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March 3, 2005, 8:04 am
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I have just made version 0.4.8 of the PluggedOut CMS Content Management
System available for download - it's free, and covered by the GPL.
It's still very much a work in progress (current release version is
0.4.8), but you should get a very good idea of what it's about by
visiting the site (which uses it, funnily enough), or downloading a
copy of it and trying it out.
It's worth pointing out that I work (daytime) for a systems integrator,
and this solution is already far more powerful than commercial systems
I have seen and worked with that cost tens of thousands of pounds.
Here's the URLs;
CMS Development Homepage
CMS Development Discussion Forum
Here's a rundown of some of the features;
* Administration Interface
CMS has an extensive thin client administration and content authoring
interface, meaning that users do not require any technical database or
web server administration knowledge to make changes to their website or
* Separation of Content from Pages
Each "page" in CMS is a collection of pieces of content; meaning
content can be re-used throughout multiple pages (menus and
advertisements are a good example).
* Multi-User Administration, Authoring and Security of Content
CMS has multi-user administration, authoring and approval of pages and
content, with an extensive security model to allow specific groups of
users subsets of features on subsets of content (i.e. a user may only
be able to view, or edit particular types of page or content within the
* Version Control
Version control of content - meaning changes to information throughout
a website can be rolled back if necessary.
* Timed Content
Pieces of content can be configured to "switch on" between pre-defined
time periods. The uses of this are many and varied; with examples of
the most obvious uses being the cycling of advertisements, and the
publishing of financial reports at specific times and dates.
* Separation of Content from Style through Templates
Content, PageContent, and Page Templates. Each piece of content may
have a template applied to it (casting that content in a particular
style, or with particular decoration). In addition, the instance of a
piece of content on a page can have a template applied to it, and the
page itself can have a template applied to it.
* Workflow Approval of Content
The security model can be configured such that an "author" may be able
to generate content of a particular type, but that content may require
approval by a user of a different "type" of user before the content
* Ad-Hoc Content MetaData
Although in most cases content and style can be separated through the
use of templates, CMS has a powerful "metadata" facility to overcome
the situations where this isn't enough. Users can specify multiple
pieces of data to be dropped into a pre-designed template at defined
points. A good example of this is the generation of tables with data
inside them. The designer creates an HTML table which is stored in a
content template - the author then just specifies what should be put
into the table (i.e. they don't have to know anything about HTML).
* Page and Content Property Fields
As well as "ad-hoc" metadata, CMS allows you to define custom property
fields on both pages and content - which can be used for both searching
and replacement in templates. The custom property fields can use all
common data types, with full validation of their content at data-entry
* Scripted Content
Where content needs to be dynamically pulled from external systems, CMS
has the option of calling scripted functions to generate content
on-the-fly. This could be used for a multitude of facilities - fetching
data from financial systems, providing highly interactive and/or
targeted forms, retrieving documents from Document Management
Systems... the reasons are endless.
* Page Caching
Pages have the option of being cached. You can choose to cache
particular pages within a site - meaning that the engine will
pre-construct and store a complete version of the page for fast access.
Careful use of caching dramatically reduces response times for complex
pages, and reduce stress on your web servers - meaning you get huge
increases in overall website/intranet performance without requiring
hardware and/or networking and infrastructure investment.
* Document Management
You can store documents within CMS for easy access within web pages,
and keep associated metadata alongside them along with all the
functionality you would expect with a document management system -
document types, checkin, checkout, document security and so on.
CMS has an http based API, allowing pages and content to be authored by
another computer system. This becomes the real lever to integrate CMS
with existing EDRMS and DMS systems - where you might have an
over-night process to build your internal or external website
dynamically according to content within your own systems.