Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dirt Simple CMS

I recently created an App Engine app to run www.jeffscudder.com. At the moment the code is extremely simple, and I get so few visitors to that web page that I doubt I will need anything complicated.

When I write blog posts and web pages, I have always preferred to just edit the HTML, and I have always wanted a simple content management system that just let me edit the HTML, JavaScript, CSS, ect. in the browser. Blogger comes awfully close to the perfect tool in my opinion, but it is geared towards displaying a series of posts. I wanted a landing page with links to all of the other content I put out there in the blagoweb. And I wanted to be able to host the simple web app's that I write (like the recently mentioned password generator).

With those design goals in mind, I set out to create my super simple content management system. It runs on App Engine, and the admin (me) is able to sign in to a special secret /content_manager page which lets me assign a specific blob of text to the desired URL under my domain. I can also set some basic metadata, like the content type (so that your browser knows how the content should be rendered) and cache control information, since HTTP caching is excellent and saves puppies from drowning in lakes (ok seriously it will alleviate congestion and unnecessary traffic when you want to give the same content to thousands or millions of people).

Editing pages through the /content_manager looks like this:




I've also decided to open source the code and I called the project scud-cms. Since App Engine is free for you to sign up, you can just upload this code and start setting your own content from right there in the browser.

(P.S. The idea for this simple content manager is very similar to one of my earlier projects: Scorpion Server, with which an authorized user could set the content at just about any URL they wanted.)
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