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

This issue was published on Friday, May 11, 2018.

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Non-sequiturs from the world of content management.

CMSML. There was an attempt once to create a standard to describe/evaluate CMS. Here's an article from 13 years ago where Erik Hartman proposes Content Management System Markup Language (CMSML).

The advantage of CMSML is the use of a certain `controlled' vocabulary that is supported by an ontology. Furthermore CMSML is a faceted classification system, which means that people can select products based on their own characteristics or properties.

The idea was to allow comparison of CMS products, but I think a more valuable usage (today, at least) might have been for API detection when writing headless middleware — clearly something not on the radar in 2005.

Crafter: A Git-Backed CMS. I had a demo of Crafter CMS. I'd known about the system as a WCM front-end to Alfresco, the enterprise content management system, and I had last seen a demo of it in this context. Since then, Crafter has abstracted their repository and it now runs on pure Git, the source code management system.

Honestly, the idea struck me as a bit gimmicky, but Russ ran us through some of the use cases involving complicated versioning scenarios; disconnected content repositories; and a consolidated management architecture behind content, code, and configuration.

By the end, I might have become a believer. It's certainly worth looking at.

VIVO, an RDF CMS. A couple issues back, I discussed RDF as a potential content architecture. I got a response from Shawn who tells me about VIVO, a platform for distributing research publications and attribution using RDF:

Because they all share the base RDF ontology data can be linked together so you can have a canonical source of attribution and such. [...]

The content can be managed in several ways, natively within the VIVO App [...] but there are also APIs that let you use whatever you like really... I've seen backends in Drupal, Django, Wordpress, and so on.

So, there's a way to manage content in a traditional CMS, but publish via RDF, which I find fascinating.

Magnolia's Sales Training Card Game. I was in Switzerland a few weeks ago, visiting with Magnolia (plus, I got to visit the Alps!). They showed me "RFP.ASAP," a sales-training card game they developed for their partners.

To play, you draw set of "Feature" cards. Then the dealer puts down a "Prospect" card, modified by two "Quirks" — this is the "RFP" of the game's title — and you have to form a pitch based on features in your hand. I took a set of pictures which are available here.

The idea of "Quirks" rang very true. The game is wonderfully thought out and produced, and it's a great way for Magnolia to get partners interacting with and thinking about their featureset.

Content Migrations in Contentful. I was at Contentful's offices in Berlin teaching in the Content Graz program. Contentful gave us an overview of their product, and I was struck by how cool the new migrations stuff is. Contentful has to made content model changes drastically less painful by creating a clean API for things like adding fields, moving fields, splitting fields, changing datatypes, and stringing these together into automation scripts which can be synced to different spaces. It's really nicely done and so much better than just pretending we don't ever screw up content models.