Home arrow Compare CMS - 3c
Compare CMS - Part 3c - Lightweight CMS Reviews



Compare CMS - Part 3c - Lightweight CMS

Lightweight CMS Reviews on this page:-


Micro CMS
Moveable Type

The CMS Section Index

Go here to find all the WCMS information on the site.

   >> Please be sure to read the disclaimer at the end <<


Probably the smallest real database-driven CMS of all, you can install it under 1MB if you have to. It has 50 or more plugins, and will do what most people need in this size of CMS.

Templates in Lucid are your choice of an HTML page you create and upload, plus some custom tags to make them work as a template. This approach is reminiscent of wiki formatting, and works well enough. It means you could have near enough anything you want, though the functions aren't easily customised. If you think that Dreamweaver library / template functions and editable areas are a good, smooth solution - then you'll probably think this is OK. For many, it's a little bit restrictive and non-intuitive, and some users can't really get it to do what they need.

It will do the job it sets out to do, very well: be a lightweight CMS, with easy content edits, and a simple HTML page-based template system. There is a small and helpful community.

Compare CMS - Joomla v Lucid
They are designed to do different jobs, so a comparison is not really appropriate. Lucid attempts to be the most compact PHP-MySQL CMS out there, and probably succeeds: it's claimed that it can even be installed at less than 0.5MB if necessary. It is reasonably simple to use, in addition. Joomla is the biggest and brightest, function-wise, so although the codebase is the same the purpose is way different. Everything about Lucid is compact; it has a small, tight community who will help you get the best out of it. One advantage over Joomla in some circumstances is the ability to load your own HTML page as a template.

LucidCMS - Tech Spec
cms type: lightweight provider-consumer

cost: free
license: OSS (GNU - GPL)

installer includes: core files, 1 visual editor
installation type: remote via web, or on local machine
codebase: PHP, MySQL
server type needed: LAMP, IIS
[an MS server will need PHP and MySQL]
dedicated server needed? no
additional server apps needed: no
database type: MySQL
zip size: 1.8MB [a minimalist version also available]
# of plugins available (estimate): 50

CMS- MadeSimple (CMS-MS)

Does what it says on the box. You can get a decent-looking CMS website up and running in 15 minutes. Load your own HTML page as a template (including layer-based layouts, i.e. divs), add some custom tags, and you're off. Therefore, you can have a nice table-less layout on a modern CMS - and that is something worth applauding, as many other very capable dev teams have failed miserably in that area, since they are still using tables for page architecture at least 5 years after these became obsolete. The custom tag system is better than that provided by some other solutions, and you can even add custom metadata. You could take the view that CMS-MS is an improved version of Lucid; it is similar in some ways but more capable.

The grow-your-own templating system used here will be the answer to many people who can't find exactly what they want in a custom layout elsewhere; and especially for those who want to use art-based and graphic-based layouts that cannot be accommodated on other more restricted CMS.

Very easy to use, very simple (compared to others), enough functions for many users. If you need a narrow-focus CMS, in other words one that majors on basic content provided by one person or team, then it should be ideal for you. That describes the provider-consumer model, as against the portal / community-news type.

Not a big range of plugins yet, but it does what you need in this area. Only a small community at the moment, but bound to grow. Our choice for a basic CMS, and one that has what most clients need: easy DIY content edits. You could have a very simple plain vanilla CMS to go live very quickly, or something more complex that looks 'busy' if you want, with a little more work.

In our opinion this CMS has the biggest potential of any of the 'young' apps for growth, and when it catches on it should go like a rocket. Hard to say if it will ever reach Joomla-size, but it certainly has plenty of potential. This could be a good choice for a basic CMS. We can't comment on its potential max page number size or anything like that because the background isn't there; watch this space.

Documentation: don't ask! At least CMS-MS is so straightforward that you shouldn't have too many problems with configs; and if you can code a site or run Dreamweaver then adapting to this will be no problem. Total non-techies can do it, after all. The forum is good, so you will always find someone to help you out.

