CushyCMS: New Alternative for End-User Editing

If you’re in web development, the odds are pretty good that you’ve worked with a content management system at some point. Letting the people who own a site edit the actual content (as opposed to the HTML markup and code) is a win all around: less need for the web developer to do routine work, more control for the clients. But most CMS’s are complex, tough to install, and inflexible. A new entrant in the market – CushyCMS – aims to change this.

Rather than specify exactly what the user can be edited as part of some massive system, CushyCMS lets the developer cherry-pick content from a page to be edited. As a page designer, you apply special CSS classes to the portion of the page that should be changed by your client; CushyCMS does the rest. The net effect is to make available an unlimited number of per-page custom editors. It works with single lines of text, whole divs, and even images.ScreenshotThe workflow is pretty straightforwaard. After signing up with CushyCMS, you give it FTP information to connect to your server. It retrieves a list of pages and you pick the ones that you want to make editable. Then you can invite other people to visit your CushyCMS page with “editor” privileges: they can edit the pages that you’ve made available, but not adjust server properties or put new pages on the list.

For editors, it’s a matter of signing in, picking the page, and waiting for CushyCMS to generate the editing form. Then when you save, it automatically uploads the entire page (with the user’s edits inserted at the appropriate spots) and uploads it back to the server via FTP.

The service is currently in beta, and slightly rocky – I hit some servers where, for whatever reason, it was unable to retrieve the list of available pages. But overall, this is a nice idea for an editing service, and I’ve got clients that it will be useful with. It’s 100% free at the moment; in the future, they may introduce a paid version to allow you to put your own branding on the editing pages. They’re making 150 spots in their beta available today; sign up with the code BETA to get your shot at one. Launch is planned for April 15.

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