Cloud Connected

Alpaca 1.0.3 Released!

We’re pleased to announce the release of Alpaca Web Forms 1.0.3 for jQuery, jQuery UI and jQuery Mobile.

Alpaca is an open-source project that provides an easy way to render web forms using JSON schema. It consists of a jQuery plugin and provides a nice abstraction so that you can change form layouts, validation logic and presentation with simple changes to JSON.

Alpaca provides the web forms capabilities for Cloud CMS - The Cloud Content Management Platform for the Enterprise.

This release includes a number of bug fixes and new features. These fixes and features are described more fully below.

Easier to Build

Alpaca 1.0.3 includes a new build structure that is lightweight and easier to work with. Everything is now fully-driven by Ant and all of the source files are completely intact without any build or compilation step. This mean that you can quickly test changes to core files by simply launching a web server and mounting the source.

AMD Modules

Alpaca 1.0.3 also includes optional support for AMD (Asynchronous Module Definitions). This makes Alpaca compatible with RequireJS, Curl and other AMD loaders.

Alpaca now features a wrapper around its code that detects the presence of an AMD environment. This is similar to how jQuery and others now do it. If AMD is available, Alpaca will define the “alpaca” module.

Cloud CMS hosts its AMD modules, including Alpaca, online here:

What’s New

Alpaca 1.0.3 has a number of new features and fixes.

  1. Previewing of Form ahead of commit
  2. Arrays now support custom labels on Item move, add and remove
  3. Multi-select of array data
  4. Array name field now properly calculated
  5. Improvements to Mobile UI layout and rendering
  6. Improved JSON formatting via JSON editor
  7. WYSIWYG validation now properly fires
  8. Support for read-only arrays
  9. Easier programmatic access to buttons on rendered form
  10. Addition of DateTime field
  11. Improved support for EventListeners
  12. More Sample Code
  13. Sample Login Form
  14. Lazy Loading of Field Values
  15. Examples of Form Previews
  16. How to use DateTime Control

We encourage our community to check out Alpaca 1.0.3! You can download Alpaca by visiting our web site at

For code-level information on these bug fixes and new features, please visit our GitHub project at

Easy apps with Cloud CMS and Node.js

As we continue to enhance Cloud CMS, one of the directions that we’re pushing in is toward the application layer.  We intend to offer increasingly more out-of-the-box applications for content authoring, curation and publishing aimed at marketing users.  These applications need to be easy-to-use.  They need to address the most common cases that our customers are asking for out-of-the-box.  However, they also need to be easily extensible so that these same customers can take our apps and quickly customize and tweak them.

To do so, we will be introducing the Cloud CMS hosted application services.  These consists of one-click deployment of pre-built and customized applications to the Cloud CMS hosted application servers.  Once hosted, your apps will be available at your platform’s URL just like they currently are.  For example, you might deploy a newspaper application to a URL like this:

Cloud CMS will support a few variations on these domains as well as fully support external domain name servers for full control of the DNS to your liking.

With the introduction of these services, we will also lay the ground work for deployment to third-party hosting like Heroku, Engine Yard and on-premise.  Our belief is that there are already well-established hosting options.  Our aspiration in providing our own is simply to make it easier for our customers to get something up and running with as few steps as possible. However, the produced apps could be hosted anywhere. They’re fully contained and do not depend on our infrastructure.

Node.js as an Application Server

We’re able to accomplish all of this because of Node.js and its flexibility of deployment within the application server tier. Node.js is very impressive. Today, we are using it to provide application server support to customer applications. You can essentially think of Cloud CMS as a Content Database with all kinds of magnificent features. Node.js provides the custom server-side controllers and business logic for your app. It provides a place where your app can call back to for information.

Visually, it looks a little like this:

We continue to allow you to build your mobile applications using any framework or native environment you’d like. We support iOS, Android as well as many HTML5 and JavaScript frameworks including jQuery, jQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch, Dojo, PhoneGap and Appcelerator Titanium.

