[Grok-dev] Re: maintaining the Grok website
Brandon Craig Rhodes
brandon at rhodesmill.org
Mon Sep 17 09:28:25 EDT 2007
Max M <maxm at mxm.dk> writes:
> Brandon Craig Rhodes skrev:
>> Can a Plone site - or at least part of it - be back-ended through
>> Subversion, or accessed through Subversion using DAV or something?
> That would be an impractical waste of time. It has taken years to
> make Plone into a good CMS, and you believe that text files in
> subversion would be a better solution?
I would gently suggest that it's editing-through-the-web that often
winds up being the "impractical waste of time."
I maintain a Plone site at Georgia Tech used by more than one hundred
people, and after explaining to nearly-tearful document authors how
their work is simply gone after their browser crash, it is clear that
web browsers simply are *not* editors. I have never heard of a vim
user, nor an emacs user, losing data because of an application crash;
at the last resort, both editors save emergency copies of your work.
Over decades of using both tools, I don't think I've ever lost more
than one minute of work from a disaster.
Also on Plone, I have had my own edits erased when someone happened to
be editing the same document at the same time. Even after the tedium
of getting versioning installed, so that such changes are not totally
lost, there seems to be very little help with the common task of
having to merge two versions of a document.
By contrast, a common text editor combined with Subversion handles
these very common cases like a champ. I understand, of course, that
many people who just have a single paragraph of information to submit
to a web site are going to want something like Plone - that's why I
maintain it! But I am consistently finding that higher-powered (and
more-frequent) content producers need something more convenient than a
browser, and better versioning and merging than is available in Plone.
Writing content as text also allows the wonderful practice of placing
separate clauses on separate lines, so that one can see the shape of
sentences, see the pattern of punctuation, and judge the flow of one's
prose. For example, if I were editing the sentence I've just written
as "source code", it would look like:
Writing content as text
also allows the wonderful practice
of placing separate clauses on separate lines,
so that one can see the shape of sentences,
see the pattern of punctuation,
and judge the flow of one's prose.
This is what raw content ought to look like! :-) It uses lines, which
in something like this email I'm writing are merely noise, bearing no
relationship to what's being said, to make clear the shape and flow of
thought. Punctuation becomes very easy to check - look for the ends
of the lines! Editing becomes very easy - both vim and emacs are
wonderful at moving lines around! You don't waste time having to
stare into the middle of an prematurely-formatted paragraph looking
for the beginning of the next sentence. And when the lines are
finally formatted either for a text file, or a printed book, or the
web, then the formatter can do the final task of making it look like:
Writing content as text also allows the wonderful practice
of placing separate clauses on separate lines, so that one
can see the shape of sentences, see the pattern of
punctuation, and judge the flow of one's prose.
If you get used to editing text broken meaningfully into lines, then
when you go back to normal text, you'll feel like you're trying to
edit C source code that someone has formatted as a paragraph. :-)
Well, okay, maybe it's not that bad. But it does feel awkward!
Now, there are many people who don't like or don't enjoy the added
convenience of writing text-as-source, and just want to see it get
wrapped into presentation-level paragraphs as they type; and I have no
quarrel with such people, as long as they leave me a way to (a) use a
text editor for text-editing tasks, and (b) store and retrieve my
content in such a way that the line breaks in the "text's source code"
So if the Plone we run can be induced to offer me DAV access to my
tutorials, and if I can continue writing them in ReST, then I will be
content. But I will, myself, miss being able to control documentation
right alongside the source code of Grok, as well as having its strong
and mature merging features available if I and someone else edit the
same tutorial at the same time.
I like the suggestion that was made that a script could push pages
from Subversion into Plone if necessary.
Brandon Craig Rhodes brandon at rhodesmill.org http://rhodesmill.org/brandon
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