused. With
the forthcoming LibGuides 2, which offers even more structured and reusable
content -- e.g., assets in the form of links, RSS feeds, documents/files,
book entries, media widgets, database listings, and icons -- it looks even
more modular. Their new approach to building boxes by assembling them from
reusable components is also a step forward.

You can't do everything with LibGuides that you can with "real" CMS
systems; some content types are purposely withheld -- e.g., event and
calendar entries, blog/news posts, image galleries, etc. -- but does any
"real" CMS even come close in terms of modularity?

What I'd like to see is a modular CMS, with reusable components and,
ideally, some sort of API to further extend reuse.

Tom

On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 11:39 AM, Sarah Thorngate <[log in to unmask]
> wrote:

> I second Jason's approach. Even though I'd have more fun using a framework,
> I'm currently implementing a CMS (Drupal) for our main site content. If
> your non-technical library colleagues are anything like mine, they will
> want LibGuides-level simplicity for editing content. My thinking is that
> it's worth a little extra pain now to make sure I'm not the only one who
> can make changes to our content in the future; that can be a huge time
> suck, and prevent you from moving on to other projects.
>
> Sarah
>
>
> On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 10:08 AM, Scott Turnbull <
> [log in to unmask]
> > wrote:
>
> > We used Django and Python extensively while I was at Emory.
> >
> > First let me answer your question. If Django interests you then
> > DjangoCMS is a pretty good choice https://www.django-cms.org/en/
> >
> > I know a few folks who use it and like it quiet a bit. That said I
> > know a lot of the community is trending toward Flask for simple apps
> > in python so it depends on how deep you want to go with what you need
> > to develop.
> >
> > In terms of what I'd add, I would reflect what a lot of people have
> > already said here. My own philosophy is that the CMS problem has
> > already been solved and it's not a great fit for a custom framework
> > unless you have very strong use cases that prove it isn't. I suggest
> > you consider taking care of straight up content with whatever CMS you
> > want to use (Drupal, Wordpress, etc) and reserve Django and python for
> > custom apps that need to sit under it.
> >
> > You can theme the sites so they look the same, leave the CMS to the
> > CMS and put your django apps under an app. subdomain to make the
> > experience more ore less seamless.
> >
> > Just my thoughts, I hope that helps some.
> >
> > Good luck and let us know what you end up doing,
> >
> > - Scott
> >
> > On Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 10:35 AM, Jason Bengtson
> > <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > > I agree with Josh. In the end it's really going to come down to
> > balancing priorities. On my personal site I don't use any kind of content
> > management system and have no interest in adopting one. This has left me
> > free to do as I please without jumping through hoops to try and get
> things
> > work with an often intentionally limiting CMS. At my last University we
> > started with nothing but moved institutionally to Cascade Server (a
> > horrible mistake if ever there was one). Still, as rotten as CS is, I was
> > able to shoehorn a lot of web code through various mechanisms and the
> > campus web team simply kept all the good apps and such on an application
> > server and linked to them as needed. Of course, that meant that the pages
> > of the site itself were pretty static and standardized, in most cases, to
> > the point of McDevelopment, but it also allowed departmental admins to
> make
> > changes without knowing a stitch of web code. I was in bad position
> there
> > because I had little access to anything but t!
> > he CMS, so I had to find ways to shoehorn web apps I built into the CMS
> > and get them to work within its strictures. It didn't help that we had an
> > upper leadership element that didn't understand the difference between a
> > web page on our site and a purpose-built web app.
> > >
> > > Here at RMB, we don't currently use a CMS, but my predecessor built
> > what, in some ways, amounted to a kind of CMS for some of the content
> using
> > ColdFusion. We're evaluating a move to a CMS to put broader content
> editing
> > in the hands of departments so that they can take charge of more than
> news
> > items and the addition of database links. We'll see how that goes.
> Needless
> > to say, the good stuff will be kept far away from the CMS. The biggest
> > advantage to that arrangement on the computing side is that someone
> coming
> > in to replace me wouldn't really need to have an in-depth understanding
> of
> > php (which is the main server-side script I use) to get a handle on the
> > majority of the site. When I was hired I quickly discovered that it was
> > fortunate I had some ColdFusion in my background, or a lot of what our
> site
> > did and how it worked would have been inaccessible until I got up to
> speed
> > on the language.
> > >
> > > I guess what it comes down to for me, as we look at this decision, is
> > how much CMS flexibility and tweakability I need for the main site, vs
> what
> > I want in place for the real web apps that have been built or are
> underway
> > (which I can locate separately and build using whatever framework I see
> > fit). As such you may want to use Django as your framework on a separate
> > application server, while employing a more normative CMS for most of your
> > site content.
> > >
> > > Hopefully at least some of that wasn't too trite.
> > >
> > > Best regards,
> > >
> > > Jason Bengtson, MLIS, MA
> > > Head of Library Computing and Information Systems
> > > Assistant Professor, Graduate College
> > > Department of Health Sciences Library and Information Management
> > > University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
> > > 405-271-2285, opt. 5
> > > 405-271-3297 (fax)
> > > [log in to unmask]
