Squirrel Notes is an email newsletter about CMS and other content technologies. It publishes twice each month.

This issue was published on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

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Non-sequiturs from the world of content management.

WordPress Wireframing Kit. WordPress is so pervasive that 10up has created a set of WordPress widgets and templates for Sketch:

[...] which cover the breadth of WordPress's authoring and administrative environment. Being able to start from this solid foundation allows us to focus more on the concepts and less on pushing the pixels to make it look like an authentic backend experience.

10up does some big WP installs (FiveThirtyEight, TechCrunch, etc.) so they would know.

Kentico's Headless CMS Survey. Kentico has completed a survey of headless CMS: The State of Headless CMS 2018. They compiled the responses of 986 "technical and business people."

  • 55% knew what headless was (React developers were the most familiar; Java developers, the least)

  • 63% preferred open-source, self-hosted — by far the largest preference

  • The biggest benefits to headless are perceived as (1) centralization of content and (1) flexibility

The survey is worth reading, and it dovetails into Kentico's larger "Ultimate Guide to Headless CMS."

ContentPepper. While in Frankfurt at cosca18, I saw a demo of ContentPepper, which was impressive. It's a content aggregator, which allows users to consume multiple content sources and manage the results in one place.

Once aggregated, you can divide content into "pools" and...

  1. Use the built-in layout system to construct templates to service URLs

  2. Use it as a headless CMS to power something else

One of the more popular sources is Contentful, and the two companies have partnered on a website — Pepperful — to promote the partnership. They have a whitepaper there which explains why they think their new approach is the right way to go.

I've considered writing something like ContentPepper a dozen times (I called the idea "a content warehouse"). I believe that the future of CMS is far more distributed than centralized, and content can be aggregated and delivered better by systems that had no hand in creating it.

The Plural of CMS. And now for something completely different --

When I wrote my book, my original draft used the acronym "CMS" to refer to the plural of...CMS. More than one "content management system" would be "content management systems" which is still represented by the acronym "CMS"

In fact, I had a note on this in the preface.

It's worth nothing that since CMS means "Content Management System," the plural of this can lead to awkwardness. The plural of "CMS" is technically also "CMS," since the only word to need pluralizing is the word "system" which is represented by the last letter. So, we have a "single CMS," but we also have a group of "many CMS."

Sadly, no one got the chance to "get used to it," because O'Reilly over-ruled me during copyediting, and my note was removed. I remain undaunted, however, and I retrieved that text from a prior Git commit as a (weak) form of protest. If you want to argue the point one way or the other, let me know.

Specialization in Professional Services. A friend recommended The Win Without Pitching Manifesto. It's about how to change professional services sales to escape the constant pitching death spiral.

The book has 12 principles, starting with: "We will specialize." The more finely you slice your target market, the theory goes, the more skilled you are in relation to that market, and the less competition you have.

I got to wondering what that looks like in the CMS space, and here are the axes I think you could turn on:

  • Specialize in a platform (WordPress, Sitecore, etc.)

  • Specialize in a industry or client (higher education, finance, etc.)

  • Specialize in a requirement or aspect of a project (aggregation, video, etc.)

  • Specialize in a "tone" of project (simple and derivative, or large and complex)

If you have any other thoughts here, I'd be interested to hear them. How do you define your specialty?