I suspected the twitter feed on my website was broken the other day when I was fidgetting – it wasn’t displaying posts at all. It turned out the social feeds plugin had decided to wipe my API keys for some reason (I updated it recently and assumed it’d save settings during the update – apparently not). However, in the process of getting the keys from twitter I stumbled upon their latest project – Fabric. (Bit of an odd name but let’s not ask questions.)
Fabric is apparently a cross-platform mobile app development suite they’ve developed. It promises to streamline mobile app development and looks quite spiffing if it’s anything like the website. According to the project page it says they’ve made it really modular – with the ability to add more modules later as you need them.
Has anyone used it? Is it any good? I recently had a go at making my own android app (and didn’t enjoy the experience much given that the same install issues seem to exist as when I tried last time about 3 years ago).
I’ve had to use MODx for a few projects at work recently. I’ve not found it to be a great experience to be honest (I did tweet about wanting to stab my eyeballs out at one point).
While working with Drupal does have drawbacks (e.g. when you don’t know what you’re looking for exactly you can waste so much time trying to find the right modules etc.), on the whole I’ve found that it’s flexible enough to allow you to do whatever you want (the drawback being that it will give you enough rope to hang yourself).
I have no doubt it is a nice CMS for lightweight sites where there aren’t many admin users. It can be up and running and integrated far quicker than some of the alternatives.
However, it has some fairly big drawbacks when it comes to clients wanting to add value to their existing set-up –
- Development UX – stuff is literally all over the place. Chunks, snippets, template variables… Argh! Separation of these things for clarity is necessary for large, complex sites – but when it’s a simple site with simple templates it is completely counter-productive. Also, how do you edit say… the WYSIWYG editor’s module options from within the CMS? At times it feels like certain aspects of development set-up are deliberately obfuscated.
- Upgrade path – Being unable to upgrade directly from Evolution to Revolution is a pain in the butt.
- Permissions minefield – it was bad enough in Evolution, but in Revolution it is utterly ridiculous how many steps there are to setting up group admin permissions for resources. It’s insane. Resource groups, access policies, roles – it’s incredibly difficult to get your head around (see this massive tome at Bob’s Guides for reference)
- Workflow – there just isn’t one. Clients love workflows.
- Source control is a nightmare when all your code is stored inside the database not in files.
Clearly this is pushing MODx to the limits of what it can do, and in these circumstances it is often better to advise the client of these drawbacks and encourage them to use another option. However, we all know that sometimes these things can’t be helped and in this situation the items listed above are fairly common features and really shouldn’t be this difficult.