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CODE4LIB  February 2014

CODE4LIB February 2014

Subject:

Re: Python CMSs

From:

Joshua Welker <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 14 Feb 2014 14:48:25 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (382 lines)

Drupal 8 will *almost* be a box-based CMS with Views being integrated with
the core application. You can turn any chunk of content into a view "block"
that can be dropped into pre-defined regions. But to have different blocks
on different pages, you still have to build complex templates or use a
plugin like Context.

You'd think it wouldn't be that hard... you'd just need a database table
with fields for box_id, page_id, and page_region. Then when a page loads, it
pulls up all boxes with the same page_id and puts them into the appropriate
region. Why this isn't built into the core of any CMS I know is beyond me.
They all have plugins that hack in that functionality in an ugly way.


Josh Welker


-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom
Keays
Sent: Friday, February 14, 2014 2:15 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Python CMSs

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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