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[kDev] Dear Santa, Content management guidance...



Perhaps you can give me some guidance...

My biggest pain about updating the Kendra website is the process of SSHing in, CDing, VIing, etc. What I'd really like to do (in the short term) is edit the pages via a really simple webform - password protected, of course. Presuming that the pages would then reside in a database. Couple of issues though. These pages contain HTML and PHP (that access the database). Would this be acceptable in security terms? Also, presuming that a very slim PHP wrapper would pull out the pages from the database, could it then run PHP code within those "pulled out" pages?

What prompted this is partly the need to keep news fresh and on the front page. Currently all the news is webified in an archive of the email newsletter and it don't look that pretty. What I'd like to do is add news items to the front page as they occur and then at some point (possibly user defined (weekly, monthly...)) package them up and email 'em out. This necessitates a degree of programming. But the way the website is currently coded it's pretty laborious to code the new item, modify item forms and display routines.

Another constant issue is working with the database. What I'd really like to do is, for a given table/object/thingy, just specify a new field/attribute ONCE and then automatically have the field inserted into the database and the web forms (for entering and modifying the object) code and any results/list display code include this new field - all without me having to modify any code.

For example I created a form ( http://www.kendra.org.uk/event- details.php ) a while ago (much like the user profile form) at the moment it just emails text data. But I'd really like it to insert the content into the database, allow the author to edit the data via a web form and also display the data in a list - much like we done at http://www.kendra.org.uk/wiki/wiki.pl?FutureEvents

Fuelled by frustration, I've been constantly looking around for a content management system (Plone, Drupal...) that would enable user database entry, editing and result display and other things for our relatively simple setup and would scale and morph. But I'm concerned that whatever CMS we go with will at some point not work the way we want and will not be extendable - and then back to square one.

Or should we go with a web application framework (Ruby on Rails, Django...)? Would it help.

I know there's got to be a better way...

... and a merry xmas to you too!

Cheers Daniel