Which CMS should I use with RapidWeaver?
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Which CMS should I use with RapidWeaver?

Back in 2004, Realmac presented a template based application for building websites. It was quickly adopted by numerous users as it was a simple alternative to DreamWeaver and Co. The templates soon got boring and we were thankful when third party developers began releasing new themes. But then we wanted more freedom. When Stacks became available, we greeted it with open arms. In the meantime, we have freeform frameworks that no longer restrict our creativity, but we're still not happy – many users want their content to be editable online.
Many developers are rushing to make solutions available, but with so many solutions available, which one should you choose?

I tested each of the following systems using Foundation. They all work with the majority of themes.
As usual, I shall not mention prices and I shall keep the descriptions as concise and as unemotional as possible.
Let's begin with the IMHO simplest version…

Sentry was originally developed by Jonathan Head and it's primary release simply allowed stacks to be switched on or off after logging in to a site. When Jonathan withdrew from the RW scene, Will Woodgate took over the majority of his stacks and soon released a new version of Sentry which introduced a complete, if simple, CMS.
Sentry is a suite of four stacks: Sentry Base, Sentry Display, Sentry Edit and Sentry Login.
Deployment is simple – add a Base stack to your homepage, configure the Login details, add Edit stacks to your layout and add the stacks that you wish to be editable into the edit stacks. Just about any text, or image stack will work in combination with Sentry. Once you have added a Login stack to your page, you can publish your site and edit it.
Pros: Extremely simple to add to any RW project. Does not require a DBase setup. Purchase once, use often.
Cons: The code behind Sentry is relatively old and is unlikely to be updated.

Armadillo was also developed by Jonathan Head and is still maintained by him. Armadillo is a suite of nine stacks, three of which are dedicated to blogging (you're on an Armadillo page right now). The other stacks are The Base stack, Link, Menu, Page, Sidebar and Solo Content. The most widely used stacks are without a doubt the blog stacks, which are simple to set up: Just add a Base stack and a blog stack, configure the DBase details, User and Password, add a Login stack and publish.

If you wish to use the Armadillo CMS functionality, you can add Solo Content stacks to your project layout. The Solo Stacks need to be assigned an ID. Once your project is published, you can then add Content to the Armadillo Dashboard which can then be edited directly on the page once the user is logged in.
Armadillo Pages work in a similar fashion: Add an Armadillo Page stack to your Stacks project and add an Armadillo Menu, if needed. Solo Content stacks may be added, but are not essential. Once logged into the Dashboard, you can then then add content to the page and add new pages to your site.
Pros: Relatively simple to set up. Supports multiple blogs. User can add pages. Plain text, rich text or Markdown editor to create content. CSS can be added in the dashboard. Purchase once, use often. Multiple user logins with differing user rights.
Cons: No preview of page content in RW. Depending on your provider the setup can be slightly more complicated than described.

WebYep [WY2] is a CMS solution from Max Fancourt with stacks that were originally produced by Joost of Tsooj Media, but have now been taken over by Will Woodgate. WebYep2 comes in two different flavours: Free and Commercial. The free version includes a RichText editor while the commercial version enables a Redactor editor with built in file and image manager. Other perks are priority support and personalised branding.
WebYep is the oldest CMS available for RW and Version 2 consists of a suite of thirteen stacks – they include the RichText editor stack.
The WY2 stacks will be released very shortly. The free WY2 core is already complete. The beta stacks can be downloaded here. The core here.

The WebYep setup is simple – download, or purchase the core system of your choice from Max's website and upload it to your site's base directory. The only configuration necessary are the user name and password found in the configuration file. Do this before uploading the files to your root directory. The files include an extensive manual, of which I only needed to read two pages.

In your RW project, you can now add the WY2 Assistant stack which enables the CMS and begin adding WY2 stacks to your project. The Assistant stack includes instructions for the RW setup. The main stacks that you will use are the Short and Long Text stacks, the Image stack and, if you purchased Max's commercial version, the RichText stack. You will also want to use the Loop stack which is an extremely powerful stack that allows you to create groups of stacks that the user can edit, duplicate, switch on or off, or delete.
Furthermore, WY2 includes Attachment (allows visitors to download files), Conditional (can be displayed on the live site OR on the admin page), Image Gallery, Login, Markup, Menu which offers a method for users to add dynamic pages to websites. E.G. a list of events. Clicking on an event title would refresh the page and display different content/images. Time Control allows you to define when the contained content is displayed on your page.

In your RW project, you can add the WY2 stacks of your choice and (if you so wish) fill them with dummy content for the RW preview. The dummy content is not published.
Once you have completed your layout and added a Login stack, you can publish your site.

When you log in to your new site, you or your user can very easily edit the content directly on the page by clicking the edit buttons of each WY2 element.
Pros: Extremely simple to add to any RW project. Does not require a DBase setup. Phenomenal Loop stack. Purchase once, use often. Multiple user logins/rights possible.
Cons: No preview of page content in RW.

