- Playing with FrogCMS (Part 1: Installation)
- Playing with FrogCMS (Part 2: The Plan)
- Playing with FrogCMS (Part 3: The Theme)
- Playing with FrogCMS (Part 4: The Theme [continued...])
- Playing with FrogCMS (Part 5: The Blog)
- Playing with FrogCMS (Part 6: User Management)
- Playing with FrogCMS (Part 7: My Conclusion)
See the site: The Gong Shop
Overall I like FrogCMS. I’m not convinced it has enough features to be worth using on a regular basis (for me). It is however so easy and fast to use that you might as well use it as oppose to building a pure static site.
I like lightweight software. I do most of my work in Notepad++ (as opposed to a heavy IDE), I use Foobar2000 instead of iTunes or Windows Media Player. I love working with the lightweight Codeigniter PHP framework. FrogCMS’s slogan is Content Management Simplified and their project goal is clear:
The philosophy of Frog CMS is to keep the core CMS as light, fast and flexible as possible.
The reality for me is that it’s easy to use and fast to get going but doesn’t quite do a whole lot for you in the end. That being said, if you have a website design and some fairly static content you could easily go with FrogCMS and benefit from having a backend admin, user management and few other tools. However, as soon as your needs grow beyond that you would find yourself either considering a more powerful CMS or writing your own plugins (more on that next) both of which would take a lot more work.
Extending with plug-ins
I love the idea of starting with a lightweight core but having the option to increase the power and flexibility of a system with plug-ins. This has always been Wordpress’s philosophy as well. In the case of FrogCMS there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of plug-ins to choose from. If you have PHP skills it might be cool to use FrogCMS as your base and do all your custom development in the form of plug-ins. It would sure beat doing all the dev work from the ground up and naturally keep things more manageable and modular. If the FrogCMS community were to grow and more supported plug-ins hit the scene much more would be possible and would quickly change be general opinion.
For freelancing? for clients?
For me, one of the main reasons to use a CMS is for a client website. Often a client will want to be able to add and manage their own content to some degree. Why shouldn’t they? It’s certainly not worth it to always be coding your own backend system when so many great CMS’s are available (especially if you’re building smaller lower budget sites). For this purpose I’d be a little afraid to use FrogCMS. It’s great because the backend interface is clean and simple but it also requires to client to basically “code” their own pages. Although markdown and textile are cool I don’t think they’re really any easier than pure HTML and I don’t really want a client inputting their own HTML anyway (could cause future issues). Markdown, textile or HTML would be fine for simple things like styling text but I think the general content input system needs a little more. Here’s what I’m thinking:
There needs to be an easier way for a client to add an image to a page. Currently (without a plugin) they would have to upload the image through the file manager and link to that image using a form of mark-up. This is a big one for me. Other types of media such as audio and video are usually requested by clients as well. At very least FrogCMS needs a supported plug-in to help with adding media to a page.
If you look into the “commenting” plug-in for FrogCMS you can see there is a way to make forms. However, you’ll basically just be doing PHP. If FrogCMS had a built in system for making forms it could easily get complicated (and therefore stray from the project goal) but if there was a simple method to help with forms and user input that would be great. Maybe a core plug-in?
Further divided content parts
I thought it was neat how easily I could make a content part and then add that as a tab to the page edit screen. It would be nice to take this a bit further. Maybe a content part could have smaller sub-parts. In the example of the “Gong of the Day” callout it would be nice to have three sub-parts: gong name, gong description, gong link. It would be a lot nicer for a non-techie client to fill in these three fields than to alter mark-up.
I feel like I’m giving FrogCMS a negative vibe but overall I really did like it. It’s not quite powerful enough for my purposes at this time but I do love it’s simplicity. I’m considering taking a stab at building out some of my own plug-ins to solve a few of issues I considered weak spots. A little extra push would make this CMS perfect for me. I’ll make sure to keep you posted!
Thanks for reading,