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

This issue was published on Monday, September 17, 2018.

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Non-sequiturs from the world of content management.

Thoughts On Content and Presentation. The "separation of content and presentation" is a sacrosanct concept in content management, but it's often thrown around offhand, as if we've all put a ton of thought into it when we often haven't.

Dave Clark is an English professor at the University of Wisconsin. He's written a peer-reviewed paper on the subject: "Content Management and the Separation of Presentation and Content." This paper introduced me to Silva Rhetoricae and the idea of logos vs. lexis.

I had lunch with Dave some years ago. He's an engaging guy, and this paper is a wonderful read which has been cited in papers about everything from Obamacare to Second Life.

The Content Strategy Quad. I enjoy when people try to put structure around something as amorphous as content. To this end, here's the Content Strategy Quad from Brain Traffic.

From a CMS perspective, one section of their model is:

Structure (or, content engineering) addresses the following considerations:

  • How will we organize content for browse-and-find?
  • What tags are most intuitive for users?
  • How will we categorize content for efficient management?
  • How will we structure our content for future reuse?
  • What are the requirements for personalization, dynamic delivery, AI?

It's a good model and a quick read.

The /r/cms Subreddit. I continued to moderate the /r/cms subreddit. I'm trying to deepen the discussion, so I posted this question:

How do we differentiate between a "CMS" scenario as opposed to a more traditional "application" scenario?

[...] when confronted with a set of requirements, in what situations do you think, "I need to start with a CMS for this" and in what situations does a CMS never cross your mind as a foundation and instead you turn to a more general underlying framework (Symfony, Rails, ASP.NET MVC)?

There's been some activity, but I'd like to see more, both for the sake of the community and because this is an important topic that could use some examination.

Non-CMS Books. I've read a few books over the years that have nothing to do with CMS but have affected how I view the discipline. Both books have to do with human interaction in the physical environment.

How Buildings Learn
This is an examination of how buildings grow and change over time, and a lot of the lessons apply to large, organic, evolving websites. The was the source of a sidebar in my book about "shearing layers."

The Life and Death of Great American Cities
This connection is a little more distant, but Jacobs discusses cities as a connecting fabric for humans, and her thoughts on movement and — weirdly — sidewalks, might echo when you think about how you make digital "spaces."

Sitecore Symposium. I'm delivering the developer keynote at Sitecore Symposium in Orlando, October 8-10.

My talk is entitled "Headless CMS and The Great Uncoupling." I'll be talking about the unique position that the headless movement has put the CMS industry in, how we got here, and what it means for more traditional CMS offerings.