Cloud Cannon Turns Any Static Website Into An Editable Dropbox-Based CMS

Cloud Cannon is a CMS designed specifically for designers who know how to work with HTML, JavaScript, CSS and any static content. Instead of having to turn your beautiful designs into a dynamic CMS, you just have to put your files into a Dropbox folder — Cloud Cannon will take care of the rest in seconds. Clients can then edit paragraphs in the browser, insert images and more, as if it were an editable CMS.

There isn’t much else to say about this beautiful use case of the Dropbox API, because it’s as simple as that. Many have already hosted static content on their Dropbox accounts, but George Phillips and Mike Neumegen take it a step further by allowing administrators to edit the site directly in the browser, similarly to what you would do on a Squarespace website.

And if the WYSIWYG editor doesn’t suit your needs, you can always edit the source files in the web-based text editor (or in your Dropbox, of course). You can manage client accounts to restrict the editing parts if you are working with a client.

Only the content area will be editable as you need to add a class=”editable” div to any part of your HTML. If you need to host a blog, you can use static blog engine Jekyll.

Cloud Cannon works with custom domain names or free subdomains. The service isn’t free — subscriptions range from $5 a month for a site to $49 a month for 20 sites.

The startup doesn’t actually use Dropbox’s server infrastructure because there are some bandwidth restrictions for public folders. Cloud Cannon uses the Dropbox API to sync everything to its own servers, much like Marco Arment’s blogging engine. Dropbox only acts as an interface between the user and the hosting server. Yet, because it only supports static content, the startup doesn’t actually need big servers if they are configured properly with Varnish-style accelerators.

One of Cloud Cannon’s main advantages is that users don’t need to turn into system admins and manage their own hosting solution. But even if you need a little more flexibility, this product is a very cool, well-designed hack that is worth checking out.