Publishing online is easy. Almost anyone can do it, even without paying a cent, thanks to numerous CMS that are available for FREE, I’m sure you are already familiar with WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. These are currently the most popular CMS that is equipped with a set of powerful features.
In this post, however, we are going to take a look at a lesser-known CMS that I think is a good alternative to these big three, called AnchorCMS. It is a lightweight and super-simple blogging platform by Visual Idiot (who is also known with his clever tech-jokes).
The installation process is made simple, but your server needs to at least support PHP 5.3.6+ and MySQL 5.2+ to run AnchorCMS. If you are unsure, you can contact your hosting provider support for more information.
Related: How to Upgrade PHP to Latest Version.
To install, simply go to the URL where you uploaded AnchorCMS, and click on the Run the Installer.
Next, fill in your database name and password, and if you encounter the following error replace the 127.0.0.1 with localhost within the Database Host field.
Next, fill in your website information and create your first account, and you are done. This can probably be done in less than 5 minutes.
As mentioned, AnchorCMS is super simple; it is focused only on publishing. To make it even simpler, it does not provide GUI for marking your content. Instead, you have to write the content in HTML or in Markdown format.
It’s easy to develop themes for AnchorCMS. At least, you should know HTML, CSS, and a bit of PHP, and you will be able to build your own theme (the documentation is quite helpful to help you through). Next time, we will see how to build AnchorCMS themes in more detail.
Additionally, if you prefer, you can also use the ones made by the community. There are a considerable lot of beautiful themes built for AnchorCMS; see AnchorThemes.
Extensions and Plugins
At the time of the writing, AnchorCMS provides two default extensions, Custom Field and Meta Data, which can be accessed through the Extend menu.
this extension allows you to create a custom Page or Post editor. There are four types of fields allowed: HTML, File, Text, and Image.
Using the example of adding File field type, you will be able to upload and add files for your pages or posts. Then, you can call it on the front side using
article_custom_field function within your theme.
Meta data specifies the website information like the Site Name, Site Description, Post Count, Theme selection, etc. — similar to the Settings page in WordPress.
Unfortunately, AnchorCMS has yet to allow for a third-party plugin, but it has plans to support it in the near future.
Rooms for Improvement
I like how AnchorCMS is designed; it’s simple, elegant, and flat. Still, several parts can be improved, and here is one (in my opinion) which is quite essential.
Need a WYSIWYG Editor
The goal of AnchorCMS is to make blogging super simple and beautiful. However, that does not mean it has to sacrifice user experience.
As mentioned, you should write the content in Markdown or HTML format. I can say that not everyone is familiar with these languages (except perhaps for this kid).
It is a very steep learning curve for most users if they have to understand either one of these formats before they are able to publish the content. So, having a WYSIWYG feature, or a WYSIWYG editor on the next release or as a third-party plugin option would be really great.