"[Simpla] could redefine what we think of in regards to “user-accessible” CMS’." - Web Design Ledger
"This could be a game changer ... OMG this is amazing!... We need a shift in CMS. Support this... Simpla looks very smart. The CMS without a CMS... Simpla is exactly what I'm looking for" - Tweets
Drop-in Dynamic Content
Building and managing websites is painful. Why do we have to use complicated frameworks just to edit content? What if we didn't need a framework at all? What if dynamic content was built into the web?
Simpla is a collection of new dynamic HTML elements you can use anywhere. Just drop them into your code, then edit their content permanently on your site any time. They look like this:
Rather than building a theme for a Content Management System or using a website builder, put dynamic content right into your HTML and just write. With Simpla anyone can build modern, dynamic experiences with just HTML and CSS. You can even use Simpla's elements inside another CMS if you want to.
We think dynamic elements are the natural next step for content management. They lay a new foundation for web content and open the door for frameworks and systems to achieve awesome new things. They do away with all the hassles of traditional content management:
The technology that makes Simpla possible only became stable in the last few months, and the core library will be open-source.
Let’s bring back the magic, and revive the fun that’s been missing since static HTML was a thing.
"Why Is Content Management Still Painful?"
Hey there! We're Sean and Bede, two guys in a garage in Melbourne, Australia. We're web designers and developers. We've been freelancers, members of creative agencies, and in-house web people at early-stage startups.
We met in early 2014 and found ourselves both pondering the same question: Why is content management still painful?
We wondered what it would look like if dynamic content was a grass-roots technology rather than part of top-down frameworks. We started building out this idea ourselves in a small side-project. Sean would handle design and frontend development, Bede would craft backend logic. Our little project grew and grew and by the time 2015 rolled around what we were building was nothing like what we started with. We cut our professional workloads down to focus on Simpla full-time. Fast-forward a few months and here we are on Kickstarter, with something we're both super excited about.
We think Simpla can change the way the web works, and we hope you do too.
We were tired of battling with cumbersome publishing frameworks and content dashboards and admin areas, when all we wanted to do was fix a typo.
With Simpla you just write.
Non-technical teammates and clients rejoice, there are no admin areas or forms, and nothing to learn. Edit your content seamlessly inline. We leverage your device's native input tools so you get a flawless experience everywhere.
Basic websites are complicated. Whether it's setting up a Wordpress theme, wrangling a site builder, or deciding this one can be static because all that work sounds like work.
What if you didn't need a framework at all? Simpla's elements bring dynamic content to HTML.
Just drop the new elements, like <simpla-text> (editable text) or <simpla-img> (an editable image), into your code, then edit their content any time on your site. They're only editable when you login and enter edit mode. After you've made your edits just save the changes and go. The elements still exist when you’re not editing, rendering data just like regular HTML.
Simpla runs entirely on the frontend.
Simpla uses a powerful frontend API to power the new dynamic elements, and you can do magical things with it.
Manipulate your data in realtime and build a content-driven experience anywhere. Host dynamic projects on static servers like Dropbox. Store your data on our servers or your own custom datastore. Access and export everything at any time.
Simpla takes modularity to delightful extremes. Built with the Web Components spec, every dynamic element is its own little island. You can easily extend, modify, and hack around with Simpla. The core will always be free and open-source. Rename the elements and use them as a foundation for your own custom system. Add new content elements. Integrate them into existing backends. The possibilities are endless.
How Does It Work?
Simpla is possible thanks to the emerging Web Components Spec and Google's Polymer Project. Each of Simpla's new HTML elements contains a UI for editing content (eg: formatting toolbar for simpla-text), and somewhere to output data (eg: an img element in simpla-img).
But the browser can't see this. As far as it's concerned these are just HTML elements with certain behaviours and characteristics. This is because Simpla stores all this 'stuff' in the Shadow DOM. The Shadow DOM is where HTML keeps all the little components that make up bigger elements, like the divs and spans inside a text input. Web components (and Google Polymer) exposes this technology, allowing us to extend the HTML language.
Simpla has an API that talks to each of the elements to set and get data, either from our own servers or a custom database/filestore the user specifies. Every element lives in a unique namespace. By default this is the document + URL of the page. If you are working with a dynamic site or one-page app, you can specify blocks of content with separate namespaces that live independently of the current view. Once Simpla finds a namespace, it generates a fingerprint for every element inside it to assign the correct data.
Where Are We At?
Simpla began as a small side project in 2014. At the beginning of 2015 we began working on Simpla full-time. We’ve built and rebuilt Simpla as it's evolved, and now we've almost finished the final implementation.
So far we have:
- Built the final core library.
- Finished the components needed for text, links, and images.
- Built most of the API that saves and fetches data.
The biggest challenges ahead:
- Building the rest of the backend platform to scale.
- Finishing data logic (namespacing, fingerprinting, etc.).
Where will the money go?
A majority of the funds from Kickstarter will go towards the people, development, and operating costs of getting Simpla launched. Around 15% of the funds will go directly towards the server infrastructure for hosting Simpla during beta (on Amazon Web Services), and we have also put aside a 5% contingency for things we may have missed.
Risks and challenges
Simpla works with bleeding edge technology and standards that aren't yet fully implemented. Thankfully Google does too, and has recently reached stable v1.0 release of their Polymer framework, which Simpla is built with. Polymer has been extremely reliable, and we are confident that our technological base is solid. But we're always on the lookout for edge cases and new developments to hedge against.
Any product that relies on large server infrastructures faces network-related risks. It wouldn't be cost-effective for us to have an in-house systems admin team to ensure uptime of our own servers, so to mitigate these risks we have handed off our entire infrastructure to Amazon Web Services. AWS is managed and elastic, which means that our infrastructure will instantly scale and stay running. This has allowed us to put all of our energy into building the core product and platform, without having to worry about our infrastructure keeping up with demand.
We have carefully planned out our development time during and after the Kickstarter campaign. Our delivery estimates are conservative, but there is always the risk of unforeseen challenges and setbacks. Particularly if we get a lot more early access backers than we anticipate, we might have to 'trickle' users onto the service over a few days/weeks rather than opening the floodgates all at once. We'll do our best to mitigate risks as we go, and instantly let our backers know if anything comes up.
- (29 days)