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Re: What is the purpose of a Docs CMS?

On Mon, 2009-01-26 at 23:24 -0800, Karsten Wade wrote:
> It would be great if the CMS or some other tool would give a
> collaborative, browser based wysiwyg editing experience for DocBook
> XML that is in a version control system.  There are as many reasons
> why that won't work as there are to give it a try.  In the meantime
> ...

I think your post brought up a really good point, and one that I spent a
couple of hours wrestling with over the weekend, before throwing my
hands in the air in defeat.

Ideally (like you say above), the CMS would be *the* place to author,
edit, and render official documentation from the Fedora Docs team.  The
more I thought about it though, them more I'm starting to lean *away*
from a CMS.  Let me see if I can clearly articulate why.

1)  Revision control.  One of the things we'd like this CMS to do is to
provide revision control.  So far, as I haven't seen a CMS that handles
revision control nearly as cleanly as either the wiki or using an SCM
system such as Subversion or git.

2)  Document creation and editing.  Ideally, we'd have a wysiwyg editing
tool in the CMS that would output perfectly valid DocBook.  I don't see
this happening any time soon.  This means that whatever we create inside
the CMS doesn't lend itself well to repurposing or to easy translation.

3)  Translation.  This is an area where most CMS systems do poorly as
well.  How would we make this work with a CMS system?  Check in the
primarly language version, along with the PO/POT files, and have the CMS
render the translated versions?  Again, I think our current workflow has
a proven method that works, even if it's not highly automated.

To make a long story short, what if instead of concentrating on a CMS,
we concentrate on a system to take our
"created-in-the-wiki-converted-to-docbook-(and-optionally-translated)-and-rendered-to-HTML" documents and easily publish them on the web?  In other words, let's not throw out our current system (with it's easy editing, working translations, and DocBook XML core).  Let's just take the parts that are the roughest (which I'm presuming are the presentation parts) and fix those.

> Make things clearer?  Muddier?  Slightly filmy but clear enough to
> drive?

You certainly articulated the purposes of a CMS much more clearly than I
could ever hope to.  I'm just not sure I've caught the vision of why a
CMS would be better than (most of) our current setup.


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