Tuesday, November 27, 2012

StackExchange and the [tridion] tag

If you use any of the Tridion community resources, you have certainly started using StackOverflow for your Tridion questions (or for your daily dose of questions).

However, we seem to have started abusing the principles of StackOverflow - programming questions - and getting more and more configuration questions.

While, obviously, our community members rush out to try to help, it will probably not be long before someone starts closing off threads that ask no real question, no real programming question, or that are just discussion starters.

The number of open-ended, non-programming questions is annoying (to say the least). Luckily, the people behind StackExchange know very well that not all IT questions are programming questions, so there are other sites that we can use for all your Tridion Software knowledge questions:

- ServerFault
- SuperUser

So, next time you're going to ask on StackOverflow how to configure Session Preview, or how to best design a workflow, please take a minute to consider if this is a programming question, and if this should be in Stack Overflow. Server configuration questions are better suited for ServerFault, while usability questions should go in SuperUser. Simple.

If you're afraid that people may miss it (since most people only monitor Stack Overflow after all), then perhaps shout out on the Tridion Forum too. The MVPs typically pick up on these things quite fast, and the community will continue growing without impacting our generous hosts at SO.

Yes, I also agree that we should have a Tridion-dedicated Stack Exchange site. That's why I committed to this proposal on Area 51, as I am sure you have too.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How would you do it without Tridion?

I see myself being quoted more & more on the above question, which is one of my favorite answers to most Tridion implementation questions.

So I thought it was time to start putting here some of the questions that made me come up with that answer... Just walk through these questions and - in your mind - answer each with "How would I do it without Tridion?" - you'll find that the answer is almost always exactly the same when you do something with Tridion or without it, which I think is one the greatest strengths of this amazing product. These are real questions that I have been asked (some more often than others) in the past years:
  1. How do I do A/B Testing with Tridion?
  2. How do I configure a reverse proxy for my Tridion website?
  3. How do I integrate comments into my pages?
  4. How do I integrate search into my website?
  5. How do I call a webservice from a template?
  6. How do I check my website performance?
  7. How do I add analytics?
  8. How do I improve my SEO?
  9. How do I add a Javascript or CSS file to my pages?
And I could go on. The fact that I keep getting this type of questions makes me think that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way Tridion is perceived in the market. This is not WordPress, you don't "add the SEO module" to your pages. While I agree that there could be some additional "defaults" shipped with Tridion, the whole reason why you want Tridion is that you control what it does, in every little detail, you control absolutely everything about your page, and don't trust that some third-party tool will know better than you how to control your website.

I know this puts me in a conflict with the drag-and-droppers out there, who want to be able to drag-and-drop everything and their mother into a page, without really thinking of consequences. I'll give you the consequences at a later post...