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CMS Made Simple

September 2012

On the web

Power for Web Professionals
CMSMS for a Responsive World
This month we have a lot to report. CMS Made Simple 1.11 has been released with an amazing list of new features, including HTML5 themes for the front and back end. There are several useful new 3rd party modules. And be sure to check out CGSmartImage - this issue's featured module.

Hot off the press: Two last minute announcements. We have a brand new hosting partner (see below for details) and we need your vote in the Critic's Choice CMS Awards (see below).
CMS Made Simple 1.11 Series
CMS Made simple 1.11 was launched at the end of July and bug fix 1.11.1 was released a few weeks later. Those of us who have already been testing out and deploying sites in 1.11 have found the new release to be a great improvement in many ways.

Goran Ilic was the primary architect of the new "responsive" HTML5 admin theme, as well as the new "Simplex" front-end theme.

While there are several major changes in the new system, such as the move to Smarty3, I thought I would mention a few of the smaller things that would be easy to miss.

System Maintenance

The Dev Team added a new section called "System Maintenance" under the "Site Admin" section of the admin panel. The "Clear Cache" button has been moved there, along with two new sections - "Database Optimization" and "Change Log".

Media Queries

When you add a stylesheet to CMS Made Simple you can now add a media query. (Leave off the @media.) This will cause the style sheet to be linked separately with the media query in the link itself. It's a nice way to keep your mobile and tablet style sheets separate and maintainable

User WYSIWYG Editor

When you add a new user to the admin panel, you can select the default WYSIWYG for that user. This is helpful for selecting your own, and also for cases where you know this user is a coder, as opposed to a content editor.

There are a lot more changes and improvements in CMSMS 1.11, but you will need to try it out to find out for yourself!


A Word from Our Sponsor
2012 Critic’s Choice CMS Awards
CMS Critic is an independent site delivering CMS Reviews to the world. They have been reviewing since 2008 and are a recognised and popular industry watchdog.

For the first time this year, they are running the CMS Critic Awards. As this is their first year it would be a great boost for CMS Made Simple to do well. The nominations stage has just started! We are hoping to get enough nominations to qualify for the final in the Best Open Source CMS category.

You can help us right now, by going to their nominations page and nominating us in that category. All who vote and cast nominations will be entered to win a Google Nexus 7 tablet! So please take a minute out of your day and click on the link below.


Editor's Choice:
Best New CMSMS Site

Every issue of the newsletter we take a look at new sites in the CMSMS Forum. Whenever you create a new site in CMS Made Simple that you are proud of, please post a link and tell us about it!

The criteria I am looking for to recognize high quality sites are: artistic, excellent UI, responsive, and outside-the-box layouts. These qualities showcase how CMS Made Simple stands apart from other content management systems by giving the front-end designer total flexibility.

For this issue it was really hard to select the top three sites, because there were so many very high quality sites posted in the show-off thread! This means that CMS Made Simple is attracting more and more talented front-end designers and agencies. Keep up the good work!

The top two sites were very close, but the winner, Christina Arasmo Beymer created her own portfolio site, dropsoul.com, with an amazing balance of artistic style and responsive design. I especially like the collapsible navigation style for the mobile sized screen. Christina said she used the Mobile UDT Tutorial to create the mobile-version of her site.


The runner-up goes to vins73 for the creation of riciclarte.it, a website the showcases the work of artists. This site has an amazing UI. It is really fun to browse through the work of the various artists there. Kudos to Vins.


Honorable mention goes to Geoff Meads for his two sites, clarityalliance.co.uk and musicalfidelity.com. clarityalliance.co.uk in particular is visually interesting. Nice job on the non-rectangular slider!


3rd Party Modules Update
This Summer has seen some notable new modules as well as great improvements to old ones. The most exciting new modules include: Piwik Web Analytics, CMSMS For Dreamweaver, Bankle Chat, Campaign Monitor and Simple Quotes.

The best upgrade this Summer was for ListItExtended which now supports the standard CMSMS template database and works with TemplateExternalizer. ListIt2 now has a "Clone" button that makes it easier to create additional instances of the module.

Calguy's module suite have mostly been updated to support version 1.11 and the admin UI for the workhorse modules such as CGBlog, CompanyDirectory and Products has become top notch.

