Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Information Technology

The eZ Publish Show: Don't forget about Editor Experience

Last week, we started a conversation on The ez Publish Show hosted by Netgen's Ivo Lukač. The we included Ivo, Digital Clarity's Marianne Kay and myself. The odd question that started the conversation: Did modern CMSs sacrifice good editor experience (EX) for improving customer experience?

I'm not sure how well we answered the question, but the show was an acknowledgement that while CXM may get a lot of attention these days in the CMS world, there is still plenty of room for improving the EX too. I'll let the video speak for itself, but if you prefer an overview, then you can checkout Ivo's re-cap.

 

 

Now What? Conference 2015 Announces Speaker Lineup

You've done it. With the help of developers and advisors you brought your website online and proved if you build it, they will come. But it's never that simple. You now face an unforeseen challenge after launching your new website. Once you customers visit your site, how do you keep them coming back for more? The answer to this question is exactly what the Now What? Conference 2015 is all about. The Now What? Conference is two days of smart talks and workshops from smart people, all focused on keeping your website up-to-date post-launch.

Now What? Conference 2015

This is the third year for the Now What? Conference which is held in one of the fastest growing modern communities in the region, Sioux Falls, SD. If you're within a half day's drive from this great city, I encourage you to register for the conference. The conference and various workshops will be held on April 29 - 30, 2015. Created by Blend Interactive, the conference will be bringing together web and marketing professionals from across North America. Something that rarely happens in our region, you have an opportunity to hear from today’s content management leaders as they come together and cover post-launch web maintenance, web analytics, content strategy, and talk shop with colleagues and speakers.

The Weather Channel, Drupal, and Acquia

When I talk about Drupal, information technology and the weather all in the same breath, I get a little excited. I can't help myself. I'm biased toward Drupal as it is one of my favorite content management systems. I'm also a former meteorologist working in information technology for a very large organization that is heavily involved with the weather. Needless to say, a year or two ago when I heard that The Weather Channel started using Drupal to meet the needs of it's customers and meteorologists, it caught my attention. I think the use of Drupal is a win-win for everyone around and given my background, I wish my own employer had adopted a similar solution. I think organizations miss out on a lot when they don't utilize open source or even proprietary systems in favor of an in-house CMS.

The news keeps getting better if you're a Drupal fan. Last month, both Acquia and Mediacurrent announced that The Weather Channel is standardizing on the Acquia Platform for Weather.com. Weather.com started using Drupal last year to increase the agility of its content creation and publishing. Now, the company has moved the entire website, which serves more than 20 million pages of content, to the Acquia Platform, which brings together Drupal and Acquia’s solutions for digital engagement and experience management. The team at Weather.com worked with Acquia and digital agency partner Mediacurrent for its site development and migration from its legacy web content management system Percussion.

Social Media Killed the Family Website

For the first time in 15 years, my family doesn't have a website to call their own. In January 2000, I registered the domain Bryansplace.com. This was the first website I ever built outside of work and it became a sandbox for me to express my interests as well as a way to seek personal growth. From handwritten HTML pages into Frontpage to a number of CMSs, the software and content at Bryansplace evolved as my life evolved.

Bryansplace.com was the website where my girlfriend and I announced our marriage to the world. As a married couple, we eventually publicly announced the birth of our son via the site. This domain was the site where I talked about camping, computers, and my latest beer recipes. It wasn't all about me either. My wife showcased her photography for the first time online via Bryansplace. This was also the website my son learned how to navigate the Drupal content management system and talk about his gaming skills. Bryansplace.com was synonymous with "family news". Despite how much I valued the domain, last week I unceremoniously killed the website.

Drupal Security: Not Shocking but Responsible

Over the years, I've made it an unwritten policy not to sensationalize bug fixes and security vulnerabilities in content management systems. While there may be great interest in such stories, I believe such stories have a tendency to cause more harm than good. When sensationalized, such articles tend to cause customers to address security concerns with emotion instead of logic which is never a good thing. So, when the security vulnerability known as "Drupageddon" broke and Drupal developer Bevan Rudge posted "Your Drupal website has a backdoor", I knew this story was going to eventually reach mainstream media. In the meantime, I've been struggling on how best to write this article and what story need to be told.

For those that don't know, Drupageddon is the highly critical SQL injection vulnerability in Drupal 7 core and was fully disclosed by the Drupal Security Team in SA-CORE-2014-005. Since the dawn of time when databases were introduced to websites, SQL injection vulnerabilities have been discovered and in the majority of cases when found are patched by their developers and system administrators. What makes Drupageddon particularly nasty is the vulnerability can be exploited by users not even logged into your site (in Drupal they're called anonymous users). Worse, if you didn't update your site quickly enough, your site may still be compromised even after applying the fix (in Drupal 7.32 or later versions).

