REDAXO

Characteristics

Programming language: 

PHP

Initial release: 

2001

Open Source as of: 

2001

License: 

Current major release: 

4

Developers: 

> 4 000

Core contributors: 

~ 10
Last information update: 2013/06

Even though most beginners don‘t have any problems withit, REDAXO was never designed to be an „out of the box“ system, but rather to be a flexible framework for web agencies who want to design individual, fast and easy to use web projects for their customers. Developers can control 100 % of the code output by the system (HTML, Javascript etc.), which also means that the CMS is perfect for accessible, semantic and mobile websites. The administrative interface can also be easily customized to fit any needs.

In comparison to many other content management systems where you have fixed input fields for your content and need to deactivate the ones you do not need, REDAXO modules can be quickly built from scratch. Developers can define the „input“ code of a module, which an editor can then use to edit text, pictures, galleries etc. Subsequently he can steer how this information is displayed as HTML using the „output“ code. Simple modules can be built within minutes.

The demo package only shows a tiny amount of what the system is capable of. It contains only simple modules which can be used as a basis for your own content. Therefore it is not really practical (if possible at all) to write an elaborate manual for editors. Every REDAXO website is individual and the administration interface always looks a little different.

Simple

Modules and templates are tightly coupled. Because the system is tailored to the users‘ needs, editors usually find the system incredibly easy to use. Training can usually be carried out by telephone within an hour. This is also partially due to the highly structured admin interface.

Meta fields

Alongside normal page content elements, such as text, pictures, videos etc., which can be placed underneath each other using the modules described above, there are page-specific data like title tags, or a header picture. This page-specific data can be stored in so-called meta fields and can easily be read out and displayed. Grace to the object-oriented framework, this only takes one line of code. This type of quick extensibility is not often found in other content management systems.

The meta fields are not restricted only to pages/articles, but can also be defined for categories (structure of a REDAXO website) and even for the files uploaded in the media pool. For example, you could easily add a meta field to store the name of the photographer of a specific photo.

Templates and content areas

The main structure of a REDAXO website is defined using templates. It is possible to create several templates to allow different layouts (e. g. one for one-column layouts, one for two columns, one for the home page). Editors can select which template they wish to use when they create a page, as long as they have the correct privileges. An administrator can also define which meta fields or templates are available for certain sections/categories of a site. Templates can also contain columns, or rather content areas, where you can add modules to different parts of a page (column 1, column 2, header, footer etc.)

AddOns

Some types of data are not easily managable using modules, e. g. an address database. For this reason, REDAXO offers an API for the development of AddOns which gives add-on programmers access to many helpful PHP classes and functions that allow quick development of forms, lists, pagination etc. AddOns are not only for content, but can also add new front-end/back-end functionality, such as search, newsletter, versioning, form-editing. With the XFORM-AddOn you can even ‚click together‘ your own interfaces and do not have to write a single line of code.

REDAXO 5

Major version 5 is currently in beta status, with many parts rewritten to improve updatability. Many parts of the system, such as the user management and media administration have been moved out of the core and into addons, which makes the CMS very small. This also has the advantage that updates can contain security measures and even offer features such as rollbacks.

Popular REDAXO websites

For a long time, REDAXO was targeted for use on mid-size websites. This is due to the fact that by default, it does not offer any features for large editorial-teams, for example publication workflows or user rolls. These types of features can be developed, as you can see from large REDAXO-Portals such as Stuttgart Stock Exchange, Mare Magazine, the online bookstore Kommbuch (with a massive, daily synchronized database), or from online real estate sites where all properties can be edited easily.

Alpinist Reinhold Messner‘s website demonstrates that REDAXO is also suitable for aesthetically pleasing websites with minimal HTML Code. Even complicated shops, coupled with enterprise resource management, are possible. Example: Livipur.

The website of the biggest hotel in Austria (Peternhof) is also visually stunning, while the website of Wim Wender‘s cameraman Franz Lustig shows many films. Scheden-Immobilien lets both private users and real-estate agents upload their own contents under different conditions.

Intranets and other use-cases

Because of its open architecture, the system reaches beyond a regular CMS, being used as a central hub for many different applications. For example, there are many REDAXO-based intranets, communitys, login areas etc. A further example is the upcoming project „PROZER“, which is an AddOn-based full-featured agency software used for e-mail communication, project and customer management, calendars, and time tracking. CardDAV and CalDAV integration even allow address databases and calendars to be synchronised with mobile devices.

During the last few years, and with serveral version updates, the developer team has managed to create a very open system which you can easily link with other systems. And it was worth it: REDAXO can be a very solid base for performant web-based applications. However, in order to use the system effectively, a developer should have at least a minimal understanding of PHP, MySQL, HTML and CSS.

Documentation

The official website contains basic documentation and a full reference of the object-oriented framework and system extension points. Beginners‘ tutorials are also available, which cover basic tasks such as navigations, modules, or show and describe specific examples. A community wiki contains many tips and tricks and solutions to common problems. The download area is a good place to find examples, but many experienced developers build up their own module/template collections over time.

The download area contains around 200 AddOns, including some popular ones like a WYSIWYG-Editor, protected areas or a developer AddOn to enable editing of modules/templates in any text editor.

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