If you are a PHP developer - or would like to get into that - then I suggest you go play with this one. This is a young project, in its third year of development perhaps, and with a ton of potential.

Here's an example:

CMS-MadeSimple - Tech Spec
cms type: lightweight provider-consumer
cost: free
license: OSS (GNU - GPL)

SkyBlueCanvas CMS

This is an interesting one. It's a lightweight flat-file app, meaning that it doesn't use a MySQL database but instead a text-based file within the application folders. This has several advantages for users of a WCMS of this type: it's much less hassle to set up; it can be used on low-grade hosts who don't offer databases; it can be used on restricted hosts offering just one database which is already in use by a forum or ecommerce app; it will suit IIS Windows servers as long as they have PHP installed; and so on.

If you have a smaller site, especially on a problem server, and don't want to be publishing a giant online magazine with videos etc - then this one looks a good bet.


Micro CMS

There is a good argument that some of the more capable blogging applications can be used as a lightweight CMS. This is a valid point, as long as you don't confuse them with more capable software that is normally used for this purpose. Many users just need a simple and straightforward way to publish their pages, and a publishing tool that works from a database and allows live editing can qualify for the name 'cms' as long as you don't expect it to handle all the jobs a fully-loaded website content management system does.

Because of the increasing frequency with which some of these lightweight publishing tools are called a CMS, we felt it reasonable to include them as long as the clear point is made that you cannot expect them to do the work of a full software package. However, since they often now have the plugin volume that qualifies an application to be used widely for many purposes, the time has come to include them in the discussion. We decided on a new term for this class of small publishing tools and came up with Micro CMS.

It's not our field as if we needed a lightweight tool we'd install a skinny CMS version, which could be expanded later if the demand was there. But the big advantage of these micro tools is that the average user can probably install and run them - not necessarily the case even for the simplest CMS. We use these for blogs but don't really have the background with them to review them fully; they are listed here so that you can go to their central sites and work from there. These are the ones we know to have the capability you need for installing a small publishing tool that performs better than its size might indicate.

Of course, the best known of the micro CMS class by a long way. It now has more plugins than Joomla so you know that features will be well-supported. The size of the application itself has increased by about 50% so that it is now a genuine candidate as a true micro-cms.

In the past, template choice was severely limited, but those days are gone. A WP site can now look like a blog, a homepage website, a CMS, or anything else, most likely.

The install is the fastest and easiest of any dynamic site machinery. And now the backend admin has had a major upgrade, WP really is a great choice for straightforward publishing jobs. But don't make the mistake of thinking it will run just fine as a fully-loaded CMS - it won't. You should be able to figure that out from the size of the installer, at 2MB. Plone installs at 250MB in comparison.

You can have a great-looking basic CMS site with this tool, but you'll find if you try and load it up to look like a high-end Joomla site, the work involved and the issues you'll have are just too much. Use the right tool.

zip installer: 2MB
around 4,500 plugins

Movable Type
Not so well known as WP but looks to have more options for layout variation. Some of the templates are very good. This application starts out with more right to be called a CMS.
zip installer: 4.2MB
around 700 plugins

The least known on this list of Micro CMS but has a very committed development team and looks to be moving along sharply. Very good language support. Worth looking at.
zip installer: 0.4MB
around 600 plugins

Did you find this page useful?
If so, please consider linking to it. Thank you.

PLEASE NOTE: these critiques represent an entirely personal opinion. They are personal reviews. There are some negative views expressed here that are one person's opinion and may be entirely wrong. There are positive opinions here that may be equally wrong. There are obviously many people who are entirely satisfied with webapps that have been criticised in some way, and you should ask some of them before taking this material at face value. There may also be those who are unsatisfied with CMS apps, or aspects of them, that have been praised.

Web Business Managers