Searching For A CMS
The website hosting this essay has been running since 1989; long before most readers were even aware that a World Wide Web even existed; let alone the Internet. Initially, the website was hosted at Cyberus.ca (based in Ottawa, ON); then, after the Canadian Internet Domain Registrar changed their rules about who could own a website, I purchased the rath.ca Internet domain and moved hosting of the website to NightSkyHosting.com (based in Los Angeles, CA). It was trivial for me to move my website from one web-hosting company to another because I had control of the website's content.
For the past several years I have been looking at so-called "content management systems" (CMS) with the hope that I could migrate my current hand-coded website into a fully automated content management system; ideally, one that would allow these opinion-piece posts to be collected into blog to allow readers to comment and provide public feedback. Do-date, my search has been in vain: the primary obstacle I have encountered is that all the content management systems want the website itself to "own" the website's content.
My current setup, with respect to content ownership, is as follows:
Every content management system I have reviewed wants to maintain a single copy of the website; where that copy resides on the Internet-facing server. What I want, is to host the content management database on my own PC (it could be my laptop, or some other computer on my home network), and then periodically publish that content to a website. Ideally, I would like to pull a copy of any reader comments back into my local database; however, that feature is optional. When I host the master copy of the data, I am left in control of that data. Where the master copy resides on a web-hosting company's servers, that company is in control of my data!
For one of the two websites I maintain, http://lvhogue.ca/, I wrote a small content management system of my own; however, that system is not scalable and is specific to that website's content and structure. For this site, I will continue to search for a suitable CMS, in the hope that I will be able to both reduce my workload and create a more user-friendly, interactive, website.
The more time I spend on the Internet and the WWW, the more time spent as part of the open source software community, the more I am confounded by the fact that no one has identified this as a problem and created the necessary application. Even the Free Software Foundation appears to have missed this one particular “need”. After all of Richard Stallman’s rants against the establishment, this oversight surprises me.