Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Knowledge Base
Documentation
Terry's Tips
Darren's Tips

Need CityDesk to act as a platform

As nice as CityDesk is for the developer who knows HTML and what a template-expansion language is, making people know about that stuff is limiting it's market. I'd like to use CityDesk as a platform to sell my templates and my web site building expertise to customers that would be able to write articles, but that's about it. However, to build web sites the way the clients want, I need to be able to extend the CityDesk UI, database and content generation, i.e. I need to build on the platform that CityDesk provides.

As an example of where I need to extend the UI, I need users to classify each article with a certain number of keyword values, e.g. foo(bar) vs. foo(quux). Right now, there's no way in the UI to let them pick keyword values from a list or check that they entered one of each or even that they got the capitalization wrong! And when it doesn't work, it'll be me that has to fix it.

As an example of where I need to extend the database, I need to keep a list of mappings between keywords and URLs so that I can generate links to related articles.

As an example of where I need to extend the content generation, because I can't extend the database or because I need data external to the CityDesk file, I need to write something into my CityDesk templates that reaches out to some code I wrote to return a bool for branching, a collection for looping or some content.

Please recognize that CityDesk is a platform for ISVs building content-driven web sites to clients that can't afford the big boys and please open it up for customization. Thanks!

Chris Sells
Friday, August 30, 2002

I would love to see citydesk built to support automation.  If it did, a developer type could use the CD object, but build his custom UI on a per customer basis.

I like objects.

Joel Goldstick
Saturday, August 31, 2002

I prefer customizability. Citydesk has a designer mode and a normal mode. I hope the next version will have a more powerful designer mode which 'normal users' don't need.

I am not looking for a 'programmers mode'. Automation through scripting : perfect (I use it and know the limitations). Customizable user interface (e.g. by selecting custom names for the Extra fields) would be a great enhancement for the designer mode.

Please remember: if Citydesk would become a platform, the free version might ceese to exist (as it would be very easy to overcome the limitation of 50 files once you can program around it)!

A customizable application is not a platform.

Adriaan van den Brand
Thursday, September 05, 2002

Interesting to compare CD with MovableText. There's some overlap of function, and quite a lot of philosophical  similarity. Despite this I see them as complementary, operating on different mental models.

I mention this because MT has a plugin capability, and there's a key values plugin http://www.bradchoate.com/past/keyvalues.php that does pretty much what you want. It lets you parse key values out of an MT field then do whatever you will with them in the HTML. There's also a regular expression plugin http://www.bradchoate.com/past/mtregex.php . Well, MT is written in Perl so I guess that was a natural.

I agree with the earlier comment on extensibility - I'd rather see this plugin type mechanism than have the core produce grow fat 'n flabby.

Michael Wild
Thursday, September 05, 2002

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/CityDesk/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=334&ixReplies=2

tk
Thursday, September 05, 2002

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home