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Digitalus CMS: Open Source and (Mostly) Simple

Digitalus CMS 1.5

Digitalus CMS is a fairly new player in the simple CMS market. Their first open source Zend/PHP-based version 1.0 was released in August 2008.

Recently, version 1.5 came out and caught our attention with new features like simple globalization capabilities, web-based installer and the 960 Grid system page layout management.

Some of Digitalus features are strikingly simple, others definitely call for some geeky brains.

While Digitalus CMS is still in very early stages of product maturity, it has made some good strides in improving the system and adding features that are usually found in any self-respectful CMS. With distances to go, Digitalus 1.5 brings the following features to the table today.

Installing Digitalus

In version 1.5 Digitalus started offering a web-based installer. There are many substantial updates in the core which are not visible, but make the CMS more configurable.

Digitalus works best in Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Compatibility with other browsers is in the works. If you want to install Digitalus, it requires a Web server to run on. There are many different configurations that may work, but the vendor recommends PHP 5.2+, Apache and MySQL 5.x.

Digitalus CMS Internationalization Features

Small initial steps were taken by the makers of Digitalus from multilingual, global content management perspective.

The following features were introduced in version 1.5:

  1. Multiple language versions of content pages
  2. Translatable admin interface

Option #1 gives you an opportunity to create a new, blank version of the same page and manually insert content in a different language. As of now, French, German and Polish languages are supported. Note that there’s no automatic translation here, which can be a good thing.

Once you create a page in, say, French, footer at the bottom of the page will update to “You are reading this page in english. This page is also translated into french.” The French hyperlink will take you to the page with French content on it.

In Option #2, admin interface is set to English by default, but you can localize it to one of the three available languages. The tabbed GUI we must note is quite simple to use.

internationalization digitalus.jpg


Digitalus CMS GUI Internationalized to French

As you can see, not all parts of the interface are localized into the language we selected. But, in general, you can certainly navigate the GUI, which is better than nothing.

Page Creation in Digitalus CMS

This task is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require much brain power. At the same time, there’s enough flexibility if you want to customize default pages.

digitalus new pages.jpg

Digitalus CMS: Creating a Page

Your site’s tree structure updates automatically once you add a new page.

Design Management in Digitalus

The new version of Digitalus CMS (finally) allows you to manage design and layouts from the GUI. But you really need to know what you’re doing when it comes to managing layouts in Digitalus. It doesn’t seem to be a trivial task.

digitalus page design.jpg

 Digitalus CMS: Layout and Design Management

We ended up with this after just selecting the 2-column default template, attaching a couple of default CSS files to it and entering some content:

not a pretty page.jpg

Sample Page Created in Digitalus CMS

The teaser text is the same design as the body text, as you can see. Not sure what happened to the logo in the top left corner. Left nav is kinda funky-looking. Granted the page is not that pretty, but it took us mere minutes to throw it together.

However, if you’re willing to put in some development effort, you can create some decent looking sites in Digitalus. At least that’s what they say in the product's user forum.

 

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