XT-CMS was initially created as a simple php based shopping cart system back in 2005 and since then has evolved into a full featured CMS with blogging, user management, ecommerce shopping cart and much more.
A CMS for Xara Web Designer
In 2010 Xara Web Designer version 6 was released and offered an unparalleled level of web design freedom. It was a good and more affordable alternative to the industry fav's Adobe Dreamweaver and Adobe Fireworks, the latter of which would be discontinued a few years later.
After the subsequent release of Xara Designer Pro (the more advanced version of Web Designer) development focus for the CMS shifted to adding support for website pages exported and published directly by these web design programs. Fortunately the initial approach taken when creating the cms made this task possible and relatively easy to achieve.
New CMS Released
In 2011 XT-CMS was officially released and presented a new self hosted cms solution to web designers. Up until this time it was nigh on impossible to get a WYSIWYG website design to work well with any other content management system such as Wordpress, Drupal and Joomla. Now for the first time ever, a seamless work flow between the client side WYSIWYG web design software and the server side cms was made possible. The process; as easy as publishing from the web design app straight into the CMS, and with no need to edit files after exporting it became possible to quickly and easily update a website design that was displayed through the CMS.
A CMS for the Future
Since XT-CMS was first created and released there have been multiple cms version updates released. To this day work continues to add polish, new features and to maintain compatibility with the latest web design software releases from companies such as Xara.
XT-CMS & Content Management Systems
What is a CMS?
A CMS or Content Management System is a web application that is used to manage and update websites online. Unlike a desktop application it is hosted online just like a website and runs through your browser.
Why use a CMS?
Here are just a few reasons why using a CMS is a good idea...
- Manage big websites easily with a CMS
One reason for using a CMS is the ease and time saving it offers when trying to manage medium to large websites. Designing lots of individual static pages with layout and content on your computer and then uploading each individual page can often end up being difficult to manage in the long run. If you want to update your page header or footer for example you would need to update every individual page and upload them all again. This results in more work and can lead to unwanted inconsistencies in the core design and layout from page to page.
A CMS on the other hand can use just one page design/layout to display hundreds or even thousands of pages and if you want to update your page design/layout you just need to change one page design instead of many. Of course it is also possible and typical for a website using a CMS to use more than one page design/layout for different sections on the website.
- Allow clients to update content on their own website
If you're a web designer you might find some of your clients wanting the ability to update content on their own website. A CMS allows you to provide an easy to use and controlled way for your clients to do this. By allowing the client to update defined content areas only, it minimises the possibility of the client damaging page layouts and design elements, thus protecting work done by the web designer and allowing for easier collaboration between designer and client.
- Automatic Pagination
Automatic pagination allows dynamic content such as blog posts, news articles, search results and products to be displayed in a structured, automated way by generating pages and navigation links dynamically on a website. These are essentially the numbered navigation links you see at the the bottom of a page with next and previous links.
Because a CMS stores and references website content dynamically it is possible to easily search this data and display search results. With the integrated search feature in XT-CMS you can easily add a seach box to your website with one simple tag and search for or sort particular content such as blog posts or products.
- User / Customer Management
With XT-CMS you get extensive user management control with login, registration and forgot password pages all fully integrated and available to use without any additional setup. You can also assign custom user-groups to registered users and to sections of your website such as particular categories, pages or products. This allows you to setup up restricted content such as members only areas and password protected pages. If you're using the optional ecommerce functionality to sell products on your website you'll also be able to view and manage customer orders and invoices through the system.
What makes XT-CMS different from other content management systems
Generally a CMS falls into two categories - hosted or self hosted. XT-CMS is a self hosted CMS.
Hosted content management systems are typically hosted by the CMS provider and take away the need for you to install anything. This can make initial setup easier but can also have long term drawbacks not least of which are usually recurring monthly fees.
A self hosted CMS on the other hand can be downloaded in it's entirety and installed on your own server/host. This might be a little trickier if it's the first time you are doing this but it provides more flexibility and freedom in the long term. All your files, content and data are stored on your own server/host and with a once off payment you're free from long term recurring fees.
Why use XT-CMS over other content management systems?
XT-CMS has many awesome features but one area in particular where it stands out is in how easy it is to get your own website designs working with the CMS. There's no strict template system to follow, you just design or code your page how would normally do it and then add some simple tags to specify where you want the dynamic content served by the CMS to appear. No need for header files, footer files etc. etc. (unless you want to of course!) just design your page as a normal web page and the CMS can use it as a page template to serve any number of pages with dynamic content. This method also allows XT-CMS to work well with wysiywg web design programs and it is currently the only content management system that allows easy integration with page designs created with Xara Web Designer and Xara Designer Pro.
As well as an easy design-to-cms workflow XT-CMS also features a ton of other cool features like full ecommerce shopping cart system, user/customer management, SEO tools with support for friendly URLs, automated Google Sitemaps, dynamic serving of mobile optimised page layouts and lots more!
What about Iframes?
Unlike some other content management systems, ecommerce shopping carts and blogging software XT-CMS does not rely on iframes. What this means is that all dynamic content served by XT-CMS (like blog posts and product information etc.) is actually on-page-content. The web page source code includes all the content, all the text and all the keywords. Iframes can be used with XT-CMS and they can be handy for special cases like displaying content that is hosted on a third party website, but they shouldn't really be considered an alternative when you want to display your own important content on your own web pages. By using XT-CMS and not relying on iframes to display important content you avoid any seo implications and display limitations associated with iframes.
XT-CMS Server/Host Requirements
Server configurations and PHP installs can vary from host to host but the main requirements to run XT-CMS are...
PHP 5.1 or higher
Approximately 12mb free space (additional space required for page content and images etc.)