Case Study: Content Management Solution using Joomla!
Carl Helmers and his wife Jean Bidlack
Carl Helmers, author and entrepreneur, was looking for a better way to maintain and organize his website, www.helmers.com. He found Joomla!, a popular open-source content manager, hosted by Information Analytics.
Getting the Word Out
Carl Helmers lives in Western New York near Rochester. As a thinker and writer, Carl uses his website to self-publish new writings about various subjects. Visitors to his site will find writings about his occasional experiments with Linux distributions on his computers, his musings on technology, his workshop projects and about domestic/international travels to scientific meetings with his research scientist wife Jean Bidlack. Jean is Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology and a research scientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center. While not a scientist by profession, Carl often accompanies Jean to and audits sessions of scientific meetings that Jean attends around the US and abroad. Similarly, Jean accompanies Carl to and participates with him in the annual Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop.
Carl’s website is also the only place on the web where readers can find accurate information about Carl and his role in the 1975-1980 years of pre-IBM PC, pre-Internet personal computing. Carl was a co-founder of the legendary BYTE Magazine, one of the first and most influential computer magazines focusing specifically on the personal computing revolution of the late 1970s. Visitors will find memoirs written in the form of introductions to Carl's favorite 1975 to 1980 BYTE editorials.
In 2008, Carl reconnected (through LinkedIn) with Mark Dahmke, co-owner of Information Analytics and former Consulting Editor of BYTE. Mark suggested that Joomla! might be a good solution for Carl’s website and volunteered to setup a test site for Carl’s experimentation.
Carl wanted a Content Management System (CMS) that could provide a way to generate article files in offline directories that could be quickly uploaded and integrated into to his site. “It often takes hours, days or weeks of offline thinking and editing to write and slickly format an article on any subject,” said Carl. “With my method of using Joomla!, I can upload and integrate a new article into my site in at most a few tens of minutes. After first posting an article, I can post an updated version in only a few minutes. With Joomla! the cost in time of fixing spelling/grammar or even more serious errors is mostly reduced to the offline change and editing time.”
Carl has definite opinions on the best way to write an article for interactive reading and communication of ideas to the reader. With the invention of the browser in the early 1990s this idea of creating articles that can be read using browsers locally or ultimately on the web provides an exciting new interactive way to present materials for readers.
Carl's central theme of using a browser to accomplish true bi-directional hyperlinks to bookmarked URLs throughout a document would formerly have been a static printed references to other parts of a document.
Carl is an experimenter at heart. Carl’s site reflects the latest state of his experiments. As he continues to write new stories, he is continually experimenting with concepts and ways of representing his material within the Joomla! framework. Part of Carl’s tutorial mission is writing comments about what works and does not work for him in the context of his Joomla! site.
One of Carl’s goals for his Joomla! site is to communicate what he has learned about Joomla! to others. His site provides information on what he wants to do with Joomla!: using open source tools offline to write and publish his writings. By describing what he is doing, others can learn how to use the same widely available Open Source tools with the Open Source Joomla! CMS to achieve similar results. Since 2000, Carl has been switching to open source applications whenever they mature for reliable regular use.
For more information and details on Carl’s preferred “Active Browser Reading” approach to content organization and management, please continue reading at http://www.helmers.com/images/stories/CH_JS/WWW_CH_Joomla_Site.html.
Carl Helmers was a co-founder, minority co-owner and the first editor of BYTE magazine from 1975 through 1980. As a personal computing pioneer and writer, Carl needed a site on which to place his articles – about his current projects and activities, historical archive pieces about his BYTE years and about developments since his BYTE Magazine helped revolutionize the computer field. After leaving BYTE, Carl became very busy through the 1980's and 1990's founding then publishing three successful advertising supported controlled circulation high tech print magazines through his Helmers Publishing, Inc.
After the end of Helmers Publishing Inc. in March, 2006 Carl retained ownership of the domain name helmers.com in order to keep his long-used eponymous email@example.com e-mail address. Going along with his e-mail anchor, Carl's first laboriously and painfully created personal site at www.helmers.com, which was online in 2006/2007. In 2008 he faced a deadline to convert that design (developed using MS FrontPage 2003) to some other easier-to-use system by the time his first ISP's prepaid contract expired at the end of March 2009. He started looking around for a modern open source CMS – where most of his time would be spent creating content rather than coping with software. His mid-2008 choice was to use Joomla! for the new site design, on servers of Information Analytics, Inc.