Squirrel Notes Issue #42

This issue was published on Monday, February 17, 2020.

Preston So on the Key Problem in CMS Today: Preston So, formerly of Acquia and Gatsby, presently of Oracle, delivers a great article on what he calls “The Second CMS War.”

Off to the digital experience races: The second CMS war is officially here

[...] the fact that content simply must look different on all of the environments to which content is now delivered [...] is to me the most essential unsolved problem that plagues every content management system on the market today, irrespective of whether it is a new kid on the block like Contentful or an old mainstay like Drupal.


Mark Demeny on the Fragmenting CMS Market: Mark Demeny is now at Contentful (from Sitecore). He wrote this great article last year about how the WCM market has fragmented.

Should Web Content Management even exist as a category anymore?

There's too much to quote, but know that Mark breaks down the market into about a dozen categories, from headless to DXP to “value added hosts.”

He also quotes Tony Byrne's 2018 piece on Why Is WCM Such a Fragmented Marketplace?, which is along the same lines and very much worth reading.


Web Project Guide on Hosting and Partner Selection: We're getting closer to wrapping up the Web Project Guide. We posted two new chapters this week, both related to CMS:

Both discuss some groundwork to get your CMS project built and running on the web. I just submitted the 19th chapter for edit this weekend (“Implement your Design”), which means we're knocking on the door of finality.

We need to start looking for a print publisher. If you know of one who might be interested, please get in touch.


The CMS at Vogue: Here's Stuart Emmrich, the new editor at Vogue, on how he adapted to digital content:

Had you used a CMS before?
No. It was great. Someone said to me, “It’s really hard. You’re gonna hate it, and after a week, you’re gonna love it and never want to go back.” It gives you incredible power over how things look. Once I understood that the digital reading experience was much different than the print one I’d grown up on, I realized if I came back to New York and worked full-time, I wanted it to be a digital job.

(No link, because that's literally the only CMS thing in the article.)

Near as I can tell, Vogue is running WordPress, templated in React, with assets from an Adobe DAM.

Someone tweeted his comments, and the resulting thread is pretty funny.


TextPattern and Dean Allen: I was reminded of TextPattern this week. This was a CMS built by Dean Allen, who was a beloved hacker of the early web.

I exchanged a few emails with Dean over the years, and was saddened to learn of his passing in 2018.

He published an early blog called Textism, which was full of wonderful writing (more proof that I love anything with the word “text” in the title). It's largely gone from the web, but the Wayback Machine still holds his hilarious “About” page.

It seems TextPattern is still under active development, and has been since Allen released it in 2003. That puts it up there with Drupal and WordPress in the pantheon of old-school open-source CMS. I used it once and enjoyed it, but that was a long time ago.

Still, it was nice to see it's still thriving, and also nice to be reminded of someone I crossed paths with back when we were making everything up as we went along.