Blosxom: Lightweight CMS

Who would have thought a 444 line perl script could do so much?

Recently, I began the search for a content management system that met my admittedly simple needs. Basically, all I wanted was some system that would let me add blog-style news posts easily, be easy to install without, for instance, recompiling apache, and give me fairly simple but flexible control over the appearance of the site.

A friend recommended “blosxom,” which, after about ten seconds, was fully installed. I then proceeded to play around with it a bit, and it has been a lot of fun to work with.

The engine itself is a short perl script which lives in your cgi-bin directory. It assembles your page from flavour files (which determine the overall look and layout of the site) and text files containing your content. It’s as simple as that.

The text files making up your entries can be marked up with html, allowing for as much flexibility as if you were making each update by hand. The basic script itself does not include, for instance, support for authorship credit or comments or trackback, but blosxom does have a robust plugin repository to add any missing functions you can imagine.

Categories are determined by the directory structure where you save your entires, so, for instance, if you make a folder called “Music” and then put a text entry in that folder, it will be in the category music. If you have a “beatles” folder inside the music folder, then you will have a music/beatles category. And the date and time of the post are determined by the last modified date of the file (which can be set manually with the touch command, if you need to backdate an entry).

So for a simple site with modest needs, Blosxom deserves a try. And best of all, its both libre (free as in freedom) and gratis (free of cost).

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