GreenBeast CMS v.1.1

Posted August 7th, 2005 by Mike Cherim

Powered by GreenBeast CMSIt has taken a while, but I’m really quite pleased to announce the release of GreenBeast CMS Version 1.1. This marks the second phase of a fairly long-term three phase (plus) project which will culminate with the release of v.2.0 down the road a piece.

The GreenBeast CMS project came about by way of my simple need for a CMS to offer my web design clients a back-end management tool for the content of their websites. I figured this would serve two purposes, really. One is that it would make my services more attractive to potential clients. Second, it would allow my clients to update their websites on a regular basis, keeping the content fresh and, making their sites more worthy of re-visits. Good things for all parties concerned.

So I did it. I made a CMS. Version 1.0 as it was coined. There is even a Blog entry about it from its original release. But it needed improvements right out of the starting gate. A vast number of improvements. Stability, accessibility, usability, interface improvements, more functionality, flexibility, smarter, easier to set-up, better at handling errors and keeping users from inadvertently doing things the wrong way, to set up a better live feed system with consideration to users if our server was down for some reason. There was a lot to do.

I was doing well with the upgrade from v.10 to v.1.1 but found I was quickly getting in over my head. I am, after all, new to using PHP. That’s when Jonathan Fenocchi joined me in this project. What a relief he has been. He is quite knowledgeable in the field of several server-side languages and JavaScript, and he is especially keen on PHP.

This is when me and my CMS become us and our CMS. Even though it’s still named “GreenBeast.”

The GreenBeast CMS v.1.1 still has a bit of a raw set-up — though it is greatly improved allowing one to set it up with the CMS’s File Editor instead of having to edit raw files via FTP. For version 2.0., a proper installer and a method of uploading files and images, and creating blank documents and folders, will be included. This all part of the master plan. We also want to create an automatic upgrader, so all the user has to do it click “Upgrade Now” when we pass the link and any and all file uploading, swapping, creating, and deleting will be done by the upgrade utility itself.

An awful lot of the work that has been done involves this aspect of product production. Always thinking about the next version and how to deal with it without inconveniencing existing users and their clients. I developed a cross-over strategy to v.2.0 which will hopefully be easy and the last one in which the user has to do anything. However, please note, that v.2.0 is going to be a highly professional software grade web application, much more so than it is now. This is the plan, anyway. It should be worthwhile. It has been so far. It’s not the money, there is none, but the experience is priceless. Moreover, we feel we are offering a decent tool. After making the CMS’s web page ( and the site for Adagio Spa & Salon, plus using it to partially build and maintain, I personally find it very useful and helpful. The Adagio Spa site only took three days. CMS set-up was fast and easy. Version 1.1 is version 1.1, though, and it’s time to move on with its improvements and the coming of the next version. We do not expect a release of a full version between now and v.2.0.

Some considerations for version 2 include that mentioned above. We also plan to offer an auto-fill/auto-complete function to deal with writing basic mark-up and ensuring tags are closed properly based on the language specification desired. We do plan to keep selectable languages as we have now for the Content Updater. We have chosen to not offer UBB code. We feel that making people learn another code set and syntax is silly. If they must learn something, we feel that HTML is ultimately more useful to learn and really just as easy if the basics are used. We also want to offer more file management functions such as being able to reopen (or keep open) a recently updated file in an editor that doesn’t show the added tags and character entities but simply reverts it to the inputted state. This would be better for beginners to make edits. We want editing to be on the fly a little more than it is, especially as it concerns the Content Updater tool. Also, spell check would be nice as part of the on-the-fly editing. In time.

Until then, for version 1.1, do look for some plug-ins coming up. Specifically, a high(er)-visibility style sheet as I know some people won’t like what’s offered, mostly as it concerns the text and colors used in the File Editor’s and Content Updater’s textarea fields. That should be released very soon. It’ll be a rename, drag-and-drop affair with a suggestion of renaming the old style sheet for retention (this is will available via a link delivered with our “Live Feed” as it seems like the best way to do it. Version 1.0 had a style changer, but that was removed as it complicated matters considerably when trying to attain the best system security performance. It could be done, it just didn’t seem worthwhile and a lot of extra work.

Another up-and-coming plug-in is an XML/RSS feed “Newsmaker” form in which one will enter HTML (processed with the Content Updater for beginners) and have it convert to well-form XML in a properly set-up RSS feed (with the right metadata). Currently this is done. We made a decent utility by way of a massive overhaul/conversion of Ryan Brill’s XML Guestbook. It produces RSS 2.0 (a sample of its use can be seen at, Latest News. One problem has been identified, though, the feed is not Live on all devices. So while it works with Bloglines, it isn’t picked up by Firefox’s built-in reader. This needs to be addressed. After that, the hardest part will be to incorporate the plug-in into the CMS so it’s navigable, and plug-n-play in its setup. Not too long hopefully. Being that RSS is becoming all the rage, it’s an important feature to offer. XML documents can be viewed completely (in their entirety) and be edited via File Editor already so that step is done.

Extra thanks goes to SourceForge Whois Project for the use of their open source “Whois2″ utility. This is a nice CMS add-on. In fact. there are a number of features that one won’t normally find on a CMS. We’d also like to extend thanks to DaringFireball for use of the “SmartyPants” script on our Content Updater. It helped make the thing a lot smarter.

Dear GreenBeast CMS v.1.1 Users:

Use this weblog entry if you would like to comment about this web application, need to complain (be reasonable) or compliment, if you have a suggestion for this version or v.2.0, do it here. Also let me know if you would like to have a support forum in addition to the support tools we offer. It seems silly now, but if we get a lot of users, then it may be a smart move in the area of self-help and peer-to-peer brainstorming.

If you’re user, thank you for downloading the GreenBeast CMS v.1.1. We hope you are finding it useful. Your feedback is always valuable so speak up. If you’ve created add-on features, plug-ins, or new styles for your CMS for your own use, please share them. If the improvements are really great, we might like to borrow your ideas, giving you full credit for your work, of course. Thanks.

8 Responses to: “GreenBeast CMS v.1.1”

  1. Zach Blume responds:
    Posted: August 8th, 2005 at 12:40 pm

    It seems a bit crude in coding, but I haven’t combed through it as thoroughly as I should have. Also, I assume this is for web-beginners, so….

    I’m one more oriented towards a self-code MVC application framework :-p

    Other than that, it looks pretty slick in execution.

  2. Zach Blume responds:
    Posted: August 11th, 2005 at 8:30 pm

    Sorry, I am getting way too used to MVC based OO programming. I have to admit, when I set it up, it worked beautifully. Though the interface is not to my particular liking, I think it is solid, stable, and lives up to your description. I might get around to skinning it super-sexy :-p

  3. Fabian responds:
    Posted: August 14th, 2005 at 6:52 am

    I was reading the site and it works with a flat file database, what do you mean by that, is it just a txt or encrypted file with CMOD 777, and uses PHP to access, wouldnt that be slower than a mysql, etc database?

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