View Full Version : Powerful and Unique Open Source PHP based CMS - floundering

11-27-2010, 02:07 PM
There is a good reason for my posting this in the PHP board here, and I'll get to that shortly.

Are any of you familiar with this CMS, cmsfromscratch (http://cmsfromscratch.com/)?

I really like this CMS, it has some fantastic features that I have yet to see in any other CMS/CMF.

The way that you just design your site using HTML/CSS normally and then just break it up into includes and use it to define templates is extremely easy to work with. You don't end up feeling limited by the CMS at all. Sure other CMSs can be customized and extended to accommodate any design but generally not without extensive technical knowledge or learning new template systems.

Also the 'Set Includes' are a really great feature, worth looking into even if you have little interest in the CMS - if only for inspiration and insight into a really powerful and yet elegantly simple solution which can be put to a very broad range of uses.

So to the point(s):
I should mention that this CMS still has a number of bugs and issues which plague it. A quick skimming over their forums may scare many away. But so far in actual practice I have not run into any serious problems that I couldn't solve while using this CMS.

First - I am surprised that there seems to be nothing else like this anywhere. I have spent days searching for an alternative that offers similar functionality but I have yet to see anything that is even remotely similar. There are so many CMS/CMFs out there though that I could just be missing something really great. If any of you know of an alternative CMS that offers similar functionality and ease of use (preferably open source) than please offer your suggestions.

Second - I am disappointed that this great CMS has been floundering for several years now. No real development is being done on it in any sort of cohesive manner. People have fixed many of the bugs in the current (now ancient) releases but those fixes must be dug out of the forums and implemented oneself. So I am hoping to get some of you PHP people interested in this CMS (the very small community is mostly designers with limited code expertise).

Finaly, I believe the terms of the open source license would allow someone to take the existing code base and branch off to create a new CMS. It is unlikely that the original creators will ever get around to iron out the remaining issues with the CMS but they would love to see the project move forward - even if that meant moving forward under a new name.

And lastly, maybe some of you would have a look at this CMS and the way it works. How their templates, includes, page includes, directory based includes, and set templates actually work and the way set templates can be used to create menus, product lists, galleries and all sorts of other stuff from existing HTML code. And the way all of it works easily right out of the box even for people who have only knowledge of basic HTML/CSS. Why? Because even if this project never moves forward and no branch ever materializes - maybe some of you will be inspired to make something even better! Currently I've yet to find anything else even remotely like it and for designers who work with HTML and CSS this system is pure brilliance. It is a CMS that bends to the designers will - not the other way arround!

To sum up:
1) Any recommendations for a similar CMS/CMF?
2) Anyone want to help develop this CMS?
3) Anyone want to make a new branch from this CMS?
4) Anyone want to be inspired to make something better?

11-30-2010, 07:22 PM
Is no one interested in this? Any of you ever tried this CMSfromScratch out?
Ok well I guess I can fully understand if most (all) of you are not about to go DL the CMS and then set it up on a test server just to check it out.

But you could just take a couple minutes to look over the 5 Minute Guide (http://cmsfromscratch.com/user-guide/).

Especially, scroll down and look through "Step 4 - Start chopping up your page into Includes" where it goes over the different types of includes and the set templates (both of which may be a little more versatile than you might think - the set template are just awesome).

It will just take a couple minutes to look over that guide, but it might just make you do a double take because I haven't seen anything else like it. Though I am very interested in finding some similar alternative so if anyone knows of anything with similar functionality please do tell.

Any other thoughts, ideas, suggestions, or insights welcome too..

11-30-2010, 07:44 PM
We're all too busy playing Farmville on FB.

11-30-2010, 10:47 PM
The only input I can say is this:
If it's really as old as it sounds to be, than this project should not be revived. It should instead be replaced by a completely different solution as this one would take horrendous amounts of time to update to even substandard levels of the current standards. For example, register_globals are likely in use without the superglobals which were not released until 4.2.0 (in April 2002). This task alone is a lot of time, and will not be worth the update.

Let this one die, remake if you really want a up to date version of the software.

12-03-2010, 04:15 PM
Perhaps my use of the term ancient was a bit too much of an exaggeration. It is not nearly as old as all that Fou-Lu. I believe the most recent updates from the original creators were from about 2 years ago (so that is why I had said ancient).

There is nothing inherently wrong with the current implementation. It is 100% usable. I have used it recently in production. It requires a bit of tweaking here and there is all. For me and most of the 'designers' who are drawn to this system those simple PHP tweaks are not so simple because we aren't very familiar with PHP - but all the information needed to allow even us to make such tweaks is readily available on the forums.

Anyway, it is not even a matter of reviving a dead project because the project is not actually dead. It is a totally viable CMS at present but it could be much more polished, and it would benefit greatly from a few more PHP oriented people's involvement.

Of course my other point too though is that I have yet to see anything else remotely like this system, which I think is really unfortunate because if you want this kind of feature set - then CMSfS is your only choice. If I had a different idea about what I wanted in a CMS then I would have dozens of feature sets to choose from, and dozens of CMSs offering each of those feature sets respectively. Yet this particular CMS offers the perfect balance of features for the sort of sites I work on 90% of the time - yet it is unique unto itself. I really wish there were a few more CMSs with similar features to choose from, but it is beyond my current skill-set to build those alternatives myself. I am learning PHP but it is a slow process because I am just so busy every day. It is such a brilliant system though, that it surprises me that no one else has made anything else like it.

I guess no one here has ever taken it for a spin.. If you had, I think you'd get what I'm saying.

12-03-2010, 07:08 PM
I took a quick look... actually just viewed the demo video and yes I've seen that kind of thing before, though it doesn't really interest me much. I can create include files without the need for a GUI interface layer getting in my way, and in fact a PHP framework such as CodeIgniter provides a much better solution from a backend perspective. It seems this CMS doesn't do anything for handling PHP or AJAX calls, so that's a big reason to pass.

But that's if it's just me... bringing in clients to update their own pages would make it a bit more useful. But that's what every CMS does. So the real reason to pick this CMS over any other would be MY preference, and since I'm familiar with other CMSs which work fine for templating, and aren't full of bugs, and are actively updated and supported, why would I jump ship to this CMS?