MX$ 3,980 pledged of MX$ 30,000 goal
By Luz Elena Marquez
MX$ 3,980 pledged of MX$ 30,000 goal


A bit of history

BardCanvas is the fourth generation of LAVA SoftWorks' homebrew CMS. It is a multi-purpose engine created in PHP that works on a LAMP environment.

Some time ago, we faced a growth problem with a multi-author blog made in WordPress. It had a huge server that started to collapse when traffic on the main website increased above expectations. No optimization method helped to reduce the impact, and moving it to a cluster didn't help much, so we decided to migrate from WordPress. After an extensive review of existing forum and blog solutions, none was satisfying enough for the project needs.

Then we took the third generation of our engine, which was nicely made to suit current technologies and pushed it a step forward, defining data patterns, caching layers and programming methods to help decreasing database load massively below the WordPress standards. And thus, all blogging/forum modules started co come to life.

After a few months of non-stop development we brought it to beta, squashed bugs and improved some things. Then we released it on a few communities and continued improving in a live environment.

It's been about 8 months from that, and we became so proud of our work that decided to release it as Open Source: the core, base modules and templates became available on GitHub.

BardCanvas features

This is a list of features extracted from the "about" page on the BardCanvas website (here):

  • It is built from the ground up with optimization in mind, so you can throw it at a very small VPS server and receive a relatively high traffic load without bringing the server down to its knees.
  • It is faster and consumes a lot less RAM. Putting latest post comments in your blog indexes is unthinkable on some CMSs because of the huge amount of calls to database tables and those megs and megs of memory taken to build everything. Caching becomes handy, at the cost of a payload of thousands of objects in either your memcache or disk. This doesn't happen with BardCanvas Blog modules. Building an index page with the latest comments takes around 16 database queries and eats up less than 12MB. And when using memcache, numbers go a lot below those.
  • It uses many Open Source frameworks and utilities that most Web Developers know: jQuery, jQuery-UI, FontAwesome, TinyMCE and CodeMirror just to mention a few.
  • It uses a templating system that is easy to understand and implement.
  • All modules are made with extensibility in mind, so developers can extend or reuse modules authored by other developers.
  • It has an integrated interface, so administrative pages look similar to regular pages, reducing the confusion caused by separate templates.
  • It has an universal settings editor, so all settings of the engine and all modules are found in a single place.
  • It has several cache levels that are used according their relevance. Content segments and database objects are kept apart and constantly refreshed without affecting users. Caching entire pages is avoided at all cost.
  • It doesn't collapse the server in high traffic circumstances, and registered users don't have to wait for minutes to login or browse with an open session.
  • It can be clustered without changes, just by setting a couple of variables in the configuration file.
  • All code is easy to understand. Developers will love using some modules as template for their own creations.
  • It can be automatically updated by simply setting up cron job.

Server requirements

  • A shared hosting account or a dedicated server/VPS with a Linux OS with at least 512K of RAM and two CPU cores (though one may be enough).
  • Apache server with URL Rewrite module or compatible.
  • Memcached
  • PHP 5.3 or better (PHP 7 not tested) with the next extensions: zip, ftp, mcrypt, mbsting, xml, curl, gd and memcache. php.ini must have short_open_tag enabled.
  • MySQL 5.5 or compatible (MariaDB, Percona, etc.)

The Free / Open Source part

The BardCanvas core and several modules and templates are bundled in a package that can be downloaded and installed from this page. This bundle includes:

  • Core files: the bare minimums.
  • Core Modules: Accounts Manager, Modules Manager, Settings Manager, Updates Client and Widgets Manager.
  • Base Modules: Categories Manager, Contact Form, Media Gallery Browser/Manager and connectors to process image and video files.*
  • Blogging Modules: Posts, Comments, Posts Moderation and Search.
  • Blogging Add-on Modules: EmojiONE port, Giphy port, Twitter Cards and Youtube embedder.
  • Miscellaneous Modules: Customizable Header Logo, Basic HTML and ad injections, Logs Viewer and XML-based Menus Editor.
  • The Base Template and all free templates made by us.

All components are listed across several GitHub repositories, which can be found here.

