Sunday, 19 June, 2011

I got fed up with Wordpress, Ghost, Sanity and all the other cms’s. I wanted the simplest text file publishing plattform in the world. I ended up building it myself.


The list of what I wanted was fairly short:

  1. Dropbox based – just save and it’s published.
  2. Outstanding typographic features.
  3. A flexible way to build themes and page-templates.
  4. Absolutely no frameworks, pipelines, deploys Git or such.
  5. Shall be built for designers.

So I built my own tool.

The Skrivr publishing flow

The story

Most cms’s is at its poorest a glorified database interface or at its fullest a rich platform where an organization can manage its content and business activities. What they have in common though is that they are about site structure, organization and business management rather then content creation.

«Content management system» – it lies in the name itself that it is more about management than creation and most definately not about writing. Publishing is about retrofitting already written texts into that predefined schema that fits the technical infrastructure created to distribute your writing.

Most content managements is not about reading eighter since its lack of automated typography.

Writing is about creating.

The biggest drawback is that this setup forces us to duplicate our work and keeps our writing environment from being synced online and offline / publicly and locally.

A lot of efforts are being put into creating even nicer and more friction-free writing interfaces on top of those database schemas. Ghost and Medium is two really good examples, they are great to write in, don’t get me wrong. I use both for the stuff I write for Nansen and Type & Tell. But they come with some requirements; you need internet access, you are forced back into that same interface when writing, it is pretty damn hard to get your writing out and back in there if you want to continue writing in some other apps or services.

Publishing, branding, site structure and cms’s.

I strongly believe that we have to separate writing and creation from management, branding and cmss. Branding is design and functionality that visually and tonality fits the how the brand, person or author of the content whats to be percieved.

In my mind writing, branding and structure are completely separate things. Writing is an recurring activity that demands peace, quietness and inspiration … or at least perspiration.

Branding and structure is, generalized, a less frequent activity. A design system that is setup to color and flavour and add character and identity to content and functionality.

Yet we force the writers into an interface that is often dictated by branding, technical limitations and site structures.

Branding and structure is also tools we use to get the user/reader to make our writing more attractive.

Those two has very little to do with the creative process of writing. To give the site-owner maximum control of the brand/user-experience we need to have a very flexible theme-engine that does not limit what the site-owner can do.

The cms has to become more of a hub or a api that sucks up content and spits out.