By Oduor Jagero

Every day, millions of content creators in Africa share their work using different content management systems.  The widespread application of content management systems (CMS) has gradually increased over the last decade. This development revolutionized how business owners manage their websites 

To further these conversations CMS Africa and Google partnered to discuss and improve the challenges faced by users of open-source CMS. This collaboration aims to develop new ways of making CMS more user-friendly, better performing, and more engaging. 

The partnership’s first project is ‘Developers for Africa’ or DFA. It invites African developers to participate in creating solutions actively by identifying and filling in the gaps in their chosen CMS. The Developers for Africa project intends to provide a long-term community through education, funding, and tech support.   

Developers For Africa – First Edition. 

DFA1 was a virtual event held from the 15th to the 16th of April this year to discuss how to make websites that are run on Content Management Systems (CMS) run better. The event was held in Nairobi, Kenya, and had speakers from Google, Joomla!, WordPress, Typo3, CMS Africa, and Drupal.

The event was attended by 48 developers from Kenya but there were representatives from all over Africa. There were presentations coming from Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Nigeria, and even South Africa. 

Throughout the discussions at DFA 1, it was easy to agree that the questions, concerns, and proposed solutions for the CMS Community are similar and it will take the entire CMS community in Africa to create solutions and solve the problems they continue to face. 

The issues discussed revolved around; 

DFA1 focused on conversations around web vitals – loading, interactivity, and visual stability – sharing frustrations, pain points, ideas for improvement that they shared in varying contexts. The result of which are ongoing proposals and support towards making these ideas a reality in their CMSes of choice.

Most available online WYSIWYG editors have quirks and problems that result in: “What you see is almost what you get!”

Other members discussed issues of ‘overkill’ when using CMSes. For example, smaller sites don’t need access to the full range of technologies provided by a CMS.

CMS products inhibit your ability to create semantically structured source code. That is, the intended purpose of the code is not used or disregarded by the web designer especially when designers use themes and templates. A cursory overview on Chrome UX Report (CrUX) and HTTP Archive, paints a different picture of how end users are experiencing their websites.

In the meantime we are continuing the conversations online on CMS Africa social media channels. You are welcome to connect and share with fellow developers as go towards our next virtual #DFA2021 event

The need, willingness to contribute to, improve on and create more robust CMS communities on the continent is evident. CMS Africa and Google through #DFA2021 are committed to continue these conversations. Therefore, a follow up, DFA 2 is scheduled to take place focussing on developers from Nigeria and South Africa. Registration is now open. While focussing on these 2 countries, we are still open to have any developers on the continent register here. Developers with interesting ideas for improvements will be invited for a virtual summit on a date that will be announced soon. 

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