Big Medium

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What's Global Moxie?

Global Moxie specializes in mobile design strategy and user experience for a multiscreen world. We offer consulting services, training, and product-invention workshops to help creative organizations build tapworthy mobile apps and effective websites. We're based in Brooklyn, NY. Learn more.

On Shelves

Books by Josh Clark

Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps

Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders

iWork ’09: The Mising Manual


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Pre-Purchase FAQs

Important: Sales, service, and support of Big Medium are no longer offered. More details.

This is a list of frequently asked pre-purchase questions. If you're looking for answers to support questions, check out the Big Medium support FAQs.

The Big Picture

Site Designs

Content and Media

Installation and Upgrades

Technical Details and Installation

Collaboration and Editor Accounts

Hacks and Modifications

The Big Picture

What does Big Medium do?

Big Medium is a website editor (or "web content management system") that lets you manage entire websites from your browser.

For web designers, Big Medium offers design freedom and doesn't impose cookie-cutter layouts. If you bring basic to intermediate HTML/CSS know-how, Big Medium can manage just about any design you throw at it.

For editors and businesspeople, no HTML knowledge is required. Enter your text, images, podcasts and document downloads into Big Medium's web-based editor, and click "Save."

Publishing is a one-click process: When you save a page, Big Medium automatically updates your homepage and section/category pages to add links to your new page. If you move the page to a new location, Big Medium follows along, updating all of the links to that page.

Big Medium uses page templates to publish the page in your site's unique design, while still allowing each article to have its own individual design elements including images, documents, pullquotes, "email this article" links, "related info" links and more.

No need to touch HTML code, to chase down a busy webmaster, or to hire contract employees to make simple changes to your website. Big Medium makes it easy to do it all yourself.

A single installation of Big Medium can do this for hundreds of sites on the same server, allowing organizations to provide individual employees, teachers, or students with their own site.

Review the overview of Big Medium's features.

What skills do I need?

The skills needed to use Big Medium vary according to your role in managing your site. Big Medium is typically installed and configured by a web designer before being handed to editors. Here are the typical roles and associated skills required:

  • Writing and editing. Adding and editing pages and other content to your site requires only basic word-processing and web-browsing skills.

  • Site design and customization. Creating your own custom design in Big Medium requires basic to intermediate knowledge of HTML and CSS. However, Big Medium does provide a modest library of built-in design themes, and using one of these themes requires no technical now-how.

  • System administration. Installation requires basic knowledge about loading files to your server and setting file permissions. (Never fear, the installation instructions are detailed and helpful.)

What types of website does Big Medium manage?

Check out "Is Big Medium Right for Me?" for details about Big Medium's strengths and weaknesses.

How many pages and how much traffic can Big Medium handle?

Big Medium scales easily for sites with thousands of pages and millions of monthly page views. Because Big Medium generates static HTML pages, instead of building every page each time it's requested, the system is gentle on your server and scales to handle very high levels of traffic.

How much does Big Medium cost?

Big Medium is $185 per server license. One license covers a single installation on one production server; one installation can be used to manage an unlimited number of sites with an unlimited number of editor accounts.

When you purchase Big Medium, you also receive a year of free upgrades. You can renew this service plan at any time for an additional fee (currently $59 per license). There's no obligation to renew the service plan; once you've purchased your license, you can continue to use the software as long as you like for no additional fees. If you want to update to the latest version, however, you will need to renew the service plan if it has expired.

Big Medium 2 is a free upgrade for registered users of Big Medium version 1.x. You can use your v1.x license number to activate your installation.

The complete license agreement is included in the Big Medium download package.

Can I try before I buy?

Yes. Enjoy Big Medium's full functionality for 30 days without spending a dime. After this trial period, Big Medium's administrative interface will stop working until you purchase a license and register the installation with your license code.

Site Designs

Can Big Medium publish web pages in my site's unique look and feel?

Yes. Big Medium is highly flexible, and you can create custom design templates to make your site look exactly as you wish. The software can handle an infinite variety of designs, bounded only by your own creativity. And it's easy to do: Because they are similar to HTML or XHTML pages, Big Medium's templates can be created quickly and with little effort.

This process does, however, require knowledge of HTML. Once the templates are configured, no knowledge of HTML is required to update and maintain sites managed by Big Medium.

Does Big Medium come with any pre-formatted templates that I can use?

Big Medium comes with a small handful of design themes to help you get started. Big Medium's emphasis, however, is on allowing you to implement your own custom design, and I don't plan to make prefab themes a major emphasis. If a large library of canned designs is important to you, check out some of the alternatives listed in "Is Big Medium Right for Me?".

Can you design a site for me?

Sorry, no. I don't currently offer original design services. If you're looking for a Big Medium-savvy designer, shoot me a note at and I'll be happy to provide some referrals.

I already have a design; can you help me convert it into a Big Medium template?

Yes. I offer a paid service that adapts an existing, complete HTML design into Big Medium templates. This service includes installing and configuring the templates; when I'm done, you can get straight to editing your site with your own unique look and feel.

