Cms Trench Warfare An Introduction
Posted on 29 Oct 2008
by Erika Meyer (erika)
Rated 4.07 (Ratings: 2)
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How do I love my CMS? Let me count the ways...In my experience, CMSs are generally chosen by those who will be supporting the software (often the IT department), and the process and/or criteria used to make that choice, vary. Understandably, IT is often as concerned with their own needs as with their clients' (the true end-users). And to me, how the CMS was chosen matters not, since I've always come on board after the choice has been made, and it is my job to make the client love the chosen CMS. Or at least, to use it. But CMS-wrangling is not a job for the timid, especially if IT has not quite managed to wrestle their software into submission and/or if you are facing mountains of badly organized and/or outdated content on someone's shared drive — times a few hundred. That you will be porting sites built in some ancient form of HomePage, FrontPage, or MS Word is pretty much a given. CMS administrative interfaces are usually somewhat complex, often not particularly intuitive, frequently employ an esoteric vocabulary, and always entail some kind learning curve.
you have to do this because (insert powerful person here) says so.Less creative, and depending on the culture of your organization, frequently less effective.
Focus on the content.As you work in the organization you will find that the technically-savvy may be fascinated with your nifty CMS technology, but hate the fact that they have less freedom to customize their sites. The technically averse will find all kinds of reasons why they cannot work with the CMS. The creative/art/design department will hate the front-end design; or, if they helped create the design, they will hate the implementation. The IT department will give you a byzantine list of
workaroundsfor admin interface bugs. The opinionated will ask for a blog. Someone will want to use Flash. Everyone will want an embedded weather report. You will have to run reconnaissance missions between departments with long standing feuds. You'll be forced to use an HTML editor so frustrating, it makes you want to use Clippy to commit seppuku. And in the face of it all, your open source people, washed in the blood and bathed in the kool-aid, repeat in unison that their
product is powerful, standards-compliant, and user-friendly,as they march forward like brain-devouring zombie army incapable of comprehending any of the real-world problems you are experiencing. And you? You will be repeating this mantra: Just focus on the content. Just focus on the content. And that's the truth to hold on to, the light at the end of the tunnel. Your open-source CMS product will only get better — maybe much better — assuming your IT department keeps the software up-to-date. We can debug, we can fix looks and feels, we can add or remove functionality. It can only get better... right? So, should you also find yourself in the CMS trenches, blinded by sweat, grime, and your own blood... focus on the content.