Mailbag: A Mention of DNN 7.3

So I'm halfway through my three month sabbatical from blogging and I get an email from my good friend, Shaun Walker. For those that don't know Shaun, he's the CTO and co-founder for DNN Corp. You know, the guy that started DotNetNuke. To make a long story short, Shaun wanted to remind me that the DNN community recently released 7.3 which focuses on platform performance. Shaun thought it would be a good idea to mention the release to readers here at CMS Report. Given that this was the man that identified wayback that the future of content management systems was in cloud, mobile and social media...it is difficult for me to ignore such requests.

However, I'm not fully giving up my three-month break from blogging. Instead, I'll do what any good blogger in my circumstances would do...steal from Shaun's own blog post about DNN 7.3. It's the only way I know how to keep DNN fans happy while my summer plans stay intact. The following is in Shaun's own words:

I am very excited to announce that the latest version of DNN was officially released today. This is a major release focused primarily on platform performance and stability. With almost 450 issues closed in this iteration, this release represents a substantial amount of value for customers and platform users.

WordPress 3.9 Refines Media Experience

WordPress 3.9 has been released with a number of refinements that WordPress hopes you'll "love". The changes and new features are solid but perhaps not as many as we've come to expect given past WordPress point releases. Some of the new features that can be found in WordPress 3.9 include improvements in the media editing experience, gallery previews, and live editing of widgets and headers.

Media Editing Improvements

  • Improved visual editing - The updated visual editor has improved speed, accessibility, and mobile support. Filtering out excess code from your word processor such as from Microsoft Word has been improved.
  • Image Editing - Quicker access to crop and rotation tools and you can now also scale images directly in the editor.
  • Drag and Drop - Uploading your images can be grabbed from your desktop or file system and dropped directly into the editor.

Gallery Previews

Galleries display a beautiful grid of images right in the editor, just like they do in your published post.

Audio and Video Playlists

Similar to how WordPress has handled images with galleries; WordPress now has included a simple audio and video playlists to embed your music and clips within the content.

Live Widget and Header Previews

Those familiar WordPress widgets can now be added, edited, and rearranged right in the theme customizer. It's "live editing" where you can preview your changes without having to save and publish.The improved header image tool also lets you upload, crop, and manage headers while customizing your theme.

My CMS-Connected Review of Magnolia CMS

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to put out a plug for my review of the Magnolia CMS on CMS-Connected last February. This was probably one of the easiest shows I've done in the sense that the Internet connection was good and the rest of the show seemed to complement my own segment well. My thanks to Boris Kraft, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer for Magnolia, for briefing me well about their product and spending some extra time with me during the demo.

Magnolia is an open source java-based content management system that is used in more than 100 countries across the world, by governments and leading FORTUNE 500 enterprise. Magnolia is just now beginning to pick up steam in my neck of the woods, with 31% of their new customers coming from North America. While you may not recognize a Magnolia CMS site, I'm betting you do recognize some of their customers including the United State's Navy, Alltel, American Express, Barclays, Nissan, Texas State University, and Zumba.com.

Some of the features about Magnolia CMS that impressed me most included their rebuild of the software for a tablet and mobile first design, customized apps, and their notification system (called Pulse). In Magnolia's future with version 5.3 the roadmap takes us to improvements in personalization, the content pool (content types, tagging, publishing), and digital assets management (DAM). 

Put this one on your radar: Microweber CMS

Whenever a content management system first appears on my screen, I always look at whether the developers' initial claims are true. In this case, I'm looking at Microweber and its claim that their software offers a "new generation" CMS with "cool features and innovative concepts".  Given that most of the software development in Microweber CMS is recent, from 2012 to present, the goals and claims are ambitious. Impressively, the CMS has already been translated into seven languages so far by its contributors. As word about this CMS beings to spread globally, it's time to dig a little deeper into Microweber.

Microweber LogoMicroweber's tagline for their content management system is "a CMS that lets you Drag & Drop with Live Edit feature". What makes Microweber interesting is that while a number of CMSs we have reviewed integrated these features into their CMS, Microweber is so new that the "next generation" features are being built into the software from the ground up. In other words, there is no legacy requirements for Microweber to overcome so they're able to embrace innovation without consequence. This is something established CMSs, open source or proprietary, rarely have the luxury to do.

Need Customer Experience Management? The CMS Box is Big Enough

If you're an insider of the content management industry, you're well of aware of the recent claims by some that the content management system is dead. If you're still using CMS as part of your vocabulary, you must not be keeping up with the times because it's all about customer experience management (CEM or CXM).  This is what some want you to believe. It's wishful thinking by those that want to be at the cutting edge of something new and believe you do that by diminishing the value of what we know currently works. Every few years we go through this movement and every time history has shown that the demise of the CMS is exaggerated.

I wasn't going to enter this conversation, but I've had some people already misread my need to put some distance between me and CMS Report as a signal that I see a sinking ship on the horizon. From my perspective, the opposite is actually true with what is going on in the CMS industry. In the past few years, I've been busier than ever talking and doing "content management". Everyone from writer to CEO now understands that managing content is the key to reaching out to customers. Only those that see a CMS as "web pages" and not a vital asset to a company's information system seem to not recognize the value of content management. There isn't a vendor, developer, or business owner that I've talked to that said they can do without a content management system.