Hey guys! It's been a while since my last blog post. Since NexEdit came out on February 29, I've been focusing on college a bit more. Now that the academic year is approaching its end, I'm starting work on the first update to NexEdit. The focus for this update will be maximizing MySQL data type support and improving the validation engine, topped off with some additional small improvements.
The current version of NexEdit works great, as long as you don't experiment with exotic data types. However, I want NexEdit to "just work" with whatever set up you have, so I'm making a huge effort to support every single data type that MySQL supports. This will take me a while to implement: I'm still working on the first category, numeric data types. Being able to read and write all these different types of data isn't enough either. NexEdit also has to be able to show you an error in case you're trying to write something to a column that its data type does not support: for example, when you try to store a text string in an integer field, or when the number you're trying to store in a tiny integer is higher than the value that a tiny integer can store. To make this possible, I'm completely rewriting the validation engine as well. Here's an example of what an error may look like:
To add some icing to this delicious update cake, I'll make some smaller tweaks as well. You'll be able to cancel file uploads before submitting in case you change your mind. Files that are already uploaded will be archivable, which leaves them in your upload folder but removes the association with the entry it was linked to. Also, the initial database connect screen will be much more stable and will handle errors better. Overall, this update should bring much smoother sailing to NexEdit panels to complement the smooth interface.
When can you expect this update to arrive? I'm currently aiming for a release somewhere in July, because I need to focus on my finals first. Whenever the update is out, you'll see an update notification pop up on your NexEdit panel's home page. As always, for regular development updates, you should follow @NexEdit on Twitter.
Yes! It's finally here! I am glad to announce that after half a year in development, NexEdit is now publicly available at http://nexedit.com.
NexEdit is my own take of what a content management system should be like: flexible to integrate, beautifully designed and above all: simple and easy to use. Let's take a closer look at what makes NexEdit unlike any other CMS out there.
Say hello to NexEdit
If it looks minimalistic to you, that's because it is. NexEdit was built from the ground up to be simple to the core. And it shows. Just try it out, you'll notice that there's basically no learning curve at all. It's ridiculously lightweight too: NexEdit fits in a 42kB zip. Another thing that you'll notice is that it looks gorgeous. Just because it's a back-end application doesn't mean that you shouldn't be able to manage your content in style, after all.
Setup that makes sense
NexEdit has a unique setup process that uses heuristics to guess how you want things to be set up. This will save you precious time when you first install your CMS. You'll be up and running in mere minutes. You'll be wondering why you spent hours developing your own CMS in the past.
Flexible in all kinds of ways
Let's face it: nobody likes code snippets. Nobody likes being told how to code either. NexEdit gives you complete freedom while creating your website: it's designed to plug into any existing MySQL database, independent of the front-end website. This means that you can develop your website without having to think about your CMS. When the website is done, just install NexEdit and you're good to go. NexEdit is flexible when it comes to the integration itself as well: there are plenty of options to set up your CMS just the way you want it to work, from a simple text field to a dropdown menu that contains dynamic info from another table. And the beauty of it all is that it's really simple to set up.
As you can probably tell, I'm incredibly excited about finally releasing NexEdit to the public. I've learned so much over the past 7 months... it really was a fantastic experience. I think the result is quite remarkable as well, but please be your own judge. Go get NexEdit at http://nexedit.com and take it for a spin.
I have exciting news about NexEdit. A few weeks ago, I reported that the content management system was in closed beta. Since then, I've been working very hard on completing the missing features and solving the bugs that the beta testers reported. Today, I am very pleased to say that the features that are planned for the initial release are now done. That leaves just two things on my to-do list before release: fix all remaining bugs that have been reported by the beta testers and create a product website. I'm working very hard on wrapping up these last few things and I'm currently planning on releasing NexEdit to the public this month. I'm incredibly excited about this and I can't wait to ship the product after all this time, but I'm going to go the extra mile and get these last details right. Thank you for hanging in there for the past few months, I really appreciate it. See you guys later this month!
First of all, let me address this question that you likely have. Yes, NexEdit is still in active development. The point is that "active" is a rather relative term. Since I posted the last status update, development has been going very, very slowly due to the fact that I am now in college. I really wanted to work on NexEdit, but my time has been very limited. Nevertheless, I've been tweaking NexEdit whenever I could over the past two months, and it has now come to the point where, feature wise, I deem it complete enough to move on to closed beta within a very small group of friend developers that I contacted a few weeks ago.
So, now that that's out of the way, let's get to the gist of this post: the development status. Last time I posted, the CMS part was completely done. Since then, I've been working on the initial configuration wizard and a feature called Mothership that calls home to my server to check for updates and display NexEdit related news. That means the only thing I still have to develop for this initial release is the reconfiguration wizard in case you want to modify your NexEdit CMS.
I will be working on this wizard while the beta group tests the features that are done. Once the reconfiguration wizard is done, I'll fix any bugs that the beta testers have found and dispatch the update to them. This will also be a test for the update system.
Once this first update is out of the way, I will start working on the NexEdit product website, the place where you will be able to download the software. While I'm doing this, the beta group will be able to play around with the feature complete beta. If they don't find any more bugs, this will be the version that I'll release.
I'm aiming for Q1 2012 for public availability. In the meantime, you should stay tuned to this blog and follow @NexEdit on Twitter for regular updates. Thank you for sticking with me through this slow process, but I'm confident that once NexEdit ships you will see that it has been worth the wait.
