Total CMS is a huge project and a big milestone for Joe Workman. There are so many CMS and blogging solutions out there in the RapidWeaver world today – why should you buy this one?

The flexibility of Total CMS for the Backend

One of the great things is the integration. Total CMS is stacks based. Every aspect in the CMS or blog is a stack. And we all love stacks. We can build what we want with stacks. On the first look there is a disadvantage in starting with Total CMS: There is no pre-built admin panel. Other solutions have an admin panel where you can login and start writing your first blog post. In Total CMS (and in Easy CMS as the smaller child of the family) you have to build your own admin panel. First this makes you struggle with your progress to start using it, but is has another benefit: You can build your admin panel like you want it to be. This is great if you are building websites for clients, because you can include the complete corporate identity in the admin part. Clients love this feature.

Total CMS Backend Example

User experience

Another great advantage is how the user can work with this system. Not all users are computer freaks and are able to think in an abstract and technical way. If you have to edit a text file and include html code, then it is often too much for clients. I can not say often enough how great Total CMS integrates in websites. You can build and configure the login page and the admin part of the site like you or your client like it. If you want several admin pages – build it. Or if you want to integrate some parts of the admin pages in tabs, accordion parts, switches – build it. Even an explenation or images to some parts can be added to make it easier for a client to understand for what it is. The possibilities are almost endless and let you archive a website to make your client happy. Because the client feel that he can use it from the start and do not have to learn some html, markdown etc.

Total CMS Admin Area ExampleExample admin page of the Photostories Travel Foundation project.


Total CMS is a very young CMS and blogging solution, but we can already choose from some very clever addons. There are already great photo gallery solutions out there which support Total CMS. Photo by Nick Cates, Gallery 3 Stack by InStacks or ProGallery by Stacks4Stacks. They all extend the TotalCMS and the blog with beautiful photo galleries. You want to integrate discussions in your blog post? Then the Comments Stack from Joe Workman is for you. Integration of Disqus or Facebook comments has never been so easy. The great stacks from BigWhiteDuck have already some very very nice Total CMS integration built in. Sections Pro lets you choose an image from your blog as a background of your page or integrate a CMS image for your client to let him change the background images by himself. From his smartphone or internet browser. I hope some stack developer will jump on board and include this beautiful blog solution in more products soon.

Pros and Cons

I already wrote some advantages like the user experience. There are many more that you will see if you start using it. You can build switches to let you or your client choose which parts of the website will be shown or not. You can enable or disable complete stacks with a switch. Your website has never been so flexible.

One thing you have to pay for this, is your time. Because Total CMS is so flexible, it needs some time to learn how to use it. The learning curve is a bit high at the beginning, but if you come over the hill you will feel warm and comfortable. It is really worth the effort.

Total CMS cost $ 99.95 with a license per domain. This is expensive on the first look, because other solutions are cheaper. I can understand that seems a little bit overpriced, but it is not. As a developer you have to invest your time and if you make your living with it, you have to feed some mouth. You have to calculate your price realistic to get your work paid. The market of RapidWeaver is not the same size like the market of WordPress or other solutions. The market of RapidWeaver is splitted in several groups of customers. Some are happy with the basic function of RapidWeaver itself. And some are extended users which are using stacks to enhance the possibilities of themes or frameworks. I would wish that Total CMS could earn enough money for the developer to let him extend the features and make him happy with his product. I never have seen a solution like this on any platform. To make it clear: $ 99.95 is not "nothing", but it is really worth the money. If you would pay this price without the limitation of domains, there would not enough money generated for the product. But who needs really more than one domain per license? If you edit your personal website and want to enhance it with this features – you only need one purchase. You can add a blog to your project, build image galleries, make some parts editable from web browsers... All with one domain. Even subdomains are possible. If you are building websites for clients, you should not have a problem to integrate the license costs in the calculation. Even if someone wants CMS and blog functionality in corporate websites with WordPress, he has to pay the integration with hundreds of dollars. Even if WordPress is free.

One what i think is important to know: You do not need MySQL database. All files of the CMS and blog are located on your webserver in a folder. Easy to backup.

And there is a volume pricing available: If you buy 4 or more licenses for Total CMS you will save 15% off your total.

Total CMS Logo


Total CMS is in my eyes the best and most flexible CMS and blogging solution in the RapidWeaver world. It s great for client work, because you can match the look seamlessly to the corporate design. And i think it has a nice future as it would be even more flexible in the future. The limit will be our imagination. And this is what great software is made of.

What is your experience? Share your thoughts.


TotalCMS by Joe Workman

Photo by Nick Cates

Gallery 3 by InStacks

ProGallery by Stacks4Stacks

Foundation projects using Total CMS

The Band