The liberation of Content Management

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A potted history

We made our first foray into content management about 8 years ago when a client asked us if we could give him a system for updating his site. 

We said yes, then spent the car journey home wondering how the heck we were going to do that. You see in those days, CMSes were for the big boys, and only the big boys.

So, we planned out a simple system that worked perfectly for one site. It allowed the client to update their site in no time at all. He loved it, we got paid, so we loved it too.

About a year down the line we’d made about 16 or 17 of these. But we were growing tired of pushing out bug fixes to every one of them. Every fix meant changing every system on every site – what a pain. So we decided it was time to build a system that could power all our sites, a magical beast that centralised our content management. 

Obviously this new system needed to be more flexible, so we set up ways of adding different features to each site.

After two weeks of straight work and very little sleep, it was done. It was fantastic. Now, we could turn sites around faster than you could shake a stick. And we had all our sites in the same place; no more pushing bug fixes to a multitude of places. Bliss!

Over the next 4 years this system served us well: we won lots of jobs we shouldn’t have because of it, and it gained us a reputation at being really good at what we do. Looking back, you could say this system was Edditt version 1.0.

But all was not perfect: We started to find ourselves hitting the constraints of the system. It just wouldn’t do things that we wanted it to do; we dreaded having to make changes or add new features as it would often have unwanted consequences.

It was time for a rethink – time to start over.

This time we were serious. We had a feature list the length of your arm and it kept on growing. So we furiously started scribbling. There were pieces of paper everywhere – covered in schemas, diagrams, roadmaps and ideas. We researched other systems, we won’t name them, but we checked them out just to make sure we weren’t reinventing the wheel. It quickly became clear we weren’t. Nothing else gave us the features we were looking for and most of all, none of them seemed easy for our clients to get to grips with.

So work began in earnest. 

We set out to create a system that was flexible from the ground up; allowing each site to be completely tailored to its needs without any constraints, and giving the user the best control over their content. This system had to be able to do everything we needed it to do: manage databases, interact with 3rd party services, hook into pages on our site for extra functionality.

A few months down the line and it was ready for some serious testing, we let some clients loose on it. And they loved it. It worked in a way that made complete sense to them. They found it effortless and from our point of view that was what really mattered.

Edditt gave us a ridiculously fast development pace – we could turn around sites even faster than before. CMS was no longer a pain – in fact, it was quicker to CMS a site than not to. Who would have thought?

Over the last year we have refined it and tweaked it mercilessly, continually improving upon what we started with. We have added new features, and are planning more besides. We want to make sure Edditt takes its place as the best CMS system out there.

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