SkyBlueCanvas CMS is Lightweight, but functionalFor SkyBlueCanvas, the goal is simple: To provide fully functional and frill-free solutions. Here to maintain that goal is the arrival of v. 1.1 of their content management system. Built with small business owners in mind, the new SkyBlueCanvas Lightweight CMS is said to feature better performance, improved SEO tools and support for TinyMCE and FCKeditor WYSIWYG text editors.

Little Guy, Big Mouth

SkyBlueCanvas (SBC) Lightweight Content Management System is easily wrapped up in three words: Open source. Free. Gumption. Spunk is notable in this instance because SkyBlueCanvas’ website describes their content management system as a handy alternative “when more robust systems like Joomla, WordPress and Drupal are too much horsepower,” and we tech writers (sadly) get our jollies from such direct vernacular.

While an antonym for horsepower is lethargy, we wouldn’t label SkyBlueCanvas’ content management system as sleepy or slow. More a ‘modest’ system than anything else, the solution is written in PHP and built specifically for small web sites and the technically challenged.

As a passenger on the ever popular the-less-required-knowledge-the-better bandwagon, SBC Lightweight CMS operates without the user having to exhibit much understanding of how it actually works. Content stays and nobody needs to be the wiser about the inner workings of features, templating systems or configuration. In fact, reportedly easy from the very beginning, Lightweight Content Management System is supposedly ready for text and pictures immediately after upload.

On the flipside, SBC claims, “Lightweight and simple does not mean simplistic.” The company says they include a lot of the same basic abilities as the aforementioned more complicated systems, but in a simpler form. This is especially exemplified in the new features, as they revolve around more comprehensive Search tactics, popular Javascript and text editors and the what you see is what you get mantra.

“Our goal is to make SkyBlueCanvas the most user-friendly web site tool on the market and the web site software of choice for small business owners”, says Scott Lewis, the very eloquent (no sarcasm) project manager and lead developer. “We spent a lot of time evaluating the Admin interface from the user's perspective and making improvements as necessary. We think this version is the most mature and easy-to-use version of the software to date.”

What You Get and What You Don’t

The software includes many features to allow it to be customized and adapted to a variety of needs. These features include:

  • Extensible Core through Content Managers and Modules
  • Skinnability through HTML/CSS templates
  • Plugin API to allow code execution triggered on custom events

And because SkyBlueCanvas Lightweight CMS is built for small web sites, many features needed to support larger sites have been left out. Among these are:

  • No database is required
  • Zero configuration - just upload it to your web server and start using it
  • No complicated User Management (ACL)
  • No complex content hierarchy (Sections, Categories, etc.)

Will SBC Stick To The Simple Path?

In November of 2008, just eight months after the initial release, Lewis announced that SkyBlueCanvas Lightweight Content Management System passed the 10,000 downloads milestone. Those are big numbers for such a small guy.

The company has seemingly been doing quite well with their simple steeze and we assume their success will only continue with the addition of the new features in v1.1. However, in the reported works for v2.0 is a complete re-design and re-write from the ground up. The company claims the next version will remain true to the "light weight, easy-to-use" philosophy, but will introduce a lot of improvements in usability and performance.

Though we thoroughly support usability improvements and all that razzle dazzle, we wonder how many enhancements you can add before you’re considered heavyweight.

For a great demo of the software you can visit demo.skybluecanvas.com, or, if you’re already in love and can't wait to commit, download it here.