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Moving forward with Composr

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Interview with Roko Nastic from WebmasterFormat

Interview with Roko Nastic from WebmasterFormat We have recently introduced a new partner program for our members of the month, certified developers & agencies and technology consultants. This interview is with Roko Nastic from one of our technology consultant partners, WebmasterFormat.

Roko Nastic is a full time webmaster and blogger with 5 years experience in website development and promotion. Last year he joined WebmasterFormat project - website focused on publishing useful advices and actionable tips about web development, content management systems, blogging and online marketing. His occupation at WebmasterFormat is writing and editing blog posts and news articles, and running promotional campaigns through various social media channels. Most interesting of those channels is MyBlogGuest, community of guest bloggers, where he currently moderates two subfourms and ensures new members accommodate themselves easily into this rapidly growing community. You can follow him at Twitter - @WebmasterFormat.

1) What's your view on the HTML5 vs Flash Debate?

Flash isn't going to be leaving anytime soon. There are still some benefits, in terms of website development, that will help keep Flash around longer than most people would like. However, as the focus of web technologies continues to shift towards stability, security, and openness, HTML5 will easily become the more popular option, along with complimentary items such as jQuery and SVG. When it comes to creating rich content, HTML5 should easily prove to be the superior option. 5 years from now, the situation will be much different than it is today and HTML5 should dominate the landscape.

2) The web is increasingly converging with mainstream media. What do you think about this?

This trend should have been considered inevitable. As more people are turning to the web for their information, instead of traditional media sources, mainstream media was forced into an adapt or perish situation. However, the inherent problem with big media coming to the internet is the fact that they are big. Large conglomerates have never been known for their flexibility, social ability, or scalability. This means that they are going to face a steep learning curve because people consume and digest information different on the web than other media sources. This means that mainstream media is going to have to adapt to a more social, dialog based environment, which may take some time.

3) Are you a Mac, Linux, or Windows person?

Linux, no question about it. However, I do have a dual boot on my PC at home that has Windows on the second disk.

4) Android or iPhone?


5) What do you like most about technology in general?

That's an interesting question. One of best aspects of technology in general is the inherent creativity and innovation that comes with it. It is one of the few areas of daily life where there is always something new, something to talk and be excited about. I also like that as technology, in general, has progressed, it has become much more available to average person. It creates opportunities, it allows smaller businesses to compete and sometime out-maneuver big businesses. Just looking back over the past few years, technology has allowed people to do things with smaller budgets than ever before.

6) What do you like least about technology in general?

Technology is definitely a double edged sword. One of the biggest drawbacks of technology is the information overload that it has created. Not only in regards to the ability to access information like never before, but also in regards to the technologies themselves. You buy a new piece of technology, spend a few months getting used it and it is already outdated, so you need to buy another new piece of technology. When you take a step back and look at it, technology controls us as much (if not more) than we control it. Many people, myself included, are spending 10-12 hours a day in front of a computer or on the phone. Normally I will spend 8-9 hours working and 3-4 having fun (for me it's my hobby - electronic music production). In way, it just doesn't seem all that natural. I am sure that many of you reading this interview are in a similar position.

7) What do you see as a key requirement for a CMS?

For me, there are 4 essential requirements for a CMS - Extensibility, Social Media Integration, Editorial Features, and Top Notch Support.

8) Do you prefer an incredibly interactive, pretty site, where everything is animated but lacking in information, or a very plan website packed full of information?

It really depends on the purpose of the website. Some websites need fancy, interactive features along with their content, however I tend to prefer more basic websites that have a ton of information and only require a few clicks to find everything that I want. The key is to determine what your audience wants and needs. If I have looking for information, give me the information. If I am looking to be entertained, then a more interactive, flashy site might be what I am looking for. It is all about giving me the experience that I want, just like everyone else, it is all about creating the best user experience possible.

9) Where should CMSs focus their efforts?

The primary focus of every CMS should be creating and engaging an active community. It is vital for the development of new features, addons, themes, security reports, and patches. In order for a CMS to evolve naturally, a large community is vital. The ultimate goal for a CMS should be growth, which means both a growth in a community and a growth in features and usability.

Not everyone can create a new plugin or design a new feature, but there are a lot different ways that they can help. They can post simple tutorials, personal experiences, share design templates, be active by answering questions in forums, etc. If everyone was a designer, then no one would have the perspective of the average user, which is what a large, active community provides.

One of the biggest fears of new users is that they will not be able to get the support that they need, which is why the CMSs with large, active communities like Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal continue to grow. With these CMSs, most people feel pretty confident that no matter what kind of support they need, they will be able to find related documentation somewhere on the web. It could be found at online forums, official tutorials, blogs, and anywhere else where tips are found. It seems like the bigger the CMS, the bigger the community. There are not many "big" CMSs that have small, inactive communities.

10) What area do you think we should work on in terms of developing ocPortal?

