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Inventive Labs: Web Problem Solvers

Blueprint

Blueprint is a content management system (CMS). It lets you manage your whole website with nothing more than the web browser you already have open. But there’s a multitude of CMS options out there—what’s so remarkable about this one?

Blueprint is as flexible as you like, and still really simple. The fundamental idea behind Blueprint is that each area of your site is a page. Every page has an associated ‘blueprint’ that determines the type of content it displays and how it behaves. You create a normal page for the home page, a Blog page for your weblog, a Gallery page for all your photos, etc.

Here’s a screenshot of Blueprint, showing the structure of our own site. In it, you’ll see a number of normal pages (Home, Blueprint, Screencast and The way we work), a Projects page (Portfolio), a Contact Form page (About the Labs) and a Blog page (Weblog).

Content tab

It’s all about your content

You’ve just seen most of Blueprint. Almost all day-to-day tasks on your site (editing page content, adding a blog post, rescheduling an event) start at the Content tab—you just click on a link in the list and there’s a form with your data. Drag and drop Make your adjustments, click Save, and you’re back at this list, with your changes published to the site.

If you need to change the structure of the site (perhaps add a new page within the Weblog section), you can click on the Structure tab, and then drag and drop your pages into place. You can create simple, compact homepages or wild, sprawling wunderkammers.

There’s advanced options, if you need them. You can tweak the design of your site. You can add users and control what changes they’re allowed to make to the site. You can really get under the hood and muck around with the settings.

But you don’t have to. All the genuinely interesting stuff happens on the Content tab.


What blueprints are available?

Out of the box Blueprint comes with Page, News, Events, Blog (with spam-protected comments), Gallery, Projects, Links, Contact Form, FAQ and Personnel page blueprints. There’s more generic blueprints in the works, too, including a shop with the World’s Greatest Shopping Cart™.

But at Inventive Labs, we recognise that often, your website has special requirements that aren’t easily filled by off-the-shelf CMS solutions. Perhaps you’re wanting to capture registration details for participants at your academic conference, and export them to CSV so you can count heads and do mail merges in Word. Perhaps (like Shane Maloney) you’re an author wanting to list your books with publication details, info on foreign editions and and pullquotes from literary reviews. No problem—we can create a custom blueprint to do exactly what you want. Because they slot neatly into an purpose-built framework, the cost of development for specific behaviours is a fraction of what you might expect.

Enough talking—if you haven’t seen the screencast yet, watch it now.