One of the strengths of Cloud CMS is that our content is 100% JSON through and through. We’re also fully dynamic and believe that you should be able to build new content and surface it into applications without server restarts or lots of IT involvement. After all, the less IT needs to be involved, the more your business can benefit from being nimble, responsive and cost-effective.

Node.js lets us accomplish all of this. With the click of a “publish” button, we can spin up your Node.js instance (or multiple instances for redundancy and failover) and dynamically configure it using Node’s Packaged Modules management. We can bring your Node.js application services online along with your web server and have everything up and running in only a few seconds.

By utilizing Node.js as an application server, we’re able to provide our default Cloud CMS REST API through OAuth2 (just as before) while also making it very easy for developers to extend the API as they wish. We believe, for example, that a mobile application should only need to make 1 (yes one) call per page in order to acquire the data needed to render. Not only are load times slow but you’re also burning on the battery, so it’s better to reduce things down to a single call. That’s often (read: always) going to be a problem if you have to jam together lots of different APIs into your client-side app. Our Node.js application server will let you customize your own REST API and do all the heavy lifting off the device.

There are a number of great features with this launch including GitHub integration (for automatic code checkout and deployment) and a new launch of our Ratchet and Alpaca frameworks which now fully support Node.js as NPM modules and are also calibrated to the Twitter Bootstrap UI library. In future videos, we’ll show you how ridiculously easy it is to build great HTML5 apps using just a few command line calls.

The very best thing about all of this flexibility in design is that it lets us put more and more power into the hands of the marketer - the business user who is using one of our content authoring or curation apps. Now when they click “create app”, it isn’t some sort of conceptual exercise. They’re actually building an app, bringing it online and seeing the results. With no coding, no server restarts, no IT duty cycle and no pain.

All of this is coming very soon and we’re very excited about it. Stay tuned!

Interested in learning more? We’d love to hear from you. In addition, we want to invite you to sign up for a free trial and give our platform a spin. We think you’ll love it.

5 Reasons why Cloud CMS is Totally Awesome

Cloud CMS is the only Content Management System that was built from the ground up for the needs of mobile devices and applications.  Our goal is to provide the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective way for businesses to curate and deliver content to their applications, running anywhere in the world, in any language and at any time.

In the last article, I talked about the general lack of mobile strategy within the business world.  Mobile apps are so new that most businesses have had to react to get something/anything out quickly.  As a result, there are a lot silo and standalone applications out there.  There are some disadvantages to this:

  • The cost of building standalone applications is paid in full.  Ideally, the cost of building the “next” application is lower or incremental provided that you’ve utilized a good technology and content platform.

  • The correlation of marketing information from one app to the next is low.  They often have different data stores, different data models and so any data collection is highly manual and costly.  Thus, there is lower value to marketing.  And almost no real-time value.

  • There is poor content reuse between apps.  The content you build for application #1 may not be deployable to application #2.  Or, to do so would require additional integration costs (data conversions, copying, etc).

  • The back-end infrastructure and authoring tools need to be rebuilt each time.  For example, the approval process for new content needs to be replicated and reimplemented each time.

If you find yourself in this situation, then chances are that Cloud CMS is a good fit for your business.

With Cloud CMS, we give you the authoring and publishing tools you need so that you can just plug right into your existing apps and go.  Our authoring tools let you control the full content lifecycle from creation through approval and publication out to one or multiple applications or channels.

We are unique in our ability to do this.  By going back to the drawing board several years ago, we sought to build a CMS for Mobile which worked really well, kept costs low and simply got the job done.

Here are 5 reasons why Cloud CMS is totally awesome:

No Coding

With Cloud CMS, you don’t have to hire developers or write Java/C#/PHP classes to extend your platform.  Things are just easier.  You don’t have to traverse an endless number of XML files or pull your hair out trying to customize the user interface.

