Horrific CMS Interfaces, Part 3

Now that I’ve gotten over the initial trauma of recounting the horrors of dealing with open source content management, I propose a solution: it’s time for us standards-aware, usability-obsessed developers to turn the tide on the glut of bloated, unusable CMS’s. Contact the developers, submit bug reports, or better yet, if you’re up to it, write your own systems. (Do something more than just pontificate from a weblog like I’m doing!)

Two Daniels (1,2) have suggested that I initiate a project, but I have no idea where to start. I do know that WordPress and Textpattern are already out there, filling the gap for usable open source weblog CMS; so now I want to put out a user-centered “portal” CMS which can do things as simple as a flat section-article structure, but also take community-oriented extensions like a user directory and an events calendar; something you could use for a church or an alumni association. (You can see where my project experience is coming from.) That’s a lot to handle for someone still struggling with basic MySQL syntax and user sessions. Baby steps, baby steps.

(While I have many complaints about Mambo and other open source systems, I must cite Mambo for this glimmer of promise: xMambo. News is that they’re integrating xMambo’s standards-based code into the Mambo core. Hopefully this involves fixing some of the screwy interface logic along the way.)


  1. greene says:

    Put me down as the third Daniel who think you should make a usable CMS.

  2. Sparticus says:

    I’m happy to pretend my name is daniel if that helps you decide to make one.

    When I got given the task of doing a website for work I decided that the best solution of everything was just to make something really really simple that only did for the needs of the site and nothing more. Currently as I’m still with work their is no interface to update or edit the database, I’m pushing all the events into the database via phpmyadmin, but when they are there the website looks fine, and it does exactly what we need. One day I’ll make an editing interface, but as you said, babysteps.

  3. $daniel[1] says:

    Why don’t you take a stab at it by designing the UI? Make the interface as user-friendly and intuitive as possible. How to code it can be decided later. I’d be happy to collaborate with you. If you’re serious and interested, let me know.

  4. Ellen says:

    Another Daniel I know has created an open-source CMS which as far as I can tell from the geek-speak is trying to do some of the stuff you just mentioned. It might be worth it to get in contact with him. Check out SWIM

  5. Paulo says:

    That looks promising, Ellen! I’ll give it a spin.

  6. Daniel says:

    I see this is where the Daniels congregate. Go for it, Paulo!