Concrete5 interview

Date Submitted: November 11 2008 11:22 am
Interview with Concrete5 developers
Chanh Ong is a volunteer at
Franz and Andylead the Conrete5 project.

Chanh: Who are you and tell us a little about yourself(s)?

Concrete5 team: I am Franz. This is Andy. (dramatic pause)
We're from Portland, Oregon.
We know an awful lot about web sites, and what goes into making them.

Chanh: Why did you want to create Concrete5 in the first place?

Concrete5 team: We thought it was inexcusable that it took an expert to make decent looking changes to a website. That's like living in a world where you had to pay someone else to write your thoughts down. The printing press helped bring on the age of enlightenment; we believe true freedom of expression on the internet is just as important.

Chanh: Why did you decide to open source Concrete5?

Concrete5 team: We didn't want to limit ourselves to what we could do on our own.

Chanh: What do you consider are some of the strongest features of Concrete5?

Concrete5 team: (Andy interjects)
The friendly interface encourages you to get your hands dirty. Start right away by clicking edit, rolling over blocks and putting them in edit mode. Drag blocks around. Explore the dashboard. In-context editing was _THE_ original idea behind concrete CMS in 2003, and I think it's only gotten stronger this year with c5.

People love the form block - and I am one of those people.

For developers, the placement of the files in the file system, including the ability to override almost any core file in the local application, was refined and organized after years of use - and I think it's great. We allow tons of flexibility for developers who want to extend Concrete without having to hack away at core bits and thereby fork their installation.

Like the organization of c5's files, c5 has really been able to approach an MVC-style pattern of web development, learning from frameworks like CakePHP and Code Igniter, to make it easy for developers to create blocks and their own custom applications. We really provide everything in terms of what a developer needs, whether they just want to create a new, encapsulated piece of functionality that anyone can easily add (a block) or even extend the core system events. All this without having to change the core code.

Chanh: What are some of the features you want to incorporate into future Concrete5 releases?

Concrete5 team: These are some that people have been asking for:

1. Caching. c5's impressive interactivity means a lot of database access. However we've got some pretty cool approaches to caching coming soon which should be able to use the built-in mechanisms of accelerator layers like XCache, eAccelerator or memcached to improve scalability without sacrificing interactivity.

2. A better file manager. We want the ability to retrieve images remotely, create thumbnails of multiple size, use the file system for managing entries (including folders), tags, and external image editor/source support (for using picnik for editing, or flickr for photo import.)

3 . Our c5 Multi-Site Manager (better name pending)

Chanh: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of crea ting an open source CMS?

Concrete5 team: (Franz speaks up)
Time. It's annoyingly finite.

Chanh: There is a plethora of open source CMS's available out "there" for people to choose. Why should people consider Concrete5?

Concrete5 team: Because we're fantastically better than everyone else. And we're completely free.

c5 is really unique because it serves both site owners and site builders very well. Most neglect one side of that equation for the other. Don't take it from me though, check out the community section of - plenty of other people will tell you that c5 is the best thing since sliced bread. Play with the demo. I dare you.

Chanh: Anything else that you want to share?

Concrete5 team: OpenSourceCMS rocks. goBama.

Thank you for taking the time to do an interview with us.
Chanh Ong