Yes, you are reading this on a dasBlog site and I love dasBlog, but I spent the Christmas holiday playing with the public beta of Graffiti and I really do think they have nailed it for a lightweight CMS/blogging system.
Out of the box, it is really simple to use, but don’t let it’s simplicity fool you. It is so customizable on two levels. For any end user, the widgets are fabulous and take no braincells to use. For those adept in CSS and HTML, the themes can be customized very deeply. The macros expose gobs of functionality and the views are really easy to leverage. I was able to give the site my own look by starting with one of the available themes, then replacing most of the image files that are used in the theme.
I believe that in using Graffiti, I’m getting a really good taste of either MVP or MVC here.
Also, the fact that you can just plop in an Access database (default) or other database without having to set up SQL Server if you don’t want to is a big advantage. This closes the gap between one of the important features of dasBlog – all of the content is stored in files so there’s no need to deal with SQL Server – and something like Community Server which requires a database. However, my blog is now made of up over 1300 separate xml files. This definitely makes me nervous. In fact, I looked at CS first, but was stopped by the fact that you have to host the database independently. I didn’t see a way to just add the tables and other elements into my existing hosted database.
I’ve been building something that is not even going to be used as a blog, but a mini-site where I can aggregate some particular blog posts and other content.
One tip regarding the Access database I can share is this. If you want to test Graffiti out locally and you are using Vista, there are a show-stopper issues with permissions to MDB files in IIS7. I spent hours trying to get around it and finally gave up. I was able to open and run it in VS2008 using the web development server instead. When I FTPd everything to my webhost (which means IIS6) there were no problems at all using the Access file. I ended up doing 98% of my customization on the hosted site anyway.
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