Post-Monolithic Content Management

Jessica Parsons

slides.com/verythorough/post-monolithic-cms/live

About me

How I Got Here

My first Site

  • static HTML & CSS uploaded via FTP
  • learned with books and 'view source'
  • no templating
  • content written in HTML

sites for schools

  • Lots of content
  • Frequent updates
  • Many editors

I need a Content Management System!

The monolithic CMS

writer edits → CMS writes to DB

visitor arrives → query DB to build page

Hosted CMS

as a service

  • Company handles hosting & updates
  • Developer has limited templating control
  • No third-party plugins/extensions
  • Editors use CMS UI to add/edit content

LightCMS, WordPress.com

Control

Upkeep

Cost

Ease of use

"Self-Hosted"

CMS

  • Developer finds own hosting, does own updates
  • Developer has significant templating and function control
  • Third-party plugins and extensions
  • Editors still use CMS UI to add/edit content

WordPress.org, Drupal

Control

Upkeep

Cost

Ease of use

Static Site Generators

Replacing a Piece of the Puzzle

writer edits → CMS writes to DB

visitor arrives → query DB to build page

developer edits → pre-builds site as files

visitor arrives → request finished file

files

Static Site Generators

Jekyll, Hugo, Gatsby, and more

Control

Upkeep

Cost

Ease of use

  • Free, high-quality hosting
  • No software updates required
  • Content must be written in code
     
  • Developer has templating, but limited functionality without server-side code

(yes, markdown and html count as code)

APIs

API Alternatives

or one of Netlify's many open-source APIs

a small handful of examples:

WhY I loved THIS

  • My creativity thrives on restriction
  • Perfect for my emerging interests:
    • teaching new developers
    • civic tech volunteering

Upkeep

Cost

WhY I didn't

Ease of use

We needed a CMS!

I wasn't alone

Prose.io

  • open source
  • simple wrapper for GitHub
  • cool, but not quite there

I wasn't alone

  • other Git-based
  • some API-driven
  • some tie to services like Google Docs
  • some proprietary
  • one even builds WordPress sites to static
    (more of a static site generator for a CMS!)

- We need a CMS!

- We're making one!

Kind of like Prose...

  • open source
  • Git-based

 

except with...

  • refined UI with markdown preview
  • built with React - custom UI widget components
  • editorial workflow
  • can log in without a GitHub account

Fancy Features

Diving In

Unexpected Queries

  • Can it show two different posts types on a single page?
  • Does it support multi-lingual sites?
  • How does it handle site search?

This isn't a Content Management System at all.

It's an editing tool.

a post-Monolithic CMS

writer edits → CMS commits to repo, generator builds

visitor arrives →  requests pre-built page

CMS

Advantages

  • low upkeep, high "neglectability"
  • low cost with high scalability
  • modularity
  • leverage specialization

But also some challenges...

"API fatigue"

Paradigm Shift

Thanks!

slides.com/verythorough/post-monolithic-cms

 

@verythorough

Post-Monolithic Content Management

By Jessica Parsons

Post-Monolithic Content Management

Static site generators have offered exciting new options for web developers, but until recently, they lacked a user-friendly interface for content editing—what many would call a CMS. There's now a handful of viable solutions out there, and as they gain traction, it's leading to some interesting confusion about what a CMS means when the architecture isn't all in one giant server app. I’ll present some different approaches to the problem, including Netlify CMS, an open-source, Git-based approach that's built with React. Presented at ForwardJS and SFHTML5: https://youtu.be/UgHSqXeoOiY

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