[Edu-sig] Another update from the field...

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sun Aug 20 23:39:52 CEST 2006

On 8/20/06, Dethe Elza <dethe.elza at gmail.com> wrote:

> Eliot Kimber (aka Dr. Macro) has a great series on his blog about
> building an XML-based CMS.  It is really applicable beyond XML (and
> most XML stuff is applicable to HTML).  He advises (and is building
> open-source and blogged all the way) a solution on top of Subversion
> (versioning software).

Does Eliot consider Zope 3 a good example of XML-based CMS?  I've seen
it presented as Model-View-Controller, with ZODB providing an API to
the model, XML controlling the View, and Zope + custom Python being
the controller.

> If HTML is the scary bit, I suggest looking at reStructured Text/
> Markdown/Textile as alternatives (depending on need).  All convert to
> nice (X)HTML.  reST is the most complicated, but can also be
> converted to XML, PDF, PPT, and other formats, and you can add your
> own hooks to bring in more advanced features.

"Convert to nice (X)HTML" where though?  You're still implying some
engine doing the translation, whereas straight XHTML/CSS liberates you
from anybody's Wiki or whatever framework.

Per my friend Gene Fowler's vision, I think we should just plan on
spreading XML fluency at least to a point where fear of XHTML is the
exception, not the rule.  The basics aren't that hard -- arguably as
simple as all the rules reST gives you.

Gene's vision:

> If getting the content up on the web is the problem, a wiki or blog
> tool might be the answer, or simply showing them how to share a
> remote directory to the desktop for editing.

Too non-standard for a basic company website.  This is a small startup
that can't afford to look too quirky, given the invention itself is
already on the wild side.  For a sneak peak:
http://www.4dsolutions.net/flextegrity/ (I'll be taking it down within
12 hours, so expect a broken link pretty soon -- sharing with you
because you track the Bucky stuff some).

The real site will debut on flextegrity.com in the near future,
probably as a PHP site (i.e. I expect my good advice to be rejected).

> A full-fledged CMS is often the wrong solution even for the high-end
> corporations that they're generally targetted for, and always require
> more effort than is anticipated.
> --Dethe

Yes.  A CMS is a wonderful thing when it's the right tool for the job,
but in too many cases it's promulgated as a way to make the web
"friendly" to newbies, whereas just learning a little HTML in a
WYSIWIG editor would be a kinder gentler thing to share with them
(keeps them free of the CMS itself, a gravitational field).

Per Gene's vision, I want to see more mixing of XML with everyday
language arts.  Learn some tags at the same time you're learning basic
punctuation, and the difference between a verb and a noun.  No one
finishing the Shuttleworth sequence, for example, should feel "afraid
of HTML".


More information about the Edu-sig mailing list