Introducing Our Free Open Source Content Management System: B-studio! | BIGBEAT

BLOG

2019.3.11 Column

Introducing Our Free Open Source Content Management System: B-studio!

B-studio
Which CMS, or content management system, does your company use to power your website? WordPress, Drupal, or perhaps Joomla? You might be surprised to find out that the CMS that powers this Bigbeat website is none of those. You are reading this text on a website using a CMS called B-studio. B-studio is actually an open source web platform that was developed right here in Tokyo, Japan by our own Bigbeat staff! As it is free for anybody to download, revise and use, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce it as you may find it a powerful system to manage your own website. You can immediately take it out for a test spin by going to the download page here.

You might be wondering, “Why would a marketing communication company develop their own content management system?” The answer is easy. As mentioned in our earlier blog post about what it takes to manage a successful B2B event, because we specialize in managing the events of dozens of companies annually, there is a need to create and customize websites to handle the external aspects of the event promotion and customized client branding for each specific event. There are content management systems like WordPress that you can customize or event management specific web apps that exist, but we found that none of these met all of the needs of our clients. Therefore, as the leaders in event management in Japan, we made a strategic investment in creating our B-studio open source web platform, which is at the heart of our B-square professional service package for smooth event office management that we offer all of our customers to best manage their events.

Let's now look at some of the features of the B-studio open source web platform.

First of all, for those of you that are familiar with tree panes like you would see in the Explorer app of a PC, you’ll be happy to know that B-studio is built based on tree panes and content panes which makes editing of your website very very easy. Need to rearrange files of your website? You can drag-and-drop them in B-studio just as you would from your PC. Instead of learning how to use a new CMS, B-studio was developed to work around the same type of computer user interface and functions that you are used to using.

B-studio also comes equipped with HTML templates. These B-studio templates contain both a header and a footer section. HTML from the content and editor is then displayed in between the header and footer section. This rational template architecture makes it easy to manage a site by templating sections used across different pages within a site or multiple sites. One of the cool aspects of the HTML templates is that you can create additional templates of sub-headers and sub-footers within the templates. You can picture it as each template displaying content in the following order: 

1. Global header HTML
2. Sub-header HTML, 
3. Main Content
4. Sub-footer HTML
5. Global footer HTML

The same hierarchical organization can be applied to not only HTML but also to style sheets. For example you can easily apply CSS to all pages using a global template. You can imagine how efficient and flexible web development can be using our B-studio CMS.

The heart of a content management system is actually managing and editing content. B-studio is equipped with a content editor that includes a native HTML editor, a visual editor, a CSS Editor, and even a PHP editor. No matter which way you will edit your content, B-studio will allow you to do so efficiently. The HTML editor is complete with syntax highlighting, code folding, and more features. You can also use the same sort of shortcut keys in the HTML editor that you're used to using on a computer, such as control-S to save, control-C to copy, control-V to paste, etc. We mentioned that there are many ways to edit content because B-studio divides editing functions according to the content type. For instance, you would use the HTML editor for layout changes, but you would use the visual editor to replace visual images. Of course, the PHP editor will allow you to manage and control webpage dynamics. 

Another cool feature of the B-studio CMS is it's resource manager. The resource manager is used to manage all of the images and files used on the website, which are organized and readily available as if you were searching for a file on your computer because all resources saved on the server are organized hierarchically. Resource management operations can be done the same way that you use a computer, by using right click to access a pop-up menu, drag and drop to move a file, use the native delete key in your computer to delete resources, etc. What is unique about this resource manager is that even JavaScript files such as jQuery can also be uploaded and used just like ordinary websites. Of course, Javascript files that are uploaded to the server can also be easily edited just by double-clicking to open the editor in a new window.

No CMS would be complete without widgets, and B-studio also allows you to create content that can be easily shared across multiple Pages using widgets. The B-studio widget architecture allows you to save them in a combination of HTML, CSS, and PHP.

One of the other cool features of B-studio is that it has a sophisticated version management tool. Instead of having to build a separate development site on a test server, you can easily switch between published and work in progress versions allowing developer to review revisions as if they were published live but only visible to them. All aspects of previous versions, not only HTML but also CSS, PHP, image files, and JavaScript are available even if they have been overwritten in subsequent versions. Once you're ready to go live with your new version, you can immediately publish it or even schedule it to publish at a later date and time.

We are proud to share our experience in developing websites for our clients by allowing anybody to download our free open-source B-studio web platform. The latest version has a few system requirements, such as Apache 2.0 or higher with mod_rewrite capability and PHP 5.3 or higher. It also requires the modules mbstring, ZipArchive, and GDlibrary. An additional requirement is MySQL 5.1.7 or higher. Outside of that, B-studio currently supports a wide variety of web browsers for admin use such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Internet Explorer version 10 and 11.


We hope that you someday become a customer of Bigbeat, but even if we can't help you with your B2B marketing or event management, we do hope we can help you by providing you this free website platform. Please proceed to the download page by clicking here. Once you have your live website deployed, please let us know by sharing your experience with us!

Takao Nishida, Bigbeat's system engineer and creator of B-studio