Posts from March, 2009

March 16th, 2009

The Ultimate Showdown of Content Management System Destiny

I wasn’t planning on linking to anything involving SXSW this week since every going-on there will be blogged and tweeted to death without me, but I liked the premise of this: Three dev teams were tasked with producing a website to uniform design, content and technical specifications within 100 hours, each in a different CMS: Drupal, Joomla or WordPress. My friend Tom Boutell provides session notes (and better backgrounding than the Showdown site provides).

Ultimately, the result is not a proof of any platform’s superiority, but that there’s sufficient functional overlap of the low and high end CMSes to make specifying a platform a considerably less nervewracking experience than it was a couple years ago.

Incidentally, Tom just announced Context at SXSW today, a brand new CMS based on the Symfony framework.

March 4th, 2009

Widget Cart needs beta testers

Widget Cart is a WordPress plugin that adds ecommerce to any WordPress website with widgets enabled. You can add a shopping cart to your new or current website as easily as adding any other blog widget. “Add to Cart” buttons can be inserted anywhere in any post or page; the cart sits among your other WordPress widgets where users can change the quantities on the items they order before checking out at PayPal.

It only needs a WordPress- based website, widgets enabled, and your PayPal account to receive and handle orders.

The project is in its final stages and needs testers. The plugin is more or less feature-complete according to my tasklist, which means upgrading it to a final release will (hopefully) not require any more effort by the testers than replacing the plugin files.

Widget Cart will be available for public download and submitted to the WordPress plugin directory when I’m satisfied that it works properly and has sufficent documentation. For now I want to be able to notify anybody affected by updates.

Widget Cart is GPL‘d. I will never require registration or payment for downloads and documentation. It was heavily influenced by QuickShop, which is designed to serve slightly different purposes; if Widget Cart interests you but you’re using a checkout system other than PayPal I encourage you to try it instead.

If you’d like to participate, comment on this post and I’ll contact you by email. Comments are screened and I will withhold publication at your request.

March 2nd, 2009

The Cute Cat Theory

Any sufficiently advanced web technology has three things in common: Cat pictures, political action, and porn. Ethan Zuckerman provides a fascinating rumination not only on what a successful network technology needs (uptime and usability, of course) but on what the hallmarks of that success are. In the case of activism, access to the media in many countries is a matter of getting in, through, and around sometimes draconian controls; the service itself has to operate fluidly, quickly, and broadcast as broadly as possible or it will be replaced with something cheaper, easier, and more effective. The most successful web platforms (such as YouTube and Twitter) become vital channels of communication in ways that are sometimes only obvious in hindsight. 

This is the best essay I’ve read in the past week.