The whole purpose of the Page Manager was to create a easy to install website management tool (or CMS content management tool as you might), with minimum hosting requirements.
- Browser-based website management
- Simple editing interface for site content, news lists, blogs and image galleries
- WYSIWYG editing of HTML pages using TinyMCE
- No database: The pages themselves are the database
- VERY simple installation: Just unzip to your public directory.
- Minimal configuration required: Only username/password must be specified.
- Simple XML syntax to include meta information (for the editor) in HTML-pages.
I like to keep this list as short as possible. I you have suggestions how to make it shorter, you can give some pointers. At this time, following requirement exists:
- A place to install this editor.
- PHP (version 4 is what I use, but version 3 should work too)
- The GD graphics library is required to for the image gallery functions.
- The files should be editable by PHP process. Depending on your host, this might require some permissions to be updated
This chapter could have also been called "limitations". There was some decissions made when designing this tool. Most important of these were:
- Focus on sites with mainly static content
- Focus on small sites (tens of pages instead of hundreds of pages)
- Generate and update HTML when editing - don't build it on page request.
- Professional designer fixes the visual layout - Editors focus on the content.
- Simple file management: For example no (sub)directory support.
- Do not try to make everyting...
I manage several websites and to simplify the content management tasks a tool was needed.
After playing around with many CMS tools, I came to conclusion that there is still is space for simple tool like this. I evaluated tools like
All these are very good tools, but something was missing... Most of them require a database and wikis are not quite the same as websites.
- Free-to-use management tool
- Minimum requirements for the hosting service provider (ability to switch hosting service easily)
- Especially: no need for "real" database (like MySQL).
- User-friendly editing interface (WYSIWYG is nowadays required)
- Ability to control the site appearance, but prevent the users from breking it (CSS comes really hady here)
- Ability to export web-pages to offline use (e.g. tradeshow computer or kiosk)
So, I decided to build a simple tool of my own.
The first version
The first version was written in Java using Millstone user interface library. This was good and there are places where this is still in use.
However, one requirement was not met: The Java presented problems with the hosting providers. Not many provided servlet container, which was required. So I was forced to take this further.
I created a simple XML-based syntax for extending the basix (X)HTML content with meta-information for the editor. You can lear more about this in the documentation.
So, I went for rewrite. The current version is written in PHP(4). It follows the same principles. The template syntax is the same (except for some minor enhancements) and the editor interface is almost the same.
It fits right in. The WYSIWYG got one step further as it can be made in place - without any page refreshes. A small enchancement that makes PageManager more usable.
And here we are...