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Getting Back to Programming Idiocy

Taking note of another writer/programmer ubergeek who is starting a book review blog of technical books.

Looks like I’m overdosing on the literary snarkiness. Time to return to being a linux CMS geek again. A few days ago I had a dream of programming in python. Code was flowing effortlessly out of my head; it was terrific. Actually, I’ve been preoccupied with other projects for so long a time that I’ve forgotten everything I’ve learned about CMS (and yes, Ruby On Rails seems to have gained mindshare while I wasn’t looking.

Here’s one thing I guarantee. When I get back to the literary community site, I will have it up and running in lightning speed. (To put it another way, I’ll get an alpha out quickly while doing concurrent development on it at the same time). I’ve just delayed it for so long, and the backend stuff is a lot to deal with. Fortunately by next week I should have my primary webserver up and can start the development effort again (as long as I don’t get too sidetracked by my video or ebook projects). I don’t consider myself a gifted programmer, but I must confess looking forward getting back into it again.

I do worry a lot about security, not simply because one needs to, but I am not and will never have the time to implement adequately security protocols (and that is in fact a reason to opt for remote web hosting). I am a dead duck, and the best I can hope is that my web server’s Zombie Master won’t participate in too many zombie attacks.

Here are my CMS features on the top of my agenda for investigation:

  1. calendaring. Plone has a good but elaborate product for it. I will definitely be taking that apart and learning about calendaring protocols.
  2. Creating bookmarks for content within the site. Judging from flickr, people’s bookmarks are just as interesting as their actual content.
  3. Bit Torrents. It should be relatively easy to incorporate some sort of torrent hosting feature within a content site (and that means multimedia content, etc).
  4. XML Transforms. The destination is OEBPS 1.2. Members should be able to choose content and feed it into something that can easily become an ebook binary.
  5. Folksonomy. I don’t have enough programming skill or bandwidth to incorporate this into my project, but I’m aware of it, because apparently users really dig this. It could be especially cool if it allows creative types to find one another in the same location.
  6. Instant Create-a-blog recipes. Fortunately, quills should make this relatively easy.
  7. Better Front Page Management. CMS’s generally suck at that. That’s almost my first priority.
  8. Content-rich rss feeds. We all know about feeds. But we need feeds that actually have ample content to justify a separate channel for the reader. On a related note, there needs to be a way to selectively grab and sort rss feeds from readers in a way that is logical. Realistically content creators are going to prefer their stuff on other sites, but a site like this becomes attractive if it is aware of updated content without the creator having to manually notify it. This is really content aggregation (like planetplanet, but also a little more.
  9. Audience promotion tools like newletters and event dates. That’s a potential site draw.
  10. More sophisticated comments. Comments as feedback loop serve many purposes. (trackback, editorial, analysis, suggestions). They also need to be protected against spam.
  11. Better groups and users. Without complicating the workflow unnecessarily, I need to accomodate different kinds of users and allow for premium services.
  12. Membership recruitment tools (aka marketing). Not only does this involve simplifying the user experience, but offering value to skeptical users who have no need to move their valuables to another site.
  13. Scope narrowing. Well, obviously, not all of these priorities are going to be realized. What I mean here is not trying to offer users everything but only a small number of finite (but unique) content opportunities.
  14. Not trespassing over the turf of better staffed (and funded) sites. Even competing with boingboing (which is just a group weblog) would be very very hard. Archive.org and ourmedia (and even blackmask.com) are probably going to offer more stuff. The trick is finding reasons for people to come here nonetheless.
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