Hello guys. It's been over a month since I first introduced NexEdit, my CMS project, in a ridiculously long blogpost. Those who follow @DriesOeyen on Twitter have been able to follow the development progress up close, but I wanted to give those who only follow the blog a status update too, as promised.
I am currently at the point where the actual CMS part is completely done, and I am pleased to report that it works even better than I had imagined. It really is a thing of beauty and I can't wait to share it with all of you, but before that happens I have to write the configuration wizard that'll help you first set up NexEdit, edit settings later and update to the most recent version. Please bear with me, I really want to get this right.
When the development of the NexEdit software is done, I will set up a closed beta with a small group of people. They will test out the system and report back to me on what can be improved. In the meantime, I will work on the NexEdit website, the place where you will be able to download it. Once this is done, and if the closed beta didn't surface any horrible bugs, I'll be able to release the software to the public.
A few quick notes to wrap up this update: I bought http://nexedit.com and put up a placeholder for you to drool over for now. You can also follow @NexEdit on Twitter so you won't miss a beat (or tweet) once we start using it. Last but definitely not least: did you notice we have a new spotlight project on our homepage? I added NexEdit to the list of Nexworx projects. Check it out here.
That is all. Sorry for the silence the past month, I promise it will be worth it. As always, I'll keep you guys updated here about my development progress.
Most websites nowadays use a content management system, CMS for short, to allow the website administrator to make updates without having to edit the code. Needless to say, this is fantastic for developers who make websites for people who lack coding knowledge, but as a developer I also like being able to update my website without manually editing the code or database.
When it comes to choosing a CMS, there are many choices out there. You can opt to install CMS software like Joomla on your own server, you can integrate your website with a remote CMS service like Pagelime or you can get your hands dirty and code a CMS yourself. This doesn't sound too bad, but the sad truth is that every one of these options is flawed in some way.
Most pre-made CMS solutions like Joomla are clunky at best. They always seem to manage to overcomplicate even the simplest tasks. Planning to post an article to your blog? You'd better be ready to go through a nice list of entry permissions. You seem to spend more time configuring everything than actually... you know... managing your content. These CMS solutions are built to literally handle everything, but because they can, managing simple websites in them is a royal pain.
Systems like this have a spin-off: purpose built content management systems. I think most bloggers out there have at least heard of and probably used Wordpress at some point. Because systems like this have a predictable use case (blogging for Wordpress), they can be optimized specifically for that experience. While this is a strength, it is also a problem in some way: these systems are rather limited. The blog on the old Nexworx website used to run on Wordpress, but the rest of the website used a custom CMS because it was too inconvenient to integrate it with Wordpress: it simply wasn't built for that purpose.
A relatively new CMS solution is the remote hosted kind: systems like Pagelime. These often tout the fact that you don't have to manually install software on your server, enabling less experienced users to set up a CMS. I find this strange, because while the CMS installation may be automated, you still have to integrate your actual code with the service. Furthermore, this means your website relies on a 3rd party website to serve its actual content. The biggest turndown, however, is probably the fact that these systems are expensive. If you sign up for the lowest premium tier on Pagelime today, you'll be shelling out $19 every month. That's $228 each year for the cheapest premium pricing tier. That's more than my host charges me for two years of premium hosting. Ouch.
When you take in mind all the downsides of the third party solutions, it makes sense for a developer to code his own content management system. However, this takes time. Time that's better spent working on actual site features. Furthermore, I know that when I develop a website, I want to release it as fast as I can. Indeed, the idea of having to code an entire CMS before being able to release the site is rather daunting for developers. This often results in rushed systems that offer a less than optimal user experience.
So basically, when you want to incorporate a CMS for your website, you get the choice between 3 kinds of solutions, and in a way every one of them has one flaw or another. Basically, you have to pick the solution that has the least downsides for you. There has to be a better way, right? Well, I'm pleased to tell you that there will be soon.
When creating the new Nexworx website, I faced the same dilemma at one point and I decided to create my own CMS. However, as a designer I felt a strong urge to spend some more time on the user experience, even though it was just a backend application. The result? The CMS is an absolute joy to use. I decided to call it NexEdit.
So, why did I write this lengthy blog post? Well, I am actually so satisfied with NexEdit that I want to use it on my other websites as well. In order to make it easy for me to maintain multiple instances of NexEdit, I'll have to make the software "portable", much like a pre-made CMS like Joomla. But if I put so much work in making NexEdit portable, it would be stupid not to let other people take advantage of it as well, right? I think you know where I'm getting at: NexEdit will be available for download.
So I'm taking a plunge in pre-made CMS software. How will NexEdit differentiate itself in this crowded market? Simplicity, in every aspect of the system. Obviously this means that the interface of the CMS will be very simple and clean, but I also mean simplicity in terms of the setup process: NexEdit will work with any existing websites without the need to integrate code snippets. As long as you have a MySQL database, NexEdit will be able to tap into it and provide you with a dead simple CMS. Developers will love it because it's so easy to set up, clients will love it because there's no learning curve at all.
I am currently developing the first version of NexEdit. It'll take some time to get everything just right, but please do stay tuned to this blog for regular updates about my progress. This is without a doubt my most ambitious project yet, and it's also the first time that I have been so open about it from the very beginning. Keep an eye on this place, I have a feeling it’s going to be worth the wait.