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This Is not a Place of Honor


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Anyone who's worked on a web project has stumbled across the horror of "legacy content" that makes no sense, or is held together with duck tape and dreams. In this talk, we'll look at some noteworthy content disasters, learn to spot problem areas in the future, and remember to be kind: the disasters of the past were built be people just like us, working with constraints we may not understand.

Published in: Business
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This Is not a Place of Honor

  1. 1. Not a Place of Honor Learning the Right Lessons
 From Terrible Content Models Jeff Eaton of Lullabot Presented by Drupal4Gov
  2. 2. I work for Lullabot. We content stuff. I’m @eaton.
  3. 3. Legacy Content Model
  4. 4. The Case ofthe Vegan Mp3
  5. 5. Title Description EventDate RegCost IsVegan…
  6. 6. The Case ofthe 50 Article Types
  7. 7. Article …IL article …NYarticle …TX article …FL article
  8. 8. The Case ofthe
 Team Mailing List
  9. 9. We add the announcement, but it’s sent in raw HTML…
  10. 10. We add the announcement, but it’s sent in raw HTML…
  11. 11. The Case ofthe
 5-Minute Edit Form
  12. 12. We have a content type for everydesign pattern!
  13. 13. Why Does Evil Exist?
  14. 14. ‣ Malicious co-workers are trying to drive us mad to win a contest ‣ Ourworld is the test suite for a multiverse that actuallyworks well ‣ We do our best, under pressure,
 with imperfect knowledge.
  15. 15. ‣ When we started, allwe had was an events management system… ‣ We didn’t have a developerforthe prototype, and it had to launch… ‣ It was the simplest way to migrate subscriptions from the CEO’s blog… ‣ The ten-page prototype worked great…
  16. 16. “It works for now…” “This is how it’s
 supposed to be.”
  17. 17. The Case ofthe
 Pile of Uranium
  18. 18. ✓ Store tons of radioactive waste ✓ Last 10,000 years ✓ Warn future humans ✓ Must not look too cool
  19. 19. ProbablyTreasure,right?
  20. 20. This place is not a place of honor. No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here. What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning. “ ”
  21. 21. How Can We Tellthe Difference?
  22. 22. Common
  23. 23. ‣ Modeling pages, not content ‣ Exceptions are the rule ‣ Lava flow content models ‣ Cargo cult workflow
  24. 24. Modeling Pages, Not Content Content types that map to visual chunks of a page, ratherthan meaningful messages.
  25. 25. Exceptions Are the Rule Most content lives in “generic page” or “flexible” content types
  26. 26. Lava Flow Content Model Waves of content types created, then abandoned for new ones.
  27. 27. Cargo Cult Workflow No one knows whywe make things this way, but it’s how it must be done…
  28. 28. Forensic Empathy
  29. 29. Constraints Goals and Aspirations Choices
  30. 30. Hunt forthe Original Intent ‣ Can you find documentation? ‣ Can you talk to people who worked on it? ‣ Do you knowwhy it’s being changed?
  31. 31. Examine the
 Past Constraints ‣ Limited budget (financial ortemporal) ‣ Team knowledge, experience ‣ Outdated technology ‣ Political pressures
  32. 32. What’s the Same?
 What’s Changed? ‣ Technology maturity ‣ Political pressures ‣ Understanding ofthe problem
  33. 33. Understand Why To Improve How
  34. 34. Document It Forthe Future
  35. 35. makes terriblecontent sometimes
  36. 36. Thanks for Coming! ‣ Heckle me: ‣ Talk shop: ‣ Read more: ‣ Work with us:
  37. 37. Thanks for Coming! ‣ Heckle me: ‣ Talk shop: ‣ Read more: ‣ Work with us: …Any Questions?