Two proposed sessions for SRCCON 2015

SRCCON was my favorite conference last year, and in the running for favorite conference of all time. I liked it so much I’ve submitted two proposals for this year. You should too! Submissions are open until April 10th.

Continous Integration for Content

There’s lots of little attributes which define the “quality” of a piece of content — just like there are attributes which define code quality. Developers have continuous integration to run automated checks on their code, but journalists have editors — who are prone to human error. It’s easy and quite common to forget to add a photo credit, or spell the SEO title incorrectly. What are some ways we can automate these errors out of existence? Let’s get together, present some real world “quality” problems to work on, prototype, wireframe, and define algorithms, and then share our results.

Code review takes two

Code review is single-handedly the best way to level up your development skills. It’s also really hard! Let’s discuss code review methodologies as a group, and then pair up to practice.

#nyc12: Hacking WordPress in the Newsroom

This morning, I gave the second of three CMA NYC sessions I’m leading this week:

You publish with WordPress, are comfortable with editing theme templates and making basic CSS changes, and you’re ready to take your site to the next level. Join Daniel Bachhuber, code wranger for Automattic’s WordPress.com VIP, to learn what you need to know. We’ll discuss topics like version control, performance and optimization, debugging, and other development best practices. This session will be geared towards the tech-savvy with a practical knowledge of WordPress.

It ended up being a little less ambitious. We started out with (the importance of) setting up a local environment, reviewed what makes a plugin, and introduced a few project ideas. Between a dozen and two dozen students attended; for almost all, the information was completely new.

The most important note on this subject: there are lots of jobs available.

Also, come hit us up with WordPress questions at our Happiness Bar!

Session notes are below the slides.

Continue reading “#nyc12: Hacking WordPress in the Newsroom”

Matt Waite on the supply problem

You are number 114 on the list of people who have asked me if I have any students who are budding journalist-developers ready to start busting out apps in your shop. You are also deep on the list of people telling me you’re looking for people and having a hard time finding them. There’s 10 fish in this pond right now and everyone has a line in the water.

[…]

Problems I would love to have to talk about: What is the career path for a developer in a newsroom? There isn’t one right now. Who will be the first to hire a developer as an assistant managing editor or above? I ache for the day we have to discuss this instead of the scarcity of talent. I long for the day when we have to debate turning over editorial strategy to someone who came into the newsroom to build apps. That will be a great day.

Matt Waite — A completely arbitrary list of takeaways from two unconferences

The Bifurcation of Content Management and Delivery

I believe that, at some point, a vendor will decouple their delivery tier from their management tier and spin it off as a separate product that works with other vendor’s management systems.

[…]

EPiServer CMS v6 R2 has one of the best features I’ve seen in a CMS in its Visitor Groups. This feature lets you develop criteria to profile demographic groups – you can put all people who come from monster.com, for instance, into a “Potential Job Seeker” group and then morph your site for them – highlight a different featured link, for instance, or even show different content down to the paragraph (even sentence) level.

[…]

So, it’s got me thinking – how long before someone abstracts this feature? It happens to be part of EPiServer now, but it could really be done with any CMS… or without one. How long before someone develops some CMS-agnostic system that runs in the delivery tier that provides this functionality? They’ll sell some connectors, of course, that make it work gracefully with the popular CMS, but it would stand on its own.

The Bifurcation of Content Management and Delivery. I almost wonder if content management is going the way of the bison, in favor of loosely-coupled content production, storage and presentation. Elegant tools for content creation are certainly becoming the rage; evolution with the presentation layer is a ripe fruit waiting to be picked. (via Max a long time ago I think)

Important news from the land of content management systems, publishing, and journalism

It shouldn’t be, but I’ve been meaning to write about this for a week: the Bangor Daily News finally switched their entire publishing workflow operation to Google Docs and WordPress. According to his boss, here’s why:

As we lost staff to cutbacks over the years, assembling our content into finished products was taking a larger and larger percentage of our time. Simply processing press releases seemed to suck up significant portions of editors’ days. No one wanted to be in this situation, but our infrastructure for moving content demanded it. We were trapped.

[…]

As the newsroom has grown comfortable with Docs, it is becoming more efficient (links and headlines, for instance, travel from Docs to WordPress) and we are shifting staff members from production to content creation. We knew we had a winner in Docs when we had a major election story with two reporters in the field and an editor in the newsroom, all working simultaneously on the same breaking story, adding content, seeing in real time what each was adding, talking to each other through the chat function and responding with updated information. Fast, simple, low cost.

Lauren Rabaino interviewed Will for MediaBistro to get the full details on how it actually works:

  1. Reporters and editors compose all stories in Google Docs. Using labels and native commenting, the stories get sent through the editing process.
  2. When a story is ready to publish, it gets sent from Google Docs to WordPress with one click.
  3. In WordPress, editors can publish the story to the web, then set up a print headline and print subhead.
  4. The story then appears in InDesign, where print designers can lay out the print newspaper.

Matt Thompson, in a piece for Poynter about why content management systems matter to journalists, gets the last word:

We’re beginning to understand that a CMS — every CMS, open-source, enterprise, or otherwise — requires continual investment and development. No matter how small or large your organization is, your content management system has to develop to accommodate a digital news environment that changes dramatically from year to year.

[…]

Because it makes no sense to spend a month of training on a system that’s going to change in a year, we have to use content management interfaces that are beautiful enough for users to grasp intuitively.

And because we need to develop fast, we have to borrow tools and ideas from the world of open-source software to make our content management ecosystems better.

Finally we’re getting somewhere. Good investments pay dividends.