Simon Willison’s Weblog

How can my non-tech-savvy Mum maintain her own website?

My answer to How can my non-tech-savvy Mum maintain her own website? on Ask MetaFilter

Here’s a trick I’ve used in the past. Find a simple wiki package (I used Tavi). Install it, twice. Point both installations at the same backend database. Now password protect one of them with .htaccess—that’s the one that gets used to edit her site. Make some simple template modifications to the other one to make it not look like a wiki—remove the edit links (and delete the edit saving code for good measure), configure it to display WikiLinks with spaces in the middle, then add the site’s navigation around the top. This wiki will be the public site.

If you’re even mildly comfortable with PHP the above modifications shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes or so. In return for that time investment you get a top class content management system with (hopefully) simple non-HTML markup and full revision tracking—so your Mum doesn’t have to worry about screwing anything up as she’ll always be able to get back to the old version.

This trick works especially well for sites that have more than one person collaborating on them thanks to the revision tracking, but it should be fine for just one person as well.

This is How can my non-tech-savvy Mum maintain her own website? by Simon Willison, posted on 16th January 2007.

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