[thelist] Moving clients to CMS

Bill Moseley moseley at hank.org
Wed Sep 6 17:44:31 CDT 2006

Here's a bit of an open-ended question.

I'm working with a very small .org where they have three or four people
that manage their site's content.  I'm trying to come up with a
*simple* and reasonably non-techie way for them to better manage their
content that doesn't cost much and doesn't require a sysadmin.

Currently they manage the live files by ftp-ing them in and out of
their document root.  As a result there's a ton of this:

    $wc -lc newstuff.html 
       0 9037 newstuff.html

That's 9037 bytes and zero lines.  Not to mention file encodings are all
mixed up between 8859-1, Windows 125x, and utf8 encodings.

They have a dedicated linux server, but the people managing
the content use Mac and Windows and that's about as close as they
ever get to the shell.

They have all been sharing a single unix account using sftp (and I
just found out ftp) to update their site's content.

Unfortunately, that same account is used to manage the server
(web-based control panel and sudo access) and the person using
plain-text ftp is using wireless at cafes for access ("hack me!").

First step is to get them all using their own accounts and get
plain-text ftp disabled for any account with shell access.

Options to manage the content range from:

1) make them all part of a unix group that has access to the content
and let them sftp as they have been doing.  Very little training
required, but no revision control and still updating live content.

2) put their content under revision control (subversion) and have
them use GUI clients on their machines and checkout the site to their
own machines.  This is what I'd do, but I've never used a GUI-based
subversion client (I don't find svn co and svn ci that hard to type).

3) skip the GUI clients and use subversion to checkout copies in their
own accounts and then let them sftp and then svn co, svn up, etc. on
their shell accounts.  Na, I'll bet only one of them has any shell

4) convince them to install a real cms.  Although, they already have
an application server that serves the content, so they only need a
way to manage the content.

Anyone have experience with gui-subversion clients?  Anything that's
Mac and Windows?

What would you suggest to this organization?


Bill Moseley
moseley at hank.org

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