It was only six months ago that I was testing, and seriously enjoying the newly released Barley, and its intuitive take on website management. Featuring tag-based installation, editing that is almost entirely inline, and a beautiful admin area, it has been a hit with web designers looking for a client-friendly option.
Few in the web industry would describe WordPress as the leanest editing machine, nor as the friendliest environment for the hapless, technophobic business owner. But can a plugin really outdo the system it is plugged into?
Traditionally, the perceived role of the written-word journalist is to depict an event, a place, or a scene, in eloquent prose. In most respects, this traditional perception still holds true, even in today’s multimedia-rich publishing climate.
There has, however, been one seismic change in the industry, which has completely altered how stories are written: data. Big data. Data so huge that it has only entered the mainstream in tandem with the recent advent of powerful home computers. Now, stories are told as much in numbers, averages and probabilities as they are in expressive paragraphs. But, bizarrely, the internet has yet to catch up; ever tried to include graphs or infographics in your blog? If you have, you’ll be well aware of the stilted nature of the task, and the unappealing bitmap-based finished product. In other words, it isn’t pretty.
That’s why I’m excited about the concept behind Silk, a new hosted CMS which has information, graphs and infographics at its heart. But is it the platform to start a data-driven trend in citizen web publishing?
Early last November, designer and writer John O’Nolan published his idea of a lighter WordPress fork focused on writing: Ghost. The original concept page showed a beautifully redesigned dashboard that focused on the stats and info that matter to writers, combined with a post editor that let you write in Markdown and preview the live post at the same time. The concept took the web by storm, racking up hundreds of comments on Hacker News and beyond — and even drawing interest from WordPress’ creator, Matt Mullenweg.
Nearly 11 months and a wildly successful Kickstarter later, and backers finally have the first beta of Ghost to power their blogs. It’s a Node.js and SQLite powered CMS that’s been coded from scratch instead of the original idea of a WordPress fork, and it’s already a totally different blogging experience than anything you’ve ever used. It’s attracted thousands of individual backers, as well as corporate sponsors from Envato and Code School all the way to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (of all surprising things). It’s easily the most exciting thing in blogging right now.
Blogging is popular nowadays. People take to Tumblr , WordPress, Squarespace and more to share their thoughts with the digital world. Then there are the hipsters who use Dustin Curtis’ Svbtle and Medium. There are, of course, many other platforms out there, but each group has its own preferred way of posting things. My favorite has always been Scriptogr.am because it’s effortless to set up using Dropbox, looks nice, and supports Markdown.
Now there’s a new contender in the Markdown-powered blogging world: Dropplets. When I first saw the mockups of it a few months back, I immediately added it to my list of things to review later. Now it’s at version 1.6, so let’s have a look at things and see if they’re ready to compete with the big boys. (more…)
For web designers the big contracts are always the most exciting. But regular, monthly income derived from on-going clients can keep the lights on when feast turns to famine.
The most popular CMS by far is WordPress. Most website owners will never use it to its fullest capabilities, yet still pay expensive hosting fees and manage complicated design issues.
Cloud Cannon is a web app which allows designers to lighten the client-side workload. IT promises to take care of all hosting issues, make the website easily editable by the client and best of all – it’s all done through Dropbox. But is it worth the hassle for small design firms and individuals? Let’s see.
Maybe you’ve been thinking recently about starting a blog and just don’t know where to start. Well, have no fear. After encouraging a few friends on Facebook to write a blog, I’ve learned that most people don’t know where to start and what site they should use for the most flexibility.
I’ve spent a good deal of my time in the past few years writing for blogs, whether it be personally or professionally. I’ve had experience with all three of the Big Blogging Platforms, which is my affectionate term for WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger. You can start a blog for free with all three of them. Let’s take a look at the platforms and see what they’re capable of.
Design, of course, is a hugely important part of a website. As a population, online visitors are extremely fickle, and the smallest mistake in usability will have them clicking elsewhere.
What about after the design phase, though? Yes, design is obviously important, but just as important is the admin area of your site. Choose the wrong system, and you’re stuck with a frustrating, time-consuming mess to deal with every time you want to make even the most minor of alterations to your site.
Barley is a new, hosted CMS which is trying to cut out that kind of pain from post-design website management. At $18 per month, Barley sounds pricey in comparison with other simple-to-use hosted website editors like Weebly and Moonfruit. The suggestion made by Plain, Barley‘s developer, however, is that its creation (still in private beta) is a whole new level of simple, featuring a purely inline, click-and-edit methodology, when it comes to content manipulation.
But is less hassle worth a greater investment? Time to edit a website or two…
So you want to get your own website up and running? For those of us who want to do anything other than blog, the CMS options are somewhat limited. WordPress seems to be the default option for most websites, and it can be wrestled into nearly any shape required of it. However, this isn’t an easy road to take, and the end result is usually a far from ideal method of managing your site.
Enter the new Koken CMS. Still in beta, this free-to-download website manager has been built with the needs of creative folks in mind – beautiful galleries and easy to publish blogging with the minimum of fuss. As a photographer myself, I was very keen to try Koken, in the hope of finding the holy grail of self-hosted portfolio building, but does this fledgling CMS match its own hype?
Most sites these days are powered by a CMS, and hand-coding a site from plain HTML files would seem terribly archaic. And yet, for most sites, the average CMS is a huge overkill. There’s so much to them, it’s sometimes hard to change the tiniest thing. And rich editing … well, for the most part, the world would be better off without it.
There’s been a recent rise of simple CMSes, ones that use just plain text files with Markdown files to make a full website. As a writer who writes in Markdown, those are terribly interesting to me. One in particular stood out to me as a simple yet powerful flat-file option, and it was so nice that instead of just trying it out, I switched my entire site to it, and still use it months later.
Nowadays, it’s quite easy to launch a full-featured site without having to do much with code, thanks to the many advanced content management systems that you can use. You can launch a site in seconds on a hosted CMS or blog platform like WordPress.com or Tumblr, or you could make your own self-hosted site with the CMS of your choice with not much more trouble.
My first site, Techinch, started life a WordPress.com blog, but once it started getting some traction I moved it to a self-hosted WordPress install. 2 hosts and 3 major theme redesigns later, I’m now moving it to Kirby, an incredibly nice self-hosted plain-text powered CMS. Along the way, I’ve tried out more hosted and self-hosted blog platforms than I can even remember.
Moving a site to a new CMS can be a tedious process at best, but if you love trying out new web apps, you’ve surely gotten the itch to try out other CMSes. That’s why I was wondering if you’ve ever moved your site to a new CMS. Perhaps you’ve moved from one hosted platform like Tumblr to your own self-hosted WordPress, or perhaps you’ve taken a bigger leap and built your own CMS. We’d love to hear how you’ve moved your site around over the years in the comments below!