Archive for September 2009

A new kind of CMS is in order

WordPress is not a bad CMS.  Fairly simple, well documented, has the requisite features like version control, trackback, authentication, and a nice set of user contributed themes and plugins.  Its pretty damn good.

But.  The basic CMS assumption that ‘the content originates here’ is flawed.  In today’s world, sometimes there may be another authoritative source of the content I wish to aggregate on my blog.  Even if I wrote it, for some reason I may have wanted to write it first on blogspot, or facebook, or linkedin, or some other site – but still have it appear on my central blog site.  What would be even better would be the ability to edit it on my primary site and have the edits propagate back to the other locations, if permitted.

WordPress, Drupal, other leading CMS’s do have the ability to pull in feeds and insert content from other sources, but they manage those feeds differently from ‘normal’ posts, as if they were an afterthought or add-on.

I’d like to see a CMS that has a single central content management system, which has additional fields for each bit of content:

- original/authoritative source
- rules/actions for edits
- rules/actions for updates from external sources

This would make it easier to manage content from multiple sources and in one place manage the rules for propagating that content.  An API should be exposed to request updates to the content, which other similar CMS’s could tap into.

While I’m at it, this ideal CMS would store a copy of all content in flat text files.  This would make searching faster and easier (not having to spider and then extract the essential content) and would allow use of all the existing text file tools!  (Like, Perl scripts ;-)   The name and path of the text file would indicate which bit of content it corresponds to, and the rules could be set to allow direct text file edits, or not.  Direct edits could be propagated back into the system.  This would make it much easier to bulk edit large amounts of content, not for theming, but for content accuracy, as is sometimes necessary.

Perhaps this could all be accomplished with some sort of WordPress-CodeIgniter hybrid?  Would be a shame to start something from scratch and lose all the cool themes people have made.  Well – will have to wait til another day.