I was fortunate enough to be asked to work as a beta tester for the newest product from EllisLab called MojoMotor! The product just launched, hospital so I wanted to give a few thoughts on this cool new web development package.

What is MojoMotor?
MojoMotor is a web publishing engine that, in my opinion, bridges the gap between a tightly hand-coded web site and a template-based CMS that’s easy for a non-programmer to update. It has a back-end interface that sits “on top” of your website so, when logged in, you can basically just type directly onto your web page and save the changes. This is particularly appealing from a designer’s standpoint because you don’t have to have a lot of web knowledge to update the content which fits the needs of a lot of clients out there. You could set up the site and hand it off pretty easily. That’s not to say that, as a programmer, you give up control. You can still edit the html/css files and can have full html source editing on every page for more exact tweaking. Here’s a link to their overview for more information.

What is MojoMotor not?
MojoMotor is a great tool for setting up small to mid-sized brochure web sites. It does have a database running behind the scenes, but it doesn’t work as a blogging engine. That being said, it would probably handle a large percent of the web sites out there. You could also easily integrate it with a service like Tumblr to add a blog. They’ve also provided an export function to migrate the site over to ExpressionEngine if the site grows beyond what MojoMotor is capable of. In their words:

MojoMotor does not strive to be a full-powered, high-end Content Management System such as ExpressionEngine. It does not have categories, dynamic entries, conditionals. It does not have search, date-based input or logic. MojoMotor is simple, clean, and straightforward. It is not ExpressionEngine lite, it is ExpressionEngine junior.

What does MojoMotor look like?
For the sake of beta testing, I started up a website for my wife, (still in progress) who is a musician and flute educator. She had been wanting a site that was a few simple pages, contained some audio clips and that she could go in and edit when needed.

After mocking up the site in Adobe Illustrator, I started coding the site like I would with any other hand-coded website. Basically, I created a one-page template and got the CSS on solid footing. From there, I added a few CSS tags to the content areas which tell the program what to make editable. Then, I used the import feature to pull the template into MojoMotor. It was really that easy. I then added some pages (which can be ordered by dragging and dropping) and started plugging in content all within the user interface. You can also have separate templates for different pages, so it’s pretty flexible.

click to enlarge

Once you log in to your site, you’ll be looking at . . . your site, with the exception of a small pull down tab at the top. This lets you toggle the editing mode on and off, so if you navigate to a page and pull the tab down, you will see the content area highlight allowing you to go in and edit the content. Hit save and the content is permenantly changed and shows up live on the site. You can also set up different users so certain people can only edit content while others can update the admin settings.

This is the content area highlighted and ready for editing.

Here, the content area has been made editable and it’s just a plain WYSIWYG editor with the option to view the source. Once I hit “save” the edits are made straight onto the live website.

Final Thoughts
As a designer, I think that MojoMotor fits the needs of a large portion of my clients. It’s simple, clean, easy to update and operate, yet flexible enough that I can make something unique and meaningful. It’s a great product that I think deserves a look if you’re a designer and content provider on the web.