sn_mod : blogging software - a mod of sNews

A complete lightweight blog software package aimed at developers and/or people who like to modify their blogging system. The software can be used out-of-the box or you can modify whatever you like.

About

This is a mod of the lightweight blog/CMS software sNews, version 1.7.0. - 1.7.1 by Solucija.com

This mod does everything a blog system does: posts, pages, archive, site map, feeds, file management, contact form, comments, and it even has a lightweight comment spam filter. It has a simple plug-in mechanism too, if you want to extend it that way. It produces valid search-engine friendly HTML and the look&feel can be customized entirely using standard CSS. Larger UI changes are supported by modifying the page template.

It runs just as well on the WWW as on a local host, and the software allows you to run different sites off the same code base, eg a www site as well as a local site for development.

Live tested

The software has been tested in a live online "production" environment every day for at least a decade and it performs well with literally hundreds of posts and a handful of pages on top. It has received some spam of course so a simple spam filter was developed, and it works nicely.

What it does

First, take a look at the features list.

The sn_mod is a user interface (ui/ux) mod. All parts of the system that delivers a visible output have been modified. Some even rewritten or replaced with new functions.

sNews was/is a system for people who like to modify the code and hack away. The sn_mod is similar. It is not WordPress and while it will work nicely out-of-the-box you should expect to -- and want to -- modify it in order to better suit your personal preferences and needs. For some this sounds awful, for others it's just perfect.

The main purpose of the sn_mod mod was/is to make the design/layout ("front end code") more flexible and easier to customize. Also, much of the code (as well as the JS, CSS, HTML) has been sanitized, commented, and formatted to be easier to understand and a lot easier to change.

Background

I started using sNews for personal blogging projects more than a decade ago. It appealed to me by not having the large overhead and the weird conventions of a WordPress install. I shifted one site from WordPress to this platform, and I was positivley surprised by how easy it was to customize most features. While it did not do all that I wanted it had an active community at the time and mods were actively encouraged, so I felt confident I could just change whatever I needed to.

At some point I needed this or that feature and as it was for personal use only and I didn't think it was relevant to others I just made my modifications and continued to use the system, without publishing them.

Well, a lot of years and a lot of modifications have accumulated, and the "sn_mod" is now in versions 15. The active community that existed ten years ago has disapperared, the forum has been closed. So now I publish my mod here, hoping that somebody may find it useful.

Project history

Development has been going on on-off since around 2009-2010, but the software has not been published before as it was intended for personal projects. However, as the years went by and the number of changes grew I thought that maybe somebody else would find it useful. For more project history you may want to read a little mod history (included in the download and in the demo).

Documentation

sNews information

The software comes with the original "sNews171_readme.html" file in the root folder. You may want to read it. Unfortunately the sNews forum has been closed, but some information can still be found at the snewscms.com Help Section.

As sn_mod is a large mod some parts of the sNews documentation may now be irrelevant.

sn_mod information

The mod comes with a database pre-filled with documentation, mostly on changes relative to a regular sNews install. This can also be read in the demo version. It has information about database changes, file changes, function changes, applied patches, and a complete, detailled version history.

In addition to this the source code is commented and every single function has a short explanation of purpose. Some files have additional long comment sections offering more verbose guidelines.

Dependencies

There are no third party dependencies at all and the software runs nicely without internet access at all. No jQuery, no Google scripts, fonts, or Firebase, no AWS, no Azure... None of all that. Only standard PHP, HTML, JS, and CSS.

General code status

While the software works nicely out-of-the-box there are still parts that may be improved, and perhaps even some that really should be. I did not set out to do a complete rewrite of the system. My emphasis has been on the front end code (UI/UX), and even after a decade modding this part of the code there are still parts of it I have touched very little or not at all. As for the "backend code" or general architecture I have touched even less.

To sum it up, it's a nice lightweight and user-friendly blogging system that may be used as-is or improved even further.

Try it

Demo

Please note that the default layout and design can and should be changed to suit your purpose and taste.

Also, to ease maintenance for the demo version comments and login both have been disabled. This implies that you cannot try the admin section in the demo version, but at least you can get an impression of the software and decide if it is worth downloading or not. If you decide that it is it can be installed in five minutes or less.

Install and uninstall

Requirements

* AFAIK, URL rewrites are also possible with some other servers, but the software only comes with a ".htaccess" configuration for the Apache server. So, if you use another server you will probably know how to set this up.

Install

  1. First, "unzip" the sn_mod "zip file" into a folder on your web server.
  2. Then, set up the database:
    • For a new install, run the install script ("sn_mod-install.sql"). Do not run the "upgrade script".
    • To upgrade an existing sNews 1.7.x site to sn_mod, run the upgrade script ("snews-to-sn_mod.sql"). Do not run the "install script".
    These scripts are SQL scripts, found in the "sql" folder. The easiest way to run them is probably by using DB management software like eg. phpMyAdmin.
  3. Last, update the "sn_config.php" file (= edit 4 lines)

All of the above can be done in less than five minutes.

Uninstall

To uninstall the software, just delete the software files.

Download

License

The sn_mod is a combination of official sNews code, modified sNews code, and independent sn_mod code. The different parts of the code have different license terms.

All download, use, and modification of the sn_mod software is subject to the W?F! license. However, the sNews part of the software is licensed under the "Creative Commons Attribution License"

The software comes with a page that explains this in detail, as well as what it implies for you.

Versions

Current version

The most recent version is 15 (equal to 0.9.6)

You may think of it as being 15 updates on top of sNews version 1.7.0, which was the starting point for the mod.

Version history

The version history is quite extensive as development started around 2009-2010. Please see the Version History section of the demo version