Random Thoughts

Taking The Platform Public

When I began working on the Well Site Studio, it was just meant to be a way to handle smaller clients who had simple needs and tight budgets. It seemed like what a lot of people wanted was a way to create pages and add content without all the distraction that comes with most content management systems. I also wanted to be able to create sites quickly and maintain them easily. With multiple installs on multiple servers, maintenance can be overwhelming, especially given the frequent updates that are typical of WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and others. So, I built the system based on two foundations:

1. In-Page Content Management System

Simply put, to edit content you navigate on the site to the page you want to edit, click a button, and edit your content. No fumbling around in the admin control panel searching through a maze of articles to find your content (I'm looking at you, Joomal!), or trying to figure out the difference between a page and a post. Just simple navigation and straightforward content editing. The positive response I've got from everyone who's seen it tells me that this indeed is an idea whose time is overdue.

2. Single-Server Multi-Site Deployment

This is more to the advantage of the developer, but this basically means that you house many different sites using the same server setup. All sites share a common code base, or engine, yet each site has unique database-driven content, styles and assets (i.e. photos, downloadables, etc.). One of my servers has over 20 different websites on a single platform install using the same database...this makes maintenance, upgrades, monitoring and backups a breeze.

...

As time passed, more features were added as clients' needs dictated or as inspiration hit. A blog was added early on, and then a news feed. The site applications kept coming...an event calendar, social networking plugins, media library,location services with geocoding, a robust eCommerce module, article publishing and more. As the system grew, two things became apparent. First, it has become too big for one person to handle successfully. Technology is advancing at such a rapid rate, and with all the various modules I find myself running in multiple directions to keep the platform current. Second, as good as it is, the platform is undocumented and dependent upon my involvement. For this reason, many prospective clients would not want to use it as they would have to rely on one person for support and updates beyond what can be handled through the GUI.

So, after 3 years, the stakeholders have decided to contribute back to the open-source community by releasing the Well Site Studio as an open source project. There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in order for this to happen. We cannot release the code in its current state for several reasons:

  1. We need to ensure the security of our current clients' sites. Since the code is currently unknown, it is more difficult for hackers to exploit software vulnerabilities. It is virtually impossible to make any software bullet-proof, and open-source software is especially vulnerable as malicious hackers can see every line of code. Until we can properly secure the platform we cannot release the code.
  2. Since at this point I am the only developer and I am choosing the server, there is no process to the installation or system checks such as file permissions to make sure everything will work. There needs to be a clear and simple installation and upgrade procedure that will work in a variety of server configurations.
  3. A process needs to be put in place to allow other developers to easily add modules and extensions.
  4. The system needs the benefit of other developers critiquing and bringing their knowledge to the table. I'm smart enough to know that I don't know everything, and getting others' perspective and input would be invaluable.

I believe we have a great product, and I look forward to the day when Well Site Studio 2.0 is released to the world. We welcome any and all help, be it financial, technical, or legal. If this seems like something you would like to be involved in please contact us by email or call (941) 312-7384.


Categories

Archives

Tags