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TRI and Catch: A new way to do Tridion Implementations

In a previous post, I mentioned the SDL Tridion MVP retreat, and that front-end is going to become a really big deal in the world of Tridion. Today, I would like to briefly discuss what I meant by that. (Briefly means “under 1000 words”).

What it amounts to is an amazing project by Bart Koopman and Will Price. The project is called the SDL Tridion Reference Implementation, or STRI, or TRI — and despite the boring sounding name, this is a huge deal.

The TRI

Will and Bart built a standard Tridion implementation. 

It’s the whole package

This “standard” implementation contains schemas, a basic blueprint, page template, component templates, DD4T, and the front-end. And the front-end is comprised of Twitter Boostrap, Less, and Grunt!  Despite that I am not a fan of Less or Twitter Bootstrap, this is still a huge deal and I have huge respect for the work these guys have done. This is, essentially, a Tridion Bootstrap.

The front-end is good!

Will and Bart created a foundation that pairs Tridion with front-end, and it uses the node.js-based awesomeness of Grunt in the middle.  This is a first-ever pairing of front-end with the back-end that doesn’t involve some gross and shameful table-based layout or a case of divitis that would trigger a CDC quarantine.

I’ve mentioned that I don’t like Less as a CSS pre-processor. This is because I have seen Sass and Stylus offer much more flexibility than Less. I’m also not a fan of Less because it’s a crime against nature to use @, a symbol already used in native CSS, for pre-processor purposes. But, despite my predilections, Will and Bart had good reason for using Less: They’re also using Twitter Bootstrap. Twitter Bootstrap only comes in a Less port.

I’m also not a fan of Twitter Bootstrap — but my reason is entirely semantic. A bootstrap should really contain only the barebones necessities in order to get started. Twitter Bootstrap is a heckuva lot more than a few necessities. It should be called something else…like Twitter Pants  and Jacket, maybe.

But, ignore my front-end diva-like predilections.  Twitter bootstrap is well-developed, well-tested, and well-accepted.

There’s lots of potential for improvement

Alvin Reyes and I look at this, and immediately thought that this is a great time to start improving on my Default Schemas for Tridion (DS4T) project.

I foresee several future states for the TRI:

  • Get it off of Less and onto Sass — more front-enders are using Sass and Stylus
  • Get the DS4T merged in, or aligned with TRI
  • Get a fork of this that is off of Twitter Bootstrap, and uses a more bare-bonesey, content-modelling-driven front-end framework, like CMSPutty
  • Write some self-documenting scripts; something that can generate a schema and template report for you

 

So what is the TRI?

It’s a way to catch a future of Tridion where front-end sits squarely in the middle.