Overview: CMS systems without databases

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The largely freely usable Quick.CMS [14] makes low demands on the server, requiring PHP version 5.2 or later and the Gd2 library for processing photos.

After downloading the files on your server, the installation starts after calling the web address with the /admin.php extension. The installation launches initially with Polish as the standard language. If you delete the pl.php file in ~/database/translations/ , the interface appears in English, and other localization is also available.

The system is also based on the TinyMCE editor (Figure 8), but in a trimmed-down version. The Quick.CMS structure proves markedly more complex than the previously mentioned CMSimple, which you can experience for yourself just by creating pages.

Figure 8: The Quick.CMS editor provides limited help for beginners. Managing images and files especially is somewhat cumbersome.

Various options exist for single pages, for example, an input area for a special short description of each text. It also allows adding extra SEO files. Even the placement of menus and subpages can be determined there.

You manage files and images right in page editing. Quick.CMS provides only rudimentary tools for placing and configuring images. You upload photos in a dialog, select them, and add captions, then set the size of the thumbnails as well as the placement and sequence in the text. Only when the page is rendered can you tell whether the position of the image is as desired.

Like the other solutions, this CMS can be enhanced with plugins [15], and the appearance can be modified using templates [16]. The manufacturer provides the largely cost-based extensions as an all-inclusive package, that is, all the plugins and themes for a price. Unfortunately, comparatively few extensions are available.

Unlike CMSimple, Quick.CMS isn't necessarily suited for beginners. The main reason is the very different presentation of the back end compared to the front end, which can lead to confusion. It also doesn't always make it easy to create nicely crafted entries. Once you find your way around, however, larger websites are easier to maintain.

Quick Reference: CMS with Database

Besides the solutions presented here that don't include databases, several other systems do work with databases but are not nearly as complicated as WordPress, Joomla, and Typo3.

Koken [17] is an interesting project, for example. It specializes in displaying photos beautifully and is a favorite with photographers and other creators. Koken promises "always to be free" even for commercial application. Beside PHP 5.2, it requires the MySQL 5 database and a graphics library.

Koken offers unusually rich image management for free projects and even has a plugin for Adobe Lightroom so that photographers can port their images easily to Koken. The system can be integrated with themes and expanded with plugins. Some of these are free, but specialized themes do come at a price.

If you're looking for a blogging system, check out Chyrp [18]. It has an Ajax interface and thus allows direct page editing from the front end, which makes it work for less experienced bloggers. Chyrp needs PHP 5.3 and a database, either MySQL 4.1 or later, or SQLite 3+. The system provides a number of useful plugins and themes. The support forum provides useful assistance, and a demo installation on the website allows testing the system before actual installation.

CMBasic [19] is based on PHP and MySQL and was established around 2005 out of frustration over the growing complexity of Joomla; in fact, Joomla expert and author Johann-Christian Hanke developed the system. Its uniqueness lies in its utter simplicity. It does have a back end that provides many administrative functions. After you log in, an Edit button appears with the posts with which you can open and edit the selected posts with the TinyMCE editor. You can add new posts the same way.

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