Squirrel Notes Issue #36

This issue was published on Wednesday, October 16, 2019.

Real World Content Modeling Book: I have published my second book: “Real World Content Modeling: A Field Guide to CMS Features and Architecture.”

Right now it's only available in paperback. An ebook is coming after I get through a couple of conferences in early November and can devote time to doing the ebook format well.

The book is an examination of modeling features as they're manifested in a CMS. This is not a book about content modeling in theory – I assume you have the theories all worked out. Rather, it's a discussion of what features and architecture a CMS might actually provide to allow a content model to be implemented.

The Amazon page has the table of contents (click “Read more” under the description), which consists of 23 questions you can ask of a CMS to evaluate its competency, plus some detours to discuss larger architectural concepts.

Two things I kept low: the page count (less than 200) and the price (just $9.99). I hope you get a chance to read it.


Profile of Arc Publishing: The Observer did an article on Arc Publishing, and the title is grandiose:

The Washington Post’s Most Valuable Asset Is Now Its Software, Thanks to Jeff Bezos

Here's how they back up that claim:

The Post expects Arc to generate an annual revenue of $100 million within the next three years and become the newspaper’s third largest revenue stream after advertising and subscription,

Mark Demeny wrote an analysis of the Observer article, with an equally big claim in the title:

WCM systems are the hot new billionaire status symbol of 2019

He's referring to Marc Benioff of Salesforce owning a chunk of WordPress via their investment in Automattic.

So we now have two multi-billionaires with major cultural sway and significant personal investments in both media and WCM. Both of these men think about thing not in products, but in far more expansive understandings of platforms and centers of influence.


Insight Invests in Contentstack: Insight Venture Partners led a Series A round for Contentstack, raising $31.5 million. This is especially notable because Insight purchased Episerver last September for just over a billion dollars. So, one of the Big Four systems in WCM is now stable-mates with a headless system.


The Allure of the Email Newsletter: Relevant to content delivery – and, clearly, to the publication you're reading now – here's an article about the explosion of email newsletters and why this might have happened.

The author explains why he wanted to create one:

That ownership of platform, putting edges around digital things – creating a well-defined unit, a package, something to be delivered – [...] led me to launch Ridgeline as a newsletter. But I also felt impelled to minimize reliance on Instagram.

He discusses how social media is losing value as a method of content delivery, and includes a list of email content management and delivery platforms.


GrapesJS Presentation Engine: GrapesJS appears to be a very competent layout builder (take a look at the demo). I group this with other “presentation management” tools like ContentPepper and Netgen Layouts.

I find these tools interesting because they could serve as the front-end managers for backend content repositories, which could help with distributing a content infrastructure. Consider: how hard would it be to create a set of blocks that insert content or queries from a backing CMS in real-time?

Which begs the perennial question of headless: do our management and presentation tools have to live in the same system?