# MultiMarkdown as CMS

09/29/2009 18:34:37

My web site has gone through several iterations, building on blosxom, Oddmuse, and then Movable Type.

As I tried different CMS systems, however, I found that I was intentionally using fewer and fewer features. Instead I was writing a couple of modules myself to add the basic features I needed (primarily MultiMarkdown support).

I finally realized that my Movable Type installation was doing little more than putting a wrapper around my content so that it would look nice, and organizing the entries by calendar month.

When I wanted to update a page, however, I had log into Movable Type, find the right entry, copy the content to a real text editor, edit, copy back, publish the page, and verify. It was fairly cumbersome.

It then occurred to me that I could do this with MultiMarkdown itself. I wrote an XSLT file to put a few SSI commands around my content, and then built a few basic templates that are called in these commands to ensure that every page has the same header, sidebar, and footer.

I wrote a quick perl script to update the calendar archives, put the whole thing in a git repository, and now I can update my web site by pushing to my server.

A side effect is that I had to remove all reliance on cgi for the main site. I previously used MT’s search feature. But it wasn’t actually that good, and now I use a Google Custom Search Engine that is much better and faster.

I can use TextMate to modify multiple pages in my site at once, or to quickly search for any content I want.

The only thing I am really missing at the moment is comments. I am looking for an appropriate solution to allow blending comments with a static site so that I can reinstate that feature.

We’ll see how this goes, but I’m excited.

### Similar Pages

So, I appear to have comments working, as well as math:

${x}^{2}+{y}^{2}=1$

And I think I figured out why I was having trouble with special characters in IE….

Another side benefit. Because I upload the text files to my web server in addition to the html files, you can view the raw MMD source for any page.

Simply add a “.txt” extension to the URL. In the case of viewing a directory, you will need to add “index.txt” since the index.html is hidden from the URL.

e.g. to see the source for

http://fletcherpenney.net/multimarkdown/sample_multimarkdown_document/

go to

http://fletcherpenney.net/multimarkdown/sample_multimarkdown_document/index.txt

Sounds great! Will you be making the CMS avaiable for download?

That’s the thing — there’s nothing to download. Multimarkdown is the CMS. Your entries are stored in text files.

A more detailed description is here.

Test comment with migration of cgi stuff.

THAT’s a great idea+implementation of a practical CMS… I use RapidWeaver for several sites that require loads of css-magic - but I’ve been looking for a simple content-management workflow for my more content-heavy sites. Thanx a lot!!

Glad you found it helpful. I like that it’s actually incredibly simple, yet pretty powerful.

Using plain text and MMD for the main content frees me to only think about the extras I want to add to my site. I prefer it to having to hack on a bunch of plugins for another CMS…