Matt Pierce

Web Developer

Simple CMS

This little CMS ran my personal website from 2006 - 2015, though I stopped updating it (and my website) sometime in 2009. For the most part it satisfied all of my needs but when we moved to WordPress at work I figured it was probably a good idea to switch my personal site over to WordPress as well so that I could quickly gain some experience.

Simple worked by creating a simple heirarchy of pages and then rendered pages to a cache file using the page's unique ID number (for example, the homepage was always /pages/1.php). Because of this, even when you restructured the site, links to pages would remain valid.

Ultimately this was the biggest problem with Simple - page URLs were fairly unscruitable. I created systems that allowed for Apache to redirect from more friendly URLs to the canonical ones, but it was ultimately a weird kludge that worked against the fundamental structure of the CMS.

Another strange quirk was that, since the website output PHP files to the filesystem, editors could inline PHP script on each page. This can be horribly dangerous, but for a single-user personal site it came in handy from time to time.


Download Simple CMS version 1.4

There was a version 1.5, but it included a bunch of features I added specifically for Montclair State University. We considered using Simple some time in 2009 but ultimately the higher-ups decided that they weren't comfortable relying on a CMS that was entirely the brainchild of one programmer who had only been with the university for 2 years. They didn't know how long I would be staying at the university and the risk that I would jump ship and leave them with a CMS they couldn't maintain was just too high.

In the end, since the features were so specific to Montclair State University, I never rolled the changes back into the main codebase and I never updated the install script for it.