Felix Rambles

Another step to taking back control

Weasel CMS: compact, modest, silly

13 January 2019 — Felix Ple┼čoianu

I love crafting microsites by hand. When they click together, results can be uniquely satisfying. But a couple of times I caught myself copy-pasting a small navigation bar into a handful of pages. Which is a sign I'm going the wrong way. By that point, server-side includes are a band-aid: it's time to use a proper CMS.

Trouble is, I have this rule never to use a content management system bigger than the content I expect to put in, and most of them are at least several megabytes in size nowadays. Exceptions are usually the kind that don't have a control panel, thus missing the whole point of, you know, managing content. (Sorry, fluffy. Been there, done that, had to tear up my t-shirt to take it off. There's value in being visual. Coming from me, that means something.)

As it happens, there's an exception: Weasel CMS. Proper review after the cut.

Screenshot of a minimal website with a dark color scheme and elegant two-column design.


At under 300K in size, Weasel isn't going to be a burden on any website. It requires no database server, only PHP, and an old version at that. It only supports a list of static pages, and one user, but that's the idea. On the minus side, it's rather technical: you have to know Markdown and/or HTML to edit your pages with it. Definitely not for everyone. Speaking of which: dear fellow techies, enough Markdown already. There's no shortage of nerdy tools for ourselves. Laypeople need a rich text editor.

Security-wise, the password is stored in plain text in the config file, and there's no sign of a brute-force protection system. At least it's very easy to move the control panel. To wit, index.php looks like this:

<?php

define('CMS_FOLDER', 'weasel-cms/');
require_once CMS_FOLDER . 'weasel.php';

?>

Just rename the folder, write the new name in there and you're all set. While you're at it, also add a call to date_default_timezone_set(), to keep the error log from filling with warnings, not to mention have the correct dates shown.

Otherwise, there's a draft mode for pages, a decent media uploader and a basic RSS feed that's kind of pointless. Weasel can't take plugins, but ships with two themes, and it looks very easy to make more. Documentation is also adequate.

Can't tell you much more before trying to use Weasel for real, but it's definitely worth taking for a spin. You may find that it fills exactly the niche you want.

P.S. Did I mention it's called Weasel? Can't go wrong with a name like that!

Tags: website, software, review

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