Webber - Offline Web Content Manager

There are many cases where dynamic web page generation is not required, and where classic web content management applications are too much effort to install or to manage. To expose Domino servers to the web is also a security issue, especially for smaller environments. For these use cases, an offline content management tool is useful, and developing it as Notes application makes it user-friendly and easy to manage.

Webber operates by applying templates to content documents, both implemented as Notes documents. The content is formatted using Markdown, a very simple document formatting language derived from the way simple text files are often formatted, which is also used by openntf. Multi-level web page menus are dynamically generated. Additional files like .css files, PHP files, images, downloadable PDFs etc. can be attached to both the template and content documents and included resp. linked to in the HTML output.

The application is especially useful to manage and embed images into web pages as the images are saved as Notes document attachments and referred to within the Markdown code only via their ID number.

In 2020/ 21, Webber development was focussed on providing a simple webpage generation tool for education purposes, enabling teachers to rapidly deploy customized educational web pages for their pupils, including scientific formulas, quizzes, a mini math training feature and automatically created links to download homework PDFs.

Extended features of Markdown are supported, like tables or integration of LaTeX formatted mathematical formulas via the KaTeX javascript library. In version 1.2, support of html Forms has been added, to simplify the generation of response or ordering forms. Version 1.3 added a captcha feature based on JavaScript code, which doubles as a web based mini calculator for maths training. Some other small items were added to support rapid development of education websites, e.g. a feature converting sub-headings of a page into folding sections, or a feature to automatically create web links for documents attached to the Notes webpage form which had to be done manually before.

There is only a very basic approval process implemented, and also basic versioning only, as those were not a requirement up to now. Edited but unprocessed pages are marked, though. The generated output package currently has to be deployed manually to the web server, e.g. via WinSCP or similar tools.

The developer would be happy to hear from any users about their experiences or additional requirements and would also be willing to provide a short how-to introduction via internet conference (if time allows). Contact me at js (at) yourstamps.de.