A Micro Micro CMS

About

My name is Patrick Taylor. I've made websites (on and off) since about 1998. I am now retired but I was a professional architect working in England for over 25 years. So I like making things that work properly, websites included. I began using WordPress in 2006 but soon decided to build my own system to simplify everything as much as possible. I have nothing against WordPress – I use it for my mother's website – but for personal use superMicro CMS suits me better. It's faster, simpler, and does everything I want it to.

The simplest website system anywhere

If there is a simpler completely self-contained CMS than this (and which anyone can use free of charge) I would like to hear about it. I have never seen one.

superMicro CMS began in 2008 as le.cms then became la.plume Micro CMS and is now this system. It has always been about simplicity and ease-of-use, and still is. I use it for my own websites but have always made the CMS available for anyone who wants to use it free of charge. I don't know how many users there are, nor do I care very much as long as it works for them as well as it does for me.

Single column

The system has always been single-column content with no extra boxes. There was a sidebar at one time but it seemed an unnecessary complication, especially with mobile phones for viewing web pages. A simple menu at the top, a content column and a basic footer is all that's needed. It is easy enough to create a page of additional links as a form of 'site map' and add it as a link in the top menu – such as the information link at the top of this website.

Super simple

Things can't be much simpler than that. Simple enough, in fact, to start doing your own thing with it by using HTML and developing the stylesheets if you are into all that – or just to use 'as is'.


The difference

Content Management Systems usually store web content in a database. When you create a web page in (for example) WordPress, there is no document as such. The 'page' is stored in a cell in a table in a MySQL online database along with a lot of other data required by the system. The MySQL database is usually on a different server than the physical files of the WordPress system. Each time a page is requested by someone, the CMS 'queries' the database and extracts the content in a usable form.

superMicro CMS works differently. Each page is stored in a text file in a folder on the same server as the system files. When a page is requested by someone, their browser 'reads' that file directly with no 'queries' involved. The system goes straight to it – that in essence is what makes superMicro CMS very simple and very fast. It also means that you can very easily access , backup and store all your web content simply by FTP (or using the backup page in admin). Each page has its own 'physical' document easily transferable from your server to your hard drive and, if required, to another server if, for example, you decide to switch web hosts.

I am not suggesting databases are a necessarily bad idea – most modern websites use one – but for sheer simplicity and speed (and less to go wrong), a textfile-based CMS has significant advantages. That is what you get with superMicro CMS.

On the same shared Apache web server tested with Google Chrome Web Developer Tools and Microsoft Edge DevTools, the TTFB (time to first byte) for this website is about four times faster than an equivalent website using WordPress. That is not 100% scientific since other factors come into play but it serves as a general speed indicator.

Future maintenance

superMicro CMS does not have a support community or anything like that. It is what it is. I am the only person maintaining the system to make sure it always works. I use it for my personal websites and will continue to do so well into the future and to monitor its performance and tweak things when necessary. The download will always be the same system I use myself.

In addition, the system is written using very simple HTML, CSS3 and PHP which are all comprehensively commented so that anyone reasonably proficient in those basic web technologies can easily understand how everything comes together. There is virtually no JavaScript or reliance on external resources (with the one exception of Google fonts, but even they are not essential).


Elsewhere

Apart from messing about with websites I like painting in oils and hill walking.

Me (in black) with my brother and his family

Welsh mountains, August 2020.

Page last modified: 15 October, 2020

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