Web

Developer tested, developer approved: StoryTeller wants to be the CMS platform for the future

storytellerThe website Content Management System (CMS) is almost as old as the Web itself. Since consumers massively gained access to the Internet, we’ve been using it to tell everyone what we think about everything, thus the evolution of blogging and Web publishing. And while progress has been made, by and large this market has been a fairly uninterrupted one.

For a remarkably long time now, WordPress has dominated this scene – half of the world’s top Websites use its platform as do every 22 out of 100 domains in the United States. Tumblr has inarguably become a powerhouse of the blogging world, but it hasn’t distinguished itself as a major CMS player. At the same time, niche products like Instagram and Pinterest have been causing us to reinterpret how we want to display our content online. With so many choices and platforms and tools, it’s a really exciting — and confusing — time for Web publishers.

New startup StoryTeller wants to offer its own solution to the mix. StoryTellers is a product developed by the team from Sparkart, a digital agency that builds interactive, design-heavy websites for big brands (including the likes of Bon Jovi and Microsoft). Sparkart founder Naveen Jain explains that while the wealth of data being created translates into rich, visual, interactive sites, it can be a challenge to harness it all. “There are so many awesome new services launching daily and it’s a pain to make them work without our product,” he tells me. And out of that frustration came StoryTeller, a platform where you can pull content from any other product with an API. “We built it internally as something to help us be more nimble as an agency, and now we’re launching it,” Jain says.

storyteller's api directory

StoryTeller is a true CMS – it’s a developer-facing tool for managing and building your Website where you don’t have to do the heavy lifting. This isn’t a WordPress or Tumblr or even Flavors.me knock-off where you can drop in, point and click what you want to display, and boom: blog created. It’s solving a problem for front-end developers who are sick of the hack and slash that comes with customizing a site. “A lot of front-end developers don’t know how to integrate with other services unless that service releases some sort of pre-built integration to support the platform they’re using,” says Jain. “There are a lot of developers who are just letting their vision fall to pieces because it’s a lot of work, so they figure something else out – but they don’t get what was originally in their heads.”

Developers won’t have to leave their old platforms in the dust with StoryTeller, since the system wraps itself around any and all publishing products with an API. Jain stresses that it’s a tool to present and control your content entirely, not to create it. “With StoryTeller you have full access to code and you can bring content in from an infinite number of sources,” he says, rattling off a few examples like Instagram, Shopify, Soundcloud, Wunderground… the list literally goes on and on.

Of StoryTeller’s available developer tools, Jain mentions a really user-friendly code editor as well as an auto reload service that will make coding for a responsive website that much easier and let you see the changes you’re making in real time across multiple devices – iPad, smart TV, smartphone, etc.

storyteller code editor

According to Jain, those with HTML, CSS, and Javascript experience will be able to use StoryTeller: “You don’t have to be a hardcore Python person,” he says. The timing is right for a product based on coding basics: the surge of interest in services like Codeacademy and Treehouse mean that a quite a few beginners wanting to test their new skills will flood the market.

StoryTeller’s invite-only private beta opens today. And stay tuned, as Jain tells me there is a long and exciting roadmap in place. 

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