The Perfect CMS

By Deane Barker on January 31, 2007

Why CMS sucks: This guy responded to my comments on boxed CMSs. I’ll quote his post in its entirety:

The only way to solve a CMS problem is create a programmable Content Engine. Other than that, it is very hard to create a CMS that can fulfill a specific website needs.

Programmers tend to scoff at the idea of building a website. It’s a solve problem, they thought. Except that there are about 1000 different CMS out there trying to figure this problem out.

It’s not yet a solved problem.

Why ? Because a website is very designer driven. When the designer comes with new and innovative, suddenly the CMS is having trouble to accomodate those innovative web features – because the CMS was designed to accomodate the old designs.

So the best you can do is provide

Content API + URL Mapping + Faceplate for Input + Templating Engine + Scriptability.

Without this, congratulation, you become the 1001th CMS out there.

I totally agree with him. As I said in my post, I think that the most perfect CMS in the world would just be a really, really good API.

His list of things he writes looks very much like Rails actually. Rails has some things you can apply to objects like “acts_as_versioned” and such which would get a default Rails install close to a CMS. For more on this, see our post on Rails Blurs the Lines.

This also goes back to my post about user interfaces. If you’re building a CMS, build the API first. Make that perfect, then build a great interface and throw it in as an optional bonus.

What This Links To


  1. Rails has a great chance at going from fantastic to fabulous.


    They’ve said they’re going to throw stuff out. Yup, that’s right, make some of their mistakes go away.

    Interestingly, this is probably partly inspired by Matz (creator of Ruby) saying he’s going to get rid of some of the old Perl hangovers in Ruby.


    One of my favorite Alan Perlis quotes is, “Every program eventually becomes Rococo, then Rubble”. Java is really Rococo these days, much as I like it…

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