As I start this, I’m in a small town—no, a really small town—called Sunol. I gather the name is mostly heard in traffic reports thanks to a section of I-680 called the Sunol Grade, but what’s fascinating here isn’t traffic patterns—it’s that this feels like an isolated, rural town much farther away from the metro area than it is. Looking out the window of the Sunol Coffee House—an old building itself—I can see a tiny post office, two other buildings and a railway. Farther down main street in either direction are, well, maybe three more buildings.
Yes, this’ll probably be a little bit of a long lunch. I don’t feel guilty because this is a time when much of the rest of the department is out seeing “Meet the Fockers” as a group movie. If they’d been able to stick with their first choice of “House of Flying Daggers,” I’d have gone with them.
But I like finding places like this, and I’m reminded that when I was at There I found the East Bay Regional Parks web site and realized that district is just really honking big. I decided I wanted to go around visiting a few of those parks, but for the most part, I haven’t. Not that I can change that today—there are two nearby parks and I suspect I’ll give one a quick look, but it’s not going to be that long a lunch.
Naturally, my thoughts are on… templating systems. In addition to poking around a myriad of Python systems, I’ve come across the up-and-coming Ruby on Rails application framework (written as some might guess in the Ruby language), which is supposed to be great for what’s amusingly been dubbed “CRUD” applications: “Create / Read / Update / Delete,” the basic database operations. It’s certainly possible to write blogging/CMS software in such a framework, although it occurs to me that where it’d be really useful is… well, the application I’m working on for work. But they’re pretty firmly wedded to Perl where I am, so I’d need to find the Perl equivalent. (I’m also a little allergic to the constant drumbeat in the RoR community for a Mac text editor called TextMate, but that’s another issue.)
The annoying thing is the voice in my the back of my head saying: what would a content management system be like that didn’t have any templates? How could one be designed that’s still flexible and customizable that doesn’t use a template? The ideas that are bouncing around in my mind right now are for things that one might argue are still effectively templates, but I’m thinking of something that’s easier to manage and set up than the “XHTML with placeholders” approach.