For an upcoming talk in Stockholm, I’ve been doing some CMS archaeology. I actually installed CityDesk the other day, which was a very early desktop-based CMS by Fog Creek (now Glitch). The guy behind it was Joel Spolsky, who went on to create Stack Overflow, then build and sell Trello.
I found this article from 2001 on Spolsky’s blog: What Does CityDesk Do?
It’s a fun read. He talks about ground-breaking things like:
- “The built-in word processor is WYSIWYG ('What You See Is What You Get’) and includes a spell checker, word counter, find and replace, and formatting commands.”
- “People who don’t know anything about HTML or web servers can easily add, edit, and remove articles from a web site”
- “CityDesk can also keep track of articles that need to be held until a certain date.”
CityDesk still holds up, all these years later. It’s decoupled, has a simple templating engine, FTP support, and custom fields. Everything is bundled in a single
.cty file (which I suspect is actually a Microsoft JET database).
(True story: I’ve long-considered a limited podcast series on “CMS Back in the Day.” Whenever I’m reminded of things like CityDesk, I get one step closer. Feel free to talk me into this.)