> > > http://library.ouhsc.edu
> > > www.jasonbengtson.com
> > >
> > > NOTICE:
> > > This e-mail is intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it
> > is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential
> > or otherwise exempt from disclosure. If the reader of this e-mail is not
> > the intended recipient or the employee or agent responsible for
> delivering
> > the message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any
> > dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication is strictly
> > prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please
> > immediately notify us by replying to the original message at the listed
> > email address. Thank You.
> > >
> > > On Feb 14, 2014, at 8:30 AM, Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > >
> > >> There are two conflicting issues here. If you want ease of
> development,
> > >> you want a framework. If you want ease of content creation, you want a
> > >> CMS. As a developer, it's always my preference to go for ease of
> > >> development and use a framework. Designing plugins and modules just
> > sucks.
> > >> A simple plugin like displaying dates on a page is stupidly
> complicated
> > >> when you have to integrate it with the entire CMS rendering engine.
> But
> > I
> > >> have to acknowledge that it is better for me as the developer to do a
> > >> little extra legwork than requiring all the non-techie content
> creators
> > to
> > >> do the extra legwork. That said, it isn't _too_ hard to implement a
> > basic
> > >> wysiwyg editor like CKeditor in most frameworks that would eliminate
> > much
> > >> of the difficulty for content creators.
> > >>
> > >> The bigger issue for me is that, when you use a framework, you more or
> > >> less guarantee that anyone inheriting your code is going to be facing
> a
> > >> steep learning curve, possibly insurmountable depending on their level
> > of
> > >> programming knowledge. With a CMS, there is built-in documentation
> and a
> > >> support community for 95% of functionality, and then you just have to
> > >> document the 5% or so of code that you custom wrote.
> > >>
> > >> Having said all that, I have to point out the amazing Yii PHP
> framework.
> > >> It is so extremely easy to build a data-driven app. If you ever want a
> > PHP
> > >> framework, use that. For Python, I'd go with Django just because it
> has
> > a
> > >> better support community and is slightly easier than Flask for
> database
> > >> functionality like ORM.
> > >>
> > >> Josh Welker
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> -----Original Message-----
> > >> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
> Of
> > >> Coral Sheldon-Hess
> > >> Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2014 6:14 PM
> > >> To: [log in to unmask]
> > >> Subject: [CODE4LIB] Python CMSs
> > >>
> > >> Hi, everyone!
> > >>
> > >> I've gotten clearance to totally rewrite my library's website in the
> > >> framework/CMS of my choice (pretty much :)). As I have said on
> numerous
> > >> occasions, "If I can get paid to write Python, I want to do that!" So,
> > >> after some discussion with my department head/sysadmin, we're leaning
> > >> toward Django.
> > >>
> > >> Here's a broad question, re: Python and Django: If you've made the
> > switch,
> > >> what has your experience been? Has Django (or any other Python
> > framework)
> > >> given you something cool that was lacking in your previous
> > >> language/framework/CMS? Has it helped you build something awesome?
> Have
> > >> you found it enabling or limiting in any way? If you were going to
> sell
> > >> people on (or against) using it, what would your arguments be? I'm a
> > >> relative newbie to Python, and a total newbie to Django, so even if
> > there
> > >> was a tutorial you found useful, or some caveat you learned along the
> > way,
> > >> I'm interested. :)
> > >>
> > >> And then a more specific question: Given the following requirements,
> do
> > >> you have a Django-based CMS you'd recommend? (Of course, I'll also do
> my
> > >> own research, but I'd love to see what other libraries' experiences
> have
> > >> been and what's popular, right now.)
> > >> * There's a chance we'll want to offer other editors access to it, at
> > >> some point, so it would be nice if I can provide a WYSIWYG interface,
> > >> which I also am going to want the option to *turn off*, for my own
> > sanity.
> > >> * We're a Springshare-heavy library with Summon and big secret
> API-based
> > >> plans, so easy JavaScript (preferably jQuery) integration is a must.
> > >> * It should play nicely with MySQL.
> > >> * Because I probably won't be here forever, it's of the utmost
> > importance
> > >> that whatever we end up with is easy to maintain.
> > >> * I'm used to MODx's page-ID model, where I can move pages around, and
> > as
> > >> long as I don't delete/recreate a page (thereby changing its ID), I
> > don't
> > >> have to change any links anywhere else in the CMS. I'd really like
> > >> something that will work equally well, since the odds that I'll nail
> the
> > >> information architecture on the first try are probably slim. :) (Maybe
> > >> this one should go without saying, since I know WordPress and many
> other
> > >> CMSs do this, but if you have to err, err on the side of being
> explicit,
> > >> right?)
> > >> * A nice forms-builder plugin (module?) would be a great thing to
> have,
> > as
> > >> well. We use FormIt in MODx, and now I'm spoiled.
> > >>
> > >> And, I mean, if there's a CMS on top of another Python framework you
> > think
> > >> I should be considering, feel free to throw that out as a possibility,
> > >> too!
> > >>
> > >> Thank you!
> > >>
> > >> --
> > >> Coral Sheldon-Hess
> > >> http://sheldon-hess.org/coral
> > >> @web_kunoichi
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Scott Turnbull
> > APTrust Technical Lead
> > [log in to unmask]
> > www.aptrust.org
> > 678-379-9488
> >
>
>
>
> --
>
> Sarah Thorngate
> Digital Services Librarian
> North Park University
> [log in to unmask]
> 773-244-4562
>

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