An idea and a setback

I’ve had an idea. I’ve been having lots of ideas lately but this one has been in my head for a while. There are lots of Content Management Systems or CMS’ out there, software that you use to build and maintain a website. They come in all shapes, sizes, and complexities. I have observed there is a missing niche among all of these CMS’. Something that is simple to use for non-computer people, and offer the basics without going overboard with complexity or features. This WordPress blog I’m typing on now is a good example. In fact WordPress has become very popular as a CMS for small websites where you just need to make a few pages.

That is where my inspiration came from. Our SCCA webpage could use a CMS like that. And a friend of mine runs a videography business where he wants to be able to update his site frequently. You could just use WordPress for these sites, but why drag along all the blog oriented code when you aren’t going to use it. Plus I believe WordPress could use a good tune-up. It is still written for the no-longer-supported PHP4.

So I started writing my own little CMS in my spare time. It’s very slow going. It’s hard to get something really going when you are doing it two hours at a time. and of course I’ve been running into some snags and doing a lot of learning. One of those snags turned out to be database access. I saw that I would be writing a bunch of similar queries. So I wrote a lightweight database abstraction layer to automate some of that SQL creation. This database layer is based on PHP5’s PDO, meaning it has an object oriented interface and I can use it to connect to many different databases, assuming the SQL I write is compatible.

I don’t want to re-invent the wheel so I looked at two frameworks that do something similar, Zend_Db and Solar_Sql for ideas. They both take a different approach on how to handle prepared statements and how to pass the data into them. I tried to take the middle road and support both. The solution which I came up with, I recently found out won’t work. So I’ve got to give it a big re-think. It’s thing like this that are slowing the project down. Plus the stop-starting from lack of time. I didn’t want to talk too much about this project until it was more together. but based on this “little” setback I realized that it’s going to take a lot longer then I hoped for this thing to see the light of day. So I might as well talk about it online. I certainly haven’t been autocrossing this summer. :-(