Software // Social
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2/2/2009
09:42 PM
Peter Hagopian
Peter Hagopian
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How Simple Is Too Simple?

As traditional blogging platforms such as WordPress and Movable Type seem to make their products more like full-fledged content management systems with each release, there's an interesting counter-movement bubbling up: content management tools that seek to provide simplicity over deep functionality.

As traditional blogging platforms such as WordPress and Movable Type seem to make their products more like full-fledged content management systems with each release, there's an interesting counter-movement bubbling up: content management tools that seek to provide simplicity over deep functionality.I've been looking at three of these tools -- Surreal CMS, Clover CMS, and Cushy CMS. While there are certainly differences from tool to tool, the approach for each is somewhat similar. An administrator has the ability to set certain sections of the pages on a site as editable, and can then allow the people responsible for writing content access to just those sections with a basic WYSIWYG editor. When someone later visits the page, it loads the freshly edited content and seamlessly displays it.

It's an inventive approach and it's particularly useful for site builders that want to offer content creators limited access. Content creators will be happy because they can make the updates and changes that they need themselves, and the site designers are happy because they don't have to worry that content creators will modify anything that could cause problems with the site.

It also should be noted that while the goal here is to make it easy as possible for non-technical users to edit content, you'll still need some technical chops to set up the site to begin with. If you're creating a simple two- or three-page site and want to allow someone to edit portions of it, this approach may be worth checking out. My concern is that once your users have more advanced needs -- such as a regularly updated blog or a site with more than a handful of pages -- they'll be likely to outgrow these tools fairly quickly.

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