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Workaround for external multi-user CMS data?


#1

I would love to use Webflow as a frontend for a community platform, but the mayor drawback is that I want to have users with accounts that can add and manager their own content (mainly company profiles).

Now Webflow doesn’t support this, so I was wondering if there there is a workaround? Some online system I can use as a backend/database where users can login, update their data and that is then either updated/pushed to Webflow or that I use some script that loads the data from the external platform when the specific page with that content is loaded in the webflow frontend?


#2

I may be wrong but I don’t recall hearing about such an external system that you can plug on an existing site, let alone one working with Webflow CMS.

And I think this would be difficult.

A user system is a fundamental part of a CMS core. So if you want to marry Webflow with a user system, it’s most likely going to be the other way around: using a CMS with a user system, such as Drupal, and bringing templates made in Webflow inside of it.

And there are ways to work efficiently like this, but it’s not likely to be a designer’s work. More the work of a dev team using a designer to bring interesting and animated designs. When I say efficiently, it means that through a JS API, it’s possible to export code from Webflow, make it work as a template inside another CMS (using a combination of custom fields and special strings), and never touch the exported code, so that you can continue to design it in Webflow and export to the main system. I’ve been lucky to work with such a system and It was pretty cool.


#3

It’s a difficult one @guido.
I second @vincent here that you’d probably be better off using another core system.

Otherwise I’m sure you can embed one but this will depend on your budget, as those community platforms can be expensive…


#4

Do you know about such a system, that can be plugged or integrated? Genuine question :slight_smile:


#5

Sounds like a hip thing these days to use a headless CMS and then couple it with Webflow for the frontend (maybe something like https://www.contentful.com or https://prismic.io/ )


#6

@vincent not really actually :blush:. That was more a rhetorical reply and not a statement (apologies if it was misleading).

I had a quick look on google, maybe hoop.la could do some of that, but it’s not cheap…

Thinking about it, maybe just using the community platform on a subdomain could do the trick. Just like Webflow.com is doing it here with forum.webflow.com being powered by Discourse.

But then again, it will depend on @guido’s requirements.


#7

I’m sorry for the confusion, but by “community platform” I was not referring to a forum (we already have that, also discourse, running on a sub domain).

I meant it in a broader sense in that the website that I run supports a community of users and a large part of that community has profiles (user and company), articles (with authors (users)), projects (of those companies), events (connected to attendees (users) and hosts (companies) etc. etc.

What I am looking for is a system that can support such a complex multidirectional interlinking structure (it’s quite a bit more complex than above). Normal CMS systems don’t cut it that’s why I was looking at more specialized headless cms/content infrastructure platform that can handle that.


#8

Interesting topic, so I had a look around again. Hivebrite seems to be the kind of platform you’re looking for. It can integrate with your existing access directory (SSO access), so that could be a fair solution. You’ll need to contact them to get the technical details and pricing though.

I hope this helps :crossed_fingers:


#9

Definitely not with Webflow at the moment. This is on their long run roadmap.


#10

Hence my search for a workaround :wink:


#11

No but I mean, there is no workaround to make a user system work with Webflow CMS. Like having various authors with various rights write Webflow CMS content. Just wanted to stress that point so that you don’t search in vain. :slight_smile:


#12

ah yes, thx for that!


#13

Hey @guido,

I’ve been using https://www.knack.com/ lately which allows you to create a database, then use Zapier to push any updates to Webflow.

You can either embed the Knack application within your Webflow site, or push the user to the Knack URL.

Hopefully this helps :nerd_face:


#14

@micahryanhtml Looks interesting, definitely need to check that out! How do you use Zapier to push updated content? Afaik the zapier integration can only create new items, not update existing content ?


#15

@guido Actually, after further looking into your request - I would suggest creating the web app through Knack and just embed the created app into your existing website. Cutting out the Knack-Webflow integration via Zapier. You’re right: you wouldn’t be able to update the CMS content using Zapier.

Using Knack, you can control views so that particular articles, projects, and profiles are seen on certain pages. Everything would be controlled by the content creators.


#16

@micahryanhtml ah ok, thx. Any idea how that works out SEO-wise?


#17

Oh, good question @guido.

I had never thought of this before, but Knack is SEO friendly.

You can read about their SEO feature at the following URLs:
https://www.knack.com/blog/seo-friendy-online-database
https://www.knack.com/snapshots

Hopefully this helps :nerd_face:


#18

@micahryanhtml Thx for that! their /seo page doesn’t exist anymore and for the snapshots they refer to a freshdesk page I can’t get in… I reached out to them to get the info.

Would be great, I was under the impression that Google doesn’t index anything after a # (https://www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/anchor-links.html and https://moz.com/community/q/does-google-index-internal-anchors-as-separate-pages) so that wouldn’t be good for SEO at all, I wonder how they work around that (if at all)


#19

@guido Hmm, that’s interesting.

I’ll reach out also as you’ve peaked my interest.


#20

@micahryanhtml looks like they are doing it through this: https://developers.google.com/webmasters/ajax-crawling/docs/learn-more, but apparently you need some server-side changes for it to work (but the link on https://www.knack.com/snapshots to their freshdesk doesn’t work for me). Not sure what they are but I can imagine that won’t be possible with Webflows Hosted/SaaS solution