Vosao: CMS for Google App Engine

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 15, 2010

You can find plenty of free and open source Content Management Systems (CMS), but how many come with free (as in beer) hosting? If you're looking for a open source CMS to tinker with that includes built-in free hosting, check out Vosao CMS.

Vosao is a Java-based CMS written for Google App Engine for Java. It's a relatively young project, the first release came out in late 2009, but it's moving pretty quickly. The most recent release came out today, and includes site search, support for Disqus commenting, automatic site maps, and a spanking new plugin system to allow third-party plugins.

This is on top of Vosao's support for WYSIWYG editing, content versioning, SEO-friendly URLs and other standard CMS goodies. The goal of the project isn't just to produce a free software CMS (it's licensed under the GPLv2), but to support App Engine, which allows free hosting for sites with up to 500 MB of storage and 5 million page views per month.

Want to try Vosao, but aren't particularly comfortable setting up applications on Google App Engine? No problem. According to the installation instructions on the Vosao CMS site volunteers for the project will install Vosao for you if you add "support@vosao.org" as a developer in your AppEngine Dashboard. (They can be removed after the install.) Talk about going the extra mile for an open source project!

The next release is scheduled for around May 1st and includes thumbnail generation for images, automatic localization for date formats, integration with Picassa for image hosting, and additional access controls. A demo is available online for those who want to testdrive Vosao before deploying it.

Though Vosao doesn't have a lot to distinguish it from more established free software CMSes, it will be interesting to see if the addition of free hosting will make it a more competitive offering. While you can get free hosting with some platforms (like Wordpress.com), there's no ability to significantly modify the platform when running on the free hosting. Vosao combines free as in speech software with free as in beer hosting, which might be a compelling platform for projects that want full control over the CMS without the hassle of providing their own hosting.