Content Management System

Imagine that I would have a lot of spare time. And imagine that I still remember how to program applications, and know all the ins and outs of Perl, PHP or Python. Imagine all that…

If all that would be true, I would create a Content Management System. A CMS is an application in which you can enter your texts in a very easy manner, and after that the application does all sorts of things with permissions, rules and templates to create for example a web site and/or a PDF document.

One example of a CMS is Movable Type, which I use to create this site. I only have to enter the text of my article, and MT creates a page with this text and a comment form, adds a summary to the main page, updates the monthly archive overview, etc.

MT is made especially for sites that post texts in a chronological order. There are also other types of CMS applications like MMBase for multimedia content and Plone for general content. There are many CMS systems out there, so why do I want to create another one?

Simple because the CMS I am looking for does not exist.
I am not looking for this site, I am perfectly happy with MT, but I am looking for a solution for the Fimcap site. This site is basically a collection or relatively statically documents, which are ordered in folders. Something very simple.

What I am looking for is a tool that gives the users a simple screen in which they can enter their text, and something to specify its location. After saving, the tool should automatically create the folders and add the new document in the navigation menus.

I know that there are some CMS applications that can do this, but I am looking for something very easy to configure and use, without spending months tweaking my application.

The best example I have is Microsoft FrontPage. Although it produces horrible code, they do have an easy way to manage your site with their organizational chart view. I only have to select the parent page, press the Insert button, change the name and start typing my text.

It is that way of working that I am looking for, only implemented as a server-based CMS system, so I can work from every computer. I also don’t want to work in preview mode, but just enter my text in a text box with a limited set of buttons to add some basic mark-up (Textile?). I can imagine starting from a sitemap page to enter new pages, or adding an ‘Edit’ and ‘Add new page’ button to pages when a user is logged in.

If this solution would be easy enough to set up, I can imagine that a lot of hobby sites, local clubs, churches and schools would start using it; in fact, everybody with a basic site made with FrontPage.

The template system could be set up like in Movable Type, specifying different templates for different types of content. Of course it would come with a basic set of predefined document types (agenda, product description, event, news,…) and several style sheets to choose from.

Yes, if I really had a lot of time and programming knowledge, I would create such a CMS. Or does it already exist????

2 thoughts on “Content Management System”

  1. Sebastiaan, I know that you like ColdFusion very much, and I can see it’s use in a corporate environment, but I have some problems with this solution.
    First of all, the number of hosting providers supporting ColdFusion is limited, and mostly far more expensive than LAMP hosting. A broad number of providers is very important, since I want to be able to change hosting provider in case of troubles. It also makes the chances bigger to find a provider offering a better price.
    Secondly, I don’t want to depend on a desktop application when developing my templates and back-end processes. I want to be able to work on the site from anywhere, using only a web browser and the usual text-editing tools.
    And finally, I want a broad community around my CMS solution to help us with specific requests. I am not talking about the ColdFusion community, which is big enough, but about the CMS tool itself, which is only used at one single site. The risk of having an unsupported tool once you leave the team is simple too big.

  2. Of course I cannot NOT comment on this! If we could use Cold Fusion together with the free application server Blue Dragon, all would be OK. At the Ministry of Social Affairs we have such a brilliant CMS already, selfmade by amongst others me! It’s an idea for the Fimcap site as well. Point and click. Most of the stuff we ‘ve made could be stripped don’t to a bare minimum. Click “Publish” and your site is being rebuilt, much like MT does! I’ve had the time your looking for to make such a CMS. Wanna give it a try 🙂 ?

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