We started today with the outsourcing company who will be developing our new content entry system. They took last week to do some planning and pre-design work and they came in with questions and a few simple diagrams.
After some discussion, it came up that they were trying to have a high abstraction of their data, to allow for new content types to be easily setup and defined. However, in order to do this, they were going to have all of the information about all of the content types in one table. This would not work very well with our current Content Display Application (CDA) because it uses an abstraction layer between the application and the database which requires a one-to-one relationship between the application varables and a field in the database.
We showed them our current database layout and discussed how the CDA works currently, as well as some of the things the Vignette systems does well and wrong. By the end, they had a much stronger grasp of what we were looking for – it was much more complex than they thought, but not too much more work coding-wise. We were concerned that they hadn’t fully grasped our programming concepts when they put together the proposal because they kept referring to all the content types as articles. We offered several times to give them a better overall view of the system, but they felt they understood it. I don’t think this is going to be a barrier, but I believe now they understand that they need to have our web programmer, just promoted to Web Systems Manager more involved in the layout and design.
We are meeting again on Wednesday – it will be interesting to see what they have come up with in the meantime.