Bram Pitoyo, Portland Creative/Tech Event Review

Portland Web Innovators – Publishing Platform Wars: An Event Review

Portland Web Innovators – Publishing Platform Wars

UPDATE: A review from PDXWI’s honcho, Adam Duvander, filled with an “overwhelming amount of coolness,” can be found here.

When: Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 7:00 – 9:00 PM, though some stayed on for approximately 20 minutes to talk and (possibly) get a beer afterwards.

Where: ISITE Design, who probably has the only building in Portland equipped with to a “Push To Exit” button, whose conference room was fully stocked with coffee, pizza, Rice Krispies Treats®, a wireless network with a melody that one must hum following connection time—all prerequisites for having a proper geek gathering—as well as a projector that’s so small, it might as well be an ADSL modem.

What It’s About:
Strengths and Weaknesses of 3 Content Management System.

  • WordPress, presented by our hosts, Will Moore (@syrupcore) and Paul Farning (@waytoocrowded.) Most people in the audience already used WordPress on their blogs, but molding it into a CMS is an entirely another thing. I learned that WordPress is at once as simple and not as simple as it looked.
  • Drupal, presented by Lev Tsypin (@loubabe), which looked to be a very powerful and extendable system that can do almost anything—from blogging to building a VIRB clone to feeding your 3 Laperm kittens and predicting the result of the 2008 election—but as a result has a relatively steep learning curve, and, as Jason Grigsby (@grigs) mentioned, a rather trial-and-error approach to plugins.
  • ExpressionEngine, presented by Josh Pyles (@pixelmatrix), which I think had the right amount of feature set to be useful for people who demand power but are not coders (ie. designers and visual people.) I appreciated the fact that the speaker emphasized this during his presentation.

Technicality: ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝ ½ (Adam had also let me know that not all PDX Web Innovators events are this way.)
Translation: While the presenters did demo the installation and implementation process, a basic knowledge of CMS is recommended—where by “basic knowledge” I mean “having the experience of maintaining any blog on any platform.” Since most, if not all of the people who were present already had this skill, my original score was two and a half. I added two because people went into the technical side of things like implementing custom scripts, which, while I’m going to admit was very useful, did require some basic PHP-include knowledge.

Interestingness: ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝
Translation: Thanks to this event, I’m now a newly converted ExpressionEngine believer and Drupal watcher. I’m still looking to see how platforms like Movable Type compare to the three CMSes.

What I Learned From The Event In Six Words:
WordPress 2.5 = sexy. Bird poop = not.


2 thoughts on “Portland Web Innovators – Publishing Platform Wars: An Event Review

  1. Thanks for the write-up, Bram. Glad you found some inspiration from this. I heard you spent the morning looking at Expression Engine?

    On the technical level, I’d agree this event was pretty technical… but they’re not all that way! Check out our previous meetings:

    Last month we talked about taxes (an unfortunate requirement of doing biz for yourself, as many Web Innovators do), and before that we heard the grand vision of Jason Grigsby regarding the coming mobile web.

    Looking forward to seeing everyone at one of our upcoming events!

  2. Hey, yes, I did spent the morning looking at EE and am now deciding between implementing that or WP (or MT) to my horribly static site.

    Regarding technicality: thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’ve put a note up there to indicate it. This series aimed to rate individual event, though.

    Unfortunately, I missed the mobile web talk; but I’m planning to go to next month’s event. See you around!

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