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CMS Made Simple

CMS Made Simple is a popular, open-source content management system (CMS) first released in 2004. Built with the PHP HyperText Preprocessor (PHP) language, this flexible, template-based application can be used to create corporate websites, blogs, and more.

What is CMS Made Simple?

Let’s start by dialing that back a moment and looking at what a Content Management System is, because that’ll help us in the long run.

A Content Management System or CMS is a web based application, sometimes provided by your hosting that can help you to make a great website that is easy to manage. If it’s not offered by your hosting then there are a number of downloadable and installable packages that exist, CMS Made Simple is one such package.

A CMS should function invisibly to site visitors and be flexible and powerful enough to allow authors to post regular content in multiple formats such as text, images, sound or video whilst keeping track of those posts chronologically and according to a tagged category.

A good CMS will generally provide an easy interface for low end, non-technical users to post whilst also allowing webmasters to alter the look, function and general ‘feel’ of the site.

CMS Made Simple is one of the more popular, open-source content management systems (CMS) and was first released in 2004. It was built with the PHP HyperText Preprocessor (PHP) language and designed as a flexible, template-based application that can be used to create corporate websites, blogs, and more.

It is also Open Source, which means that development and background code is not only available upon request but clearly and publicly documented. This is important if you value an open web, or plan to develop a unique website based upon an Open Source CMS and may need access to the code itself.

After choosing a host and selecting a hosting plan, most people are ready to begin the design of their website in order to establish an online presence. There are myriad options when doing so, but one of the most popular and certainly the easiest without employing a design firm is to use a content management system (CMS). These applications combine the ease of website builders with the power and flexibility of hand-coded sites and many also have a variety of templates, which are customised layouts and colour schemes for the user to choose from, further enhancing the individuality of a site.

CMS Made Simple: Overview

CMS Made Simple is a free CMS application that aims to simplify site creation while still providing flexibility and power. Its ‘Smarty’ template engine lies at the core of the application, and controls template management, content processing and organization, and basic site logic (i.e., how elements relate to and function with one another).

Because layout code (site design) is separated from content code (all the media, articles, etc. added to the site), CMS Made Simple lets you create, manage and update content without requiring an extensive knowledge of programming (but still allows your site administrator to alter the site's code as necessary).

The template engine is used to create the actual pages for your site, which can then be filled with articles, blog posts, multimedia content and more. In addition to the core template-based design, CMS Made Simple also features built-in search functionality, a customizable contact form, and support for hundreds of third-party add-ons that let you further customize your site with e-commerce, image galleries, forums, and more.

CMS Made Simple is available from many hosting providers as a one-click install via the hosting control panel. It's also available as a free download from the CMS Made Simple website. Either way, it shouldn't add any additional cost to your monthly hosting budget.

System Requirements:

CMS Made Simple is written in the PHP HyperText Preprocessor (PHP) language, and requires a database management application using the Structured Query Language (SQL), such as MySQL or PostgreSQL.

Most hosting providers support both PHP and SQL databases natively, check with your provider if you have any doubt.

How do I get the most out of CMS Made Simple?

CMS made simple is a powerful solution for your website, but you will need to either already possess certain skills, or be prepared to learn them.

These skills include:

  • The ability and willingness to forge ahead and learn independently as well as researching what you need to discover.
  • Working with a Remote Host. (A Remote Host is a computer which isn’t at your location, such as a webserver located in a datacenter)
  • Transferring files to and from a Remote Host.
  • The ability to create, maintain, backup and restore databases.
  • A basic knowledge and understanding of HTML (Hypertext Markup Language used in the design of web pages) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets, used to dictate the formatting and style of documents written in HTML).
  • Understanding and altering permissions on your remote host. Permissions allow users and software to accomplish specific tasks which are dependent upon parts of the installed Operating system.
  • Error Diagnosis. All complex systems develop errors and problems, this is often due to particular aspects of the installed Operating System, third party plugins or can be the result of malicious attack. Knowing how to identify these problems through the use of error and access logs, error messages and a basic knowledge of Javascript is an invaluable tool for a web designer.

Is it for you?

The simple answer is ‘Probably’. Just like any software the user will need to spend some time learning the specific jargon used in the documentation and will doubtless spend some time experimenting with different layouts, plugins, settings and templates. It’s designed to be easy, and if that’s what you’re after then you’ll probably be happy.

Once you have CMS Made Simple on your system you are free to customize it to your heart’s desire, including template download and customization, plugin installation and of course the creation, upload and publishing of your own unique content.

Further Resources:

If you encounter problems during your use of the CMS Made Simple software there are various places you can turn to for help.There is a comprehensive wiki containing all the Documentation for the software. A user forum which enable novice and experienced users alike to help one another and interact with development staff. Commercial support is also available for those users who feel the need for professional, on call assistance.

If CMS Made Simple isn’t available through your host you can download it for free from the CMS Made Simple website, on their Downloads section here.

CMS Made Simple Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What web server software does CMS require?

    CMS Made Simple requires a web server with PHP 5.2.4+ for all core versions after version 1.7 with a stated recommendation on the current CMS Made Simple package of 5.2.12+ You'll also need ImageMagick – An Open Source software suite for converting and reading image files.

  • What Operating Systems are supported by CMS Made Simple?

    The application will run on most server Operating systems, including Windows 2000 through to 2003, Most Linux versions, Unix based OS and OSX.

  • Does it have specific memory requirements?

    CMS Made Simple needs at least 16 mb of free memory for PHP, which shouldn’t be a problem for most small to medium sites, but large sites may have to ensure that system resources remain free.

  • Are there any specific security requirements?

    PHP tokenizer support must be enabled. (This is a security function of the software, if you’re curious about what it is that should be covered in the documentation). Also you'll need remote server file and permission access.

  • What Database software will I need?

    CMS Made Simple will need either MySQL 4.1 or Postgre 7-9.0

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