No Assumptions, No Hacking

If you’ve ever heard the phrase Content Management System, you might associate it with PHP-based open source products, such as Drupal, Joomla!, Mambo, or Plone. We’re sorry. Working with these products generally means cobbling together pre-built modules to inject content into pre-made design templates. Modules and templates are often very complicated and contain a lot of vendor-specific code. Because of this, building a module or template from scratch is not usually feasible, so most designers choose to make changes by hacking existing code. By basically forcing designers to hack pre-built templates, these products are making assumptions about how your website will look and operate.

Specifically, they tend to assume that the website will work like a blog, with a few other widgets for other types of content. Of course, if you’re actually building a blog-type website, these systems are great (and we have no problem if you go use them). However, if you need to do something different (like build a calendar of concerts, each of which has an associated photo gallery), you’re going to be doing a lot of hacking. And hacking Drupal modules is hard. You have to know PHP, and you have to familiarize yourself with their giant function library and API.

We designed Vae from the ground up to enable web designers to offer their clients an interface to manage any type of content, regardless of how it is organized. We make no assumptions about what your website will do, be, or look like. There are no Vae templates. There are no Vae modules. You will never have to edit code that you did not write. A new Vae website is simply an empty directory, ready for you to add HTML, images, and CSS. Or Flash, PHP, JSON, XML, or any number of other things.

You might be wondering, then, how content is integrated into your HTML code. This is done through VaeML, our awesome content presentation language. VaeML tags go inside your HTML files just like any other HTML tag, and are processed server-side. You can also use PHP anywhere on your site for more advanced processing. But unlike those other CMS solutions, the PHP code will be 100% written by you.

We’ll get into more details on all of this in the coming pages.