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Nov

25

2013

Silk: A New Way to Manage Content?

Inbound Marketing

Silk is a web-based content management system combined with database features, which makes it a great platform for data visualization. This a feature not found in most CMS applications.

Here is how Silk describes itself:

"Silk is a place to publish your collections. A Silk site lets you add structure to your information and gives you many ways to filter and visualize your content. We built Silk because we believe that knowledge should be organized."

Silk Content Management

So What?

There are many CMS applications out there now and businesses have adopted them to help with everything from website development to marketing analytics. But beyond those analytics, there hasn’t really been a viable way for the CMS itself to take information and put it into visual form.

That is what Silk has brought to the party. With Silk you can build collections of data and play with it right there in the CMS. You don’t have to input the information into a third party database or spreadsheet application, manipulate it, save the graph or whatever data representation you came up with, then copy it back to the CMS. It all happens within Silk. Pretty neat.

Data Visualization for Everyone?

Say you want to create a resource reviewing local dog groomers; In order to do that you need a way to gather and present information both in the aggregate and in the specific. So you build a site using Silk. Each place you track has its own page with all the specific information about it. Then you want to put all those addresses and reviews onto a map. Silk lets you do that within the confines of the system. You don’t have to use Google or some other app to try and create the area map. You can organize all of your data into easy to interpret images, charts, graphs, and maps. Even better, Silk has widgets for your visitors to use, which enable them make their own custom data queries. Pretty neat.

What’s the Catch?

While Silk has a lot of promise it is still a bit too difficult for the typical person on the street to build a great looking site with lots of functionality. Silk has a number of sample sites on its homepage, all of which are simple and gorgeous. Each showcases one of the many different ways to collect and share data. We’re just not entirely sure how to do the same for our own test site.

The interface seems simple enough:

Simple User Interface

There is an area to drag and drop your .csv files

Drag and Drop Your CSV Files

But when we tried to import our .csv file, we got this error:

An Error Message

 

At time of writing we were unable to resolve the issue, so we never got to do a full test. We’re planning on trying again, after which we’ll write a follow-up post.

Silk is supposed to be simplifying the interface and will begin offering a paid service soon. This means it will be easier for you to do it yourself or you can hire someone to help you out. In the meantime, you can go over to Silk.co and play with it yourself--it’s free at the time of writing.

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