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Custodian CMS


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What is Custodian CMS

Custodian CMS is a small, light weight, Open-source Content Management System (CMS) distributed for free under the GNU LGPL. It is designed to help website developers build and maintain secure, multilingual, Search Engine Optimized (SEO) websites, quickly and easily. It comes with admin level privilege controls, a language configuration center, an image upload/repository and multilingual content management.

The word 'custodian' is defined by as 'A person entrusted with guarding or maintaining a property; caretaker.' and this suits the definition of the Custodian CMS very well.

Custodian CMS will not attempt to take the jobs or responsibility of actually building websites from real developers by bloating its basecode with tons of automated features. As of 2013-06-03, v0.1 was less then 100K in size, not including graphics, and the goal is to keep it as lightweight as possible.

Why Build Custodian CMS

The main reason for building Custodian CMS was to help designers and developers easily build multi-lingual websites using one domain and a single set of templates.

The traditional way of dealing with websites available in multiple languages was either build them under alternate sub-domains or stick them in alternate folders, which often meant doubling up on templates for every language supported. We wanted Custodian CMS to automatically determine a visitors language preference, output available UTF-8 encoded content and do it all in a single set of SEOed templates using nothing more then a tiny replacement tag.

This tag could be used to display specific UTF-8 encoded content in an unlimited number of languages.
e.g.: {CCMS_DB:about_us_page,first_paragraph}

The other major issue all other CMS systems seem to over-looked is the handling of multi-lingual images. How many websites have you seen with text in their graphics? Travel websites, gaming websites, banner advertisements and especially websites in far East countries like Korea and Japan. More often then not, sites that contain multi-lingual content rarely display graphics with text in more then one language. Because one of the first thing Custodian CMS does is automatically determine a visitors language preference all the data required to easily swap one image for another, based on browser language codes hard-coded into an images naming convention, is easy and fast.


  1. Take care of all the basic security needs via modern .htaccess, PHP Data Objects (PDO) and preg_match/preg_replace filtering security practices.
  2. Make it UTF-8 compatible.
  3. Setup a simple framework for the storage of templates, graphics, library files and an easy way to access them.
  4. PHP v5.1.0+, MySQL v3+ and a place to host your templates is all that you should need to get started. Additional library's such as PEAR or PECL should not be required to run. ( If you choose to use outside libraries to extend aspects of your own copy of Custodian CMS that is fine. )
  5. It should work primarily with SEO friendly URIs designed to include user specified browser language preferences to help drive output. If not specified it should automatically determine these values for you.
  6. It should be able to insert database content of the preferred language specified with a simple CCMS_DB tag. If content for the language specified is not available it should automatically output content based on the default site language specified by the websites admin.
  7. It should be able to call functions found in library files located in the /ccmslib folder with a simple CCMS_LIB tag.
  8. It should be able to insert templates located in the /ccmstpl folder into each other with a simple CCMS_TPL tag.

How Does it Work

Custodian CMS Simple Flowchart
  1. A user clicks on or types in an SEO friendly URI directed at any page located in a Custodian CMS maintained website.
  2. The server modifies the SEO friendly URI into a server friendly URI and passes it to /index.php.
  3. /index.php loads configuration and library files then calls the /ccmspre/index.php template to look for the user requested page.
  4. If the page is located it is scanned for CCMS tags which indicate areas of data replacement.
  5. CCMS_DB tags search the database for content.
  6. CCMS_LIB tags search for custom written function calls in the /ccmslib/ directory.
  7. CCMS_TPL tags inject HTML snippets like headers and footers which may be located anywhere in the /ccms_tpl dir.
  8. Everything is reassembled and submitted to the user.

For a more detailed breakdown of this process see the Flowchart.

Beyond its features, this website is a community of helpful users providing insights and code examples on a variety of subjects related to the use of .htaccess files, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, PHP Data Objects (PDO) for database connectivity, CSS boilerplates for responsive design, general HTML5 website development techniques and much more. Under the Hood

Thumbs UpJust in-case anyone was wondering, the website has actually been running on Custodian CMS since 2013-02-01. Everything you see on this site was, until 2013-05-28, running on CCMS_LIB, CCMS_TPL and 2-3 hardcoded database calls. The CCMS_DB tag was not enabled until after that date. Not too bad eh?

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(10 minutes from Vancouver)

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