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Arkestra at DjangoCon Europe 2012

Arkestra at DjangoCon Europe 2012

Daniele Procida

June 05, 2012
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  1. Daniele Procida
    Cardiff University School of Medicine

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  2. How should a CMS best publish
    information for an organisation?

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  3. Arkestra is my attempt
    to answer the question
    ... based on about 10
    years’ experience as a
    user
    ... of sites from very
    small ones to very
    large ones

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  4. WordPress
    Website Baker
    Percussion Rhythmyx
    Plone
    Wikis
    Drupal
    Freeway
    Joomla!
    ModX
    phpWebSite
    Typo3
    HTML and server-side includes
    DreamWeaver
    ...amongst others
    I’ve tried and used

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  5. What typically happens
    you have to repeat yourself
    data get wasted & lost
    content & presentation become inconsistent
    information in templates gets broken & petrifies
    information ages, withers & dies
    users play fast & loose
    the larger the site the worse the problems

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  6. No happy medium
    there’s not enough freedom
    users can’t do what they need to
    there’s too much freedom
    users can easily do things they shouldn’t
    ... at the same time

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  7. Everything is horrible

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  8. Arkestra’s solution:
    Create a model of the real world

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  9. Information, not just data
    we want information, not useless stupid data
    templates don’t hold information
    semantic modelling of real-world relationships
    use semantics to inform output and assist the user

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  10. Organisations generally
    want to publish information about themselves
    need to be contacted
    have members
    ... who occupy roles
    stand in relation to other organisations
    ...and have others within them
    ... and are parts of others
    hold events
    have news
    ... and so on

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  11. SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
    IS AN ORGANISATION

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  12. SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
    CANCER & GENETICS
    INFECTION & IMMUNITY
    MEDICAL EDUCATION
    EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE
    PSYCHOLOGY & NEUROSCIENCE
    CLINICAL EPIDEMIOLOGY
    HAS OTHER ORGANISATIONS WITHIN IT

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  13. CARDIFF UNIVERSITY
    SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
    CANCER & GENETICS
    INFECTION & IMMUNITY
    MEDICAL EDUCATION
    EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE
    PSYCHOLOGY & NEUROSCIENCE
    CLINICAL EPIDEMIOLOGY
    PHYSICS
    MUSIC
    MATHEMATICS
    LAW
    BIOSCIENCES
    ARCHITECTURE
    PSYCHOLOGY
    EUROPEAN STUDIES
    COMPUTER SCIENCE
    ENGINEERING
    DENTISTRY
    OPTOMETRY
    CHEMISTRY ARCHEOLOGY
    AND IS PART OF A LARGER ORGANISATION

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  14. Entities
    an organisation
    School of Medicine
    a part of an organisation
    Institute of Infection & Immunity
    Research Office
    a group of other entities
    Research institutes
    Administrative & support offices
    a collection of people
    Web editors

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  15. studentships
    vacancies
    events
    news
    pages
    places
    people
    roles
    entities
    Entities & the rest of the world

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  16. PAGES ENTITIES

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  17. Arkestra’s guiding principle:
    Don’t waste people’s time

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  18. Don’t re-enter, re-use
    Make everything re-usable and re-use it
    Make it easier to re-use than re-enter

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  19. Integration with django CMS

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  20. django CMS & Arkestra
    django CMS & Arkestra grew up together
    have been developed alongside each other
    portions of django CMS conceived as part of Arkestra
    integration with pages, placeholders/plugins, menus

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  21. The Semantic Presentation Editor

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  22. create complex, flexible, multiple-column layouts
    produce well-structured semantic HTML
    need no HTML/CSS skills
    Choose only two

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  23. create complex, flexible, multiple-column layouts
    produce well-structured semantic HTML
    need no HTML/CSS skills
    Have all three!

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  24. designs & layouts are not baked in to templates
    we need only a few, simple, templates
    it frees & constrains users
    it encourages good practice
    it produces decent output
    it’s easy to use
    it makes modifying site templates easier
    it makes pages inspectable by the system

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  25. developed by Luke Plant
    not just for Arkestra, but any django CMS instance
    bitbucket.org/spookylukey/semanticeditor
    Development & application

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  26. At the School of Medicine:
    How Django & Arkestra worked for us

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  27. Some numbers
    4000 pages a day
    about 10000 pages of content
    1383 manually-created (django CMS) pages
    1879 people in 2392 roles across 180 entities
    504 news articles and 711 events
    2582 plugins (links, images, news, events, etc)
    around 40 web editors

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  28. Everything is great

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  29. Conceiving Arkestra
    Knowing less & thinking more

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  30. What I knew about programming

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  31. September 2008: heard about Python & Django
    April/May 2009: took a 5-day Python/Django course
    May 2009: understood the concept of a model
    May 2009: started working on Arkestra
    July 2009: understood the concept of a method
    December 2009: Arkestra launched to our users
    March 2010: our Arkestra site went live!
    March 2012: Arkestra fit for public consumption

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  32. The user’s perspective
    think like a user
    suffer like a user
    be a user

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  33. Development continues

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  34. Who’s using Arkestra?
    Cardiff University School of Medicine
    Iceland Academy of the Arts
    Cell Medica Ltd (medical research company)
    The Laugharne Weekend (literature/music festival)
    ... plus several of my own

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  35. Thanks to Python and Django, I
    stopped being a frustrated and
    resentful user of horrible, badly-
    designed web CMS software
    that I could do nothing about.

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  36. Now I am the fulfilled and happy
    author of a system that behaves
    pleasantly and people enjoy using.

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  37. And it does what I imagined
    it could do.

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  38. Arkestra
    Daniele Procida
    [email protected]
    evildmp on github, irc.freenode.net, etc
    arkestra-project.org

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