A GOOD Static/Embeddable/Integrable PHP CMS Script.. Does it exist?

Hey everyone!

Funny, after about 4 hours of vigorous searching, I figured I’d find hundreds of people with my problem, yet, I’ve seen maybe three since my search.

But apparently, I’m either alone or the only person so dedicated to the search. So, I found myself on one of my favorite websites (this one of course) looking through the forums that normally find me answers without even having to ask.

But, again, I’m stuck.

It seems impossible for some reason, but I’m looking for a CMS script that:

[]Most importantly, is not confined to a “template”-based design system
]Can be integrated with already existing sites
[]Uses static-type blocks to place information on your own design (via simple PHP-include’s or something)
]Has expansions
[]Supports comments (including comment security)
]Supports a user-login/registration system
[]Can be used with Facebook Connect (for login & sign up)
]& has the ability (through extensions possibly) to allow users (logged in) to submit content.

Now, I know the first things I will see: “Wordpress!”, “Joomla!”, “Drupal!”, etc.

But I am NOT interested in these or most of the common answers because they don’t even meet the first requirement.

So far I’ve found 9 possible compromises but it seems that any CMS scripts with the ability to embed them into already existing websites are made to be “simple”, and none harness the full power of their abilities… It’s quite annoying.

[] Instant-Update CMS
] nc-cms
[] Fusion News (not really a CMS)
] PHP News System (phpns)
[] Serene CMS
] Pulse CMS
[*] And the online choices: SurrealCMS & CushyCMS

I used to use CuteNews[/B] & considered the spinoff [B][URL=“http://www.cutenewsru.com”]CuteNewsRu but both have since ceased updates and operation which seems to leave them super-vulnerable to security flaws & the need to use Facebook Connect to login.

And now, I’m stuck… Is there anyone else in the world looking for something like this or am I the only one? And if I’m the only one, which one of you PHP guru’s wants to team up to develop one? Haha…

Thanks for any help in advance,

It’s probably worth looking at… It’s still template based but you might like it… Here’s the Cole’s notes on it: http://rtfm.modx.com/display/Evo1/Getting+Started

Well, I think you should learn & program your own script. It’s the best way to get a good understanding of what will work and what won’t.

The reason it doesn’t make sense to insert the information to the layout is because unless I misunderstand you, you are just adding a dynamic include to relatively static web pages. Doing this is quite easy but the reason it isn’t encouraged is because static web pages are a maintenance nightmare as compared to a template or theme based CMS. If you decide to do site-wide updates as I mentioned earlier, you have to update via FTP (or whatever method you choose) every page on the site… With a modern CMS, you generally adjust a few files (if even that) and the site-wide changes are done. Of course you need to have an understanding of the CMS and how it works :wink:

But I don’t understand, how with millions of scripts, not ONE allows you the freedom of doing what you want with it without learning to integrate your own site. THAT’s why I won’t do it, I don’t want to be forced to integrate my site with it, I want it to integrate with my site.

And the list of CMS’s I’ve tried is listed in the initial post.

I do, on my blog. I’m looking to develop a new website, and I need my freedom…

LOL. It really is comparable to a prison, to have to make do and do what I want as long as I stay within guidelines. There are few that relieve you of the guidelines but you have to sacrifice all upgrades and extensions.

I’d almost rather develop, learn & program my OWN CMS script that will do what I want than be confined to the template system of another script and use all of their tools. Why use tools when I can just include? Rather than “template” my design, why does it NOT make more sense to just insert the information to the layout? I’m sure I can mix and match 100 different scripts to do what I want but why is there not one, CMS-based script?

And I know I’m not alone in looking for this kind of script.

I guess my point is all the other CMS scripts are doing too much to try to do less, when none are actually just doing less to do less.

If you don’t agree, I may not be explaining myself correctly, or maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t believe in templates… Who knows?

Most CMS’s give you total freedom with integrating your “design” but you have to use the CMS’s templating system, that’s the way we all do things :slight_smile:

You’ve only scratched the surface with those 3 systems you mentioned - check out
http://www.cmscritic.com/resource-lists/cms-list/ for a big list.

