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In this CFUN-04 interview, Michael Smith talks to Bogdan Ripa about his presentation on "Building a ColdFusion CMS with MX Kollection".
Michael Smith: Why should programmers be interesting in building a CMS with MX Kollection?
Bogdan Ripa: As the web is developing, the need for dynamic websites increases and everybody wants to edit their own content without paying expensive maintenance costs. Building a CMS from scratch is not easy. MX Kollection adds a set of powerful features to Dreamweaver, making Dynamic Web Development easy for everybody.
MS: What exactly is a CMS anyway?
BR: Now this is a good question. "CMS" stands for Content Management System. So a CMS is software that enables you to add/or manipulate content on a web site without programming. A CMS can be used to display news articles, to manage a governmental site and much more.
MS: That sounds like something a lot of projects could use! So what is MX Kollection?
BR: MX Kollection a suite of products designed to change the way you create dynamic web applications. We like to think of it as the next level in Dreamweaver MX visual software development. It actually takes Dreamweaver to the edge, allowing programmers to build complex dynamic web sites very easily.
MS: That is cool. But how long does it take to create a CMS this way?
BR: If you look at the title of my talk, you will see that you actually can create one in 50 minutes! Still, it will have only the basic functionalities, meaning that one will be able to edit the structure and the content of the website.
MS: What about other features?
BR: When it comes to complex features like scheduled content publishing, meta- data based publishing, roles and other complex features, it will take you much longer. We have been working for almost two years on a very complex CMS (that is not based on Macromedia technology). So, depending on its features, building a CMS could take from one hour to a few years. So MX Kollection allows you to do quite complex tasks in a RAD (Rapid Application Development) approach. >From our experience, about 80% of a web application can be done using our tools, and then you have to come back to hand coding to do the rest. For "simple" web applications, you can even reach 100%.
MS: I have noticed that many CF developers do not use Dreamweaver's features (such as Server Behaviors) when they develop Dynamic Websites. Do you have any comments on this?
BR: We all know that Dreamweaver does a wonderful job in editing HTML code. However, the server side generation with Server Behaviors and Commands has its share of problems, because it generates the code at the beginning of the page. On the discussion forums, developers call this "spaghetti code", as it does not allow code-reuse and is hard to maintain. Dreamweaver don't use CFCs and other advanced features like CFFORM, and this basically restricts it to a prototyping tool. Separating the concerns (HTML+CFCs) is a "standard" way of CF programming lately (either hard-coded or using a framework like Mach-II or Fusebox), and because Dreamweaver don't generate the code this way, it is mostly used as a text editor.
MS: Yes, that is a problem. How do you deal with that?
BR: We understand this, and what we bring to the equation is a level of separation of the application logic and the page layout by using CFCs and pre- defined functions. We also include many advanced features regarding dynamic website development (grouping information, validation, error handling, sorting records, filtering records, and more), that help developers use Dreamweaver to create complex applications visually, not only prototypes.
MS: Cool. Where can I get a demo of MX Kollection and how much does it cost?
BR: An MX Kollection demo will be included on the presentation CD we'll have in the goodies bag that will be distributed at the conference. On our website, you can get the demo from here: http://www.interaktonline.com/products/MXKollection/ The pricing of all modules included in the MX Kollection is $380, and if you buy it as a bundle, you can get it for $299.
MS: That is a deal! I will check it out and come see you at CFUN.