CushyCMS

I’ve used a number of Content Management systems in the past, both as a developer and as an author.  Many people have their own favourite CMS, whether it be based on cost, usability, suitability, or even platform (.NET, PHP, Java, etc).

However it can often come down to the best tool for the job, and for some people, or some situations, CushyCMS is going to be that tool.

CushyCMS is a very, very simple content management system.  It’s simplicity really makes it a great little tool.

To develop a site based on Cushy CMS, you do not need any particular skillset outside of HTML, CSS, and optionally – JavaScript.  As a web designer, if you are able to build HTML/CSS renditions of your PSP designs, but do not have Java/.NET/PHP skills, then Cushy CMS could be for you.

To get started, all you have to do is set up a bog-standard static HTML website. No specific serverside technology is required; you do not need PHP hosting or C# or anything like that.  Just set up a static website, and test.

When you are ready to allow authors to begin editing the copy on the site, simply add additional classes to your HTML – ‘cushycms’.

<div id="intro" class="cushycms"><p>copy goes here....</p></div>

HTML elements tagged with a ‘cushycms’ class are then identified as editable.

Configuring CushyCMS

Once you have a site up and running, you will need to configure CushyCMS so that it is aware of the website.  To do this you’ll need to sign up for an account at http://www.cushycms.com/

Then you need to add your site by giving Cushy information about your web host.

CushyCMS New Site form

That is the crux of how Cushy CMS works: it FTP’s into your website, downloads your HTML, and provides a simple web based interface for authors to enter ‘WYSIWYG’ copy into the site.

The next step to allow Cushy CMS to do this is to assign pages to Cushy CMS.  This is done by clicking the ‘assign page’ form, selecting an HTML page from the provided list, and giving a name for that page.

If you have already added CMS authors to the account, you can also indicate which authors are able to edit the page.

New Page

Cushy CMS can now provide the user with the ability to edit the HTML copy in a simple CMS interface.

Pros

Free: Cushy CMS is a free system.  You can pay to add your own brand/domain to the Cushy CMS backend.

Cheap Hosting: So long as your web host offers HTML hosting and FTP access, you can use Cushy CMS.  No need for Java/.NET/PHP plans (although you can use Cushy CMS with PHP pages)

Basic Skill Set: You only need the basic web skill set to be able to use Cushy CMS.  If you know HTML and CSS, you are good to go.

Cons

Can’t add pages: You cannot add new pages using the Cushy CMS interface; you will need to go set up the new page manually.

No Plugins/Modules: You won’t find plugins or modules for Cushy CMS.  But on the other hand you are free to use Flash/Jquery plugins and widgets to your hearts content.

No blog: You probably could try to build a blog using Cushy CMS, but it wouldn’t be very functional.  If you need a blog you’ll either need to install one separately, or use a separately hosted blog such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com.  Contact forms will have to be developed separately (and so require some other skillset such as PHP).

Summary

Cushy CMS is ideal for very small websites and projects.  In those situations it can offer a very fast installation, low cost hosting, and very low cost maintenance.

If your development skillset is restricted to HTML and CSS, then Cushy CMS could also be for you.

If you need more advanced functionality or an integrated blog, then you may need to look at other solutions however.

  • David Thorpe

    Very nice! I do a lot of static to CMS site conversions for people and this is really helpful for those smaller sites that I don't want to fully convert to a Wordpress site! Star!

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