Let's fix the CMS problem


Surreal CMS creator here. I’ve been following these discussions for awhile, and now that Surreal CMS 7.0 has launched, I’m ready to tackle some of the problems that Blocs users are having with content management.

From what I’m hearing, the biggest problem is syncing changes after content is published. I have a few ideas to solve this, but I’d like to learn more about YOUR workflows before proceeding.

Surreal is agile, so let’s identify all the major pain points and figure out how to solve them.

I think everyone here is at least familiar with Surreal CMS, but for those who aren’t I’ll summarize:

  • Connect to your website using FTP, FTPS, SFTP, Amazon S3, or WebDAV
  • Enable the pages you want you and your clients to edit
  • Define content regions using class="cms-editable"
  • Edit your pages visually (inline)
  • Publishes changes directly back to your server

Aside from what you’d like to see be done better, I’m happy to answer any questions you have about Surreal or content management in general.

Cheers! :beers:

Surreal CMS content overwritten after Blocsfile update?
CushyCMS Disappeared

Regarding the syncing problem, I’ve made some changes to how revisions are handled in 7.0. Instead of 180 days, the last 20 revisions are stored indefinitely.

This data will be exposed in the upcoming API, so as long as you don’t delete or change the id of your content regions, Blocs could fetch the updated content and inject it into your pages. There are some edge cases that we’d need to consider (e.g. new pages in Surreal wouldn’t propagate back to Blocs), but I’m sure we can come up with a solid solution.

Not sure how deep @Norm wants to go with this, but if Blocs allowed you enter a Surreal API key we could get a lot done with that.

Built in CMS

Thinking about this more, another option that wouldn’t require any effort from Blocs would be a “republish” feature. After you overwrite changes from your local copy, you’d select a special option that would republish all changes based on the most recent revision.

This isn’t as elegant and it means your visitors could see an outdated page if they requested it at just the right time.

Ultimately, I’d rather see Blocs fetch the updated content and import it somehow, but @Norm would have to determine if that would even be feasible.

I’m open to other ideas, too.


Hi @claviska.

Although I’ve incorporated your Surreal CMS into several sites now, as far as I am aware none of my clients have actually made any modifications yet. FYI I’ve set up my account settings so that I receive notifications from Surreal when any changes are made.

However, here are a couple of initial thoughts that come to mind regarding what currently won’t work for me and my clients using Blocs + Surreal.

I’ve discovered over the past year that there is a heavy use of background images within Blocs - particularly for features like parallax images, full-width hero images etc. Yes, these add sparkle to a site, but I also know that some of my clients will want to change these background images from time to time. As far as I am aware there is no way in Blocs to specify that background images can be Surreal CMS editable regions. What I don’t want to have to do is go through code and manually tag images which will then enable a client to do this.

Similarly features like Video Galleries created in Blocs appear to be tricker to change in Surreal CMS - i.e. video thumbnail doesn’t appear in Surreal, and there is no easy way to see/change the YouTube / Vimeo link without going into the code. By comparison, when I was trying out CushyCMS with Blocs, this process was made a lot simpler for people with limited technical know-how.

And of course, as you’ve already pointed out, incorporate amendments made by clients to their sites back into the original Blocs file is a key feature. For me, in-browser editing and auto-sync were the two main features that encouraged me to invest in using Adobe Muse. It made maintaining and managing simple, but great looking sites a real breeze! Here’s hoping that you and @Norm can conjure up something similar over time.

I’m sure I’ll think of other things as I develop and test more sites, but these are the top three things that I can see me being asked by one or two of my clients in the not too distant future.



As of 7.0, Surreal supports editable backgrounds. This wasn’t possible in previous versions, so that’s probably why it hasn’t been implemented yet.

What’s the HTML code that gets generated for videos? Is it just the raw YouTube/Vimeo embed code?


I’ve heard of so many issues with CMS, so does this one fit in the category?
Are there any known problem?