The content lives – in the library!
In this second post about flowli, our upcoming CPP (CF my previous article), I would like to shed some more light on our approach and ideas, especially on some of the key decisions we’ve taken.
We first began developing flowli by compiling a list of approaches and functionality we liked and disliked based on our own experience with various content management systems. We also began sketching out its intended UI, reflecting on what would make such a system intuitive to use.
However, we soon found that what we were creating was not necessarily something better, but rather a different skin for the deeper problems of publishing and managing content. So back to the drawing board.
These approaches evolved from an “open content management platform with a special focus on designers and creative agencies” over “the platform should not be understood as a stand-alone CMS but rather as an integrated approach which combines several layers of interaction” to “content type and publishing type agnostic publishing platform that has as a basis the relations between the various content artefacts”.
This last concept led us to what we call the library, the central element of any flowli installation. The library is the place where all content artefacts are stored, semantically described and their relations defined. Here, content is accessible in its raw form, independent of design and presentation, focusing solely on its semantic meaning.
Through flowli’s library, we see the presentation of content on various devices more as a technicality than a problem. As the presentation of content can and sometimes must differ between devices due to their technical capabilities, we focussed our efforts to maintain its interactivity and semantic connections. In other words, content sitting in the library shouldn’t care whether it will eventually be published on Facebook, your website, the iPad or an older Nokia phone.
The logical consequence of this thinking was a strict separation of content from its presentation and also solved our very own chicken and egg problem: what comes first, the structure of a website or the definition of its content? The answer is that with strict separation, the content should fit into any structure, which, with flowli’s flexible library system, would be free to change from one day to the next. It’s like building a house with stones of no defined shape – giving it an infinitely flexible form, constantly adapting to your lifestyle. We think that’s pretty cool.
In recent months, A/B testing has become more and more popular through services like “Visual Website Optimizer”. We realised that flowli has something similar built right it by allowing you to publish content to multiple page designs. In combination with any statistics program, it should be easy to figure out the optimal content-design pairing, allowing better search engine optimisation, or even device-specific display of content.
We’ll write more about flowli soon – if you want us to send you a reminder, please sign up at http://flow.li