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Bricolage: Impressive

From: "Steve Simms" <steve(at)deefs(dot)net>
To: " PostgreSQL Web Development Mailing List" <pgsql-www(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Bricolage: Impressive
Date: 2004-01-17 18:29:27
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-www
First, a brief introduction, since I started working off-list: I expressed
some interest in helping work with the web site some months ago to Josh
Berkus, and was directed to Dave, and possibly Robert.  I think an E-Mail got
lost somewhere, however, so I didn't get further involved at that point.

Last week, roughly around the same time as all the other new folks signed on
to this list, I sent a message to Robert, Dave, and Marc asking if I could
help, and was directed to try out Bricolage as a possible way of powering the
Techdocs site.

My background is in Linguistics, with a fair bit of work and credit in
evaluating web sites for usability.  I'm employed with the job title of
"Database Developer & Administrator", which involves maintaining our
PostgreSQL installation and writing most of the interface programs that are
used by the company's employees.  This is done using Apache + Perl + Mason,
and I'm very familiar with the last two in particular.

</end introduction>

I now have a working installation of Bricolage installed, and have a better
understanding of how it works.  In a word, it's impressive.  Unless our
requirements for multilingualism (see previous message) prevent us from using
it, I think it's a very good candidate for generating/unifying all of the
PostgreSQL sites.

It was designed for daily use by journalists, who are not interested in
learning any form of markup, and who in most cases are not *allowed* to do any
form of markup, since this is handled by the site.  They write their articles
using plain text, generally as a sequence of paragraphs, though it's possible
to intersperse other user-definable "elements" such as headings, quotes, etc. 
For instance, we could have an element called "SQL Code" that would be used
for examples.  Josh Berkus' "Adventures in SQL" would then be a series of
"Paragraph" blocks interspersed with "SQL Code" blocks.

[This is not a complicated process, either.  By the look of it, I could easily
move one of Josh's articles into Bricolage in under five minutes, just using
copy and paste from my browser.]

Each type of contribution has a workflow associated with it.  By default, an
article would go through the Edit Desk, Review Desk, Legal Desk, and Publish
Desk.  The workflow is completely customizable, so we could remove the Legal
Desk, add a Translator's Desk, for example.  It contains a complete audit
trail, and you can easily revert to an older version, if necessary.

Once an article gets to the Publish Desk, it gets "burned" into HTML by going
through a Mason template (default) or an HTML::Template template (alternate). 
This template provides all of the markup and site layout functions, and
results in a plain HTML file, which can be automatically sent to any number of
locations by a variety of means (FTP and File System are available by default;
there may be others, and a simple cron job could fill in the gaps).

The Bricolage server can be run from anywhere -- it need not (and arguably
should not) be at  The result is that a web server need
only serve plain HTML files, for maximum efficiency and ease of installation
and maintenance.

Based on what I understand of Plone and Bricolage, and of what we want, it
looks like Bricolage is the far better candidate, at least once you get around
the barrier of getting it set up.  This is purely my opinion, however.

I'll keep working on it, and see if I can get a simulation of the current
TechDocs site going.

Steve Simms
Database Developer & Administrator
Medical Media Systems, Inc.


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Next:From: Oleg BartunovDate: 2004-01-17 19:12:30
Subject: Re: Bricolage: Impressive
Previous:From: Steve SimmsDate: 2004-01-17 17:53:51
Subject: What do we translate? How/When?

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