CMS Made Simple 1.6

Only one week behind schedule, but with a slew of changes, CMS Made Simple v1.6 has recently seen the light of day.

One of the open source, PHP-based content management systems out there, CMS Made Simple (news, site) introduced new permissions in this release. In addition to that, there are new themes, templates and modules. Not to mention a gazillion of bug fixes.

Let's just say it doesn't look like it's going to be an easy upgrade, but it may very well be worth the effort.

Permissions Changes

The Web CMS content permissions have been “completely reworked,” according to the vendor. The goal here is to allow more flexibility and control over what your users are entitled to do with content.

Some highlights include:

  • A content page can have Additional Editors who can edit that page
  • The “Add Pages” permission allows for creation of child pages
  • The “Remove Pages” permission lets users remove pages that they’re Additional Editor or Owners of
  • The “Manage All Content” permission is for super users who can do anything with all content.

Keep in mind though that, for sites with multiple admin users who have different levels of permissions for editing content, you will need to revisit the permissions, and manually check if everything is still set the way it was before.

New Themes and Content Types

On the front end, CMS Made Simple now offers two new themes. The vendor reports that a “major effort has been undertaken to make the system faster, better and easier to extend.” Content types and various classes were reworked to optimize the number of weighing-down queries.

A new content type “Error Handler” was developed to handle the nasty 404 errors. In case with CMS Made Simple 1.6, the 404 page will be just a regular content page with some extra functionality like embedded module calls.

Best of all, CMS Made Simple users can now preview their pages with page templates that have multiple content blocks, which was not possible before.

There’s a fair warning from CMS Made Simple for users utilizing Cataloger and PageBlocks, for example, to create content types. These users will experience problems with compatibility. Releasing a version compatible with CMS 1.6 can fix that issue.

CMS Made Simple Improvements for Admins and Devs

The admins will appreciate that they now can handle forgotten password from the CMS Made Simple console, as long as there’s an e-mail address associated with the admin account.

The Sitedown IP address exclusion, when sitedown mode is on, allows to exclude certain IP addresses. This way, the site can be down for visitors, but available for developers.

CMS Made Simple also made an effort to provide better UTF-8 support for new installs, where the installer now tries to change the default encoding for newly created tables, etc. You can use the new ’set_names’ config entry to do a ‘set names utf-8′ at the beginning of any request. This is on by default for new installs, and off for upgrades.

Additionally, config.php has been cleaned up to get rid of redundancies for better optimization and ease of use.

ModuleManager introduced a new functionality, where you can check for dependencies before installing a module. Module Manager will go check for newer versions of any of the modules that you are currently using on your site.

Too Many Changes in One Release

We’ve highlighted only a handful of CMS Made Simple changes. Check out the changelog for more info on v1.6. There’s also documentation available.

As it sometimes happens, if you bite too much, it can be difficult to swallow. CMS Made Simple chose not to do diff releases for 1.6. What that means is that you have to do more work compared to a simple upgrade (but, hey, when the upgrades were simple anyway?).

CMS Made Simple users have to download the full package and transfer “the whole thing up to your new website.” Make sure to triple-check and validate you’re downloading the appropriate checksum package. Good luck!