Today, I'm happy to share my interview with Martijn of Wolf CMS. Wolf is one of the top five finalists for Most Promising Open Source Project in Packt Publishing's 2010 Open Source Awards. Find out what Martijn thinks about Wolf CMS being a finalist and how they'd spend the prize money if they win.
Dr. Apps: Since this category is for projects that are less than two years old, how does it feel to be recognized by the community as one of the most promising open source projects?
Martijn: It feels very good of course! It shows we're on the right track and people are noticing our project. With so many useful open source projects out there, there's a strong sense of affirmation about what Wolf hopes to provide to users.
D: How do you personally feel about Wolf CMS being a finalist for Most Promising Open Source Project?
M: Great! It is very gratifying to see people's response to Wolf CMS and see the community grow and help each other out. It's hard to keep up with all the new initiatives -- we weren't familiar with some of the other finalists, in fact! I'm sure we're all pleased to be included in this showcase event.
D: For people that don’t know Wolf CMS or anything about the project, can you briefly explain what it is?
M: Wolf CMS is a content management system that aims to be simple but extremely powerful through its tool set and plugins. Rather than you having to create your site around the system, we want you to mold the system around your site.
D: How many people are on the core Wolf CMS dev team?
M: We currently have four people on board: Two developers and two documentation/forum guys. I'm the founder and lead developer and as such do most of the core work. Mike's the second developer. He focuses on bug squashing, plugin development and when time's left other core development. David is our resident evangelist, forum and documentation guy with Dejan also working on documentation.
D: What are some of your favorite programs, tools, or libraries that helped with developing Wolf CMS?
M: The tools I use most are the NetBeans IDE, a local Ubuntu LAMP installation, Firefox 3 and PHPUnit for unit tests. Additionally I occasionally use Xdebug or Selenium when called for. We're in the process of moving from Prototype to JQuery by popular request which is turning out to be more of a headache than expected. We have people in the core team and in the community helping out, but certain things just seem to be difficult to do. In any case we do quite like JQuery and once the migration is done, we should have clean sailing.
D: What one feature of Wolf is the team most proud of? I know it’s hard to pick sometimes. :)
M: That's a hard question indeed, when there are so many to choose from! The simple page-based hierarchy makes the CMS instantly and intuitively understandable, even to brand new users lacking a technical background. The plugin and helper systems ensure that every developer can extend Wolf to their heart's content. The simple use of HTML/CSS for templating means that there are no barriers to designers. And every user will be grateful for the many security initiatives that are being implemented in the current development phase. Though Wolf’s best feature might simply be its “keep-it-simple”, “less-is-more” approach.
D: What does being a finalist in the Most Promising Open Source Project category mean to Wolf CMS?
M: Exposure for a fledgling project, a pat on the shoulder for a job well done so far and an added incentive to keep going.
D: What differentiates Wolf CMS from the other finalists for “Most Promising Open Source Project”?
M: Wolf CMS aims to be a simple, free form CMS that allows developers a lot of flexibility in the way they develop their site. That's our focus and that's the difference. For example, where BuddyPress and LiveStreet seem to be focusing more on social network and blog sites, Wolf CMS is geared to start you off with a simple core so you can built anything you want from there. We're trying to keep it as small and simple as possible while still allowing you to easily expand functionality through plugins and custom code. Also, some other finalists have opted to include a wider range of libraries and platforms than Wolf has. Our choice is based on keeping things simple and light, yet still powerful.
D: What is the vision for the future of Wolf CMS? Where do you want to go from here?
M: The vision for Wolf's future is to keep it simple, slim it down and speed it up. Not only will slimming it down and speeding it up improve Wolf CMS itself, but it will also reduce power consumption which in these days is increasingly important.
We'd also like to expand our community, to foster new plugins by improving ease of development and to expand and improve documentation. A lot of projects underestimate its importance so we'd like to make sure we have good documentation. Despite being a relatively small and young project, we already have quite some resources and will be adding more.
D: What would winning prize money do for the project? Basically what will you spend the money on if you win?
M: The most obvious effect winning would have is it'd give us a lot of exposure.
As for the money, we will be spending most of it on hosting costs to ensure an uninterrupted and speedy service of the site as this is the most important resource for our users apart from the product itself. It is also the biggest expense for the project.
Apart from helping with hosting costs, it will also allow us to improve the plugin repository in terms of storage capacity and stability to ensure future availability of third party plugins. We also have a policy in place to give 10% of the donations we receive to the World Wildlife Fund since we feel that in these modern times of computers running everywhere, nature could use a hand.
Depending on the amount we'd win, we may also spend a small amount on a couple of thank you gifts towards certain people in the community that we feel have helped their fellow community members and Wolf CMS in general. Nothing fancy, just a small thank you from us to them.
D: Is there anything else you’d like to tell people about Wolf CMS?
M: Sure! We’d like to invite everyone to come on by at wolfcms.org, try it out and say hello on the forum. You’re always welcome!
D: I appreciate you spending the time to be interviewed and sharing Wolf’s story. I can “see” the passion for what you do and wish the best of luck to you in the finals. Voting for the Open Source Awards closes on November 5, 2010, so go and vote. There are also four other categories with great projects to vote for as well, so what are you waiting for?Follow me on Twitter