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

This issue was published on Monday, November 12, 2018.

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Hi from Hanoi! I spoke at the Sitecore Singapore conference on Friday, and I visited Vietnam to meet with Niteco, which is an outsourcing company who brought me over to speak at the conference.

Having a great time, but, the Notes must go on...

CMS and City Planning. After I mentioned some books about city planning and architecture, John Eckman from 10up got in touch to recommend his talk "Design from the Content Out," which relates to much the same concepts.

Here's John giving the talk at WordCamp Rhode Island. And here's the Slideshare deck (which can be tough to follow without John talking over it).

John approaches content from a design standpoint, but most of what he says transitions fairly well into a CMS perspective as well. He talks about designing systems, not pages, and designing content from the bottom up. The first 10 minutes or so is an extended discussion on the relation to urban planning, which, as it turns out, John wrote this thesis on.

An Argument Against Field Validation. The folks at Prismic explain why they abolished required fields: Unpopular opinion: why required fields lead to terrible UX

Their argument boils down to editor flow, and says that developers should simply account for potentially missing fields in their templating. Developers might have to do this once when setting up a template, but editors would have to deal with required fields every time they generate content.

I might not agree totally, but Prismic argues their point well, and I love that they brought it up and injected it into the common discussion.

Comment Handling Discussion in /r/cms. I posted a short analysis about comment/UCG handling in CMS on the /r/cms subreddit.

Should comments from visitors be considered "full" content and managed like other content? Or are they somehow different and should be managed in a dedicated subsystem or external service? In my post, I list the reasoning you might use with either approach.

As is tradition for /r/cms, I didn't get a lot of response. I'd be curious in your thoughts, if you'd like to add a reply to the Reddit post.

Lightweight Markup Languages. Wikipedia has a neat page on Lightweight Markup Languages, which I didn't know was a formal genre (an acronym even: "LML").

They have a list of many, which is longer than I expected. We have Markdown and Textile, of course, but also a bunch I didn't know of: Creole, Texy, Org-Mode, etc. In addition, there are languages that have been driven by specific software: BBCode, Slack, and others.

I confess to reading the all the pages, and there's a lovely philosophic undercurrent throughout about symbolism and the separation of intention from implementation.

LMLs seek to give editors a way to signal their intentions for text formatting separate from the actual implementation in a way that would make sense both in the raw and processed forms. Additionally, this is done "in the open," where the markup is not intended to be hidden like HTML tags — call it "self-documenting text formatting."

GraphQL gets a foundation. We've talked before about how headless CMS seems to be coalescing around GraphQL as a transport mechanism. What I didn't know was that GraphOL originally came from Facebook, and they've just spun it out to its own foundation.

From their home page:

An open and neutral home for the GraphQL community to enable widespread adoption and help accelerate development and the surrounding ecosystem

(Additionally in looking at this, I stumbled on the Wikipedia page of Query by Example which is the larger paradigm demonstrated by GraphQL.)