Saturday, July 13, 2013

CMS, again

CMS? Yes, one has to state the context within which the acronym (assuming that is such) needs to be interpreted. So, we're talking computing but there are, at least, two ways to view this. Both important.

Earlier, we started down the content management track since Microsoft decided to remove OfficeLive users from their happy ways. In fact, some had built business processes (okay, wrong choice on their part) upon the OfficeLive stuff. These people had to scramble to find a replacement resource.

For us, OfficeLive offered nice templates and a good front end to building a website. Did I mention that it was free? So, OfficeLive going away forced me to have to get technical.

Aside: I've put together fairly productive sets of software systems on a good laptop using free software. And, the functionality rivaled what a company would pay for. And, "code" (as in what drives computation and decision making) was my focus for decades. As some have argued, it was the reality. However, prior to the content management study, I had consciously refrained from doing code. So, what could have been more interesting that code? Lots of things. Mathematics is definitely, is one doesn't go down the applied path beyond things that can be done on paper (don't laugh, we used to do algorithm testing by hand in the early days). Modeling of all sorts will always be of interest. Why? Map-territory issues will require us to revolve the virtual and the real (foregoing, for the moment, the differences between these two). One reality will the sensors (almost like QE, sensors now and forever). Wait! Google glass having a potential use beyond mere gadgetry? ... How about History? For instance, there has been a lot of effort put into historic genealogical work (say, NEHGS). There is the History that we read about in books. Then, there's the existential affair of people and details and more. What about Memes in this context? Dawkins, perhaps, tongue-in-cheek proposed the concept to handle the messy things that don't fit well into theory. But, you know what? All this fits and starts with computation, networking, and more? To me it looks like a recapitulation with all sorts of ontological underpinnings.

So, after the initial look (early 2012), I realized that I needed to get up to speed. But, I had neither the time or the interest (see comments on WordPress, Drupal, Joomla). I set up a little bit of pages using these three but was not happy with the results that I would get without a serious attempt at learning how they worked. So, what did I do? I went back to what I knew (static HTML - after all, I was doing markup prior to HTML; too, I had many website in place from the Mosaic days onward). The main problem with HTML was finding a WYSIWYG editor as I didn't want to pay for Front Page or any other commercial tool. Guess what? Sea Monkey's little Composer is nice (not perfect, by far). So, this Site is the basis for all comparisons (OfficeLive's little thing, that worked for years, disappeared).

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Wait! What's another meaning of CMS? Configuration management. In both cases, the "s" is for system.

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So, of late, I've realized that I let the ball drop. Too, requirements were looming that would force me to either code something (not that I couldn't, but, again time and energy are limited). So, I had to get back to the garden (I had already learned that youtube has more than nice music videos - it is nice to see things from decades ago, ah), so to speak. I had been watching classes for awhile. No structure, just following interest. One wonderful video of a mathematics class at Stanford sold me on the approach of video. As you know, all of the schools have quality items there: Harvard, MIT, etc.

So, I looked for a WordPress video. Fortunately, there was one that you could have a site up on one-hour. That video set the standard, one hour. There's no real content to the the site that I built as I followed the video. But, it's there. And, I can make comparisons with other approaches.

Not seeing what I wanted in WordPress, I went to Drupal. First off, I couldn't find a video that claimed setting up a site in one hour (Mind you, part of the time is getting the site's name, etc. I was already set up with that.). But, I made an attempt. My reaction was that it was for coders. Everywhere, it looked like I was going to have to do HTML.

So, I looked for Joomla videos. There was a one-hour site claim, using Joomla 3. I had 2.5 installed and installed the newer version. So, I followed the video religiously. Where the guy had images or text, I just made things up. Here is the first result (here is the video - again, there were highly detailed subjects being covered in other videos which I'll get back to -- the requirement was to get something running).

After the first pass, I decided to build a site that I need to maintain. To do this, I followed the video, again, but at a faster clip. Here is the result. As I tried to add new things, I've gone back to the video (have not read a line of documentation yet -- I used to read part of the book (when learning some new language) and then jump in -- or, in class, I would follow for awhile and then just explore).

By the way, part of the decision comes from seeing who is using what. Harvard and Sprint are using Joomla. I'm familiar with both sites. I know that I need to dig deeper in Joomla. Case in point: as modules have side-effects, one has to worry about order and such; these types of nuances are what an expert knows how to handle. For me? I've resolved several of these. Actually, I like the development environment (say, compared to the older ways of using a C++ or other language in a developer's workbench) and the underlying control/interpret scheme.

Aside: Last year, I sort of recoiled from the heavy database use in these approaches. That explains, in part, the fallback to HTML and files. Now, I'm getting a little more comfortable, but I'm also ready to argue the points (we'll get there, truth engineering) of configuration. You see, the package pushes talk content. Configuration control support is there. Perhaps, it's covered in the book. We'll see. However, as I've seen with all of this free stuff. You have updates and upgrades always coming at you. How things interplay must be taken seriously if you're in an environment with continual use. Who drive requirements for these things? Is it too much a gadgetry (feature) focus?

After playing with Joomla, I knew that I had to look at other approaches which are several. Concrete5 sort of jumped out. It's a front end for developers, one video said. Here is my little bit (didn't even use a video, as it seemed intuitive). I'll have to spend some time with this. And, also I'll need to look at others, to be complete.

In the meantime, I'll maintain the current site (static HTML -- blogging all the while), use Joomla as the future, and try to get the Concrete5 example to be like the Joomla. After things become more second nature, then a total redesign might be in order. Right now, I just cut stuff from the static view to the database. Perhaps, thinking about web design issues might be apropos.

Remarks:

06/20/2016 -- Concrete5 example removed. Broken link in one library (at the ISP) mentioned by http://www.whoishostingthis.com/resources/php/.

05/31/2016 -- Continuation of the theme.

08/02/2014 -- Bit the bullet and updated the site (looks, behavior) using HTML/CSS. Of course, things are still pending, such as membership functions, business, ... We'll get there.

10/19/2013 -- Too many interesting things to get involved in. Is coding for the young? That is, not that the older mind cannot do it; rather, it's fairly mundane compared to other things. To be discussed. Perhaps, winters onset will push the mind toward the computational.

09/04/2013 -- While poking around more, I'm more inclined to think that the database, as a central feature, is not the great leap forward that some might think. Unless, using such is wedded with structural approaches (to be defined - unless someone can point to an existing discussion). Took a break for awhile, but did an edit in Joomla and in Concrete5, today. The latter keeps the HTML visibly present. So, that might lead one to think that it's coding, perhaps.

07/14/2013 -- I meant to mention other uses of CMS. Wiki has several that are computer related. We can't forget the Navy's CMS-2. Too, software configuration systems were known by CMS. But, there are many non-computer usages, such as Change Management System (related to process management).

07/13/2013 -- Ah, yes. design. Here is someone touting the powers of WordPress.

Modified: 06/20/2016

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