PlainBlack open source web content management System
To start things off we'll admit that Plain Black, creators of the web content management system WebGUI, fell off our radar a long time ago. In fact, it’s probably safe to assume they were never there in the first place. With a photo of a cheesy Elvis impersonator alongside the words, “You’re a rockstar, get treated like one!” featured on their website, who might you think is to blame?

Terrible advertising strategies aside, the company might have a good thing going with their updated version of WebGUI. The upgrades include a new point-of-sale register and reportedly make Web content easier to maintain.

An Introduction Is In Order

Plain Black is an international software company that provides web applications to snazzy institutions like the Federal government, businesses and places of higher education.

WebGUI is their open source web content management system which premiered way back in 2001. The modular, pluggable and platform independent “Content Engine” has since grown to currently run over 10,000 web sites, intranets, and extranets.

Capabilities include:

  • Publish articles
  • Participate in forums
  • Conduct surveys and polls
  • Manage projects
  • Create interactive event calendars
  • Create complex data entry forms
  • Sell and advertise products
  • Sell and maintain subscription services
  • Maintain site security through users and groups
  • Manage individual user interface levels


Plain Black Navigation

Gooey’s on the Go!

Like any smart company, Plain Black is continuously evolving. Newly featured in version 7.6 of WebGUI:

  • Virtual cash register: Exactly what it sounds like. This handy little tool makes it easier for companies at remote events, such as trade shows, to sell tickets and products directly to customers.
  • An improved survey builder: For the easy creation of surveys that can be used to collect information from customers.
  • Matrix application: Helps Web site managers to create Comparison Charts. The charts are intended to evaluate competitive products. The Comparison Chart technology is speedy and driven by an Ajax-compatible chart generator.
  • Pluggable Account Manager Framework: This framework eases the pain associated with creating websites and social networking applications. In using it, developers can do a better job of customizing the account system. With a tabbed user interface and pluggability, users can carry out several tasks at once and better supporting applications will always be on the horizon.
  • Upload Photos: From any location. This eliminates the need for administrators to make a trip to their Web sites to add photos.


User Interface Levels

Plain Black based many of its updates on requests from customers. "We think the new version reflects the interests of our worldwide user base that has been carefully evaluated for reliability and ease of use," said Tavis Parker, Plain Black's VP of marketing.

We're Getting Too Soft

All in all, WebGUI’s list of features may be enough for us to forget how horrified we felt when we saw the fake Elvis banner--especially after finding that various reviewers have compared the service to Microsoft SharePoint but free and open source.

Free? Open source? No 3rd party plugins required? Comparable to Sharepoint? It could be worth your time to take a look. Do so by heading over to Plain Black’s website.