I’ve certainly never seen any CMS that can do what you’re asking without utilising it’s own templating system somewhere.

I think you’re looking at a custom job. If you know many folks who are looking for what you are maybe there’s a business opportunity there if there is a demand for such an application?

The only apps that might come close are ones like these:


They aren’t “Content Management” but more “Page management”, but some do have addon capabilities.

^ that bit alone would suggest that you might be looking at things the wrong away around :slight_smile:

Most CMS’s will usually allow you to create “layouts” (based on templates) for your pages, and inside any layout you tell the CMS what content goes where, usually by a simple tagging system. When you publish an item of content the CMS automatically updates your pages with whatever you’ve added.

I use various CMS’s to do exactly this, day in day out :slight_smile:

With all due respect, Wordpress is really a blogging tool for publishing time based “posts”, rather than a strict Content Management System, and it doesn’t sound the right type of system for what you’re trying to achieve.

That’s my biggest fear! :slight_smile: And, again, I’ve found about 9 (exampled above) CMS scripts that are NOT confined to a template system, but then again, maybe I’m not looking, technically, a “CMS script” at all…

What I want to do is be able to design a layout, code it into static pages, and have the ability to place the information from the script (news, widgets, pages, etc) into the layout (where I choose) using a simple tag. When I used CuteNews it worked like this:

<?php require("cms/configure.php"); ?> <!-- To pull the CMS configuration. Add one of these to each page and you'd be able to add the CMS script's info anywhere on the page -->
HTML would go here.
Somewhere in the middle of the page, wherever I specified you would get the news like so.
<div class="news"><?php include("cms/shownews.php"); ?></div>
Footer HTML.. And maybe a widget <div class="footwidget"><?php include("cms/widget.php?=foot"); ?></div>

Obviously this is a rough & simple example but I hope it makes sense. The point is to be able to change designs & layouts as frequently as I choose, with my own custom designs that do not necessary fit your basic 2-column or 3 column, all-of-your-info-must-be-placed-where-we-dictate template.

And that’s the biggest & hardest obstacle to overcome, but it can be done with those more simple scripts. Those scripts will work immaculately for clients I may have in the future & I don’t count my whole search as a loss, but for a website I intend to make and webmaster PERSONALLY, I NEED the ability to manage the comments, users, allow for user registration through Facebook Connect, and I’d like to just browse through other extensions…just like any other CMS script. I use Wordpress for my blog (scarletSmoke) & I am hardly satisfied with it, PLUS, I had to pay someone to code the PSD into a Wordpress theme for me, after a search about a year ago for the same type of script.

There has to be at least ONE script that has the capabilities I’m asking for… Whether it is a true “CMS script” or not.

Any ideas?

Take a look at Expression Engine.

It doesn’t work like Wordpress where you are tied down to templates. Using there template system you can write HTML/CSS of anything and simply drop in some EE tags to add database driven functionality.

And its very easy to take an existing website and put it into EE.

And if you choose, you can either use EE tags or you can set your pages in EE to allow PHP code. There is a Facebook Connect plugin available for it too.

You can alot of bang for your buck (under $400) and build large scale websites with EE. I think it fits every part of your criteria.


Check out ModX. It does not have to be template based. You can view the HTML source of an existing page on your static site, save it to a file, then go through it and replace the values with snippets of PHP to pull the same values from the CMS.

If you alread have a static site that you want to convert to use a CMS backend, ModX is pretty simple to use.

Might help.

Well first and foremost, I’ve looked at your requirements and I can’t think of a solution that would satisfy them… I think that basic premise of adding dynamic content to static pages was pursued in the early days and was abandoned because templating systems provide better tools for maintenance and expansion. If you do find something follow up and let us know.

I know Wordpress is for blogging, but it’s such a common answer when I ask this question that I have to put it out there first and foremost that I do not want to use it.
I’m not sure I understand why you don’t want to use it… Is it because it’s popular or because you assume it is for Blogging? I’m not a Wordpress guy myself but I do understand that is is extremely capable for website development and if the opportunity comes up, I’ll use it.

