Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What is a Content Management System?

A Content Management System is a web application, usually run on a web server, to help create and maintain a website. It allows developers to design and build a professional website using their web development skills, but also provides tools to help the layman maintain content without needing those skills.

A good CMS will also provide tools that make the administrator's life easier: news systems, search systems, admin permissions to separate (for example) developers from editors. A good CMS may also be modular, allowing the ‘plugging in’ of additional modules to expand the basic functionality of the core system.
CMS Made Simple™ tries to do all those things, and to do them well.

To find out more about Content Management Systems concept and history, look at the Wikipedia page.

Why CMS Made Simple™?

CMS Made Simple™ is an open source (GPL) package first released in July 2004. It’s built using PHP and MySQL and provides website developers with a simple yet powerful utility to allow building easy to update semi-static websites and applications with dozens to hundreds of pages. Typically our tool is used for corporate websites, or websites promoting teams or organizations. This is where CMSMS shines. There are other content management packages that specialize in building portals, blogs and other article-based content. CMS Made Simple will do much of this as well, but it is not our area of focus.

CMS Made Simple separates layout code from content code, so that editors can manage content without having to know much about how websites work whilst designer/developers can easily edit layouts and apply them on numerous pages. The code uses Smarty, a PHP based templating engine that allows a site to call in functions and content using ‘tags’ in templates or pages. Smarty is used to provide most of the caching, templating, and logic capabilities. This basic building block also provides the ability for website administrators to virtually eliminate any duplication of code or content. For designers this means that anything that can be built in html can be built in CMSMS, providing an unlimited scope for creating unique, bespoke designs instead of trying to shoehorn a design into a limited layout structure. This Smarty system also means that CMSMS is extremely easy to work with to create responsive solutions or include modern responsive frameworks such as Bootstrap and Foundation.

CMS Made Simple makes managing the navigation in your website a breeze. You can re-organize your pages any way you want; navigation links are automatically created from your page hierarchy. This tool makes creating numerous different navigation bars, etc, with the entire page hierarchy, or a particular subset of it.

The Core package provides the ability to manage news articles, search functionality, a contact form, a WYSIWYG editor (for your customers or editors) and numerous other built-in functions. Additionally, the hundreds of third party add-on tools from our open source community are quickly and easily installable via the built in module manager.

Who should use CMS Made Simple™?

Are you an experienced web developer? Have you have found that creating a simple corporate or organization website gives you a limited tool set in some of the other content management systems? Have you have found that other CMS's are sometimes "overkill" for what you need? Do you want be able to hand off the content management to editors or clients, knowing they’ll be able to work autonomously without needing constant support? Do you want complete control over the layout and appearance of the site without being forced into using limited pre-defined looks? Do you want a simple, easy to use, yet expandable tool?

Then CMS Made Simple is for you.

Is CMS Made Simple™ really "simple"?

Yes it is, particularly for editors once the site is created. Many of our experienced users find it a simple tool for developing those sorts of sites. However, as a developer using CMSMS, that does not mean there isn't a learning curve. You will at the least need to learn our vocabulary, explore the package and its options, experiment, and probably do considerable learning. Like any web development tool, there are a few things you will need to have knowledge of, or be willing to learn.

What knowledge do I need?

To take advantage of CMS Made Simple, you should have at a minimum a basic understanding of:

  • Creating Databases, and backing up / restoring databases.
  • Working with, and transferring files to a remote host
  • Manipulating permissions on remote hosts
  • A basic understanding of HTML and CSS
  • Diagnosing errors:
    From time to time, with different hosts, problems do occur in any online application. When working with these, you need a basic understanding of how they work, and how to diagnose some problems, so that you can assist the support personnel, or perhaps identify and solve the problem on your own. This includes:
    • Finding your website error logs and access logs
    • The ability to understand some of the error messages or access log lines
    • The ability to find, identify and to some level diagnose JavaScript errors
    • An ability to learn independently, and do some research on your own.

What are the system requirements?

All of the technical requirements can be found in our online documentation.

Where can I get help/support?

There are numerous free and paid support options available on our forums and answer posts by other users, to questions that you may have already solved. Join in support discussions on the IRC channel. Follow and contribute to our social media channels.

We're always looking for potential new Dev Team members. All of our Devs come from the community at large. Many started as users of the system and grew increasingly experienced. If you're a programmer, consider module building; we have a fantastic module API that's just waiting to be used.

There are many other ways you can help; you can join the testing team to test out release candidates before they go live to the masses. The translation team is another area where you can get involved.

For more details see the Get involved section on this website.

Can I use CMS Made Simple™ for my commercial project?

Yes, you can use it in your commercial applications. However, if you make any changes to the supplied code, you're required by the license to publish those changes free of charge to the public. You cannot change the copyright messages at the top of all files. You're also welcome to write extensions under a different proprietary license and do not have to release them.

You should use caution to analyze the license of any third party add-on modules to CMS Made Simple when writing a commercial project to ensure that you are not violating any conditions of their license.