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Bespoke Systems

I started out creating my own approach to content management but at the time there wasn't the current wealth of resources. The fundamentals of catching data in a web page, saving it to a database then retrieving it for later display are not hugely complex.

In 2007 I took a detailed look at Joomla but felt it was overly complex and didn't do too well on accessibility, but it had a lot of benefits, so I re-modelled my own system using an amount of Joomla's underlying structure.

Accessiblity and Control

Key drivers for continuing with a bespoke approach for me have been accessibility and control. I take accessibility seriously and, working with charities and public sector organisations, it is important to my customers too. Too often theme based sites using off the shelf systems are not accessible and when I evaluated Joomla inaccessibility was built into the core. Having full control over the system has, for me, being a way to ensure accessible results - it has also meant being able to get things to work just the way I want, not having to compromise with an off the shelf module.

Keeping Things Simple

Another dimension to my approach was recognising that a vast number of settings and options available in the control panels of off the shelf systems were likely to be needed only when the site was initially configured. A large number of options available in control panels are not necessary for day to day site admin. As technology has developed and browsers have improved this is perhaps less of an issue.

Framework based

My own system uses a similar, component based, system to other content management systems. This provides a framework offering standard functions - basic page admin, user login etc. - with additional components as required. There is no wider developer community, so components are drawn from those I have provided for previous projects such as news, an events calendar and group directories.

From Scatch

It is of course possible to start from scratch and provide a system to meet very specific needs. I have provide a couple of sites where editing has been limited to amendments to a text file, acting as a data source.