About this project
Webhook is funded!
Thanks to everyone that supported the campaign. We'll be opening the doors to our Kickstarter backers on June 21st. We'll contact our backers through email with installation instructions on or slightly before that day.
What is Webhook and who is it for?
Webhook takes the pain out of building content sites that need more functionality than blog software can provide. It allows you to build custom forms (not just posts) for your CMS without having to code or configure any code-like files. Anyone who knows basic HTML and CSS can build and deploy a site on Webhook. Once complete, anyone with an Internet connection can use the CMS to edit the website using a desktop, mobile or tablet device.
See it in action
Webhook's documentation is already online. We've also created a few videos where we walk through some sample site builds.
- [VIDEO] - Build a simple blog with a podcast.
- [VIDEO] - Build a one-page band site.
- [VIDEO] - Build a large media portal with multiple authors, reviews, interviews and relational data.
- [VIDEO] - Make a theme from an existing Webhook site.
Webhook uses a hybrid static approach to building your site. Your data is stored with Firebase in a JSON format that you can access in real-time and through the CMS. The site itself is deployed statically so that it loads as fast as possible without needing to hit a database or front-end server.
- Installs in one line through NPM. The only requirement is Node. There is no database to setup or other software to install. It just works.
- Works on plain ol' Windows (without Apache or anything else) as well as Mac and Linux computers.
- Deploy your site in one line. There is no infrastructure to build or manage. We host the site, you point over your custom domain.
- File uploads and image resizing built in. We take care of it. Seamlessly resize your images at the template layer to whatever sizes you need.
- Search is built in. All your content is available through search as soon as you create it. Again, it just works.
- Django-like templating We use Swig JS for our templates. That means you get the power of template extension. Want to call something from the CMS? Use a simple template tag on any page.
- Comes with dozens of form widgets to build out your forms. Image galleries, markdown fields, wysiwyg fields, audio uploaders... we handle just about any content needs you require.
- Scaffolds clean HTML. We generate scaffolding HTML for any form you create. No need to look up names or read documentation just to output your content. Simply add your design.
- Works well with teams. Webhook works great with versioning systems like Github and can be worked on by a team of developers. Editors can edit the CMS at the same time and enjoy real-time updates.
- Themes are just git repos. Themes in Webhook not only define the look of your site but also the forms contained in the actual CMS. This allows you to do heavy customization without anything more than static files hosted on Github.
Why do you need it?
The content management system you're likely using right now is terrible. If by chance you're the Developer building things with it, well... it's doubly terrible.
What do you get?
All Rewards above the $5 level come with the following.
Kickstarter backers will get access to Webhook at least one-month before it's available to the general public. Your kickstarter email address will be white-listed so you can try it out. We'll send these invites sometime in the month of June, 2014.
Hosting at a reduced price.
Hosting is built into Webhook. Depending upon the reward you choose you'll receive at least one-month of hosting for your site. Continuing to use Webhook past this period is completely voluntary and will incur a monthly subscription fee of $20 a month. This price will only be available to Kickstarter backers and last for as long as you host your site with Webhook.
There are no other fees or add-on prices with Webhook. We provide a simple way to use a custom domain with your site. You can not use Webhook to build sites specifically for the use of file-sharing or other bandwidth-intense operations.
The reduced price will be good for any sites you create (in case you plan to build multiple sites).
Why should you trust us?
We've done similar stuff before. Dave Snider designed and founded Giant Bomb, Comic Vine, Tested.com and TV.com. We've designed and built CMS software from scratch to support large teams of editors at Whiskey Media, CNET and CBS. These sites currently receive millions of unique visitors a month and are in use by dozens of editors. We know the pain points in the field and know what it takes to build quality software. Dave is also a bit of a nut for documentation and recently redesigned the theme for Read the Docs, which is used by thousands of Open Source developers.
How does it work... really?
Webhook's local environment is a Grunt task that compiles Swig JS templates (similar to Django) into static HTML. The CMS itself is an Ember app (a single cms.html page that can load anywhere) and the data layer is real-time JSON powered by Firebase. Search is powered by Elastic Search.
When you deploy your site we package up your templates and static files, pushing them up to our servers. When any user make changes to the live CMS we run a fresh build and regenerate the site for you. If you decide to later change your templates, redeploy the site and we'll build it again.
1. Create a site on your local Windows, Mac or Linux machine.
2. Serve the site locally, use our form-builder to create forms.
3. We scaffold templates from your form. You add design.
4. Deploy your site with "wh deploy". Invite friends into the live CMS to add or edit content. Don't worry, you can use your own custom domain.
We'd like to stay independent. Taking money from venture capital would pressure us into building growth instead of building a better product. At our listed goal we believe we can continue working on Webhook without outside investment. If that keeps us small, so be it. We're builders at heart.
Put another way, our dream is no more than to provide a solid, well-respected product at a fair price. Kickstarter seemed like a better fit under those aspirations. It validates the need for this kind of product and lets us plan a few months into the future.
What will you do with the funds?
We'll put it on the screen against the following:
As it stands right now Webhook has a limited number of preset themes to choose from. We'd like to hire a few well-respected designers to build some great starter sites (a blog site, an indie-game site, an artist's portfolio, a multi-editor news portal...etc) while we build out the CMS. Webhook is extremely powerful in the hands of a good designer, but most people aren't going to have the time to design from scratch. We'd like to give them a starting point.
It's our duty to make sure Webhook is reliable and available at all times. To do that we need some initial capital to build the hosting infrastructure needed for those magic one-line deploys. We'd really like to over-provide in this area and unfortunately it can be expensive.
Any extra funds we receive past our goal will go into hiring engineers and designers to make Webhook better.
I want to see the code!
Webhook's CMS, CSS, JS libraries, local run-server and command line tools will be available on Github when we release in June. We're looking into ways to release the production server as well so you can self-host, but that will likely come later in the year.
You can look at the actual template logic in our documentation which has plenty of examples.
Risks and challenges
With a software project of this size the biggest risk is that will we will slip past our launch window. Although Webhook as a product is nearly complete, the hosting component becomes more difficult the more users we have using it. This could lead to a situation where an extremely successful Kickstarter might force us to slowly drip users into the system over the course of weeks instead of days. Since Webhook deploys static websites there is very low risk your site will not be available to visitors. A more likely scenario is that your CMS could potentially be unavailable to make edits for a short period of time.
The Webhook team is comprised of industry professionals who previously managed sites of significant size. Any issues that do spring up should only be temporary blips.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
No, but we get this question a lot and obviously want to provide it. Honest truth? We'd like to hire another engineer first. That way we can dedicate a resource to making it as good as our hosted solution. It's just not as simple as pushing to an S3 bucket.
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