Grokking CMS

Reflections on what it means to really understand a CMS, down to its bones.

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Defining Digital Project Scope: What Do You Need?

Someone once told me that a good sales opener is: “What can I help you with?”  Force the prospect to tell you what they need. While pretty good advice, the problem when selling digital services is that a lot of people have only a vague idea of their problem. They have no idea what specific solution […]

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The Page-Based CMS is a Natural Byproduct of the Web

The “page-based CMS” is not a bad thing.  We try to pretend we don’t need to think about pages anymore, but most of the time, attempts to liberate ourselves from the notion of a page is just impractical idealism. Furthermore, the page-based model doesn’t really matter that much, in the big picture. The acknowledgement of […]

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Patterns in URL Redirection After CMS Migrations

After a CMS migration, there’s often a problem of URL redirection.  A lot of our work at Blend is CMS re-platforming, so we often have clients with tens of thousands of existing URLs. When they switch to a new CMS they often change URL schemes, they want to make sure all their old traffic gets […]

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Intelligent Content: A Primer

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book review, but I really enjoyed this little book (disclaimer: I know two of the authors, and they sent me a copy of it to review). Here’s the key: the book is focused. It knows what it wants to do.  It is — as the title […]

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Proposals Are Like First Dates

True story: some development firms lie through their teeth in proposals. Shocking, I know.  But sometimes the winner of a competitive proposal process is going to be the firm that lies the most convincingly. Of course, they couch it in terms that let them sleep at night, but in the end, they either tell bald-faced lies, or they […]

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What do we call the people we make content for?

What is the name for people who consume content?  We have names for people who create the content — usually “creator” or “editor” — but what do we call the people on the other side?  The people who view/read the content we create and edit? “Visitor”:  This is common, but this presumes someone is going […]

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The Need for Content Operations

We implement content management as a practice.  After 11 years of this, we see the same two patterns over and over again: Organizations not prepared to launch a new CMS because their content is mess Organizations who do not fully use the content management systems they’ve had implemented There are a lot of reasons for […]

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Every Day I Want To Quit Social Media

Every Day I Want To Quit Social Media: This one hit a bit close to home. It’s a heartfelt, emotional piece about the love-hate relationship some people have with social media. There’s absolutely an element of addiction there. I don’t find the information I’m looking for. Desperately, I click back to the tab with the […]

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The Future of Libraries

What Libraries Can (Still) Do:  This is a good discussion about the future of the public library, which echos things I’ve talked about here before. […] librarians will need to cherish their special talent as “stewards” while letting go of the instinct to be “collectors.” Knowledge in physical form needs to be handled carefully, preserved, […]

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The Flying Squirrel Book

For the last few months, I’ve been working on a book for O’Reilly: Web Content Management: Systems, Features, and Best Practices.  It’s a reasonable distillation of everything I’ve learned about web content management in almost two decades of success and failure (hopefully more of the former than the latter…) O’Reilly has an interesting system of […]

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The Limitations of Screen Reading

Everything Science Knows About Reading On Screens: More proof that reading on the screen is not the same as reading on paper. But this style of reading may come at a cost—Liu noted in his study that sustained attention seems to decline when people read onscreen rather than on paper, and that people also spend […]

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Just My Type

This is a book about fonts (or type or typefaces — I’ve learned there are subtle variations in the definitions of each, but I can’t remember what they are). The book is a series of anecdotes about fonts/types. Each chapter is short — you can read one in 3-4 minutes, but they’re all pretty entertaining. […]

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Author Payment by the Page

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing: Interesting times: Under the new payment method, you’ll be paid for each page individual customers read of your book, the first time they read it. Of course, however, there are debates about what a “page” means, when it comes to ebooks. To determine a book’s page count in a way that works […]

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Creating Fake Facebook Accounts

Inside a counterfeit Facebook farm: This is the process a “Facebook Account Mill” goes through to create a new account.  I found it fascinating. She starts by entering the client’s specifications into the website Fake Name Generator, which returns a sociologically realistic identity: Ashley Nivens, 21, from Nashville, Tennessee, now a student at New York […]

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What is Content Integration?

Since I don’t feel there’s a good, all-encompassing name out there for this, I’m going to attempt to invent one — Content Integration encompasses the philosophy, theories, practices, and tools around the re-use and adaption of content from our core repository into other uses and channels, or vice-versa: the creation and ingestion of content from […]

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RSG WCM Survey

Tony and the crew from Real Story Group have embarked on a broad survey of WCM usage and implementation patterns, which I think is worth taking.  The survey is here: Survey: Web Content & Experience Management I don’t think enough of this happens in the industry. As a group, we lack in self-reflection and reporting.  […]

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Editorial Scripting in CMS

For years, I’ve been quite interested in the idea of scripting within a CMS.  By “within,” I mean scripting inside of managed content.  So, using some taught language or declarative syntax to get the CMS to perform actions to publish content. This clearly sounds weird, so here’s an example — Say we have an editor […]

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Accidental Bitcoin Centralization

Blockchain scalability: As Bitcoin gets bigger, the history of transactions (which is required to make the whole thing work) gets less manageable, leading to centralization, which is the anti-thesis of the whole idea. We can already observe empirically that more than 50% of the hashpower securing the network right now is owned by just five […]

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We Suck at HTTP

I absolutely loved this New York Times column which lamented the world of apps, where we don’t have the capability to link to content anymore: Unlike web pages, mobile apps do not have links. They do not have web addresses. They live in worlds by themselves, largely cut off from one another and the broader […]

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America’s CTO

Adviser Guides Obama Into the Google Age: A profile of the new U.S. CTO Megan Smith. The transition is rocky: Not only does she now carry a BlackBerry, she uses a 2013 Dell laptop: new by government standards, but clunky enough compared with the cutting-edge devices of her former life that her young son asked […]

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