moving the website out of CMSMS

Laurel A. Williams laurel.williams at utoronto.ca
Tue Nov 17 19:11:11 UTC 2009


Hi all,

For some time now, we've been discussing moving the website out of 
CMSMS. I'd like to start a discussion of the pros and cons of doing this 
and also talk about some techniques we could use for accomplishing the 
task if we decide to do it. Here is the jira task: 
http://issues.fluidproject.org/browse/FLUID-3355

Advantages that CMSMS gives us:
1) The ability to allow various community members to post to the website 
with specific roles such as editor, administrator, and designer. We do 
not take advantage of this ability right now. The only people who edit 
the website all have admin access and there are very few accounts.
2) CMSMS allows us to use fixed templates for the header, footer and 
other common code blocks so we don't have to edit and maintain common 
code blocks on each page.
3) CMSMS provides some add ons, such as the news pages, breadcrumbs, 
menu generation and rss feeds with very little work. It also provides a 
maintenance mode for when we are doing upgrades (a site down message is 
displayed.

Disadvantages:
1) Being constrained by CMSMS has made editing somewhat onerous for 
experienced web app developers. The CSS is stored in the DB in one 
place, the common code chunks in another, the content for individual 
pages in another place. The interface for editing the pages is not very 
user friendly for people who are used to tweaking html in text editors 
or using their favourite html editing environment.
2) CMSMS continues to evolve and updates are tricky. There is always a 
danger of breaking the site when we upgrade and not upgrading puts the 
website at risk for security flaws.
3) Having the website in CMSMS does not allow us to version the site or 
revert changes easily.

So, if we are merely using CMSMS because of advantages 2 and 3, we 
should think about alternative techniques.

Some thoughts:
a) We are a javascript focused project - maybe we should use javascript 
to tackle these problems. This could have the advantage of allowing us 
to showcase the Fluid framework on our own website. Colin suggested 
using something like Kettle to manage various includes. Jess also 
suggested I develop a 'menu component'.
b) I've been doing a lot of PHP lately for the builder. PHP is another 
option. I think its main advantage is that it would be quick to swap 
over the current CMSMS site to PHP.

I am sure the community has lots of ideas to contribute on this subject, 
so looking forward to your thoughts.

Laurel


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