Designer CMS on Rails
Paul Jarvis (of twothirty fame) and I have been discussing an idea over the last few days, centered around this concept: many designers (especially those who, like us, believe in and evangelize web standards for our projects, and care about building user-friendly interfaces) bemoan the absence of a CMS that meets the following requirements:
- Easy to incorporate into existing projects
- Easy to integrate with new projects
- Easy to tweak without being a programmer
- Easy to use (for designers, developers and clients)
So we started chatting about this problem in more detail, since the only solutions either of us have found thus far (for projects requiring a CMS) is to create something from scratch (time-consuming if you are a programmer or have one on your team, and usually expensive if you choose/need to hire a developer — for designers with no programming knowledge, the latter is almost always the case), attempt to customize one of the many open source CMS projects (which seem to have a long way to go), or hack/bend/twist blog-oriented systems (which is a less-than-elegant approach on many levels) such as WordPress, Textpattern or MovableType.
After agreeing on the poor state of the CMS union, we decided that something needs to be built from the ground up to target these specific requirements, as well as some others, including:
- Quick setup/configuration
- Wide compatibility with web servers/platforms
- Customizable UI (e.g. make it look like a client’s site)
- More we haven’t yet thought of
Paul and I discussed a combination of Rails and AJAX as the perfect companions to web standards, and since neither of us are serious developers (we can both do a few fancy things with PHP, but that doesn’t really count for a project of this scope), I decided it would be interesting to find out what I could about the Rails world — being a front-end designer, I haven’t yet been able to dedicate enough time to Rails to really understand how to use it, though that’s still on my list (especially after using Basecamp and now Backpack so successfully, such great examples of the framework have me sold on its benefits completely). A brief discussion with David Heinemeier Hansson about potential Rails developers resulted in a short description of the concept on a public Backpack page (what else?) which David was kind enough to publicize on the Rails blog, with the hopes of generating interest from one or more developers.
Is this a project that interests you, either as a user or a contributor? Are you a Rails or AJAX developer interested in collaborating with a few of the better designers within the web standards world to design and develop an answer to this missing-link in the web standards development toolbox?
We’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, concerns, ideas, and anything else I’ve left out if you care to share them — I’d love to see this done in Rails, especially as Rails is picking up speed and popularity day by day, and this kind of project (whether eventually sold or purely distributed for the greater good) would both benefit from the press Rails is receiving as well as add to it.
This item was posted byon Friday, June 10th, 2005.
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