Under Construction, but you are welcome to visit.   We are updating our website for the release of Webbit CMS Version 4.
 

What is New in Webbit CMS-4?

Webbit CMS was originally developed as a calendar and event listing add-on for websites.  It has become a full fledged Content Management System (CMS) which is well suited to small business clients where the website content is only updated by a small number people. While roles can be assigned to various users in terms of what features on the website they can update, typically most users have all features enabled in their profile.

CMS-4 is the newest version which was first released in the summer of 2016.  It was a total rewrite of CMS-3 using much of the original databases but with the goal to:

  • make it easier to use on a wider variety of screens including Ipads,
  • possible to use with an Iphone (though not ideal for routine updating because of the small screen and touch keyboard,
  • allow the user change the layout of the templates without having to know CSS,
  • allow better support for CSS to handle layout and detailing for those who do know CSS,
  • generate webpages using 'responsive design' so that they will work across a wider range of web browsers and screen sizes.

Because of the move to 'responsive design', we have been able to removed the browser detection routines which redirect people to the /MOBI/ and /FB/ versions of the pages,  This has simplified development and maintenance of the CMS software and reduced the duplication of webpages so that there is now a single copy.


The websites which we manage range in size from half a dozen webpages to over 1000 pages (www.auspostalhistory.com).  

Depending upon the load on the shared hosting server, we can publish 1000 pages in just over 8 seconds (eg. www.AusPostalHistory.com hosted at HostPapa.)   Performance varies from one hosting service to another and with server load at that time of day.

Webbit-CMS includes 2 add on packages: Webbit-MOBI for smart phones and Webbit-FB to generate application pages for use with Facebook.


Samples of websites running with both Webbit CMS-3 and CMS-4 are shown on the webpages listed below. 

1998 - 2016: From a CMS-1 to CMS-4

Since I worked by day as a Perl/Oracle developer at a financial tools website, the original programs were written in 1998 using Perl and Postgress as the database.  

The intent at that time was never to develop a Content Management System, just to make an easy way for me to maintain a few websites because managing page navigation purely with HTML server side include files was very limiting.  The original version did not have a name since it was solely developed for my own use.  At that point in time, Drupal, Joomla and WordPress did not exist.

Version 2 did not come until 2006 when a rewrite in PHP5 was started using MySQL.  The intention was to develop a new version which was targeted as people who wanted to have their website designed and built for them but they would do their own updating of blogs and calendars.

Learning PHP5 was interesting, but calling MySQL without the benefit of 'binding' was very frustrating as it required much more programming to maintain security, something which I was not used to in the Perl/Oracle environment.  After much frustration with the PHP5/MySQL interface, 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 PHP so I hung up my hat as a Perl developer and moved to PHP with the MySQLi 'improved' interface.

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')

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 Plans for 2017?

One thing which is being considered is introducing CMS-4 as an Open Source Project in 2017.  There are pros and cons to that venture so that will have to be considered carefully.

Pros:

  • More developers are able to contribute to the project.
  • We should hopefully be able to attract some quality plugins which would enhance the capabilities of the package.

Cons:

  • With more developers comes a greater need for monitoring as the individual abilities of the developers will vary a lot, as well as their intentions.  
  • There has been a problem with third party plugins for some of the other CMS systems.  These are usually released free of charge so that people are more likely to adopt them however they intentionally introduce backdoors into people's websites without their knowledge.  Some of them are just badly written so are open to exploits such as SQL Injection or uploading of malicious code whereby the website can be co-opted for other purposes than what it was intended.
  •  If third party plugins were introduced, it would take a substantial amount of effort to check out and approve each of the plugins.