1. What is a content management system?
Well, funny you should ask. A CMS is a web application you run on your web server to help facilitate creating a website. A good CMS should be flexible, unobtrusive and help you to make a great site. It should provide you with tools to help the layman keep track of content, while letting more experienced webmasters handle look and feel. It should also provide tools to make repetitive things less repetitive. Like, for example, News entries.
CMS Made Simple™ tries to do all those things, and to do them well.
2. Why CMS Made Simple™?
CMS Made Simple™ is an open source ( GPL) package first released in July 2004. Its built using PHP that provides website developers with a simple, easy to use utility to allow building small-ish (dozens to hundreds of pages), semi-static websites. Typically our tool is used for corporate websites, or the website promoting a team or organization, etc. This is where we shine. There are other content management packages that specialize in building portals, or blogs, or article based content, etc. CMS Made Simple™ can do much of this, but it is not our area of focus.
CMS Made Simple™ provides a mechanism for the website administrator to create and manage "pages", their layout, and their content. CMS Made Simple™ is unobtrusive.... You can create a table based layout, or a fully validating XHTML/CSS layout.
CMS Made Simple™ makes managing the navigation in your website a breeze... you can re-organize your pages any way you want, and navigations are automatically created from your page hierarchy. This tool makes creating numerous different navigations with the entire page hierarchy, or a subset of it "simple".
CMS Made Simple™ separates layout code from content code, so that editors can manage content without having to know much about how websites work, so that layouts can be easily edited and take effect on numerous pages, and can be easily shared. With CMS Made Simple™ you design once, and easily use that same design over and over again. Smarty (a php based templating engine) 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.
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, there are hundreds of third party add-on tools that are quickly and easily installable to allow building websites with many different capabilities.
CMS Made Simple™ is built in PHP, and allows you to integrate many existing PHP scripts or PHP snippets into your website... Though you definitely don't need in-depth knowledge of PHP to use CMS Made Simple™.
3. Who should use CMS Made Simple™?
If you're an experienced web developer. If you have found that sometimes creating a simple corporate or organization website is difficult in some of the other content management systems. If you have found that other CMS's are sometimes "overkill" for what you need. If you want to be able to hand off the content management to editors. If you want complete control over the layout and appearance of the site, and you know how to do it... If you want a simple, easy to use, yet expandable tool - then CMS Made Simple™ is probably for you.
CMS Made Simple™ is not a replacement for packages that build static websites like Dreamweaver or FrontPage, etc. These packages don't use databases, provide little in the way of dynamic content, and usually content cannot be edited by customers.
4. Is CMS Made Simple™ really "simple"?
Yes it is. Many of our experienced users find it a simple tool for building many websites. However, that does not mean that there isn't some learning to be done. You will at the least need to learn our vocabulary, explore the package and it's options, play around a bit, and probably do considerable learning. Did you jump right in to HTML and learn how to do professional websites in 30 minutes. Probably not, and CMS packages (including this one) are similar. There are a few things you will need to learn.
5. 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
- An ability to learn independently, and do some research on your own.
6. What are the system requirements?
- Web server with PHP 5.2.4+ for core versions after 1.7, though we recommend PHP 5.2.12+ (core v1.7+ WILL NOT SUPPORT PHP 4) (Linux/Unix, Windows 2000/XP/ME/2003, OS X)
- (CMS Made Simple™ does not officially support PHP safe mode)
- At least 16mb of available memory for PHP
(This should work fine for most small to medium sized websites. However, as your site grows, or you utilize other addon modules, your memory requirements may increase.)
- PHP tokenizer support enabled
- At least one of ImageMagick or GD enabled
- MySQL 4.1+ or PostgreSQL 7 to 9.0
- Enough access to your server to upload files and change some permissions
7. Where can I get help/support?
There are numerous forms of support available for CMS Made Simple™:
- The default content:
The well documented content pages, templates and stylesheets that are displayed with a new installation of CMS Made Simple™ are an invaluable way of introducing yourself to the package and getting to know how the package works. We encourage you to read all of this thoroughly and save this information for future reference while building your website.
- The Documentation
- Built in Help:
Each module and tag installed in a CMS Made Simple™ website includes basic help and examples to assist in utilizing the the functionality.
- Public/Community support
The CMS Made Simple™ forum is an invaluable way of finding out information about the CMS Made Simple™ core, and the add-ons. There are thousands of posts by the development team and members of our community that describe the various problems our users have encountered, and how they were solved.
We attempt to keep the forum clean from distracting posts, or posts that are not directly and specifically relevant to CMS Made Simple™. Additionally, in order to expedite support, we ask that all users spend the time to research, and accurately describe their issues. Therefore please read and follow the forum rules when posting.
- Commercial Support:
Paid support is available to those people with an important project that are concerned about the turn-around time that may be related to getting an issue solved. Additionally, if you would like to have somebody to call for problems that you just can't fix, upgrade issues, backups, or any other concern, then commercial support may be an option for you.
- Paid Development:
So you've got the tool up and running, and you like what you see.... but your project requires some functionality that isn't yet available for CMSMS™... or doesn't quite work the way you want it to. For that, the CMS Made Simple™ Development Team offers independent contracting services. Our in-depth knowledge of the tool, and experience in building the package and its add-on modules can ensure that you get a working, well fitting, quality tool.
8. How can I help?
There's lots you can do, At the simplest level, you can visit the forums and answer posts by other users to questions that you may have already solved. Also, we're always looking for design help with logos or CSS work. Documentation is always in need of enhancement. If you're a programmer, we have a fantastic module API that's just waiting to be used. You can also join the testing team to test out release candidates before they go live to the masses. Contact us in #cms on irc.freenode.net or hit the forums to get involved.
9. 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. And 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 addon modules to CMS Made Simple™ when writing a commercial project to ensure that you are not violating any conditions of their license.