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Worse Is Better CMS

WIB CMS combines the “Extra” implementation of the popular Markdown markup language and the “Typographer” implementation of the SmartyPants typographic punctuation improver with a custom navigation tree parser & generator and a simple template system. Together they form a solid platform to easily build bloat-free, maintainable web sites. Content, structure and representation are beautifully decoupled.

Key points:

  • No user accounts / logins / editors → less security holes. Just use your own favorite text editor and favorite file transfer method.

  • Supports both dynamic (live on the server) and static (HTML export) site generation.

  • Requires PHP 5 and for dynamic mode also Apache Module mod_rewrite.

  • Everything is stored in plain, tangible, human-readable files. No databases are needed (which enables storing the whole site in a version control system of your choice).

  • Automagically generates robots.txt and sitemap.xml to optimize indexing by search engines.

  • Small and simple, works out of the box.

Have a look at my blog entry for longer explanations on the design choices etc.


The main design considerations have been conceptual simplicity and robustness. Your directory structure is your URL structure, just like in plain old HTML sites (though, navigation hierarchy needs not be similar — it’s independent from the URLs — you can use flat URLs and deep navigation or vice versa).

What makes WIB (at least almost) unique among the plethora of content management systems / site generators out there, is that it supports both static and dynamic site generation. It can sit on the PHP-equipped web server, rendering HTML pages on the fly (using optional caching to gain speed), or it can be run on your laptop to generate a bunch of plain HTML pages to be uploaded anywhere. You can choose whichever suits better to a particular website in question. You can even take a static snapshot of a dynamic, live site.

If you want to write an article, write it using your favorite text editor and put it to wherever you want in the directory structure. If you want to put an image in your page or link to some other file (zip, mp3…), put it to the same directory structure where your page is, using your favorite file transfer application. No typical CMSs’ half-assed WYSIWYG editors or “image uploader applications” and unsureness about where your stuff actually lives. Instead, plain, tangible files in a directory structure of your choice.

Old-fashioned? Maybe. Sensible? Definitely.

What it is not

WIB CMS is, as it name implies, limited by purpose. The world is full of great, full-blown web management systems, and you’d better use them if you at all need the features that they offer. That said, I believe that 90 % of web sites use less than 10 % of those features. And the price to pay is complexity, insecurity, uncertain future and so on. If you’re looking a simple tool that does what it says, does it straight out of the box, and don’t want to worry about vendor lock-in, fragile databases and zillion unnecessary features, have a look at WIB.

Get it

Download WIB.
Check the latest changes from here.
See the manual to get started.
Last modified: 2009-11-08 11:13 +0200

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