The Premium Modules: our rewards for our backers

We've developed (and still working on) a few modules that aren't yet commercially available. We decided to set them as rewards to all people that kindly decide to back our project:

All tiers:

  • You'll receive help from us on migrating actual websites from their existing platform to BardCanvas, as long as the amount of websites is reasonable and doesn't affect timing that should be given to other backers (so if you have a dozen websites you'll have to be veeeeery patient). This is a standard we're defining as a plus for everyone that decides to jump in.
  • Starting tier 2, bundles with specific modules are given with licenses are for a single website, either a domain or subdomain. If you want to stick to a tier and want to use it on multiple websites, please ask us before making your contribution so we can arrange a special package.

Tier 1 (about 1 US$ or more):

  • Backers on this tier will be mentioned in BardCanvas funding credits page. You'll receive a personal email from us with a big THANK YOU!

Tier 2 (about 19 US$ or more):

Backers on this tier will also be mentioned on our credits page, plus a BardCanvas bundle including licenses for the next modules:

  • Comments logger: a changelog for the comments system with a diff viewer.
  • Security: an enhanced security subsystem that allows you to restrict access at several levels, including hosts, ips/subnets/networks and, with the presence of MaxMind's GeoIP databases, to countries (developed), continents (incomplete) and even cities (not developed yet) and ISPs (not developed yet).

Tier 3 (about 59 US$ or more):

Backers on this tier will receive the previous tier reward plus licenses for the next modules:

  • Comment likes: an upvoting/downvoting system for comments.
  • Polls: authors can attach polls to their posts and set permissions for other users to add options or vote.
  • Post ratings: it embeds a 5-star rating component on posts and generates rankings.

Also, we'll design a template matching their needs, as long as it is non-exclusive and it can be added to the free/shared templates catalog.

Tier 4 (about 89 US$ or more):

Backers on this tier will receive the previous tier reward plus licenses for the next modules:

  • User semaphores: a report that helps detect clones and tag problematic users.
  • Messaging: a personal messaging and chat extension that docks at the bottom of the pages.
  • Posts logger: a changelog for posts with a diff viewer.

Tier 5 (about 119 US$ or more):

Backers on this tier will receive the previous tier reward plus licenses for the next modules:

  • Hall of Fame: an automatically generated ranking that lists the top website collaborators.
  • External User Tags: an extender of the posts module that includes selector for user mentions from an external source and embedding of the mentioned users profiles.
  • User labels: a unique feature we developed that allows your users to set stickers based on personalities and stick them as reward or punishment to other users.

Also, we'll design an exclusive template matching their needs. This one wont be shared in our templates catalog, and we'll keep a private Git repository shared with the backer so further changes made by them or us can be tracked.

And the cherry on top: your website will be featured and highlighted in our upcoming Mobile Client (more info below).

Tier 6 (around 199 US$ or more, up to 5 backers):

There is an extra that is commercially available but we're including it for a limited amount of backers: Triklet, a set of modules built on BardCanvas that turn it into a Helpdesk solution.

Backers on this tier will receive the previous tier reward plus a license for Triklet modules.

Added spice: Mobile Client

We're working on the blueprints of a mobile client for BardCanvas based blogs and forums, pretty much similar to the actual WordPress app: it will wrap contents pulled through an RPC API and display them using a kinda native look on the device.

This hybrid app will be made in PhoneGap and will be released as open source, and the required module for the server side will be part of the open source parts of BardCanvas. Everyone will be able to use the code for custom builds, but users of the official app will have a websites catalog to browse when searching for places to connect to.

But the backers of this campaign on tiers 5 and 6 will be featured on that catalog, so any BardCanvas based websites they want to highlight here will be included as part of their recognition to funding our campaign.

Why do we need funding?

We're a microscopic family company that works integrating systems for a small set of customers for about 16 years now, being known as "LAVA SoftWorks" since late 2009. To get extra income, we developed a couple of desktop applications some years ago that are available in a freemium fashion (you can find them here) and we made the first Cryptocurrency Tipping platform officially approved by Facebook that was released as Open Source back in 2015 (GitHub repos here).

