Demotic CMS: Background Story
Like every web developer out there there comes a time when you have to search for a CMS that you are comfortable with and which can get you the results you want for your clients sites. Coming from a Symfony background, MVC was the way to go so a CMS like WordPress was really out of the league. I was searching for a good CMS that had "Separation of Concerns" inbuilt like Bolt CMS, the CMS that has been my go-to WebDev solution for some years now. Unfortunately, the only version of the CMS that could at least "play nice" on shared hosting is the one built on Silex, Bolt 3 which support and further development stopped since the abandonment of Silex. But with its latest movement towards a headless CMS (Bolt 4 & now Bolt 5) and ditching the microkernel foundation things became a little complicated.. Most clients out here don't have the resources to buy full servers where you can play around with Virtualhost configs so you are left with shared hosting as their most preferrred choice. Thus the Great Trek began and I began to test a few other CMS's like....
1. BOLT CMS
Let's knock this off first! It has been my bread-and-butter CMS for some years now and still is.
This one is out. For any techie worth his/her salt there is there are way too many "WordPress Sucks" articles on the Interwebs to delve into this. Next!
Tested this one but something about it right from its installer made if feel off in some way.
4. DRUPAL 8
Aha! Now this is built on Symfony components. Good enough because I could also install the test running on SQLite. But why is it excruciating slow? Need to figure out why some time later.
5. OCTOBER CMS
Another beautiful contender that ALMOST made it to my "Top Choice" list. Unfortunately, one week after downloading and testing it its makers switched its licensing terms causing a schism in its developer community. This is where...
6. WINTER CMS
...comes in. Built by developers who were angered by October CMS's licence changes it has all the goodies that come with the former. I found it good enough to be used for any client website that I plan in the future. But the search wasn't complete just yet.
This seems to be a good one but its not well known just yet. Twig templating is also possible with it. Kept it as a choice for future consideration.
8. AND FINALLY... IMPRESSPAGES
It was a small download to start with (9MB zip file) but I wasn't expecting it to blow my mind the way it did. Inline editing, drag-and-drop ... This was unlike any other script I ever used or tested. I really came to like it but there were some REALLY SERIOUS ISSUES with it...
ImpressPages Bugs & (seemingly Abandonment)
- It seemed to have been abandoned. In the FOSS world an abandoned script/project is just as good as dead. The last release of the script was in 2017! That was version 5.0.3. Worse is that on the developer's site the version set for downloading is 4.6.0. The only way you could get the latest 5.0.3 was to run a "wget" to download the zip archive. Not good!
- The script was last built when PHP 5 was around. We are now in PHP 7 heading to 8.
- Setting it up on my local environment would kick up some fairly innocous PHP 7 warnings. For any non-developer this would have been big reason not to use it but for me, a developer, it got me into fixing-mode.
- It just wasn't responsive at all.
Welcome Humble CMS and then Demotic CMS
While fixing its bugs and playing around with it for the entire week it got me thinking: "what if I could create a fork of it?". Sometimes changing just the name can reorient the direction that one would like to take. That is where I got the idea of forking this wonderful little CMS that seemed to have been abandoned. Next, I got to work to refactor most of it's internals to get it playing right on PHP 7.
Humble CMS was born out of these first efforts. But awhile I had a sense that calling it "Humble CMS" was just too generic. So back again I was on the search for a new name and "Demotic" just felt about right.