An excellent content management system for beginners that doesn't require a database
Using a content management system (CMS) for your website means that it can be edited from any computer with an internet connection and a web browser regardless of what software is installed on it. GetSimple is easy to use and install and does not require a MySQL database, which is sometimes not available on cheaper hosting packages.
GetSimple includes a new default tempate that uses HTML5 and CSS3 so it doesn't comprimise on appearance despite having modest requirements. The Control Panel has been made wider to 960 pixels. iOS (iPad) support has been improved so that the admin panel can act as a iPad web-app. It has upgraded jQuery, FancyBox, CKEditor and Uploadify. There have also been fixes to many bugs.
The latest version, 3.1, can automatically generate a sitemap when changes are made, detect if Caps Lock is on when a user is entering a password and can undo a change to a page slug, that's the part of the title used in a page address. It now uses jQuery 1.7 and has it's own API.
The download is a compressed folder that should be extracted and then copied up to the web host (we use the excellent Filezilla for these sorts of jobs).
Installation is easy and full instructions are included on the GetSimple website. Got to your website in a browser, enter the address and fill in the information in the form that appears. This is just the name of your website and the login details you wish to use. That is all that's required to set up the website.
The editing pages are easy to use and very well laid out. Both this template and the two front end templates are clean and contemporary looking.
This ease of use comes at the cost of some capability, especially when compared to the likes of Joomla and Wordpress. For example there is only one user account so you will have to give everyone identical access to the site.
GetSimple is excellent as a learning tool for understanding how CMS software is different to using software such as Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression Web. The code used in the webpages to load items such as the sidebar is simple and easy to read. Experience gained here will be very useful when moving to more complex software.
There are several important ways that GetSimple can be improved. New templates are relatively easy to create and there is a plugins tool for adding extra features.
One feature that we were very pleased to see included is a tab dedicated to backups, either for individual pages or an entire site.
Avoiding the use of a MySQL database also helps to keep things simple as possible. All the information for the website is stored in XML files. These are easy to read either in a text editor like Notepad++ or a dedicated XML reader like XML Notepad.
The system requirements do state that the Linux web host is required but we tested GetSimple on Apache in XAMPP without any problems
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A very good CMS both for running a website and as a learning tool
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