There are also a few new filter plugins in the forge that are useful for cleaning content for display:

  • proot : ensures a text block is wrapped in <p> tags.
  • normalize : useful for creating html id attributes from text
  • dropcaps : wraps the first letter of a block of text in a span for dropcaps
As always, please remember that 3rd party modules in the CMSMS Forge are contributed by the CMSMS community and are not officially supported by the CMSMS Dev Team. These are open source software with all of the caveats.


Module of the Month
The CGSmartImage Module is one of the most useful 3rd party modules in the CMS Made Simple ecosystem. This amazing module can be used to resize images on the fly and crop them to fit into certain dimensions.

It also has a complete set of filters that enable the creation of watermarks and other effects.

But perhaps the most amazing ability of CGSmartImage is that it automatically detects the maximum screen width of the user device and generates an image no wider than the maximum. This makes CGSmartImage the perfect companion for responsive sites that won't send oversized images to mobile browsers.


Tagging for CMSMS Backend
Tagging is a common and well known feature in Blog Software like WordPress. But unfortunately, it is missing in CMS Made Simple. In this article, I will show you how to add the feature into any module. You can see it in action here.

To understand how it works, I take CGBlog as our desired module in this case. I split the tutorial in two parts because we need new functions in the backend to let the author enter some keywords (tags) and we need the frontend management of the tags. Let’s start with the backend configuration. [Click the link to read the rest]


Automatic DropCaps
In books and published works an oversized “Initial” fancy letter, or “Dropcap” is often used as the first letter of a book or chapter. This is sometimes found in high quality website designs as well, but is not very common on sites with generated content due to the extra work involved to set it up. Here is a handy way to add dropcaps to your CMS Made Simple website.

I have made a little CMS Made Simple plugin called “Dropcaps” that you can install on your CMSMS site by saving it to the “plugins” folder of your web root. Once you have done that, it will appear in your “tags” list under Extensions in the admin panel.


Convert an Uploaded PDF to a Thumbnail
I recently had a client who had a large number of PDFs which they wanted linked to specific case studies. Now usually you would just put a textual link wherever they wanted to put it but my client also wanted these links to display the first page of their PDF in a graphical format.

That request gives me three options:
1. Screenshot the first page of each PDF and convert it to the right size and image format.
2. Figure out a way to make the above step automated.
3. Tell them a flat “No!”

Me being me; I decided on the more interesting second point, not only because in the long run it is more maintainable (and I don’t have to repeat the process for hundreds of PDFs) but also because its far more fun!


Changes to Pretty URLs in the CMSMS 1.10 Series
For years, CMS Made Simple used a Pretty URL system that embedded module parameters such as the detail page number and template into the URL as numbers. The Apache mod_rewrite logic would convert the URL into a php parameter string that the modules could parse to get the details they needed to display the page correctly.

This system worked well, but was never fully satisfactory to many SEO practitioners who wanted to-the-letter control of the URL for any content or module detail page. So in CMS Made Simple 1.10 the Dev Team completely rewrote the URL path registration system to please the SEO gurus. But this removed the ability to pass module parameters via the URL.

Visit the [more] link below to find out about a work-around that enables you to pass parameters to modules on a page.


Allow Front-End Users to Edit a Specific Content Page
Every now and then questions about Front End editing of pages in CMSMS appear, so in this post we will have a look at how you can easily create Front End content management for FEU user and specify which Pages a user may actually edit.

I am not really a fan of Front end editing and if it really has to be a feature for the Project then it is best that you choose a system which supports this by default and was actually built with this behavior.

But as our Developer life is not a straight line and every now and then situation happens where you are in the middle of finalizing a Project but then suddenly you are faced with this unexpected Client wish, it would be to late to start searching for a proper tool and thats how this blog post happens to be here.


Now Happily Recommending A2 Hosting!
Back in June 2011, a representative from A2 Hosting contacted us. They mentioned they were thoroughly impressed with CMS Made Simple (who could blame them) and wondered how we could work together. As you may know, our community is extremely important to us, so we don't recommend just anyone. We decided to put them through the ringer. We thoroughly tested their services and discussed partnership details for the past year. We're excited to announce A2 Hosting passed our tests with flying colors.

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