BardCanvas is our second project released as Open Source, but this time is different. We know that there are lots of people that, like us, suffered the same struggle by choosing the wrong platform for the right job. It has been a huge amount of work prepping everything to release the source and trace a strategy to get some extra bucks to help paying the bills, update some old equipment and, if possible, hire some extra hands to keep moving forward.

Our current needs are:

  • Finishing the modules that are still in development.
  • Revisit other modules to make improvements.
  • Make end user documentation of the engine and all modules, free and premium.
  • Make developer documentation for the open source elements.
  • Make extra modules for the BardCanvas website so we can sell modules and bundle packs.
  • Adapt the BardCanvas website as a marketplace where any developer who wants to develop for BardCanvas can sell their modules/templates.
  • Build more modules and templates.

Our funding requirement was projected to around $1,500 US Dollars. That'll help us to pay for:

  • Two hard disks that need to be replaced.
  • Extra RAM for a PC and a laptop.
  • Subscription fees for Apple and Google dev memberships.
  • Secure hosting bills for a year.

Also, to have remaining cash to pay for service bills while all effort is directed to fulfilling our obligation with our backers once our campaign reaches its deadline and delivery clock starts ticking.

If you can't afford funding our project but think our project deserves a shot, please help us sharing this Kickstarter campaign with your relatives or people that would find our project useful and may be willing to contribute.

Again, remember that BardCanvas has an Open Source part that can be used for free. If you want to give it a try before contributing or just to satisfy your curiosity, just go to and take a look.

Risks and challenges

Since the lead developer is... well, our only developer, all the weight of our project falls on his shoulders. But since we've been rolling for almost two decades, he's used to it ;-)

Being that said, we try to foresee any obstacles in our plans and take all measures to avoid them and move faster when the issue at hand requires it. No matter if we have to work overnight on weekends. We're also used to it.

In case we can't get our project funding, we'll have no hard feelings and just stick to what we currently do and delay BardCanvas until we can save some extra bucks for it. But if we get at least the bare minimum, then we'll stick to our promise and have everything ready in the right time -or before if possible-.

Thank you for your time. And, a big THANK YOU if you put a bit of your trust in us.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge MX$ 20 or more About $1

    Tierl 1: Engine Greasing Backer

    This is a big THANK YOU!
    You'll be backing the development of the BardCanvas Open Source engine. For this reason, you'll be properly mentioned on the credits of our website.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge MX$ 380 or more About $20

    Tier 2: Troll fighter

    Ideal for websites that are constantly annoyed by spammers or trolls.
    Backers on this tier will get the a bundle with the BardCanvas engine, all the Open Source modules and the premium modules listed below:

    • Comments Logger Module
    • Security Module
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge MX$ 1,180 or more About $63

    Tier 3: Magazine Owner

    Ideal for backers that own a magazine-like blog or website, where everything is published by themselves or trusted people.
    Backers on this tier receive the reward from the previous tier plus:

    • Comment Likes Module
    • Polls Module
    • Post Ratings Module
    • Design of a non-exclusive template matching your needs
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge MX$ 1,780 or more About $95

    Tier 4: Forum Owner

    Ideal for multi-author blog owners, where authors collaborate and/or compete against each other with their contents. Backers on this tier will receive the reward from the previous tier plus:

    • User Semaphores Module
    • Messaging Module
    • Posts Logger Module
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge MX$ 2,380 or more About $126

    Tier 5: All-star Social Network

    So you host an active, big blog/forum/website where everyone can register and collaborate? Then you'll get the previous tier reward plus the jewels of the crown!

    • Hall of Fame Module
    • External User Tags Module
    • User Labels Module
    • Design of an exclusive template matching your specs
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge MX$ 3,980 or more About $211

    Tier 6: The Big Deal

    This is our top tier. We're giving it all here.
    All our backers on this tier get everything on the previous tier plus a single site license of Triklet, our Help Desk Solution.
    The Triklet license can either be used on a single website as a centralized solution for all owned web presence assets or be embedded on a BardCanvas based website for its own user support needs.

    • Triklet Modules
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    Limited 1 backer
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Funding period

- (30 days)