revjim.net

some prior art — sort of

Here are a couple examples of what I’m looking for in regard to prior art.

Blosxom (Perl): The hierarchy is right. The plugins system is great. Unfortunately, the templating system is no where close to a real templating engine and doesn’t allow complete customization of all output without knowledge of Perl and the internal workings of Blosxom. Additionally, though I haven’t tried, it seems difficult to force the system to allow other content types aside from "blog entry". However, this system does a decent job of allowing multiple output renderings of each piece of content (as long as the very-simple template system is capable of the style of rendering you choose). Other content types have been implemented (such as "comment", "trackback" and "pingback" — all known as writebacks), but they seem… forced, at best. More than anything, it seems as though this system started in the right direction and then suffered from very kludged code.

Bryar (Perl): I haven’t actually used this, so my analysis could be wrong. However, this application seems to get many things right. First of all, it uses a templating system (and the template system used can be altered — bonus points!!). However, like its cousin, Blosxom, it doesn’t allow varying content types handling only two — blog entries and comment. It seems to only support two types of output — HTML and RSS. It seems as though this system was built to be a blogging engine, and nothing more. I hate Perl enough to not look at this too closely because, hardcore Perl hackery is not what I consider fun. With better/more documentation, I might be able to decide if this project is worth looking into but, at first glance, it doesn’t appear to be extensible enough to allow me to easily modify it to handle new types of content and new output renderings.

Drupal (PHP): This application comes the closest to what I’m looking for, I think. The plugin system seems to be capable of handling different content types as is evidenced by the wide array of modules available for it. It’s hierarchy is a bit limited, however, with the Taxonomy module, and new URL aliases, it seems that, despite the fact that objects aren’t stored in a hierarchal fashion, they can be referenced that way. This system’s biggest downfall comes from the lack of a real template system. Everything is built in blocks. Different pieces of content are actually referenced by things such as "left side bar" and "right side bar" (What if I don’t want a side bar at all?!? What if I’m rendering an email with no concept of a side bar?!?). The API for building these blocks seems as though it might be simple enough to kludge into being truly customizable. But, in the end, it would only be a kludge. The templating system must be very simple to use as, people who may have very limited knowledge of programming concepts will most likely desire to edit these templates. A kludged template system will most certainly have some sort of cruft involved in its use, and that isn’t desired. However, it is a possibility.

As I find more, I will update this list. Of course, that means that this item will update, but, since it isn’t new it won’t appear at the top of revjim.net. Which means that you’ll have to bookmark it and come back to it constantly to see if more applications have been added. In order to save you from having to do that, I’ll post a new entry to tell you that I’ve updated this entry. Of course, if Inklog were up and running, I could place each of these items as separate objects with a common parent. I could alter the template of that parent and include the text above and below these items and create a simple object type that would gather each of the items and display them when the parent was requested. Then, when a new items was added, it would be a separate object, and therefore could be displayed as a new item and viewing that item would allow it to be displayed in context so that the text of that item would make sense. (Imagine if I posted a new item, currently, with no qualification regarding what I was posting that read exactly as any of the above paragraphs read. I’m sure many readers, especially if I posted it a few months from now when this text was no longer fresh on their minds, would be very confused about what I was talking about.)

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