Perl Needs a User Friendly CMS

During Lightning Talks at YAPC this year (2014), I stood up and proposed a project: adapt an existing enterprise style CMS (feature complete, mature, but hard to install and not sexy enough) to directly compete with WordPress (easy to install, shiny).

Then I got this amazing piece of email as feedback and just had to share it (with permission, of course):


I agree with your hypothesis about the importance of a CMS (or other popular extendable software) to the introduction of a computing language to novice programmers. I am one of those novice programmers. I enjoyed writing perl plugins to the Movable Type platform, but now MT is no longer open source.

I've checked in on WebGUI every couple of months, and was very excited about version 8. Plack support could be a game-changer, how could development stop now?!

Besides Plack/fastcgi, I also would like to see Postgres support.

Good luck. I hope you reach your funding goal. Let me know if there is any other way I can help.

Rick Bychowski

I previously worked for a few years for the company that made this CMS. It's GPL. I did and still do support in FreeNode #webgui.

Here's the Kickstarter:

It has a large and rabidly loyal user base. Users swear that it's saner, cleaner, and more extensible than WordPress, and it certainly has a better security track record, though one DEFCON presentation on mining commit messages for developers confessing to security problems sidetracked itself with the amusing nonsense in this system's version control history. I was at that talk and that was pretty trippy. Hey, they're talking about us!

Googling for "content management system comparison", this particular CMS ranks highly in most categories and top in some. And it's written in Perl!

Up until somewhat recently, this was actively developed by PlainBlack, but paying clients were more interested in the stable version rather than the modernized Moose-ified, Plack-ified, modernized version:

That left version 8 no longer with a programmer dedicated to developing it, and leaving it in alpha.

I want to work on this full time for six months. I made a lot of progress in my spare time on a curses based installer (supports Debian and CentOS currently; needs OSX support). But more is needed. We need to establish a community development model, get 8 out the door, make it pretty, and make it easy. The Kickstarter page has more details of my exact goals.

I want to see a future where church groups, clubs, small companies, and all of those things sign up for a Pair or Linode account and push a button and have a site that does everything they need -- written in Perl, creating Perl programmers when they go to extend it, and creating Perl jobs when they hire someone else to do so.


This is an awesome thing.


I suspected you were speaking of WebGUI when you made your Lightning Talk, Scott!

I wonder if you are familiar with this very polished Perl CMS: "Big Medium." It never gained a great deal of traction despite a very user-friendly installation process and user's manual; the developer has moved on to other projects. I believe it was designed to be a kind of push-the-button CMS for a church group, to use your example. Perhaps it contains something of interest in terms of features or architecture for a WebGUI 8:

Moxie is based on CGI::Application so it should be relatively easy to add plugins etc.

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user-pic I blog about Perl.