Go was developed by Nick Cates and is relatively new, so we can expect some updates and perhaps some additions. Go is a suite of four stacks. Go Base, Blog, Content and Lock. Deployment of Go is simple, as is the editing of the published pages.
Drop the Base stack onto a page. Build your page layout and drop in Content stacks. The Content stacks initially contain dummy text. You can edit the dummy text to reflect your content. The edited text will be published. The text can not be replaced with images within RW, but can be swapped for images once your site has been published. Before publishing add a Lock Stack to your page.

To log in to your published page, hit Ctrl+Shift+X and a box pops up asking for your password. The editing interface offers a wide range of tools for text formatting, adding images, slideshows, lightboxes and various iFrames (video, etc.)
Pros: Zero configuration. SImple to use with any RW project. No DBase. Pleasing editing interface.
Cons: Editable images can not be positioned/previewed in RW. One License for each site.

Pulse, just like WY2 consists of a core system and a suite of stacks which are sold separately. Pulse development was taken over by Michael Frankland a few years ago, the stacks were developed by Jannis Rondorf.
The Pulse Core System should be uploaded to your root directory and installed/configured from there. The P5 stacks are a suite of fourteen stacks. Integration, Banner, Block Blog, Delivery, Download, Email List, Form, Gallery, Image, Localiser, Page, Slider and Social. I confess to only having tested the basic stacks. Pulse comes with a 42-page handbook.
The most used Pulse stack is the Block Stack – it links via tags to text/HTML content that is stored on your server e.g. {{block:home/title}}. All other stacks also link via tags to server side content. To save space on your layout page, you can also use HTML stacks to enter the tags. All tags are referenced in the handbook.

To build a site using Pulse, create your layout in RW, drop the Pulse stacks in the applicable places and add tags linking them to content that you have on your server. Once you have published your project, you can log in to your site and will be taken to the Pulse admin page. You now have two options, you can either edit your content by clicking the appropriate links on the admin page, or you can return to your home page where you will find that your content is now within green frames and waiting to be edited live.
Pros: Simple to install; online configuration. Simple to add to any RW project. Does not require a DBase setup. Can be added to any existing site (read handbook). Purchase once, use often.
Cons: No preview of page content in RW.

Easy CMS
Easy CMS was developed by Joe Workman. Easy is a suite of thirteen Admin stacks and five Content stacks: Core, Image, Text, Toggle and Video. It is simple to add to any new RW project. In a similar fashion to some of the above systems, the content stacks are added to your layout and given an ID (macro). There are, however, some differences. With Easy, you build your very own admin page(s) by adding the Admin Core stack and the corresponding admin content stacks to a separate page and giving them the same ID as those on the content pages.

In your web page layout, drop in a Core stack and add an Easy stack (BWD Header, Paragraph and Sections ((possibly more)) stacks are also compatible) for your content and add a macro e.g. %cmsText(t1%) to the stack, or in BWD stacks, simply %t1%. Add the corresponding Admin stack to your admin page and add the same ID/macro to the stack settings. If you have added a text stack, you can choose in the admin settings panel if the stack should be a Hipwig, or a Markdown editor. Once you have completed your site's layout, you can publish the site and edit it – whereby you now have two options: you can either remain in RW and add your content to the admin page(s), or you can log in to the live admin page(s) and add you content there. The content is reflected in both directions without the necessity to republish (unless you have added new stacks in RW). Once again, I must confess that I have not tested Admin stacks such as Number, Debug, or Selectbox.
Pros: No installation/configuration necessary. No DBase. SImple to use with any RW project. Design your own Admin page. Live editing and previewing from within RW without republishing. Buy once, use often.
Cons: None discovered.

Total CMS
Total CMS is Easy's big brother. It arrives with twenty-three Admin stacks and sixteen content stacks ranging from Blog (extremely flexible) to Select Show. In principle, building an editable website with Total is identical to Easy (and just as simple), the difference being that you have many more options and Total enables Dynamic Content. In this case 'dynamic' means that you can write a 'blog' post on an invisible page and, using macros, the post may be published anywhere on the site e.g. a product page, or a recipe page as an article without looking like a blog post. Add a post, or alter an existing post and the page on which it is published is automatically updated. This means that your blog could be a news-outlet, a portfolio, a store, almost anything you want it to be,
Total enables both File Upload and File Download, Ratings, Gallery (Instacks Gallery3 is also compatible), and Date Chooser.
As with Easy, all content is manageable either from within RW, or the via admin page(s) and synchronises in both directions.
For more complicated sites, I recommend adding an Admin page for each published page.
Pros: No installation/configuration necessary. No DBase. SImple to use with any RW project. Multiple blogs possible. Design your own Admin page. Live editing and previewing from within RW without republishing.
Cons: One License per site.

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