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Where are the offline content management systems?

April 29, 2018

There's plenty of content management systems out there: Drupal, Joomla, Typo3, WordPress, just to name a few. From a technical point of view, they all work in similar ways: They are installed on a webserver with a database, and afterwards the content is managed through a backend, which is accessible through the browser.

For many situations those systems are good choices. But, when the website has no interactive content, it's just not necessary. There are many websites out there that could've been built with a static website generator and then uploaded to a web server. Advantages of this approach is the better performance, easier server configuration (all that's needed is a simple web sever, serving the static files) and improved security. CMS frequently have security issues, some more severe than others, which can lead to them getting compromised. The internet would be a better place without all of these hacked WordPress sites that often serve as spam bots or spread malware through injected content.

But, when looking at the available options out there to create static websites, things look rather bleak. Where are the offline content management systems that do not require coding skills for maintaining the content? A lot of static website generators use Markdown or HTML for adding content. That's fine for programmers, but hardly a suitable choice for users with little tech experience. They want something that is easy to use, which can be managed using a graphical user interface. And the systems that fulfill this requirement often create websites that are rather bloated and have limited themes.

Then, there's lots of website builders that charge a monthly subscription fee and host the content themselves. Those services often make it difficult to migrate to a difference service later on. Usually that would mean rebuilding the website from scratch. They are also not as extensible as some of the other options.

I've also seen some webservices that let you manage the content on their own services, which is then deployed to somewhere else (GitHub for example). Having to pay monthly for nothing but a graphical website builder that doesn't even take care of the hosting seems rather strange.

For my particular needs, all I wanted was something I can install on my computer, is cross platform, and let's me deploy it onto my own server. At the end of the day, I couldn't find a good and easy to use solution for this. Perhaps in the future we will see some interesting projects to fill this gap.asdf

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