This weblog is no longer being maintained. All information here has been ported to EclecticEchoes.com. This site (heupel.com/eclectic) remains only for archival purposes.

September 02, 2003

Getting there - slowly

If you have somehow discovered this site (I have only let a few know about it) then I guess I should let you know, that it is a very early work. Still very much unfinished. In software parlance I would term this as a 0.1alpha release.

I am using this site mostly to get up to speed with Movable Type as I have found it from earlier experiments to be the best compromise between power and ease of use for a lightweight CMS tool. There are a lot of fine examples of powerful CMS tools out there that are open source or low cost. Then there are some CMS systems that cost an arm and a leg, among all CMS systems support of web standards and ease of use varies greatly, and surprisingly many of the proprietary enterprise priced systems are most lacking. MT is actually fairly adept at handling general CMS duties for a small to medium sized site. It is very actively developed, with a strong public support forums and and there are a wide range of plug-in developers who contribute to the functionality of the base code. For what I need it is flexible, affordable and extremely capable. Right now I am working to develop a couple of web sites for small business owners who have no desire to learn any code, but want to be able to have a hands on part in delivering their message, including updating the site semi-regularly, without learning code, or having another application on their systems. MT fits the bill with a browser based update/publishing system that is not overly complicated.

I debated creating a PHP / MySQL solution from scratch of modifying one of the other systems out there, but the build up time would have been to long to build, test, refactor, test etc etc before I could even begin building a clients site in it. I would really rather have the luxury of building a more custom application in a lot of ways, but I am finding that MT fits most of the needs right “out of the box.” Where it doesn’t quite work I have already found answers and plug-ins in the very active community.

So why am I writing all of this, especially for an audience of two, both of which understandably don’t care about most of what I just said? 

Mostly because I am trying to document my process to some degree. While I will continue to update the site with personal opinions etc. I will also add to the MT category those bits that I find interesting or useful. In particular I will add entries with a keyword of colophon that relate to the architectural design of this site. For instance creating yearly archives. While Brad came up with it quite some time ago, his solution was extremely useful to me now, as I sought to solve the exact same problem. If I find a solution or plug-in I will enter it in the MT category with a keyword of colophon. If I create a solution to an issue in the design of the site, or a solution to a issue with getting MT to do what I want/need it to do I will likewise post it. If for some reason I stop using a solution/plug-in I will annotate the original entry to show it is no longer being used and why.

This way I have a running diary of the design of the site. It should be relatively easy at a later time to write up a comprehensive how-to or a detailed colophon directly from these entries. As (if) the site find wider readership, others can benefit from my journey.

Posted by Eric at September 2, 2003 12:29 AM | TrackBack
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