Mara flatfile CMS

Mara cms

our inhouse-developed website content delivery system.

Mara performs a similar core function to 'Content management systems' such as Joomla!, Drupal or Wordpress, - although it differs in many fundamental aspects from those packages. Probably the most significant difference is its being file based instead of database dependent.

As a brief outline of its design principles:

  • Host requirements are recent versions of Apache and php
  • Pages are stored as conventional HTML files, as opposed to in an SQL database 
  • Pages are loaded by native URL, instead of an untidy parameter-string or confusing URL rewrite
  • A reliable and substantially quirk-free online editor, plus the ability to upload pages the traditional way
  • Configuration is by way of text files rather than browser dialogs
  • Common styles and elements are stored in a theme, which is highly customisable
  • Menus are cascading, independent of page location, and do not require page refresh to show sublevels
  • Page loading should be near-instant, and should not involve 'earthquaking' of content as it loads
  • Mara websites should be location-agnostic, and easily relocatable to a new domain
  • A site can use HTML5 or HTML4  as desired (and the editor semantics adjust accordingly)
  • Disasters should be rare, but always be recoverable by simply replacing the affected files
  • System programming should be understandable by a coder of average ability
  • Your site should not 'look like a Mara site' or even be identifiable as one unless you wish it
  • Near-complete flexibility to modify the system itself, if existing controls don't meet your needs
  • Simplest method that does the job satisfactorily, is best

The name:

'Mara' was suggested in discussions with colleague Eileen, who had always felt that the previous choice of 'Hyperframe' did not convey the impression we wanted. It is a Scots Gaelic word meaning 'of the sea' and is often found as part of house or place names in this part of the world.  It can be a female given name, or short form of Tamara. It is also the name of a (male) Tibetan Buddhist demon of destruction.

In its role here, it is intended to be pronounced with the emphasis in the first A, as in 'Mah-ra' or 'Māra.'


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