Friday July 1, 2005

Webtoad Mini-CM: CMS for Small Business Web Sites

by Jay F. Davis,

I've written before about my search for a good Open-Source Content Mangement System for web sites. A couple years ago I liked phpWebSite, primarily because it had an okay user interface, but mostly because it's output is nice XHTML.

Then I thought about trying to get my clients to actually use it and decided that perhaps Mambo would be a better choice, primarily because it has a better-developed user interface. Meaning it's pretty.

So, I installed Mambo for a couple non-paying clients.

They hated it. I got comments like "too complex," "I can't figure out what to do next," "Where do I set up the menus?" "I don't understand the terminology."

So after some reflection, it seems apparent that, in order to use one of these real content management systems, one has to grok the system. It's like learning a language. But CMS concepts are not simple to non-IT users.

The problem with these—and all web site content management systems—is that, because they try to do so much (and I think they have to), they require that users understand too much.

My client's don't want to grok this stuff. They just want to be able to fix typos and add a page or two that fit into the framework of their site.

And wouldn't it be nice if these simple page additions would automatically get Googlized?

That's what I thought.

So I made my own, which I'm calling Webtoad Mini-CM (Content Manager). I have three clients using it now and they love it. It only does what they need and doesn't demand that they grok CMS concepts such as blocks and modules.

The best part is that I can start with practically any decent web site design and convert it easily to be Mini-CM compatible. The only requirement is that the site include basic, repeatable elements on every page such as standard headers, footers and menus.

I haven't yet decided if I'll release Webtoad Mini-CM as an open-source project. Probably. But that will take some work, of course, to get it ready.

Click this link for a list of Webtoad Mini-CM's features.


Above article Last updated: 23 July 2005 02:14:51 PM

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