Working Toward a Better PINT CMS
by Mike Schultz | December 18th, 2014
Recently the PINT team has started a new monthly meeting. The topic of these meetings? The PINT Web Platform, or PWP content management system (CMS). Chatting internally about the CMS we’ve built in-house has had several benefits that affect different areas of the company.
Internal meetings about our proprietary CMS
Initially, we took on the meetings to broaden the team’s knowledge base of the PWP beyond the commonly used features. The PWP is one of PINT’s longest running projects, and there was significant interest in how it evolved into the product it is today. We learned the history of the versions and what changed in each major build.
As team members shared their experiences with the PWP, the meetings provided a great opportunity to plan for future versions. We found tiny bugs to fix and began to assemble a wish list of features we would like to add.
How do you meet about a complex topic like a CMS?
Keeping the meetings interesting for a variety of stakeholders was important: we didn’t want people getting bored!
We organized the meetings by starting with one important step: brainstorming with the old hands of the system to decide what should be discussed in the training. We ultimately decided the training sessions should be organized in a specific way:
- The first session would be a broad overview of what the PWP is, what it is capable of, and why everyone on the team should care. We wanted to refresh the team on what the CMS is capable of doing, and to introduce it to those who are new to the team. How is it different than other CMS’s?
- Subsequent sessions would be more technically involved and serve as a vehicle to generate discussions about the differences of the PWP and the next steps of development. Each of the team members heavily involved with the PWP core would explain various technical parts of the system in order to share their knowledge.
How the PWP is different from other CMS products
We’ve blogged about choosing a content management system in the past. But the PWP adds an interesting layer to the CMS decision process. PINT built the PWP by taking years of experience with open source and enterprise CMS’s to create a flexible, usable solution, adding customizable modules depending on clients’ needs.
The PWP is unique from other CMS products. It is highly extensible: you can start out with a very simple version, and as your content and business processes evolve, you can add features and modules to meet your online needs. And unlike some other proprietary options, it is very customizable. You can choose the features that work best for you. But it is still like most full-featured CMSs, with a WYSIWYG editor for updating content with little to no training.
Want some technical details on how the PWP is different? It differs from commercial and open source options in that it can publish fully static (pure HTML) sites, mixed (some HTML, some dynamic pages) sites, or fully dynamic sites. Fully static pages are faster and more secure than dynamic pages. They require the least amount of server resources. Poorly designed server-rendered dynamic pages can make for unnecessarily slow page loads when the content being served is not truly dynamic. And slower pages can mean higher bounce rates. So the PWP gives you the best of both worlds for this.
PWP meetings help PINT as an organization
Technical knowledge sharing
It only makes our team more productive to expand our shared knowledge of the many features the PWP has. Some of the new members learned about how to improve their production and output with features that are not as frequently used. And those who work with the PWP on a daily basis had a chance to learn about the inner-workings and prior steps it takes to get a website onto the PWP.
“A broader understanding of an ecosystem is much more valuable than a narrow focused one.”
Those who work on the back-end of the PWP also got the chance to share their knowledge between each other and to get a sense of where the project currently is. There was also an opportunity to discuss the next steps of where the project is headed.
Everybody had the the chance to gain more knowledge about the PWP. It helps us communicate with a shared terminology. Plus, the sessions were recorded for new team members to view as they join PINT.
PWP meetings benefit PINT clients
The most obvious benefit for clients is that your trainings on the PWP will be improved! However, based on our meetings, we have also started to assemble plans for active development. That means more cool CMS features for the PINT clients who use the PWP. Stay tuned as we reveal more about the next version, which is sure to have:
- More features
- Higher production efficiency
- Increased performance.
If you’re into more technical specs, the front end is being ported to ExtJS 5, and the back end is in the final stages of being implemented in Node.JS.
What would you do?
Whether it is features in a CMS, or tips for making technical meetings more engaging, we’d love to hear what you think about the topic. Let us know in the comments below.