Just like the previous question, the key is engaging your community and making them more active. By giving people more incentive to be a top contributor, like promoting their work or their websites on the ocPortal website. For example, you can showcase the websites of your top contributors on your homepage. It seems like you are already headed in the right direction with the members of month and the points system, but the nofollowed links to the member's websites can really hinder their motivation. At minimum, the top contributors should be able to have the nofollow tag lifted.

From a technical aspect, I am not an ocPortal user and have only tested out the demo, so I really don't have any great suggestions on the technical side of things. The biggest thing for me would be to enable browsing themes without having to download them. Having more visually appealing templates and promoting them more, would probably help as well. As with all CMSs, people will try ocPortal just because they found a great looking template.

(We have since removed the nofollow tag on links for members of the month and users who have been with us for a while. We have also created a partner program  where agencies and developers can be certified for using ocPortal. - Steve)

11) Twitter or Facebook?

I'll take the easy answer and say both. For personal use, I prefer Facebook, however for WebmasterFormat promotion I use Twitter. Although, Facebook shouldn't be ignored because it is so large that there are an infinite number of promotional opportunities.

12) What do you think is the feature which is missing that we should have at ocPortal?

This is a difficult question because ocPortal seems to have all of the important features that a CMS must have. You have automatic XML sitemap generation, anti-spam support, captcha, ecommerce features, multi-site management, user groups with permissions, forums, newsletters, rss/atom support, rich media support, poll, microformats… Makes me want to use it myself!

13) What is the best features/addon out there (for any CMS, can be third party or an official addon)? Why?

The very best??? It's hard to choose a single feature, but I'll do my best. Since I use primarily Drupal, I would have to say the Views Module for Drupal. The Views Module, especially when combined with other modules, offer endless opportunities. It is a smart query builder that allows you to present content in any way you can possibly imagine. Newer users might have trouble with it, because it can seem pretty complicated, but once you get to understand it, it is a very powerful tool.

14) If you had a general criticism of CMSs, what would it be?

I don't really have any general criticisms, but I wish there was less of a need for frequent security updates to both CMSs and all of their modules. But that is a problem that every piece of software on the web has.

15) Open Source CMS, is this a good thing, bad thing, or are you indifferent on it?

Absolutely a great thing, which is true for all open source software. The open source philosophy leads to lower overall prices, greater availability, increased user cooperation, and an overall spirit of collectivism between users and developers. It creates fantastic opportunities for programmers. All of those benefits are the result of opening the code and giving it away for free. It doesn't matter if you are a professional web developer (or have the money to hire one) or can barely afford your hosting fees, you can build and maintain a fantastic website with all sorts of advanced features. That's what technology is all about. It makes our lives and our work easier, which is exactly what open source software does.

16) In five years time, do you think most requests will come from mobile devices?

There will definitely be more requests from mobile devices, but there still won't be more than from traditional computers. Mobile devices seem to have become focused on entertainment, which is great, but desktops and notebooks will still be used for more serious and work related purposes. However, I think that it is important to note that the term "mobile" is quickly becoming blurred. Are tablets mobile devices? You can use them wherever you want, but you cannot carry them in your pocket. There is a good chance that the next big thing will continue to blur the line of what is and is not mobile.

17) Do you think the way that commercial websites often replaces older Internet services such as e-mail, Usenet, and FTP is a good or bad thing?

Good or bad doesn't really factor into it. It's the way that technology is evolving and adapting. There's no point in trying to fight it. It's not good or bad - It just is.

18) Do you prefer to use web applications or desktop applications?

In general, I prefer to use web applications. But some tasks are still more appropriate for desktop apps. For example, mission critical tasks and tasks that are CPU and RAM intensive (such as audio and video editing) simply don't have a solid online replacement. However, online apps will continue to evolve and eventually, they could completely replace their desktop counterparts. Although, I think that there will always be some tasks where using a desktop app will be a first choice.

19) Where do you see the web heading over the next few years?

In the near future, I think that the current trends like social media, real time editing/collaboration, SaaS, mobile internet, personalization are all going to continue to improve and grow into themselves. All of these technologies are still fairly young, and they have a long way before they mature. This means that they are probably going to have the biggest impact on how the web changes over the next five years.

However, if you are looking for something new, then I would venture a guess and say that it is going to happen in the search field. There have been a lot of newer projects like DeepDyve, Wolfram Alpha, Aardvark, Metaweb, and Google that have made a number of improvements to search options and how the results are displayed, MS has started Bing (which is a "decision" engine instead of a search engine, whatever that means). All of these projects, and others like them, are showing that there is a need to improve the way that people can search for and find information, and the way that the information is being delivered. I think that the next big thing, insofar as the web, is going to be in the search field and it will take the world by storm.

20) Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Trek

21) Any closing remarks?

I would just like to say thank you to ocPortal for interviewing me and to the readers for taking time to read this interview. A quick note to all of us that spend much of our time behind a computer monitor - use every opportunity you get to spend some time in nature and far away from digital technology - It is interesting how it can change your perspective.

We would like to give our Thanks to Roko Nastic for taking the time to answer our questions and becoming one of our partners. If you would like more information on our partner program please visit our partner program  page.

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