February 12, 2007

The CMS Wrestling Match Continues

So, I'm still beating my head against the wall for Drupal. I can completely see why and how this product could be used for easy site management; maybe it's because my brain has been in "HTML built by hand using emacs" mode for - geez, 14 years now?!?! - but now that I have it installed and a basic configuration in place, I can't figure out how to make it look like I want, or do what I want it to do. I just keep thinking "Dammit, I know how to do that in straighforward HTML and CSS"... but the whole point of this exercise is to migrate from a bunch of static pages to a more comprehensive management system that will provide for other folks to be able to do this too. Doesn't help them any if I know how to do it in HTML...

After doing extensive searching and reading of handbooks, forums, and blog postings, it seems I am not alone. I can't tell you how many postings I came across from folks going "Installation good, configuration bad", or "Ok, now what?" Most of the Drupal handbook information seems geared towards developers, and the forums are (IMHO) largely useless. Lots of questions, very few answers. One posting I did find that was quite useful - if for no other reason than it made me feel better about what I'm doing - was the "Site Configuration Challenge" posting. Lots of information and suggestions here, and it helped a lot.

I'm still holding out hope that I'll find a rosetta stone that will open up this world to me - I sent out a posting last week to the Web4Lib and syslib listservs and heard back from a lot of folks who are using Drupal for their sites, and love it. Thing is, most of them didn't have to set it up and configure it - sigh. But I shall keep at it for a bit longer before moving on to the next CMS on the list.

Interestingly enough, my searches and perusals for information regarding Drupal configurations has led me to several wikis, so I have a bit more insight into the wikiworld. I'm starting to think that a wiki might not be the best management system for us - we have very little collaborative information on the web site (mostly it's single-author stuff) so while I'm increasingly admiring of wikis and what they can do, they may not be the tool for us for the task at hand.

It's a lovely 66° and sunny right now... the birds are singing and I wish I could send some of this sunshine to the poor folks buried under 12' of snow in New York.


saraswathi said...

This is a great idea, I will deffently be using
this technique (once i get my site up). I started reading
it yesterday and have read every entry and all of them are quaility!

Drupal CMS

Ruth said...

thanks, Saraswathi - keep reading, as I'm about to post again about Drupal, and my first WebGUI post is in draft!