What Was I Thinking?

The Story So Far

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Early this summer I had a website idea, inspired by utter failure to find something I was looking for. I’m not going to share the details until we launch, in case one of you buggers is more experienced at web development and launches it before I can.

(Hehe… I say “we”. That’s “me” and “my website”)

It’s pretty simple and I think that it provides a good service. A useful service, in fact. Not like bloody Twitter which is becoming just another (less convenient) way to IM. I’m not building the next Web 2.0 fad – I’m simply collecting a bunch of useful information and presenting it in a practical way. I hope.

In order to launch, I need a bunch of things:

  1. Web hosting – easy
  2. Photos – time consuming but cheap
  3. Photo subjects – easy
  4. Photo info – lots of research needed
  5. Web design – tricky but doable at a basic level
  6. A brand – I’m no good at this. I’ll get someone else to do it
  7. Content management – turning out to be fucking nigh-impossible

I’ve also toyed with the idea of incorporating straight away but have discarded that in favour of getting the website up and running. If the website does take I’m going to have to set it up as a business. Parts of my plan require people with more specialised expertise. I’m sure I could blag it, but it would be a) far too much hard work and b) possibly unethical. In that order.

So far I have 1, 3 and 4. I’m slowly working on 2 but all that pales in comparison to 6. My content management system (CMS) requirements aren’t that complex but as it turns out, it’s very difficult to find something that fits.

CMS Requirements:

  • Multiple categories and subcategories per article
  • The ability to display different groups of articles depending on the main article category
  • Custom fields for each “post”
  • Well-documented customisation processes (i.e. How To Write A Theme)
  • Ongoing support
  • Stores certain user’s posts in a moderation queue
  • Nice user-friendly backend
  • Cheap!

So far I’ve seriously evaluated four leading CMSs and none of them are up to scratch. Joomla and Movable Type have appalling documentation. WordPress has a crappy backend and no post moderation. Xoops can’t really support multiple categories. Only Movable Type has a user-friendly backend and since I’m aiming for non-geeks, that criterion is rather important.

I do really like the look of MT4 but until someone produces an in-depth guide for the structure of a theme/template, I simply can’t use it. Also, the custom fields module from Movalog is Out of my non-existent budget for the moment. I may use MT4 after all, but it’s in reserve at the moment.

Next on the list is Plone and then Drupal. If you know of any others that fit, please drop me a comment!

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Written by Weefz

31 August, 2007 at 6:27 pm

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