Touted as the “easiest Web site creation tool ever made,” Zimplit is a new open source Micro CMS released by an Estonian startup under the same name. It was made for “normal people, not for IT gurus.”
And here’s the sales pitch: “Unlike other CMS applications that require advanced technical skills, Zimplit enables you to create professional Web sites, without being a Web developer or hiring one.” Lightweight and customizable, Zimplit Web CMS could be just the right solution for small businesses, kindergartens and schools, or personal use. However, we couldn't help but wonder whether it is *too* bare-bones simple to be presented as a CMS.
According to the company, the product consists of “only one core engine file.” No intense installation is required. “You... just upload and it works.” How’s that possible? In fact, you need to download a ZIP file and FTP all its files and folders to your Web server -- “and it’s working.”
Zimplistic Zimplit Features
The company positions its product as a CMS “simpler than any content management system you’ve seen before.” There’s no admin area. And by that Zimplit means that the product has inline editing capabilities. Zimplit Editing Interface and Toolbar The company claims that with “a normal CMS, you edit your Web site from the admin area, where you cannot see the real results of the webpage.” We all know that this statement is very far from reality, as every self-respecting CMS vendor has been offering this capability for quite some time now.
As Zimplit puts it “you just log in and edit on-site” with their "on-site" editor that includes basic inline content editing features, such as:
* Insert link
* Make new page
* Insert image
* Text formatting
* Add "things" to page (for example, a file or a YouTube video URL)
Zimplit claims to be 100% SEO-friendly. Everyone wants to be friends with Google, Yahoo! and other search engines. However, Zimplit doesn’t go into much detail to support its own SEO-friendliness claim. They must have some sort of a magic word they reveal to people who sign up for the product.
As far as templates go, Zimplit can accommodate any HTML or CSS template. The company even offers some for download right off the bat and refers users to download free templates from template banks. If you desire a custom design, Zimplit recommends to contact Krabi & Mask -- the interactive design agency that is behind Zimplit.
Lastly, Zimplit claims to be Open Source CMS and is “free forever.” Forever doesn’t last long in Zimplit’s language though. If you want to get rid of the Zimplit Legal Notices or "Powered by Zimplit" link and image placed by default on every page of your site, you need to buy a commercial license for US$ 49.00 per domain.
OverZimplifying a Tad?
Being in the 21st century with all its advanced technology, we are not exactly sure that all data should be stored in HTML -- but this is the way Zimplit does it by saying “You don’t need a database - all data is there, in HTML pages.” This can, of course, be very true, if you run a static three-page Web site. But that just sounds very 1998 to us and, perhaps, to many modern businesses looking to enhance the ways they deliver content to their current and prospective customers.
Interesting conversations like this one are taking place on Zimplit's forum. Folks are actually trying to get away from some of the simplicity the vendor offers and (struggle to) create local copies of the CMS. Here goes the “easy-install, no-code” part out of the window.
Zimplit released a beta of its standalone version, but still recommends using the standard version.
Last Zimple Thoughts
Aside from the fact that the PDF manual in English posted on the site is corrupted and cannot be opened, it’s all roses and butterflies. We tend to think that most “normal” people would surely appreciate a working manual. On the other hand, the RTFM days may be long gone, since everything is so zimple nowadays.
Zimplit offers a demo to those interested in the product. Check it out and let us know what you think.
Simple Web CMS Trend Continues
The sluggish economy is to blame, perhaps, but more and more companies are coming up with “simple” Web CMS solutions in an effort to attract customers and boost up those licensing sales revenue numbers. These solutions could be categorized as Micro CMS in some cases, bordering on the line of blogging platforms gone CMS.
Not long ago we mentioned the debut of Bizy Inc.’s "simple CMS" Bizyweb. Hardly a CMS in its present state, Bizyweb is a work-in-progress micro CMS at best.
Estonia seems to be at the forefront of the global simple CMS production. In addition to Zimplit, there’s also Fraktal -- another Estonian provider -- with its CMS tool Edicy aimed to conquer the world of simple CMS’s on the European market.
We’ll probably hear more from Zimplit soon. The company’s roadmap outlines intentions to add more functionality later this year along with providing a hosted version of its CMS.