Review of CushyCMS


A few days ago, I came upon the CushyCMS website

I’ve tried using WordPress, Drupal, Joomla! and Mambo, and I’m not going to pretend this is better than them all. It’s not, it just meets a different need. Whereas CMSs such as WordPress are great if you want to make a site with a blog, have the ability to add pages, plugins, and change themes, sometimes sites don’t need all that functionality. Maybe on a 5 page site, you just want to be able to let the client change a few words every now and then, so a full-blown CMS can be a little overwhelming.

Here’s how CushyCMS works:

In your HTML file, you define the bits you want to be editable by adding class="cushycms". So a heading could be tagged as <h1 class="cushycms" title="Heading">, and the editable content <div class="cushycms" title="Main Content">…</div>

Trying it out

I thought I’d give it a go with a small project I was working on. It says it is standards compliant, and I had a look at the company that created it to reassure myself. It’s built by Stateless Systems based in Australia and their other projects look quite interesting too: an alternative PDF viewer, a login sharing system to allow people to bypass web registration, and a coupon sharing site.

I created an account, typed in my FTP details, and browsed for the pages I’d given classes. It seemed a little sluggish, but that may have been a slow connection at my end. I would have liked to have been able to assign more than one page at a time, as selecting the file, waiting for it to load, and doing the process again seemed a little monotonous.

Editing Content

The pages I’d assigned displayed in a list with a little edit icon. Clicking on this takes me to a form. There is a field for each of the classes I’d assigned, and the interface looks quite similar to if I were sending an email, which is nice for less technically experienced clients. I guess it could be compared to Contribute which is what I would have considered using instead.

At the moment, I’m labeled as ‘Designer’ in the menu, which I guess is Administrator. I can assign editors to the site, and they get a stripped down version of what I can see. As an editor I can’t add pages, but if I wanted to do that, I would be looking for a more functional CMS.

Assigning Editors

One thing that I wanted to do but couldn’t was to create more than one Administrator. The administrator can assign many websites and editors to their account, but there can only be one administrator to each account. I also can’t make multiple accounts with the same email address, which I suppose is to encourage people to upgrade to a Pro account (which costs $28 a month – around £15). This lets you brand the CMS and have unlimited sites and editors.

The Prognosis

To sum up, I think CushyCMS is a great solution for small sites that don’t need content changed that often, as it gives the client more control. Also, some CMSs make me feel quite restricted in how I design the site. At the moment, I feel like I have to design sites around the CMS, but I prefer to design a site, and have the CMS integrate into it. Maybe being able to do this comes with experience!

I’m tempted to take the plunge to Pro when I have enough of these types of projects to make it worthwhile. I’d really appreciate your opinions on whether you think this is a good solution, or if it will turn my code into scrambled egg.