Sep 27 2009

content management system (cms) editor

cushyLogoI have a few clients that want to make minor edits to the content of their websites. Usually these are just pain in the a** edits, so I gladly set them up with a WYSIWYG content management system (CMS). The best online options are 1) design the website using the WordPress engine, or 2) design from scratch and use CushyCMS as the client CMS editor.

I prefer option 2, not only because clients usually announce their intent to edit themselves after the site is designed but (especially) because most clients are digitally-challenged. WordPress can be daunting experience when the site does not incorporate the blog features. They confuse Posts with Pages and get lost in the Tags and Categories. Don’t misunderstand. I love WordPress and have used it for everything from a simple 6-page political campaign site to this blog (which isn’t all that deep, I know).

CushyCMS is easy to set up and easy to use and best of all, it’s free, unless you want to use your own branding instead of Cushy. In that case, it costs $28/month. As a Designer, you will need to register and set up the Site access (FTP) to the website(s) you want to enable for editing. Then, designate the page(s) that may be edited and the provide the email address of the Editor (your client). Your client will be sent a “Welcome to CushyCMS” message and a link to access their website and a list of pages to edit.

To enable editing, each editable element is assigned a class of “cushycms”. This can be an entire <DIV> region or by individual tags. For example:

<div id=”main content” class=”cushycms”>…</div>
<h2 class=”cushycms”>Lorem Ipsum sit Dolor</h2>
<p class=:”cushycms”>Nulla facilisi. In vel sem…</p>

…looks like this in a client edit session:


The edit session is simple and relatively rich. Just as with most other online CMS editors, neither the “Format” menu or the preview will display the styled HTML elements. The edited page must first be uploaded. Some clients find that getting used to the delayed feedback takes awhile.

Images and YouTube video can be either embedded via URL or uploaded. For more precocious clients, styles can be applied to objects. And, of course, there is an option to directly edit code.

This is a unabashed endorsement of a really nice, clean application. Now, if the folks at Cushy would just improve the (sound) quality of the video tutorial on the home page.