Alpaca Forms for jQuery

Our platform is entirely built using JSON and JSON schema for content modeling.  We use the jQuery Alpaca Forms engine so that your forms are clean,crisp and instantly adjustable by anyone.  We also provide a forms builder so that building new content types is a visual pleasure.  Drag and drop.  Click and deploy.

No Restarts

Cloud CMS lets you deploy your content without server restarts.  In fact, you don’t have to worry about servers at all.  We handle all of the IT infrastructure for you.  You just click on the “publish” button to deploy your content, your UI changes, your new content type definitions and much more.  Everything is completely dynamic.

We want you to think about your content.  Think about your end user.  Don’t waste your time suffering through the technical nightmare of legacy CMS systems.

No Schema Required

You can toss any kind of content you want into Cloud CMS.  Drag and drop it in.  Or create some JSON and plug in any properties you want.  Cloud CMS will deal with it.  It’ll index everything for full-text search and instant query.  It’ll extract text from your PDFs, images and Word documents so you can quickly find things.

No headaches.  You don’t have to worry about managing schemas.  Cloud CMS can be used in a completely painless, schema-free way.  Why?  Because we are all-in on JSON.  From the REST controllers through to the database.  We use MongoDB as our JSON data store under the hood.  So we’re lean.  Speedy.  And ideally suited for mobile.

Of course, we do have schema support.  You can elect to introduce it anytime you want.  You simply model your types, properties, constraints, validation logic and even cross-cutting aspects using JSON and JSON Schema.  You can plug in custom behaviors for your content with server-side JavaScript.  It’s all at your leisure.

In a nutshell, we don’t force you to know 100% of everything about your system up front and then penalize you when you need to make changes.  After all, there are new content sources and new schemas every day.  Yes, life moves pretty fast.

Curate and Collaborate

Last century, the main idea with Content Management Systems was to “push” content from the business out the consumers.  Well, all of that has changed.  Today, the consumers “pull” the content they want down onto their mobile devices.  They choose what apps to install, what to read, and so forth.

Oh, and they also write.  A lot.  The so-called consumer is no longer listening.  They’re talking.

In Cloud CMS, curation is the process by which content originated from outside the business is brought in, cleaned up, rejected or approved, put to use and acted upon.  Cloud CMS lets you pull in content from a variety of third-party sources including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, GitHub, Vimeo, YouTube, Quora and SalesForce.

You might, for example, set up an ingestion process that queries for Tweets around a specific topic.  They get pulled in and Cloud CMS rules run on top of them, filtering for, say, a certain zip code or demographic.  Any matches are routed to your team via workflow so that you can manage the process.  You take action.  You might write to those authors, invite them to collaborate alongside you, or use their information to produce your own content that you then publish out.

Cloud CMS lets you collaborate with the world.  We turn CMS upside down and displace the assumption that those who know best are working for you.  They probably aren’t.  They’re somewhere out there.  Cloud CMS lets you collaborate with them to produce better content for a better application experience.

Publish to your Apps

Cloud CMS provides all of the infrastructure needed to power your mobile applications.  We are a fully-loaded Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) complete with pre-integrated CMS, user/group management, real-time analytics, personalization, backup/restore and much more.

As such, within the Cloud CMS authoring experience, we let you pick from the mobile applications you’ve configured and deploy to them by clicking “Publish”.  Your content is routed into delivery channels and made available to the selected mobile apps.

As those mobile applications are used, real-time information flows back into Cloud CMS to inform you of the user experience.  What content is working?  How are people experiencing your content within the applications?  What leads are being generated and how are user sessions flowing within your business, app by app?

In addition, Cloud CMS lets you connect to a variety of third-party systems including Twitter, Facebook, GitHub, Vimeo, YouTube, Quora and SalesForce.  This lets you publish your content out to where the users are.  Into the right communities and into the right audiences.

All with the click of a button.

Get Started

We invite you to visit our web site and take a look at Cloud CMS today.  Sign up for a free trial or register for our Newsletter.

Keep your eye on this space for more exciting news!