Silva CMS 1.5 review

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Silva is a powerful CMS for managing content for the paper, web and other media. Content is stored in a clean and future-proof for

License: BSD License
File size: 5614K
Developer: Martijn Faassen
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Silva is a powerful CMS for managing content for the paper, web and other media.

Content is stored in a clean and future-proof format, independent of layout and presentation.

Features include a multi-version workflow system, integral WYSIWYG editor (Kupu), content reuse in multiple publications, sophisticated access management, extensive import/export facilities, fine-grained templating, and hi-res image storage and manipulation.

Here are some key features of "Silva CMS":

Kupu, a WYSIWYG editor running in Silva, people who work with Word should be comfortable with Kupu. This editor offers a load of new features:
Full Silva integration; Kupu knows about special Silva elements and saves Silva XML transparently.
Copy and paste HTML from any source (web page, word processor) into Kupu.
Works in Internet Explorer (5.5 and higher) and Mozilla.
Kupu was formerly known as Epoz 1.0.
Silva also has a fallback forms based editor.
The editors produce structured XML that is displayed as HTML in a web page, or can be exported using the Docma extension (i.e. as a MS Word document). This also future proofs the information.
Infinitely nested hierarchy of publications and folders to structure content.
Metadata per content object. Metadata is extensible; new metadata sets can be added. The metadata can be automatically indexed by the Zope catalog.
Ability to place dynamic elements in structured documents fetching information from a relational database or by calling a script, using Data Sources.
All text stored as unicode, which means content in multiple languages can be mixed in single documents freely.


Images and files can be imported either singly or in bulk through importing a zip file. Whole directory structures can be imported creating Silva folders automatically.
Resize images for web publication. The original high resolution images can still be exported for printing.
Silva now provides facilities for cropping images. This tool combines with the scaling possibilities to give authors the means to both scale and resize a high resolution image to web format.
Extensive abilities to position images in documents.
Support for Zope's External Editor allows editing files and images through your favorite editor (including MS Office applications).

User Interface

Has its own through-the-web user interface with easy access to all features, including access keys. Authors can only access sections relevant to authors, while editors and chief editors gain more abilities in separate screens.
Also possible to descend to Zope user interface for fine-grained control.

Workflow and versioning

Publication workflow: approval by (chief)editor is needed in order to publish content. Content can be published as well as expired automatically at a set time.
Versioning of content: Authors can work on new versions of documents while a previous version remains published.
Editor can manage publication status of large quantities of documents in one screen.
Silva can be configured to automatically send email to authors and editors for workflow events.

Access management

Separation of responsibilities between author, editor and chief editor roles.
Delegation of responsibilities. Editors can approve for publication, chief editors can create new (chief) editors and authors. No one-person bottleneck holding up publication.
LDAP connection is possible using LDAPUserFolder. Search interface for people in LDAP when assigning roles, scaling to large quantities of users.
Group management (with or without LDAP). Groups can be defined in a LDAP or other data source, but can also be defined locally in Zope, as desired.
Virtual groups to allow cross-sections between other groups.
IP Groups allow groups based on IP address, to allow access to selective folders only from an intranet.
Ability to restrict content viewing access to individual users or groups of users with Viewer, Viewer + and Viewer ++ roles.
Users who do not yet have access to edit objects can optionally be allowed to request this in a user interface.


Extensive documentation for author and editors, as well as for site managers, designers and system administrators.
Documentation can be automatically installed.

Site management

Layout templates: flexible, customizable presentation using Zope Page Templates. Different sub-sites can have different publications and designs.
Configuration per publication making content available for authors to add to and edit. It is also possible to completely disable certain content site-wide.
Ghosts and Ghost folders allow presenting content in a different context than which they are authored in. This allows storing content in a structure paralleling that of the organization for access rights distribution and delegation, but reusing the same content inside topic oriented structures for web publication.
Virtual hosting support. Areas of the site can be exposed in a separate virtual host for both viewing and authoring.
Table of contents (TOC) elements can be included in pages to present the local structure of the site.
Link to manage references to external sites within the table of contents.
All Silva assets (images and files) can be stored on the file system. This produces substantial performance increases.

SilvaNews (extension)

Create and manage news items in Silva.
News can be aggregated from various areas of the site, reflecting the structure of your organisation.
Display news pages and agenda pages (for events).
Export news as RDF/RSS.
Aggregate news from external sources using RSS.

Docma (extension)

External server that talks to MS Word using COM. This server can be integrated with the Silva server running on another machine (which can run Linux/Unix). Users import and export Word documents using the normal Silva user interface, which delegates the requests to the separate DocMa server. If desired the DocMa server can also be run standalone on the Windows desktop of end users.
Export Silva content to a MS Word document. A whole Silva publication consisting of many folders and documents can be exported as a single Word document.
Import MS Word content into Silva. A single large Word document can be automatically broken up into a structure of Silva folders and documents.
This allows round-trip editing. Large changes in structure in Word can be reflected into Silva.


Open source & Free Software (BSD license).
Integrates with Zope Page Templates, DTML and Python Scripts.
Using Silva External Sources, ability to integrate with data coming from relational databases through SQL. Custom objects can also be created that retrieve data from relational databases.
Extensible Model/View/Controller architecture for both the editor and user interface.
Silva can be extended with new custom objects.
Can be configured to integrate with Apache web server and Squid cache.
Cross platform: runs on Linux, Solaris, Windows, Mac OS X and SGI.

Behind the scenes, Silva stores content in XML (Extensible Markup Language). This leads to several important advantages:

* The same content can be used in different media, such as the web, paper, or word processor content. Web publication of content is native to Silva as it is based on Zope, but Silva also has export filters to PDF and MS Word, and more can be built when the demand arises.
* The content is future proofed and not out of date as soon as you want to use a new system or present it in a different way.
* The structuring of the content facilitates more sophisticated searching and indexing.

Silva supports (but does not require) a separation between authors who can create new content and editors who can approve whether content actually gets published. It also allows delegation of editing or authoring responsibilities of a section of the publication to others. This avoids a single-person bottleneck without the loss of editorial control.

To assist in the publication process, Silva implements workflow where multiple versions of the same document are kept around at the same time. One version of a particular document may be published while another version can be edited at the same time.

Silva is extensible with new document types and other types of content objects.

What's New in This Release:
This is the first release that really starts using Zope 3 technology in the core, and is the first step in a longer evolution.
It does not have a lot of externally visible feature changes, but focuses on working with Zope 2.8 and Five 1.2.

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