As far as personal experience goes, I do manage a number of websites with 100+ pages of content and a couple fall into the category of static pages with dynamic content. If I had my way, they would all be run on CMS systems with a templating system. Consider a few typical tasks you might want to preform on a website:

  • Improving SEO,
  • Adding Social Networking links, and
  • rearranging your navigation to move sections around.
  1. If I decided that I wanted to add meta tags that are synonymous with page content and a sitemap.xml file to a static site of 70 pages or so, I would spend a fair bit of time doing it. With my favorite CMS, I’d upload a couple of modules, configure them and be done with it. It isn’t a complete SEO package but it does take care of a big part of it and the differences in time to set up and maintain are huge. I can even set it up to let search engines know when the sitemap changes and the meta tags change if the content changes… That’s a lot of maintenance I don’t have to do.

  2. If I decided that I wanted to add Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Vimeo, etc… links somewhere to a static website, again I’d spend some time doing a find replace or include of some sort and then re-upload. With my favorite CMS, I would create a block of code, include it in the administer blocks section, tell it what pages to include or avoid and I’m done.

  3. I’ve had several clients decide a few months after their sites have rolled out that they need to rearrange their navigation to better server their demographic. Static sites require a bit of work whereas my favorite CMS actually has drag-n-drop administration. How cool is that.

The reason most if not all current CMS platforms use templating systems is because it makes it easy to separate data from presentation and it allows for expansion and maintainability.

Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal and the rest of the big hitters do have a learning curve but once you know them or at least one of them, you are only limited to your own imagination and creativity. I know Drupal and I know the way the theming (templating) engine works. I could if I wanted to, apply a different design to each page of a Drupal site and then have a fallback design for pages that weren’t assigned a specific design. It would be a ridiculous task but if I had to, I could do it.

Why does it limit things? In general, and given the right CMS, you can “design” however you want and then integrate that design into the CMS using plain old HTML and CSS.

Well if you want to use a CMS you have to work with it using the tools that it provides. Unfortunately that is the way these things work. What you need is a CMS that gives you total freedom with layout and design, not all do however, which is what you’ve obviously found.

What CMS’s have you actually looked at?

If it were practical I’d suggest someone would have developed something along the lines of what you’re suggesting. What you’re on about I’d suggest probably isn’t easily possible with an “out of the box” system, that’s why nothing like it exists.

Most CMS’s use HTML/CSS templates with some sort of tagging system for where you want the different bits of content to appear. Whatever CMS you use you’ll inevitably have to use the systems own method of “tagging”, even using your “PHP include” method you’re still in essence using PHP includes as “tags”.

I know Wordpress is for blogging, but it’s such a common answer when I ask this question that I have to put it out there first and foremost that I do not want to use it.

And I understand that you can create any layout and fit it into the CMS template systems, but that’s the point: it limits my design capabilities simply because I wouldn’t know how to put it together the way I want it. I know, I could learn to program a new template using a specific template system in a matter of weeks, but why do I have to be forced to compromise? I simply don’t understand why I am forced to fit my design within a CMS script when, logically, it makes more sense to fit a CMS script within my design, my way.

It boggles my mind that, apparently, one doesn’t exist already. I’m not a newbie web designer looking for a quick, fast & in-a-hurry website who will use a template, but I am also not a professional coder or developer & don’t feel the need to learn a new language & format to be binded by the CMS script.

I appreciate the help so far though! I really do, and it’s not a total loss, I may just have to use 4 different scripts to do what I want…unless someone else knows a solution?


It sounds as if what you’re looking for doesn’t exist. One one hand you don’t want a fully fledged CMS even though your requirements suggest that’s what you need, but on the other hand “simple” content systems not surprisingly don’t have enough flexibility.

Can you give us a quick run through of what you’re trying to achieve, that might help people come up with some ideas.

The major stumbling block at the moment is your requirement for “not confined to a “template”-based design system” - just about every CMS needs and has some sort of templating system!