Cloud Connected



"I have been searching for a product like Cloud CMS for over 10 years.

After false starts with some typical content management solutions, we were finally able to design the content repository that our business required."
James Baddiley
James Baddiley, CEO
ChilliSauce

Cloud CMS and Two-way Replication

When we designed Cloud CMS, we wanted to give our customers the choice of running the platform both in the cloud and on-premise.  The cloud makes sense for a lot of infrastructure needs but we recognize that some of our customers will want to have their own hosted installation of the platform.

We also wanted to give our customers the ability to push and pull data between their on-premise installations and the cloud platform (whether our public installation or a private cloud the customer runs).  There are times where it’s better to take advantage of the elastic storage and capacity of the cloud and other times where data is better suited to live on-premise.

To achieve this, Cloud CMS offers two-way replication.  It’s very similar to Git in that you can push and pull changes between your local installation and a cloud installation.

To pull, you browse the cloud and find a resource you would like to pull down into a local copy.  You then export that resource into an archive.  And then, on your local installation, you simply import the archive via its URL.  Your local copy of Cloud CMS will download the archive and seamlessly produce a replication of the data on your local instance.

Archives are stored in vaults and basically comprise a snapshot of the data along with all of its dependencies.  Archives are a lot like Maven Artifacts (if you’re familiar with Maven, Ivy, Gradle or other dependency management / build lifecycle tools).  They can contain either all of the data of your export or a partial subset depending on whether you’ve bounded the export by date or changeset IDs (in the case of changeset-versioned branches).

You’re free to work locally on your data and if you choose, at any time, you can push your data back to the cloud.  It’s basically the same operation but in reverse.  You export the archive.  And then, you either pull the archive to the cloud from the local installation or you push it from the local installation to the cloud.  The former is applicable if your local installation is visible from the cloud (depending on your firewall / IT restrictions).  The latter is often more preferable.  But in the end, they accomplish the same thing.

Cloud CMS really looks to Git and Mercurial as examples of great versioning systems that really get it right in terms of being distributed, changeset-driven and replication-friendly.  We didn’t seek to reinvent the wheel but instead opted to give our customers access to some wonderful tools for collaboration which, prior to Cloud CMS, were only available to command-line developers.

Building Applications with Ratchet JS MVC

Over the past few days, I’ve had a chance to delve back into ratchet.js which is a JavaScript MVC framework that I had a hand in building in 2010. By this point, there are a lot of JavaScript MVC frameworks that you can utilize. However, at the time we built it, we were very inspired by sammy.js, backbone.js and knockout.js.

A few points on these libraries:

  • I particularly liked sammy.js for its simplicity. The developers of that library do a great job minimizing the work and also utilized an interesting “chaining” approach during the rendering phase which was inspirational. We really liked the chaining approach and used it in Ratchet as well as our own Cloud CMS JavaScript Driver.
  • Both backbone.js and knockout.js are fantastic frameworks for defining scoped-observable variables in the model. They solve things like how to update content on the page in real-time, build components that listen for update events and pass messages between controls or elements on the site.

We sought to produce an MVC library that gave us the singular foundation that we needed to build really great HTML5 and JavaScript-based applications. Furthermore, we wanted a framework that would be ideal for real-time, cloud-connected applications. Thus, while it’s important to get the foundation bits right in terms of observables, components, templates, routes and so forth, we also felt it was very important to define an asynchronous rendering pipeline that could manage state for the backend, stream content forward and aggregate it into HTML5.

None of that is really too outlandish. A few years ago, for those old enough to recall (not that it was that long ago), everyone was crazy about mashups. The basic idea behind mashups was that content would be sourced from other locations and presented singularly. That idea hasn’t gone away and with the explosion of cloud-based services including Cloud CMS for all of your content and application services, we think its high time that a JS framework was built to address that need.

So that’s where we’re headed going forward. I find it an absolute joy to work with ratchet.js and would recommend to readers that they take a look. It’s a purely open-source project under the Apache 2 license. All of the source code is available on GitHub.

Grand Opening

Today our young company achieved its first major milestone. Today we officially launched our Cloud CMS platform. Today is our grand opening.

On this important day, I want to share with you a conversation that happened a few days ago between me and my mom.

“Son, tell me something about the project that you are working on. Explain to me why you think it will be a success.”, my mom asked.

While I consider my mom to be the most intelligent woman in the world, she has very little knowledge in computer or software.

It was a challenge for me to explain it in such a way that my mom could understand.

“Ma, just think we are builders and running a property management business. Our customers rent space from us while we will take care of their need for wifi, electricity, water, gas, AC etc. We are also their security guards and janitors. We even mow the yard and plow the snow for them.”

“When rent a room, all the plugs are there and they can start to build their own business just the way they want. They might be a department store, a restaurant, a barber shop or even something as small as a lemonade stand.”

“They will only pay for the utilities and the space they rent. If they need more space or plugs, they can have them right the way. When they don’t need them, they won’t need to pay for them.”

“Since we are experts in constructing buildings, producing high-quality and friendly plugs, and all maintenance work, we can make things very cost effective for our customers and still make a healthy profit. Our customers can then focus on the things that they are good at and leave the utility stuff to us.”
 
“Another really cool thing is that our customers can also sub-lease their space to their own customers. And their customers can enjoy the exact same service as they have. They can bill their own customers any way they wish while we will only charge them based on the reading of their utility meter.”

“This is something that nobody else can provide today.”

My mom seemed to get what I said. She nodded her head and said

“Son, I know you are doing the right thing and I wish for it to be a big success!”

I believe that is what we have produced. It is a unique platform that brings fresh air to the CMS and Cloud space.

I hope you will share our vision and passion and give our Cloud CMS a try.