The most irksome thing about developing with most Web CMS systems is the rigidity associated with layouts. The modern system is characterized by ten minute import and deployment lifecycles, followed by 100 hours of tweaking stylesheets to get everything looking just-so.
The new version of Polopoly aims to hammer another nail into the traditional webmaster's coffin by offering more advanced, automated customization with the introduction of its new 'out-of-the-box layout management functionality'.Live layout editing is now, we are assured, as easy as dragging and dropping content and application components onto a page.
Polopoly claims 'full user customization on the fly' for v9.9. A line like that is all too easy to write up in a marketing blurb, but can content be dragged and dropped to anywhere on the page, or just in designated areas? I'm sure Polopoly will be good enough to pop up in the Comments here and fill us in... [NB see 'UPDATE' below for the full low-down on this issue.] Meanwhile changes can be previewed ahead of show-time and templating features can still be used to control basics like logos and accessibility demands. Humble editors can customize as they please outside these preset templated constraints. The level of freedom given to editors is customizable as well - just as it should be. Polopoly 9.9 is modular and Java-built all the way, and boasts open APIs for the development community. Multi-level caching applies some sensible throttling to the server load, and a new fragment cache included with 9.9 assists bleary-eyed end users by automatically caching reusable page fragments.
It's available right now, so go on down to Polopoly for a closer look.
Just prior to going to press, Magnus Hübner got back to us with a full explanation of the new layout features of Polopoly 9.9. And here it is...
"Basically, when you are designing your site you are deciding which components should be "drag-and-droppable" for the webmasters. You can switch location on anything, including header, footer and navigation, but then again you could also choose to "nail down" those elements if you wish.
The nuts and bolts of it is that when you build the site's functionality (normal articles, but also programmer's work like search, etc.) the look-and-feel of what you are creating should follow certain design rules. There is a design guideline document to follow but basically it's about creating everything in resizable divs, the layout of which is set in a CSS. This means two things:
# It means that the components you create can be easily reusable on another site, or to another Polopoly customer, or even on a non-Polopoly site if the logic behind it is something outside of Polopoly. Functionality like search, discussion, etc... are already standard components with this framework, and Polopoly will offer further standard components in later releases. Furthermore, customers can share components, even trade them, and thus get even more value.
So, yes, given that the application components fulfill this rather loose design contract, you can indeed drag and drop anything you want in the page, including navigations, headers and footers if you feel so inclined. Since the design contract is just about good design practice in general (w3c, not the least), we haven't had any problems convincing the web designers of the benefits either." Thanks Marcus for clearing that up!