Spud Engine Rapidly Becoming a Full-featured Site Management Tool

Posted by David Estes on May 26, 2012

It's been a few months of work, but the results are astounding. Spud is a full-featured site management tool developed by Redwind Software and Westlake Design as an open source solution based on experiences with web development and customer interaction. Spud's main goals were to create a modular (adaptable), easy-to-use (customer centric), blazingly fast, and reliable site management system (Content Management, Blog Management, and more).

The Problem with CMS Engines

CMS engines are all over the place in all sorts of languages. The goal of a cms is to allow a user who knows nothing, or little, about web development to update their site content, and keep their visitors informed with blog posts, or news posts. Some of the most popular/famous CMS engines include, Wordpress, Drupal, and Expression Engine. All of which written in a language that has been saturated with security holes, and bad programming practices (PHP). But, that is another topic in general. PHP does have one great advantage though, it's easy to get your site setup and going rapidly. This is a result of most major web hosting companies supporting php right out of the gate as it is an older language.

Let's look at Wordpress for a second. Wordpress is one of the easier of the CMS engines to use, full-featured, themable, and frequently updated. It has a large community of both users and developers. But it completey assumes too much about how your website is structured. Sure it can be customized to fit the needs of most web site designs, but at a high degree of difficulty. What makes it worse is when there is an update available, you risk breaking the site running it because of it's heavy use of plugins. Wordpress requires a lot of plugins to be used for a great web-site. Some are for Search Engine Optimization, some are for contact forms. A base wordpress install needs a lot of plugins to optimize it to fit a customers needs and to scale for high demand websites.

Almost all CMS engines have these types of problems. They may be easy to use, but are slow, inefficient, and/or easy to break. They may be a pain to use, but have better scaling, and better upgrade paths.


Why is Spud Better?

Right at the beginnning, Spud tried to split up the different features of a CMS engine into modules. Not every web-site built needs a blog, and not every site built needs a CMS engine for that matter. This is why we call Spud a "Site Management System". It starts out by providing a consistent, easy to use administration panel, user management, and permissions. We call this "Spud Core". It is built on a tested and proven framework called "Ruby On Rails". By splitting these modules up into separate pieces, we can focus on each one and make it the best it can be. Spud CMS, has all the features you would need out of a CMS engine. It contains templates, pages, menus, and more. Even better, it is already fully optimized for Search Engine Optimization and scalability via caching. By focusing on performance, Spud has become a screemingly fast web engine (< 60ms page load times).

Another great feature of Spud is it's extensibility. It's very easy for a developer to add modules to spud, reskin the administrative panel, or whatever it is they want to do. As of the time of this article some of the spud modules include:

  • Spud CMS (Content Management)
  • Spud Media (Media management / image upload / protected files)
  • Spud Blog (Blog Posts, News Posts, Categories, and filters)
  • Spud Inquiries ( Inquiry / Contact Management, and form builder)
  • Spud Search (Base search engine for searching content on your site)
  • Spud Photos (Manage photo galleries, albums, and easily upload photos with drag and drop).

This is just the beginning and improvements are constantly being made to these modules...Event management is on the way as well as e-Commerce built right into one, easy to use, administrative panel.


Want to see spud in action? Visit the demo site (http://spud-demo.redwindsw.com) and look around. Check out the portfolio to see some of the sites already using Spud and loving it.