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Simian Systems releases Sitellite 2.0

By John Luxford
on September 12, 2001

Simian Systems has released Sitellite 2.0, a sophisticated content management system and application framework for the PHP programming language.

Sitellite currently requires a MySQL database, but a port to PostgreSQL and likely others is in the list of priorities for the next major release. Sitellite is server and OS independant.


Some of Sitellite’s key features include: a very end-user-friendly administration interface for managing your online file system and database, an administrative permission system, a module API that allows developers to extend its administrative functionality easily and securely, an integrated, searchable help system, and more. It comes with three pre-installed modules (a small mailing list manager, a random fortune generator, and a documentation reader that displays information about the libraries that come with Sitellite) that are both useful (well, the random fortunes are just plain fun) and provide working examples to help developers with writing their own. Simian Systems also provides an online module repository on their web site where module authors can share their work, which is located at: http://www.simian.ca/index/modules

Sitellite’s application framework is an advanced, highly object-oriented library for handling common web application needs such as a DBI-inspired database abstraction layer, a built-in template system, a form generator/validator/handler, a lightweight caching class (code-level, but it will still increase your performance), and much more. It also includes a mini-language called EasyText that allows non-technical administrators to mark up their documents with simple tags to denote common document elements such as headers and links, and also allows developers to embed common database components and site elements (such as searches, calendars, hierarchical or breadcrumb menus, self-validating forms) into those documents as well.

Sitellite is quick to install (just un-tar it, run an SQL script to create the database environment, change two lines in a config file and you’re up and running), super easy to extend, and is suited to just about any purpose (we’ve used it for ordinary web sites that needed basic workflow management, large auction web sites, online publications, portals, sites that need to manage inventories and listings, and hey, we use it on our own site too!). It comes with a demo site that illustrates some of the frontend functionality of the API, including the caching system, EasyText components, and even uses “search engine friendly” URLs!


Sitellite 2.0 was tested with PHP 4.0.4 and above, and MySQL 3.23. It has been tested on both Linux (Red Hat) and Windows using the Apache server. The only feature that will not function correctly on a server other than Apache is the htaccess file that acccompanies the demo and assists with the URL transformations. This file and its use are not necessary, and can easily be removed, while maintaining the “search engine friendly” URLs too.

Pricing and availability

Sitellite 2.0 is available for download from the Simian Systems web site at http://www.simian.ca/index/download Sitellite is free for non-commercial use, and is priced at a reasonable $350 US per license for commercial copies (discounts available for bulk purchases). The complete pricing scale is available at http://www.simian.ca/index/pricing , which also includes support pricing as well. Some of the core libraries in Sitellite have been released under an Apache/PHP style Open Source license, and are available at http://www.simian.ca/index/opensource There are only three downloads presently, but many more will be made available in the coming months.

Future direction

Simian Systems is committed to providing a killer content management framework for the PHP platform. We see PHP and Open Source databases as having huge potential in the industry, and we are positioning ourselves accordingly. We are also giving strong consideration to Open Sourcing as much of our framework as possible, so as to benefit the community that has created such an opportunity for us. Developers will always have access to all the source code to our commercial components as well, so as to optimize the flexibility we can offer in our system.

Our areas of focus for a 2.1 release include:

- Interface improvements (many, small enhancements)
- Stronger workflow features and role definitions
- Better file-sharing capabilities
- Strengthening the libraries
- New modules
- A port to PostgreSQL

If you like where we’re going, let us know!

About Simian Systems

Simian Systems was founded in January of 2001. We are based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the beautiful centre of Canada. Our focus is to provide businesses and developers with smarter content and project management tools, and to provide the support and structure of services to integrate those tools as effectively as possible.

For more information, please visit our web site at: http://www.simian.ca/ or email us at [email protected]