Welcome to BoltWire--a small but powerful web development engine you can use to create dynamic, interactive websites quickly and easily. This page tells a bit of the story behind our software.
BoltWire started out as a wiki. The word wiki comes from the Hawaiian language where it means fast--because wikis help you to develop websites more quickly. Essentially, wikis use a special markup engine to translate simple, intuitive symbols into more complicated HTML code, automatically. Wikis mean you focus on content, not programming. Wikipedia is the most popular example of a wiki, and boasts millions of pages, contributed by nearly anyone who wants to help.
Wikis are similar to regular web pages except there is usually a small edit button or link which allows authorized individuals to edit a page directly. You can edit them from any computer, anywhere--as long as it is connected to the internet. And in fact, multiple individuals can edit a wiki simultaneously, making them perfect for collaborative projects. You can of course, limit those who edit a site to a small group, or even one individual.
But BoltWire quickly went far beyond your typical wiki. It allows you to create member accounts and member groups instantly (like a content management system). It can input, manipulate, and save data, then output fully formatted reports (like a database). It has a built in site indexing system that allows you to find and retrieve information on your site in seconds (like a search engine). Plus, with easy-to-install plugins, you can easily set up forums and blogs, manage newsletters, do real-time chat or instant messaging, run e-commerce, give self-grading quizzes, publish RSS, and more. BoltWire, in short, is a complete web development solution.
At the beginning of 2007, I knew little about programming, but had a burden to develop an online training school for a ministry I am associated with. I tinkered with Moodle and Drupal, two popular content management systems, and both had their pro's and con's. Yet neither gave me the flexibility I was looking for.
On a providential discovery, I stumbled on to PmWiki, my first real taste of using wiki markup to create web content. And I was hooked. It was simple, versatile and robust. Installation was a snap--and upgrades were easy. PmWiki also has a brilliant developer and enjoys a great support community. So I dove in, and began learning all I could!
Eventually I began writing plugins for PmWiki. The first ones were small and simple, but they soon became more powerful. And some were rather creative. ZAP, for example, became an innovative, full-featured forms processor. Others involved hierarchical pages, member and group management, function processing, and data manipulation. Before I knew it, I was dabbling in everything.
At one point an idea occured to me for how a wiki could be built on a radically different framework--one that would make it far more flexible, and yet much smaller at the same time. So I tried an experiment. I took about two weeks and built a basic wiki shell around the ZAP forms processor. And BoltWire was born.
Over the next couple months, BoltWire was refined, enhanced, secured, tweaked, and expanded in countless ways. It quickly surpassed my wildest expectations, and was doing things easily I could never do before, yet with a download less than 1/4 the size, and about 2x as fast.
Early in 2008, I began offering the software to others. I knew a viable support community meant bugs would be found more quickly, and many ideas for enhancing features or stream-lining the code would be generated. BoltWire quickly attracted a great team, and their contributions have enriched the software immeasurably. By the end of 2008, BoltWire had become a secure, stable, and robust piece of software.
The secret behind BoltWire's small size, is the ZAP forms processor at its core--which allows you to customize virtually any site action without having to hack the underlying PHP code. In other words, BoltWire allows you to not only customize content within a site, but the engine itself--from right within your browser! This gives you virtually unlimited control over how everything is done in your site without having to know a line of programming. And it makes adding interactivity to your site, a snap. It's an innovative idea, but it produces radical results. To the best of my knowledge, BoltWire is the first web development system of its kind.
From its inception, the development of BoltWire has been guided by a foundational philosophy that can be summed up in five key principles:
- Keep it Simple
Simple installation, configuration, and upgrades. Simple page formats and markup.
- Keep it Small.
Only include in the core the minimum code needed for maximum extensibility.
- Keep it In-Side.
Make everything doable within the browser, from custom action pages to virtually all site configuration.
- Keep it Strong.
Give admins the power they want. Like a great big lego box--in the core.
- Keep it Secure.
Tough session-based permissions, input filtering, and common sense precautions.
If our BoltWire Philosophy makes sense, and you like the idea of being able to control not only content but all site interactivity, give BoltWire a try. It offers excellent capabilities, and ease of use. It gives you the kind of power a programmer wants--without requiring you to learn a programming language. It may be just what you are looking for! It turned out to be just the solution I needed, and it may be the answer for you too.
Oh, and our online training school? It is fully operational and running well with more than 6000 students! Take a peek here...