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Promoting projects that are written in Perl

I got a great e-mail from Gabor earlier this week that proposed a simple challenge: Let’s not get distracted trying to promote Perl itself, but — instead — let’s focus on promoting projects written in Perl.

One of those projects — the one I’m most excited about on a day-to-day basis — is Bricolage, the enterprise-class content management system. Gabor’s note — which asked about the status of the project — makes me wonder why more folks in the Perl community aren’t taking a closer look at what is undoubtedly one of the most capable publishing systems on the market today? 

So, in the interest of beating the drum for a Perl project that’s alive and well, I wanted to summarize what I think is exciting about the Bricolage project right now:

  • The upcoming 2.0 release: After eight years, it’s a bit of an understatement to call Bricolage "stable," it’s like a clock that — for the most part — just keeps on ticking. That said, there are lots of improvements being added all the time, and the project is heading for a big milestone this year — Bricolage 2.0. There’s currently a developer release out, so if you’ve got cycles, please do take it for a spin. 

  • The user interface improvements: It’s hard to summarize all of the improvements expected in Bricolage 2.0, but the one that most folks will experience in day-to-day use is the new, AJAX-powered, user interface. There’s a short screencast of some of the new UI over here. (There’s also work being done to re-think the UI altogether, which is something the project is always looking for support on.)

  • The new API browser: Bricolage exposes a powerful API for interacting with your data via both the templating system (which supports either Mason or Template Toolkit) and a SOAP client. The API documentation browser has recently been updated to make it easier for developers to get up-to-speed quickly. 

  • New source code repository: Along the same lines, Bricolage’s source code was recently migrated to GitHub, and bug reporting to Lighthouse, to encourage more people to get involved. If you’ve never taken a look under the hood, now is a great time to do so

  • Active user community: Like the Perl community itself, some folks seem to think that Bricolage is a little quiet these days. Fortunately, that’s not the case — the Bricolage community is alive and well (and incredibly helpful) and can be found on the Bricolage mailing lists or on #bricolage on irc.perl.org. 

If you don’t have time to dig into Bricolage today, you can always subscribe to the "Output Channel," the quarterly e-newsletter that covers most of what’s happening in other places (via e-mail, or RSS). 

Just looking for an excuse to give it a try? Or wondering how it stacks up against the other options out there? Try out the VMware image, or check out these previous posts:

And if Gabor gets his way, you might just find a Bricoleur or two at FOSDEM in February. Other than that, what will it take to see some sites out there in the Perl ecosystem running an easy-to-use, stable-as-a-rock, pure-Perl, content management system? 

The comments are open. 

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  1. #1 http://autarch.urth.org/ 23 Oct 09

    Bricolage is cool but ...

    It's also very heavy weight. If I was building an online magazine with multiple writers, artists, and editors, it'd be a perfect choice.

    Unfortunately, it's not the kind of simple, ’create a bunch of pages’ type of CMS that most people want. I'd love to see a Perl competitor to Drupal, Joomla, Plone, and similar lighter weight CMSs.

    Bricolage is a pretty niche application. You have to invest some _serious_ time up front to get a site going, especially building content types and templates for output.

  2. #2 phillip_at_newint 23 Oct 09

    ’It's also very heavy weight. If I was building an online magazine with multiple writers, artists, and editors, it'd be a perfect choice.’

    In my experience, there's often an sense that a site is going to be small, *until* it gets big. Yes, Bricolage is a perfect choice for a magazine or a news site, but it's also well suited to (and frequently used for) mid- to large-sized organizations and universities.

    ’Bricolage is a pretty niche application. You have to invest some _serious_ time up front to get a site going, especially building content types and templates for output.’

    Another misunderstanding, really. The _first_ time you set-up Bricolage, it may take ’serious’ time, but so would Drupal, or Plone. Once you've read the documentation and gotten the hang of it, it's quite quick to get going. Installing Bricolage these days is a 30 minute affair.

    I'm not trying to propose that Bricolage would be the best choice for a simple blog -- clearly, there are better choices -- but many organization's Web sites (like the *.perl.org sites in general) have grown in size over time and struggle with maintainability. Bricolage is a pure-perl option that is often overlooked.

    There's even dedicated [a href=’http://www.gossamer-threads.com/hosting/bricolage.html’]Bricolage hosting available, for the faint of heart.

  3. #3 szabgab 23 Oct 09

    Try Bricolage now?

    May I proposes a ’Try it now’ link that would let you go to an existing Bricolage setup and play with it?

    Besides that, we don't hear any hype about Bricolage nor do I remember talks about it but maybe I just was not paying attention.

  4. #4 phillip_at_newint 26 Oct 09

    ’May I proposes a ’Try it now’ link that would let you go to an existing Bricolage setup and play with it?’

    I'll pass that suggestion along to the fine folks at Gossamer Threads to see if they'd be interested in managing something like that.

    ’Besides that, we don't hear any hype about Bricolage nor do I remember talks about it but maybe I just was not paying attention.’

    Sadly, it seems that _hype_ is all anyone's interested in these days... :-(

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