A free and open-source Web CMS from ImpressPages in Lithuania makes an instant impression with its drag-and-drop approach.
Simplifying What You See
Lots of Web CMS offerings claim to make things easier, but a first look at the demo of ImpressPages shows something that anyone can get their brains and mouse around. PHP-powered and using SQL 5, there isn't a great deal to the CMS yet, but its interface shows a lot of potential.
ImpressPage's Toolbar. Just drag and drop, and give me 20!
Log on to the demo server and the user is presented with a list of page elements they can drag on their site. Drag something onto the page -- say text with a photo -- and a pop-up asks for the image source, a title and some text, which can be styled as needed. Click OK and your objects are created on screen with the image automatically resized.
Pages can have titles, text, galleries and a few other elements. It's all a little basic, but so slick and easy to design for non-technical users. Once you've added some elements you can move them up and down the page, re-edit the content and save it.
From Small Acorns
Okay, this CMS is only at V1 and is still in beta. However, the power to make a task easy goes a long way and ImpressPages could easily be termed a website construction kit. Menus can be built up for multiple pages, SEO information entered without wading through confusing menus and the admin panel offers instant access to emails and logs.
Within minutes it all feels rather like a comfy old favorite chair in front of the fireplace, not something many CMS systems get compared to.
If the site is going to have a community, the CMS can be used to build and maintain a list of subscribers and used to create a newsletter, something smaller sites often do in a separate spreadsheet or package.
To use on your own sites, download the package and pop it on an Apache server. It can be used in multi-lingual deployments, does automatic SEO-friendly URLs, can use RSS and can be freely modified if you need to expand it.
Although, if you get a post in on the forum early enough, it looks like the developers are willing to add features on request. They have also stated this is just the beginning for their product and it'll be interesting to see what develops.