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NeutrinoCMS, CakePHP and beyond

Posted in NeutrinoCMS on 18.06.2008.

Some plans for the future and a semi-poll for the few of you who read my crappy site.

I'm at work now, and VS2003 is pissing me off by locking project output files and then declaring that it cannot write to those files because "someone" is using them. Dimwit.

So I figured, why not take a break and do something at least semi-useful.

I was browsing around the web and looking at different kinds of content management systems, and compare that to what I'm trying to do with NeutrinoCMS. I must say, the competition in the domain of "regular" CM systems is really tough. If you want to run a site, you pretty much can get all you need. For free. Becoming famous in that domain is virtually impossible (or so it seems to me).

In that view, I'm glad I made the decision to create a CMS for developers. Most of the CM systems I've run into are dumb-end-user oriented. Often though, they have with very complex back-end interfaces and complex administration.

The way I see it, these CMSes are trying to be "the jack of all trades" of a sort, and are bound to fail. The reason why Linux is such a great platform is not because it tries to do everything. Linux makes it possible for you do whatever you want, but it fact, Linux itself does nothing. The real power behind it lies in the huge collection of small tools, each fine tuned to do one thing, and one thing only. Specialization is the key.

I feel the same way about CakePHP. CakePHP just makes it possible for you to code any damn thing you want. The latest RC1 release is unbelievably good. Now it's up to us to create specialized tools.

In the upcoming release of NeutrinoCMS, among other things, I'm planning to optimize pretty much everything (hint: Containable), there will be some bug fixes (comments pagination), Google integration (webmaster tools & analytics), and the star rating.

This is not much, one might say, but bear in mind the single most important concept: simplicity. For those of you who don't read physics books as a hobby, Neutrino is an elementary particle (see Wikipedia entry: Neutrino). NeutrinoCMS, just like neutrino the particle, will not get in your way (yes, even if you use it).

Knowing all this, I'm very interested in developers' opinions. What do you expect from a CMS from developers, for developers? What are the features you miss now? Do you think that smashing things like tickets and software roadmaps into a developers CMS is a good idea? Looking forward to your input..

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Daniel Hofstetter :: 18.06.2008 11:13:21
Personally, I don't see what the difference is between a "normal" CMS and a CMS from developers, for developers, so it is difficult to say what I would expect from such a CMS ;-)
Robert Scherer :: 18.06.2008 11:31:36
- No install routine -> Simple configuration

- No WYSIWYG, just Markdown and/or Textile

- Leave tickets and software roadmaps out, because you destroy the simplicity, you cannot develop such tools in a reasonable time and there is good software for it out there. So better think of a good solution to integrate applications in the CMS. Or viceversa. See Drake or Jake. Let me create a page in your CMS and enter PHP code that will be executed or written out there persistantly, so I'll get my ticket thing in there myself.

- Expandable. Let me add additional infos to the pages. If I don't do it with additional db fields, have a look at Felix GeisendA¶rfer's Expandable Behavior (http://www.debuggable.com/posts/unlimited-model-fields-expandable-behavior:48428c2e-9a88-47ec-ae8e-77a64834cda3)

- Good, commented code. Bad code and debugging or adding something getting a bad dream is the worst for developers.

Just some ideas...
lecterror :: 19.06.2008 04:26:16
@Daniel: Well, my beef with "regular" CMS is the fact that they tend to over-generalize things and get too complicated. I'm aware of the fact that this only my point of view and probably not true. Still, what I want from a "developers" CMS is extreme simplicity, extreme usability and 0% maintenance. Basically, I want to publish software, code snippets and articles without the extra work.

@Robert:

- Would you say that the "no install routine" is already met by the alpha version of Neutrino? Or do you mean *absolutely* no install routing, not even the database initialization?
- WYSIWYG is out of the question, agreed.
- This is a good idea, maybe something like integration with MantisBT and similar..
- Expandable: what kind of additional data did you have in mind? A kind of private meta-data for your own usage, but related to the articles?

Thank you both for your comments!
Pranakhan :: 04.09.2008 13:27:04
Don't kill me... but: a really simple Wiki-like tool for capturing notes, docs, etc, from developer TEAMS. Wiki's are great for dev docs, especially during development (compliance not-withstanding), but the VAST majority of Wiki solutions have way more functionality than necessary. Google Code's is pretty nice, and I like how a table of all the related pages is always right there so you can add articles without having to bother thinking about ways of linking them together so they can be easily found and not orphaned. It would be nice to be able to easily associate these "Wiki" pages with other CMS object types, like add a Wiki page to a blog post, file download, heck even another Wiki page, and the CMS will always create a standard link/icon in the same place relative to the associated item.
Pranakhan :: 04.09.2008 13:27:27
The blog feature, I realize, can be used for capturing that kind of thing too, but devs in the biz world work in teams and only one of them would be authorized to edit a blog post and the rest would need to comment, its nicer if everyone can just mess up and spam a page together at whim.

Then, streamlined login for developer teams. As a matter of fact, do everything in your power to support as many commercial/open-source SSO solutions as you can in your login "module". So, if I'm logged into Windows and using IE8, it would be great if there was a way to configure it to just know who I am based on my Windows credentials, or whatever SSO solution I may have available.

Sorry, some of this may be off a bit, I'm just trying to brainspam quickly to help you out and keep you encouraged!

Pranakhan