Content-Management with Bricolage

We recently launched a new website at work, and an accompanying research library. It doesn’t validate yet, but I’m proud of it. Not just because of the clean design and improved usability, but because of the extremely powerful software that powers it: a practically-unknown content-management system called Bricolage. Update: eWeek published a glowing review of Bricolage.

Bricolage was originally created by the talented David Wheeler, who initially developed it for Salon, and the World Health Organization. He’s currently customizing it for Macworld and submitting his improvements back to the project, along with a steady stream of patches from other active developers.

An active open-source project, it was written in Perl, PostgreSQL, and Apache’s mod_perl, and can currently use either Mason or HTML::Template for templating. These screenshots show elements of the web-based interface, but not nearly enough of it. (I’ll post more screenshots later.)

It’s extremely flexible, ships production ready out-of-the-box, makes template development a breeze, and separates content from code so completely that non-geeks in the company are able to make their own content changes effortlessly without training. The detailed workflow, infinite levels of undo, and permission system guarantee that nothing will ever get screwed up. I love it.

Honestly, it’s the first enterprise-level open-source CMS I’ve ever seen that doesn’t have any glaring shortcomings. (I’m talking about you, Zope and Frontier.) The new O’Reilly Mason book has an entire appendix devoted to Bricolage, so it may finally get the attention it deserves.


    While I appreciate the kudos and kind words, I can’t take credit for creating Bricolage. Rather I was part of the original, talented design team, and led development starting from when the code for the initial release (1.0) was about 60% done.

    If you have a copy of Bricolage, click the logo to see my defense of the name, and to see a list of the of the people who created it and who have contributed somehow (including you, Andy!). You can see the same list in the “Credits” section of the license document here.


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