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ExSite Webware Forum > Comment "ExSite Webware "

ExSite Webware
by Philip Jensen, posted on 10:05 PM, November 19, 2009
Have recently stumbled upon ExSite Webware, and very much like what I see!

It seems well polished, well documented, and well architected. Some aspects of it I like:-
- CGI based, which is good for coding, debugging and avoiding memory leaks emoticon
- But can be accelerated with SpeedyCGI and static pages. Which makes it web server agnostic.
- Written in ... there's-more-than-one-way-to-do-it ... Perl.
- Database agnostic (I typically prefer PostgreSQL).
- Comprehensive access control mechanism.
- Neat administration tool.
- Good set of prebuilt modules.
- Looks like it can be extended with custom built database applications.

I'm now looking at deployment of some websites running this software. So I'm interested to know if anyone else is using it (other than ExSite themselves), and if so are you using tools other than Apache and MySQL?

    Re: ExSite Webware
    by Morgan Burke, posted on 6:40 PM, November 23, 2009
    Thanks for your comments, Philip. We are also interested in finding out who might be using it outside of the official support realm. We know of a few, but this OSS support site is relatively new, and we haven't spent much time "evangelizing" so we honestly don't have much of an idea.

    In the meantime, some of our own answers to your questions:

    In production environments, we always use it with Apache. However, it should run under most CGI-capable webservers, and out of curiosity we have brought it up under other servers, including even IIS on Windows. It is not strongly tied to the webserver itself - it uses only the environment variables to get state, and outputs only a small number of http headers to set state, so in principle it should be fairly portable.

    We distribute it with a MySQL DB driver and tab-delimited text DB driver, but have also used it with PostgreSQL, Sybase SQLanywhere, and Oracle in production environments. However, it has been quite a while since we ran with PostgreSQL as the primary database supporting all the CMS tables, so YMMV. We have noticed that it degrades fairly gracefully with some DB engines, ie. some features may be lost, but basic operation still works.

      Re: ExSite Webware
      by Philip Jensen, posted on 7:16 PM, November 23, 2009
      Are there any plans for a more granular permissioning system, and perhaps groups/roles? Just wondering as this is a requirement for a site I am currently working on where I need to be able to appropriately partition sections of the site for different groups. Or perhaps there is a workaround I have not yet seen.

      Phil J
        Re: ExSite Webware
        by Morgan Burke, posted on 12:30 PM, November 24, 2009
        There is a concept of "group ID" in the system. Since V3, groups have become largely synonymous with sections, so this is by far the easiest way to partition security and access control. See the Understanding Sections article for more info. Using this method, it is quite simple to divide a site into numerous areas with distinct sets of users, administrators, and plugins.

        The system also has some hooks for hacking the basic permissions model. For example, you may have 2 or more groups that need to cohabit the same section, but have different access to different pages. For example, in a society website, you may need to grant partial login access to members in arrears, so that they can get in to pay their dues, but you do not want to give them full access to all the content/apps until they are paid. Or you may want to have some special pages reserved for members who are also on the board of directors or belong to certain committees.

        Because the specific rules tend to vary from organization to organization, ExSite only provides a hook to add your own access control code. The hook is a handler called "page_authorize", which simply returns a true/false value depending on whether the current user is permitted to view the page. See the Handlers section in Introduction to the ExSite Kernel for info on how hooks and handlers work. See ExSite::Page::authorize() for the default access control code.

        The system has a simple role-based workflow feature for administrators, although these are only really used for basic workflow control in the CMS tools. They do not affect access to regular website pages. A more comprehensive roles and workflow system is in the works for V4, but there is no projected release date at this time.
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