Introduction to cloudinclude - a simple CMS for the cloud


4 min read

cloudinclude is a new and simple CMS being created that brings simplicity to the cloud. It was introduced to us by its developer, Craig Tran.

Here is a video showcasing it's current capabilities:

We decided to take some time to learn a bit more about this platform and how it differentiates itself from similar projects.

Below is the outcome of our chat with lead developer, Craig Tran:

CC: Can you tell us a bit more about your project?

CT: So the general idea behind cloudinclude is to provide web developers/designers an easy way to integrate editable content areas into their existing or new websites. Our aim is to abstract database and server side programming from the end user to make it super simple for someone with just html or javascript knowledge to build content managed websites and at the same time give them 100% flexibility in front end design. We accomplish this by providing the user with a web app interface with one purpose: creating content. Content is added and created with a rich text editor and saved to our database servers and hosted by us in the cloud so that users do not have to set up and configure a MySQL or MSSQL database of their own. So that is one big difference than say WordPress and others that require local server configuration. So if you are a general web designer and are not too comfortable with setting up databases, you don't have to. We also manage all of the database load and scalability.

Once content has been created with us, we provide multiple different ways for the user to access and retrieve their content. The easiest method that we provide the user to retrieve content is via a javascript api library. The library uses JSONP to communicate with our cloud hosted servers to send back content to the user. With the library a designer just makes calls to request content and then can go about doing whatever they please with it on their client side html. So designers are not locked into any design template schemes, they can design their site the way they want to via css and html and cloudinclude is there to serve up content on demand and at their request. So the target here is designers comfortable with javascript coding with no need to possess much server side coding experience. (However, we also currently provide a .NET server side library that allows ASP.NET developers to retrieve content within their .NET applications with support for future server side technologies to come just because we want to cater to more advanced developers as well; php to be next). All content created with cloudinclude will also be accessible via RSS feeds and a REST web service. So we provide the end user with a multitude of ways to access their raw content.

cloudinclude focuses on the content aspect of content management. Unlike some CMS systems, the content you create comes already bundled and integrated into a specific template/layout that you as a designer have to work with to redesign or tweak to get it to look the way you want it to. With cloudinclude you are not locked into any design schema, we just host and serve up the raw content to you and we try to make content as accessible as possible.

CC: What made you decide there was a need for the type of CMS you are bringing to market?

CT: Well my first goal with the product was more out of fulfilling a personal need, at least from my development experience, I haven't been able to work with a CMS that was lightweight enough where all I really wanted was to enable editable areas of content in specific websites I would design for my clients. Most CMS solutions such as say WordPress or Joomla, you have to deal with all the other bells and whistles of the platform that come with it. While I do like those platforms, sometimes it's a bit much.

CC: What about other products such as CushyCMS, etc? They offer the functionality to simply work with pages by making the content editable using embedded tags. What separates your product from theirs?

CT: The main difference between say mine versus CushyCMS is that while that is also lightweight you are still limited in configuring static html pages, at least from what I know with cloudinclude you can still integrate with even server side pages. Lots of product offerings out there like to brand the heck out of their stuff to say hey this is us, but I want to take as backseat of an approach as possible and everything about cloudinclude will always be bare bones and behind the scenes, i would like developers to be able to brand it themselves.

CC: Will your product be commercial or free?

CT: In terms of being free or commercial, I haven't decided yet, just wanted to make a nice utility for people to use.

CC: How far away from an official release are you?

CT: We just opened beta on October 31st. We would like to beta test it for roughly 6 months, so that would put us at about April 2011. But it depends on the initial feedback and what users really would like to push for in terms of features,etc.

CC: Can anyone sign up for the beta? What is the acceptance criteria?

CT: Anyone that is generally interested can sign up for a beta, right now we have set up a request form for people to send us interest and the target audience we are looking for are web designers/graphic designers. We have only sent out invites to designers we currently network with and of course reaching out to people like you who are interested in CMS type technology.

CC: Do you have plans to implement any additional features before public release?

CT: Not at the moment, the core technology is in place, only if there is an overwhelming response from our beta testers to want a specific feature that is not in place will we do that before a public release. I already have a roadmap for what I eventually want to add to it down the road after a public release in terms of new features. The only other minor feature we plan to have before public launch is an additional PHP API library for content access since that is a popular development community. The focus now is on our system for having highly integrable editable content.

CC: Thanks Craig.

Want to learn more or sign up for the beta? Visit cloudinclude.com

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