I have been on a long hunt for a CMS that would serve my needs with the right balance between features and ease-of-use. I have tried Drupal, WordPress, Composr, Sliverstripe, ProcessWire, SiteMagic CMS, Grav, RedaxScript, Quick.cms, phpwcms, wondercms, boltcms and now Zenario.


Funny enough, I thought that my needs are relatively straightforward.


  1. I want to create a website with three static pages: the welcome page has a bit of text and nine images with links, a second page for someone who would like to subscribe and a third page for a short FAQ.
  2. I want to style the three pages with an image that would be used as a (tiled) background, a header and a footer. 
  3. I want the site to be mobile friendly
  4. I want the contact form to prevent spam with some captcha.
  5. Extra: I would like the ability to send a newsletter to the folks who subscribe. 

Thus far Zenario has come pretty close, but in reading the documentation, watching the video and scanning the forum, I did not find any description on styling. The details on layout are pretty clear and straightforward, but I'm still not sure is if I could customize a theme and do the following relatively easily:


  1. Specify an image as a background for the site
  2. Specify the logo, the header and footer. 

If someone could point me in the right direction, I would be very grateful.






Hi Egan,


Thanks for the questions. Your requirements sound straightforward.


1. Your home page could possibly be based on the standard "BlackDog" layout that we include with the download. It already has a WYSIWYG area for some intro text to the site.


For the nine images with links, that sounds like you need the Banner plugin, which we use very commonly and should be enabled by default. You have a choice here, depending on your design, you can either:


 i) Edit the layout using Gridmaker (via the Layout tab of any page that uses the layout) and put nine slots on there in the arrangement you want; OR


ii) Use a single slot (could be one in the existing design) and insert a "Nest" in there; then edit the Nest and insert the nine banners. This approach restricts you to a rectangle for the overall arrangement of nine, but has the benefit that you can easily re-sort the Banners, and add more or delete them easily as well.


2. When you edit a content item's details ("Edit" view), go into its edit-metadata admin box, and then look for the "Background and CSS" tab. You should be able to set a background image on a per-page (per-content item) basis.


I will separately check that tiling works the way you require.


3. You should find that the Gridmaker-created layouts are automatically mobile-friendly, you just need to check "Responsive" when editing a layout with Gridmaker.


Now, for menus, you need to do a little more, and the thing we normally do is to have a slot that's only visible on mobile, and put a mobile menu plugin into that slot. (Similarly, have a slot that's only visible on desktop, and put a regular menu into that slot). 


Remember to set the slots up using Gridmaker, and the visibility on mobile/desktop as well, and then put the appropriate plugin into the slot once you are out of Gridmaker and back on the Layout view.


You may need to do further work in CSS (set breakpoints etc.) but you should find our default skin is a reasonable example.


4. For a form, just use a User Form, i.e. make sure the module is enabled and running, and look for the Forms panel in Organizer. It should make a simple default form for you.


You can edit the form in the form editor, drag on whatever fields you want to capture, and add consent fields, captcha, honeypot and other tools to combat spam and comply with regulations.


When a visitor fills in a form, you have a lot of choices; the usual thing is to create a form submission record, but you can also have it create a Contact record (in Users & Contacts), and send an email to you. If you confirm CRM settings you can make the User Forms system connect to an external CRM such as Mailchimp. 


5. There is a Newsletter module in the modules panel of Zenario (again, just look for Modules in Organizer, and then Newsletter). You can use this to compile a newsletter email (there's a standard template design, to which you can attach logos and an HTML layout), and with that you can send emails to all of your Contacts and/or (extranet) Users (if you have an extranet).


Zenario's Newsletter system is less complex than say Mailchimp though, so if you want to work hard on your audience then you may want the more sophisticated tools that third party newsletter systems provide. 


Regarding your other questions:


1. I think you can achieve a background image throughout the site using CSS.


Note that you can access CSS (for editing) just by going to the Layout tab of any page using a given layout, and then clicking on "Edit skin". You will be able to access all the tools there. 


For the image itself, you may need to upload it to the image library, and then capture its public URL; but if you have access to your file system (SFTP) then you can put it in your skin's folder on the disk.


2. For the company logo, use a Banner plugin, and put it in a slot at the top of the page (or wherever you want it to go). 


Zenario does not (currently) have the concept of a common header or footer, and so each layout is independent. In essence you should edit the layout(s) of your site and add appropriate slots near the top or the bottom.


I hope that helps, please feel free to ask more.





Hey there!


I just wanted to chip in and say it's quite easy to put a background image on a page.


First you'll need to go to the layout properties. If you're on the front-end, you can get to this by clicking the "Edit layout" tab at the top, then pressing the properties button. If you're in Organizer, you can get to this by clicking on the Layouts button on the left, clicking the layout you want, and then clicking the "settings" button.


Once you're looking at the properties for a layout, you should see a tab called "Background & CSS". On this tab you should see a tool that lets you upload a background image, and set some properties:



You can set a different image on a per-layout basis. If you want every layout on your site to have the same image, you'll need to set it on each one.

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