Whenever a content management system first appears on my screen, I always look at whether the developers' initial claims are true. In this case, I'm looking at Microweber and its claim that their software offers a "new generation" CMS with "cool features and innovative concepts". Given that most of the software development in Microweber CMS is recent, from 2012 to present, the goals and claims are ambitious. Impressively, the CMS has already been translated into seven languages so far by its contributors. As word about this CMS beings to spread globally, it's time to dig a little deeper into Microweber.
Microweber's tagline for their content management system is "a CMS that lets you Drag & Drop with Live Edit feature". What makes Microweber interesting is that while a number of CMSs we have reviewed integrated these features into their CMS, Microweber is so new that the "next generation" features are being built into the software from the ground up. In other words, there is no legacy requirements for Microweber to overcome so they're able to embrace innovation without consequence. This is something established CMSs, open source or proprietary, rarely have the luxury to do.
As an open source advocate, I find it intriguing when I discover a new open source project that has the potential of being the next Drupal, Joomla, or even WordPress. It's way too early to tell what Microweber's chances are for being the next "big thing" in open source content management, but I believe they have just as good a chance as any if not more. I can't help and ask what would the "Big 3" be like if their software communities had started development in 2014 instead of almost a decade ago? That's a "what if" question that I believe Microweber has to the potential to answer if they can manage and grow their open source community properly.
Microweber does what any other Web content management systems does, allows the user to create a website, blog, or internet shop via the default theme of Microweber. My understanding is the Microweber team is also preparing a whole lot of templates right now so users can customize their sites according to their needs/wants. Again, typical expected minimal offerings we expect in a CMS. However, what isn't always typical is that Microweber utilizes innovative Drag & Drop technology when creating content, uploading images, embedding videos or other tasks. Users can arrange elements with just a click of the mouse, dragging and dropping them across the screen. Features that I've seen in mature and evolved CMSs, mostly proprietary, but rarely have I seen from such open source projects this new.
The flagship feature for Microweber is its ability to allow the user to write and edit in real time. This feature lets you manage the site content without the use of an administrative panel but instead going “live” on the site interface itself. In addition, there are different modules and layouts that offer rich customization in the pursuit of crafting the most suitable website. While you can see how this is done in the above video, this is the part where I encourage you to take a look at the demo, find a page to edit, and then seek out the "Go Live edit" button.
The ability for real-time editing is offered in a number of products, but Microweber appears to be more seamless in its workflow and performance is better than most CMSs I've worked with. Again, I think this has to do with the fact that Microweber has less legacy issues of keeping "old ways" as it introduces "new ways" of doing content management. Microweber has a lot less baggage to carry and this is an advantage when providing users with a new live editor.
Microweber can also be used as an e-commerce platform. The user can upload his products, pictures and videos, set pricing and shipping costs, customize his products using custom fields (size, colors, everything needed) and track his orders and payments.
Microweber CMS is still going through a lot of development and currently is only available as a "beta", version 0.93. However, if you are familiar with open source software the version number shouldn't stop you from downloading this CMS and giving it a test run. As I mentioned earlier in the article, Microweber reminds me of the early days of WordPress development and there were plenty of us that went live with WordPress months before it went "gold". I'm not saying Microweber is as ready for a production site but it is definitely ready to play in your sandbox.
Microweber is free under the open source Apache License, Version 2.0. To install Microweber you'll need the usual server environment including an Apache web server or IIS, PHP 5.3 or above and MySQL 5 or above.
In their own words, Microweber CMS is aimed specifically at users that lack any technical knowledge and become easily confused by clutter. Personally, I think most real-time live editors rarely meet their goal of making things easier and more usable for their CMS. The workflow change is significant for some of us mere mortals and for good reason there is debate in the content management world of whether these type of content editors enhance or distract the management of content. However, if administrative panels are "dead" and the future is indeed editing "live" as Microweber claims then indeed Microweber is a CMS that deserves our attention. I've seen very few CMSs that does real-time text writing and editing as well as Microweber does.
Microweber will be one of the first CMSs we will be adding into a long overdue refresh of our CMS Focus list. In a market crowded with content management systems, Microweber CMS is one of the few new CMSs that I think deserves our attention to monitor closely. If it isn't already, I would put Microweber on your radar list of web applications to watch.
Bryan Ruby is the owner and editor for CMS Report. He founded CMSReport.com in 2006 on the belief that information technologists, website owners, and web developers desired visiting sites where they could learn about content management systems without the sales pitch. Besides this site, you can follow Bryan at Google+ and Twitter.