What I won't be doing with Zed XTue, Mar. 16, 2010
Through the process of working on Zed X, I have been looking at many other open-source CMS products, and seeing what sort of features they offer. In doing this, I have realized a few things that I don't like about other CMS's:
- They have too many requirements making it very difficult to use on shared hosting, which, the majority of users will be using.
- Many CMS's have a steep learning curve, involving over complicated interfaces, too many config options and confusing terminology that non-technical users don't understand.
- Installation is a long and difficult process.
- Templates are difficult to create, leaving non-technical users very confused. Users don't want to have to mess with PHP, just to customize their own template/design!
- Many are bloated with so many features, that users think it is an overkill and don't choose that product.
- Editing web content is confusing to users who are used to products like Microsoft Word, and don't understand why they can't edit in the same way.
Here are a few things that I think are absolutely necessary for a CMS:
- A clean and simple edit and admin interface. Very minimalistic, not showing extra options to users when not needed.
- You shouldn't have to browse through multiple screens just to change the name or design of a page.
- Editing of content should be done visually, while "browsing" your website.
- When editing a page, all tools should be available within that same screen, without browsing elsewhere. Think photoshop palates.
- Users shouldn't have to know HTML.
- Image editing (cropping/resizing, etc) should be done in-page.
- In edit mode, users should be able to see real-time css changes to their content and layouts.
- Rulers and guides should be available in edit mode for laying out a page.
Having said those things, I am going to make it crucial that I follow these while building Zed X. I don't want to end up with an over complicated product, that no one can understand. It should be useable out of the box, work on shared-hosting, and non-technical users should not be confused about a thing.
The programming of the CMS is coming along nicely. I am having to work on it in my free time, so progress is slow, but I think quality work is being produced. Duncan Robertson has expressed interest in helping with design, so that is exciting news.
I am happy to hear any other suggestions that you might have, be it features that you want to see, offers to help, etc.