Wednesday, June 17, 2009...7:00 am

Navigating the CMS minefield

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Regular, geeky readers of Freelance Unbound will know that I am striving hard to become literate in the ways of CMS – that is in actually constructing a CMS-based site, not just using one.
This stuff is pretty hard to get to grips with for a non-techie journalist, so I’ve been trawling the web for as much user-friendly information as possible. 
Thanks, therefore, to Matt Bowen’s really excellent blog for some comprehensive, readable and knowledgeable (if dense) content. 
I came on when I was looking into the relative merits of Drupal and Plone (yet another open-source CMS technology). I’m trying to figure out which is the best investment of my time and energy to learn, given that life is, well, short.
It turns out that each has its merits and, scarily, it might be worth learning both. Except that Plone is even harder to get my non-programmer’s head around. 
Matt’s blog has a very comprehensive and balanced assessment of the two programs, which is also very clearly written, though the material is still quite difficult for non-specialists. 
More than that, he also has some really solid material on writing and communicating for the web, and a tech-based view on where the web is going, to pick just two posts. 
Why should non-tech-minded journalists even care what a programmer is writing?
Because we need to understand much more about the context in which we are plying our slightly grubby trade.
And because, in this case, a programmer is communicating very tough material in a very clear way. 
A lot of this material does go over my head – but a lot is worth reading. This is certainly one for the blogroll and for repeat visiting in order to understand what goes on under the hood of the web…

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