Category Archives: Cofax

A little about Cofax and what I do for a living

I’m one of the lead developers (one of three architects) of Knight Ridder Digital’s Cofax content management system.

Cofax, from it’s humble origins in Philadelphia, became one of the major toolsets Knight Ridder used for content management, spreading in usage to over twenty newspapers by March of 2001.

Due to a lack of resources in both finances and personnel, we employed an open source methodology to assist in it’s development. We had zero budget, and and just five developers when we started way back in 1999 and right from the start open source seemed the way to go.

This was done so very successfully, with the current version in CVS being a stable, satisfactory (award winning even) tool for those that used it. Newspapers were excited with the power it gave them to cover the news, designers were happy with the freedom it gave them, and administrators were happy with it’s ease of maintenance and deployment. In fact, there is a consulting company that is actually making money deploying Cofax sites in France. You can too. It’s open source.

In February of this year Knight Ridder Digital migrated to a new system called the SDP. It uses Cofax in it’s core, but also incorporates a number of proprietary technologies developed to meet specific needs.

So in a sense, you can say that Knight Ridder is still using Cofax, but in another sense, it’s using something much more extensive and powerful. Developed to meet a bigger set of requirements and built by a much larger tech team in which I was a member, but unlike Cofax, am not an architect.

I’d love to discuss the SDP with you but my feeling is I should refrain from doing so since it is internal company business. I have kept from talking about it in the past and will continue doing the same. Just understand that it is Cofax deep in it’s core, but utilizing a huge array of new technologies to meet new business needs. It’s implementation is vastly different from Cofax’s as well. Keep that in mind.

I am still the lead maintainer of Cofax and now, finally, have permission to talk about it and discuss it here at my home page and am happy to do so. It’s story is one I think you will find interesting and it incorporates technologies which you will find familiar, but it’s in the combination of those technologies that makes it unique.

I’m hoping along the way to recruit some help with maintaining the project. Within the core Cofax product lies an outstanding CMS if I say so myself.