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CMS Wire.com

CMS Wire.com



Brice Dunwoodie from CMS Wire asked us to do a very complex update of the publishing platform behind www.cmswire.com.

Project Details:

The assignment was to upgrade movable type to v4.x, then to install and integrate ez components with the movable type publishing platform and a bunch of other Web site updates.

Technical Specifications:

Brice Dunwoodie, the found of CMSWire, content management strategist, part-time geek and an entrepreneur who for the past 12 years has labored excessively for organizations such as Oracle, Andromedia, Macromedia and Cylogy sent me an SMS on +40 744 600 050 on December 2007 while we've both been at Le Web 3 in Paris.

I remember from the first time I've met Brice at Le Web 3, that I've initially thought that SMS was coming from another long time customer who lives in Paris.

We've established a point to meet as there were over 1,200 people at 4th edition of Le Web 3 in Paris in December 2007 and we've introduced to each other.

Brice found out that I was going to be present at the Le Web 3 conference from PRONET, the Six Apart Professional Network.

We've spent some time discussing about what each other of us is doing then I've invited Brice to the Six Apart Stand where I was staying for the 2 days conference. I've gladly introduced Brice to Chris Alden, the Six Apart CEO from San Francisco and to Olivier Creiche, the Six Apart Vice President and General Manager for EMEA.

During that day Brice told me that he intends to involve my team on his CMS Wire.com project and soon after he sent me a consistent list of things to do.

eZ Components integration within Movable Type

The most interesting point Brice had in mind was to install eZ Components and then to integrate it within Movable Type. Brice's goal here was to use Movable Type only as the CMS module and to have eZ Components control the templating part.

Basically, I've recoded the Movable Type Templates to provide the Movable Type Tags data as php variables for absolutely all the page types.

Then, I've coded an eZ Components template which to gather the data from the Movable Type Web pages and to control their display (look and feel).

This eZ Components template was also filled with a good number of PHP Includes integrated within the platform based on its own programming style.

Last but not least, we've used the Feed Component from eZ Components to manage the syndication, cache and display of a Job RSS Feed on the CMS Wire individual articles.

Nevertheless the most consuming work here was to recode the movable type templates and to code the eZ Components template, the most tricky one was to integrate eZ Components within Mark Carey's Fast Search Movable Type Plugin.

I've discovered a bunch of odd issues trying to do this integration that I've then reported to Mark Carey and Six Apart. We've all worked out these problems and finally the integration was made possible.

Both the Six Apart Crew and Mark Carey were really surprised to hear about a Movable Type and eZ Components Web site hybrid. They wouldn't have thought about such a possibility and some didn't even hear about eZ Components at all.

Movable Type Upgrade

Another item on the contract was to upgrade Movable Type from v3.34 to Movable Type v4.x.

At the time of the project delivery which took place in November 2008, CMS Wire.com was upgraded to Movable Type v4.21.

Comparing to the eZ Components job, the upgrade was a much easier assignment.

XHTML/CSS Layout Adjustments and W3C Compliance

This job involved getting rid of the tables from the layout, extending the width to be compatible with the XGA screen resolution (1024x768 pixels), center it as well as fixing any coding issues so that the final page set validates against the W3C XHTML Transitional v1.0 DTD.

Other Movable Type Work

Brice contracted us to also do some more work on his CMS Wire project, such as:

  • Implement a better pagination technique
  • Display ADS also on the pages sequence of index pages, data based pages, category pages and fastsearch results pages.
  • Fight Spam
  • Optimize fastsearch plus page sequence URLs for search engines (Tag pages).
  • Update the Movable Type CGI based templates layout by integrating them within the look and feel of the overall Web site.
  • Convert some Templates to what Movable Type 4 calls 'Pages'.
  • And more…

CMS Wire.com Web Site Project Screenshots

I will be limiting to displaying below only two screenshots, the first one for the CMS Wire.com main page, and the second one for the individual article page.

In case you want to see the full size version, you may like to click on the images below or to go to www.cmswire.com and see the Web site in action.

CMS Wire.com Main Page

CMS Wire.com

CMS Wire.com Individual Article Web page

CMS Wire.com

Technologies used:
eZComponents, Movable Type, XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL, Perl.


Contracting from Simpler Media Group, LLC, San Francisco, CA, USA


December 2007 - November 2008

Both Brice and I were extremely busy during 2008 and so, since many times we've had to discuss certain technical details, the project delivery took place in November 2008.