A Micro CMS

This illustrates a 2008-11 version of the current CMS - just the the home page (all other links are disabled). This was before responsive web design took hold (and a lot of other things) but the basic principles of the system are essentially unchanged. This was version 2.0. I have lost version 1.0 (called le.cms).

la.plume - a featherweight content management system

This Micro CMS is created by Patrick Taylor.

It's tiny, powered by only 8 php files (that's micro-featherweight). Create web pages in just one click, including add to menu, title tag, text banner, and page heading. Add new pages and images in seconds, from anywhere online.

This website is built with the system.

In the world of content management systems, this one, metaphorically, is light as a feather. Zipped for download with all 'mod cons' it weighs just less than 30 kilobytes compared to, for example, a fully-featured CMS like Drupal at over one megabyte. Of course, this is deliberate, because the purpose of this truly micro CMS is to provide the simplest possible means of publishing standards-compliant web content with the minimum knowledge of web page construction.

The admin 'backend' consists of only two pages:

  • Create/edit/delete pages
  • Upload/delete images

A CMS with no database

la.plume doesn't use a database. Content is written to plain text files (one per page) which is formatted into properly contructed HTML markup by means of corresponding auto-created php files.

A knowledge of HTML is not required, but HTML can be written into the pages if the user so chooses. Neither is it necessary to know anything about CSS stylesheets, but again, the user can change the styling to create a different look for the pages.

la.plume micro CMS features

  • Simple to install on your server
  • One click page create, edit, or delete
  • Very fast-loading pages
  • Contact page with contact form
  • Custom 404 "Page Not Found"
  • Powered by only eight php files
  • Doesn't use a database
  • Page addresses with no file suffixes
  • Edit stylesheet in backend admin
  • Runs on Apache web server with php
  • Open source and completely free

From 7th September 2011, version 2.0.

la.plume micro CMS (version 2.0) free download »

Before creating web pages, read the help page »

Who might use a micro CMS?

Traditionally, web pages have been created on a local computer and uploaded to a web server with an FTP client program. In recent years there's been a strong trend towards publishing web content using a content management system (CMS). A CMS has various advantages, including the ability to create pages in an online 'backend', with content not in individually built files uploaded by FTP but stored in a database.

A CMS also allows users to build websites with very little technical knowledge, as evidenced by the millions of bloggers now on the web. Blogging platforms like WordPress and content management systems like Joomla and Drupal have become very popular throughout the world.

One aspect of those systems, however, is that they require regular upgrades, otherwise eventually they will begin to fail. It's a nuisance, and upgrading a complex fully featured CMS can be a tricky business, especially if it involves a database.

la.plume micro CMS is deliberately not fully-featured, doesn't use a database, and shouldn't require regular upgrades. But if it does require upgrading, it's a one minute risk-free operation. Its attraction is its simplicity.

So it should appeal to users who simply want to publish clean uncluttered web pages without building them one by one and having to upload them by FTP. Once the CMS is installed, the website can be developed and managed online from any computer with a web connection. It requires no knowledge of HTML, though HTML can be used to enhance the pages by adding headings, hyperlinks, images, tables, lists, and emphasizing text.

Read more about adding basic HTML in the HTML guide »

Why is it called la.plume?

My other (slightly more featured) CMS is called le.cms, and since this baby one is featherweight and French for "feather" is "plume", I chose this name. And of course a decent feather can be used as a quill pen for writing things.