Suggestions for a simple CMS when I don't have access to the production web server.
April 12, 2006 11:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for suggestions for a simple CMS when I don't have access to the production web server.

I've often set up MT or Wordpress as a basic CMS for smaller clients. However I'm running into some difficultly with the latest. My client only has ftp access to a staging server, a scheduled script copies everything to the live server. The client has a basic understanding of ftp, etc & currently is editing a local copy of the website in Frontpage and then uploading from there. Predictably this often breaks the layout, etc.

One option I haven't fully explored yet would be to install MT on a local machine...

Cheap/Free, while nice, wouldn't be necessary in this case.

posted by rschroed to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Did you try Blosxom? You just need to be able to make directories, no DB, etc.
posted by signal at 12:06 PM on April 12, 2006

I've been very happy with cmsimple, which allows you to edit in your browser on the production machine. You'll only need ftp access to drop it in initially. Works with better editors, too.
posted by soundslikeobiwan at 12:46 PM on April 12, 2006

Unfortunately I can't run any software on either server. staging and production.
posted by rschroed at 1:00 PM on April 12, 2006

MovableType's static building of files is pretty much the way to go here. I've done it a billion times, and as long as you don't need comments, its not a big hassle. Just use MT to edit content locally, then ftp stuff over. You might even be able to find a plugin to do the FTPing for you in the "Rebuilding....................." process.
posted by cjoh at 1:04 PM on April 12, 2006

If you have access to the DNS server, the easiest solution would be just to point a subdomain to a different server which isn't that limited.

Another option is install whatever CMS locally, write a script that runs the command-line HTTrack to scrape a static version of the entire site, and then ncftpput to upload it by FTP.
posted by Sharcho at 1:17 PM on April 12, 2006

Dreamweaver's Sites functionality is designed for exactly that kind of thing.

You have a mirror on HD which you synchronise with a remote server when you're done. It even handles stuff like server-side includes.

If price isn't a problem then I'd definitely get Dreamweaver for this setup.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:59 PM on April 12, 2006

Predictably this often breaks the layout, etc.

Also with Dreamweaver you can lock off the key structural parts of the layout and let them edit only content.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:00 PM on April 12, 2006

Would Dreamweaver allow the creation of new pages? Adding links to the nav, etc...
posted by rschroed at 2:25 PM on April 12, 2006

Dreamweaver would allow the creation of new pages, yes, but what I'm talking about with the "locking off" is that it will allow the creation of pages based on a template, and that template may have locked and unlocked portions.

Changing the nav, I don't quite know what you mean, but I'm certain it wouldn't be a problem -- if the nav was unlocked, they could change it, and what's locked and unlocked is all up to you.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:23 PM on April 12, 2006

Take a look at this illustration of the Dreamweaver Files window:

It's a bit blurry, but what you see is a mirror of the site (local files on your hard disk) in the right-hand pane and the actual site in the left. So users can do all their work from the left-hand pane, previewing their work as they go, and when they're ready, they can upload the files to the remote site via FTP. If they use the "sychronise" feature they can upload only new or changed files.

Disclaimer -- I don't work for Macromedia and I actually pretty much hate Dreamweaver as an editor, but I think for small to medium websites it's a terrific site management tool.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:38 PM on April 12, 2006

I've used a combination of Dreamweaver and Contribute for exactly this purpose. Contribute should be more than sufficient at the client's side, plus its only $99.
posted by blag at 3:58 PM on April 12, 2006

Set up the site templates in Dreamweaver and have your clients manage the content in Contribute. You can lock down the templates so they can only edit the main content div, and you can limit their formatting options, which minimizes the possibility of them inadvertently messing something up.(Version 3 is $150, not $99.)

The workflow would be easier for your client, too:
  1. Browse to the page (Contribute has a built-in browser)
  2. Click the Edit Page button
  3. Edit the page
  4. Click the Publish button
Contribute gets the file from the server via FTP in step 2 and puts it back in step 4, but it's all in the background and your client doesn't even have to know what "FTP" is.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:31 PM on April 12, 2006

Contribute + Dreamweaver are a good combo, if you're still considering MT, let me know and I can help with the FTP stuff.
posted by anildash at 12:43 AM on April 16, 2006

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