1998 - 2017: Evolution of Webbit CMS-5

Webbit CMS (1998)

The intent in 1998 was not to develop a full Content Management System, just to make an easy way to maintain a few small websites for people who I was helping establish a web presence.  The original version did not really have a name. I had considered the name 'Webbit FastPage' but since it was developed for my own use, it really did not need a name.

To put this development work in context, other CMS packages like Drupal, Joomla and WordPress did not exist and the term CMS was not in common use.  This was the early days of the web when server based tools were first being explored.

Since I worked by day as a Perl/Oracle developer, the original version was written in Perl and Postgress on Linux since that was the closest equivalent to my daytime work environment which was Perl and Oracle on Solaris.

Webbit CMS Version 2 (2006)

Version 2 did not come until 2006 when a rewrite in PHP5 was started using MySQL as the database.  The intention was to develop a CMS for people who wanted to have their website designed and built for them but would like to do their own updating of blogs and event calendars themselves.

Learning PHP4 was interesting, but calling MySQL but frustrating as it required much more programming to maintain securitycompated to the Perl/Oracle environment.  After much frustration with PHP4/MySQL, it was quickly replaced by a Version 3 using PHP5 with MySQLi i=improved ).  MySQLi addressed many performance issues plus a lot of the security problems inherent in calling MySQL from PHP4 so I hung up my hat as a Perl developer and moved to PHP5 with the MySQLi 'improved' interface.

Webbit CMS Version 3 (2015)

Many of the features in Version 3 (aka 'PHP5 CMS') were controlled by a large PHP configuration file.  While that was easy for me being a developer, it meant that template changes had to be done by someone who knew a bit of PHP (enough to match up the quote marks and end each line with a semi-colon).  After serveral stabs at a new design which would be more open to non-programmers having control over their templates, a new concept started to crystallize in 2015 which became CMS-4 (aka 'PHP5 CMS 4')

Webbit CMS Version 4 (January 2016)

The hard part was having time to write CMS-4 while still having time to service existing CMS-3 websites.  The decision was to start with a couple of low priority websites which we knew would have long lead times of several  months before they had to launch them.  The basic websites were created in CMS-3 and a conversion utility was written to import the websites to CMS-4. If (when) CMS-4 corrupted the website, we fixed the code and re-imported the from CMS-3 to CMS4 again.  While not a classy solution, it proved to be a very quick and effective way to allow the new websites to be built with CMS-3 and viewed with CMS-4 wihile the CMS-4 tools were still in development. 

Webbit CMS Version 5 (January 2017)

CMS-5 uses the same database structure as CMS-4.  The focus in CMS-5 is to improve the user interface, integrate some of the tools together better and to make adding feature plugins easier.  Version 5 first became available in January 2017. At this point and CMS-4 versions are being automatically upgraded to CMS-5 as we do maintenance on them.