Talking tech since 2003

With the wide use of social-networking services like Facebook and “micro-blogging” solutions such as Twitter, I have never had the need to create my own blog or personal homepage.  In fact, the only web-design related work I’ve ever really needed to perform has been for my current employer in maintaining the company’s static, information-only website.  However, I started looking into ditching our Dreamweaver-based site in favor of a more manageable and professional looking site.

At first, I was inclined to simply install and configure a WordPress-based site, however it seemed like overkill to install and run MySQL (using more system resources and complicating the entire setup) for a simple, mostly static website.  This lead to my search for a CMS (Content Management System) that did not require a database back-end.  After a few minutes of searching around, I came across gpEasy, a free PHP-based content management system.

Installing gpEasy was a cinch.  I simply downloaded the ZIP file from their download page, extracted the archive file onto my desktop, and uploaded the extracted files to the web server.

When the file-transfer was complete, I simply fired up my web browser and navigated to the root of the company website, where I was greeted with a very user-friendly installer.  After answering a few simple, non-technical questions, I was brought to the excellently designed administration panel.

One of the first things that I did once inside the administration panel was create all of the individual pages and sub-pages needed for the site.  Doing so was amazingly simplistic using the drag-and-drop file manager.

With the pages created, I simply had to put the information on them.  While this was the longest task, it was by no stretch of the imagination a difficult one.  Using the WordPress-like page editor, I was able to quickly add content to the site with a minimal amount of effort.  At the same time, I was also able to use custom HTML coding to make detailed modifications to the site simply by clicking on the “Source” button within the online editor.

From an administrative prospective, gpEasy also makes it very easy to use addons and themes, as well as control site-wide changes from the main administration screen and administration menus.  This is the main reason that I decided to pursue using a CMS, as manually managing a site (even with the almighty Dreamweaver) can become quite a hassle.

On this same note, gpEasy has made it easy for me to allow my non-technically savvy co-workers to make modifications on the site using the simple web-based control panel.  This being, gpEasy allowed me to create individual user-names and passwords for my co-workers, meaning that they can make quick modifications on their own without having to run it through me.

One of the things that I’d like to see in future versions of gpEasy would have to be better support for themes and addons.  Having said this, gpEasy has a gallery of addons, but installing them requires the end user to download a ZIP file from their website and upload it to the /addons directory of their web-server; a task that can be somewhat confusing for non-technically savvy users.

All in all, gpEasy is an excellent content management system.  While I would surely recommended WordPress over gpEasy (mainly for its being an industry standard and well-supported infrastructure), I would definitely recommend gpEasy for individuals or organizations that need to design and easily modify semi-static websites.

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