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Hacking Crowd Fusion

I haven’t had my fingers in Crowd Fusion templates since I built out ck4.us and Bosh and Bill back in the day. Now I’m working on prototyping an idea of mine in Crowd Fusion and while I’m working on it, I’m also taking notes and adding bits to Crowd Fusion to try to get something together that would be representative of a good Open Source Crowd Fusion starter kit for anyone interested in using it.

The problem working against this is that Crowd Fusion has always been engineered to be an extremely flexible platform and CMS capable of powering absolutely any type of site you can think up. If you look at the customer base we had during our 3 strong years as a client-facing services business, you’ll see a large disparity in the type of implementations we offered them:

  • TMZ is a breaking gossip news blog-based site that has multiple distribution channels, including iPad, TV, email distro lists, etc.
  • MySpace used Crowd Fusion as a integration engine that pulled in original content from MySpace editorial staff, metadata and content from Daylife, VideoSurf, and various other platforms, and output a JSON structure that was ingested by their huge .NET infrastructure to power their content based Movie, Celebrity, and Fashion pages.
  • Tecca was powered by Crowd Fusion and used the platform both for content creation, distribution to web and their phone app, but most impressively to pull in and manage a huge database of tech products and prices from multiple different databases that were normalized in Crowd Fusion.
  • The Daily. Walled-garden, subscription only, iPad only to begin, publication that used Crowd Fusion for wire and feed gathering, as a DAM, a CMS, a layout tool, APNS / Newsstand / C2DM messaging system, subscription management system, and distribution to iPad / Android / Facebook / Kindle / iPhone, etc.

All those experiences are insanely different. So it’s difficult to build a starter-kit schema + theme-able front end design that can be plugged into that flexibility. Anyway, that’s what I’m tinkering with currently. I’m using http://fluidbaselinegrid.com/ as the basic beginning front end for this. Then I’m going to create my own plugin that does all the things you need from a basic blog, heavily comment that, and have that and the theme and a set of instructions ready to go for when we actually move to Open Source Crowd Fusion. I also need to tinker with the WordPress import script and see how that works. Stay tuned.