Josh (the blog)

Hey there. I’m Josh, a SydneyCanberra-based maker of Internets. I don’t update this very often.


SilverStripe CMS and the difficulty of CYIADA

I stumbled across this PHP5 CMS today (via a WSG member post) and it looks pretty good. I’m a little concerned about the (very)-AJAX admin side of things, but didn’t spend much time digging into it so it might gracefully degrade (maybe).

It’s almost frustrating to find such good and mature CMS products on the market and not have any need to use them for CYIADA… I spent the last week mostly trying to shape fairly simple data models for different aspects of the website and it’s rapidly becoming clear just how structurally complex multi-tiered community/community generated content sites are. At least in terms of relational DB complexity, yes, this is bigger than MySpace.

Anyway, SilverStripe looks worth a look for simpler endevours.

The complexity is mostly introduced where users become authors, which defies traditional CMS workflow altogether. It’s also far more structured than Wiki systems are, and far more private. Privacy is being balanced against flexibility which is being balanced against community and all of these are being met with time/cost concerns.

But I like to keep telling myself I don’t really know what I’m talking about and getting a programmer will solve all these dilemmas … yeah, right.

I’ve got sick of sitting on my hands and just want to be a web practitioner again. I know the product inside out, it’s been planned to the hilt, stakeholders are universally intrigued/waiting for it, and I’m being impatient and feeling generally like charging forwards. Which is, in all probability, not the best way to be approaching things.

These two consultants came in a week ago and we explained the project to them and (what I heard was) they said “we want flowcharts and scope documents”. I’ve killed a few trees in my time, but the next person to help me in that isn’t going to be a consultant telling me to rehash (yet again — I’ve written documents in so many forms, website copy so many times, etc.) what I’ve got without any further input. I’m in this weird place now where waiting for a programmer is nearly required for further planning action, and everyone but me appears to want more planning before action… meanwhile, I’m writing models for Django and scaring myself with the complexity and learning Adobe products better and generally landing squarely back in front-end territory, which is where I’ve comfortably been for the last two or so years. Well, with the exception of Adobe products, which I only finally caved to last year… whatever :P