Symphony 2 Beta

Standards Based Content Management

Many content management systems have been built with their own set of proprietary templating languages and tags. Scripting languages and frameworks each rely on a different set of vocabulary, grammar and syntax to perform their tasks, manipulating data to display in various media. The problem becomes which to learn. Symphony 2, for me, puts to rest the question of which templating language is the most suitable for web content.

Symphony 2 comes closer than any previous iteration of the concept to pure XSLT. It removes the layers of abstraction that previously existed and lays bare the XML data, the XSLT stylesheet and XHTML output using a cleverly designed interface for viewing the elements required to build a web page. While still in beta, the system holds much promise in its ability to be extended to many different purposes. Because its core has been built on standards, it has the potential to be extremely extensible.

A few extensions are starting to trickle out, as the Twentyone Degrees development team prepares for the final release of Symphony 2. The past week has been a busy time of bug squashing to finalize the core system during the beta testing phase.

Minimalism has been a core design value throughout the development life of the application since its inception. The simplicity of the interface design has been a complex undertaking. The focus for Symphony 2 has been the enhancement of the development workflow. I look forward to the release of extensions that the Overture community has had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of in the early months of the seven full months of development that has passed for the application to reach this level of maturity. I expect that the sneakpeek screencasts released last year are a small sampling of the extensions that may soon be available to Symphony users:

2 February 2008 by Stephen Bau