The cost of this service varies according to the size and complexity of the design; fees typically range from $300-$600. Send me an e-mail at for a quote.

My sites use CSS for layout instead of tables. Does Big Medium grok?

Yes. If your organization has made the important step of managing your site's layout with cascading style sheets (CSS) instead of tables, Big Medium makes that move right with you. (The Big Medium-powered site you're reading right now uses CSS for its design.)

Does Big Medium support web standards?

Yes, Big Medium generates pristine, standards-compliant HTML or XHTML. As long as your design templates are themselves valid markup, all pages managed by Big Medium will be 100-percent compliant with W3C web standards.

Content and Media

Does Big Medium have content categories?

Yes. Like nearly all sites on the web today, sites managed by Big Medium are organized into content sections, and if you choose, any section may be further divided into unlimited levels of subsections.

Is Big Medium search-engine friendly?

Yes. Big Medium allows you to create friendly URLs; article pages are named something like man-bites-dog.shtml instead of 32234s?asdf=a324. These friendly URLs help to improve search engine placement on the included keywords. Big Medium also gives you complete control over the page titles and meta content and description fields of all pages. The software also generates search-engine sitemaps to help search engines find all of your site's content.

Is it easy to include images, galleries and slideshows?

Yes. From an article's edit page, you can upload an unlimited number of images directly from your hard drive, specifying exactly where on the page you would like the image to appear. Once uploaded to your server, the image becomes part of a library of images can be reused by any page on your site.

Any page can include its own image gallery and slideshow.

Also, if your server has certain image libraries installed (see the system requirements page), Big Medium will automatically resize your images for you, generating thumbnails and other custom image sizes.

Does Big Medium create news feeds and podcasts?

Yes, Big Medium does this automatically for you. Every site has its own RSS news feed and podcast.

Can Big Medium manage PDF files and other documents?


Can Big Medium help me manage links to other sites?

Yes. In addition to organizing and managing content on your own site and server, Big Medium can also create and manage links to external sites, pages and documents.

Does Big Medium manage banner ads?

No, but it works well with most banner ad management systems, including the popular OpenAds. If you choose OpenAds, you can place your ads using that system's various "remote invocation" methods.

Can I include Google ads in my pages?

Yes, just paste the Google ad code into your page templates where you would like the ads to appear.

Does Big Medium include forum/bulletin-board software?

No, but third-party software can easily run alongside Big Medium to add a forum to your site. Check out these popular software packages:

Installation and Upgrades

Is Big Medium a hosted service?

No. Big Medium is a Perl application that you run on your own server or web account. If you're specifically looking for a hosted service, I recommend a few in "Is Big Medium Right for Me?"

Can I try it on your server, or do I have to install it on my own?

You have to install it on your own server or web hosting account.

How long does it take to install Big Medium?

Installation of the Big Medium software typically takes an hour or less. If you choose to use one of Big Medium's included design themes, you can have your website up and running in just a few minutes more.

If you want to configure Big Medium to manage your website in your own custom design, the setup can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The amount of time it takes to build the templates to generate pages in your specific website design varies according to the size and complexity of every website, as well as your familiarity with Big Medium's tools.

Is installation difficult? Can You help?

If you have never installed web scripts before, installing Big Medium may seem a bit daunting because it involves steps like setting file permissions. That said, the installation guide offers clear, step-by-step directions. In a nutshell: Upload the files to your server, set permissions and run the user-friendly setup wizard. If you've installed Perl or PHP web scripts before, Big Medium shouldn't prove much of a challenge.

Can I install Big Medium on one domain and use it to manage sites in another?

Normally yes. See the system requirements for details.

I already use Big Medium 1.x. Will my sites work with Big Medium 2?

Yes. Big Medium 2 has an import utility that lets you import your Big Medium 1.x sites into the new version's data format.

I own a Big Medium 1.x license. Do I have to pay to upgrade to 2?

Big Medium 2 is a free upgrade for registered users of Big Medium 1.x whose service plan is still active. If your service plan has expired, you will be prompted to renew it when you upgrade. (Service-plan renewal currently costs $59 for an additional year.)

Technical Details and Installation

Does Big Medium run on my web server or on my PC?

Big Medium runs on your web server. After it is installed there, it basically acts as a website that lets you manage other websites. This means that you can access Big Medium from any Internet-capable computer anywhere in the world.

I don't have my own server. Can I install Big Medium on a hosted web account at my ISP?

Yes. Big Medium runs on nearly any hosted account. As long as your hosting service includes access to the CGI directory and permission to install your own scripts, you can install and use Big Medium on your shared (or "virtual") server. Review Big Medium's system requirements.

In which programming language is Big Medium written?

Big Medium is written in Perl. See the system requirements page for more technical details.

Are you planning a PHP version of Big Medium?


What type of database does Big Medium use?

Big Medium doesn't use a database. It saves all of your data in text files on your server, which makes for easy installation and backups. See the system requirements page for more technical details.

What types of pages does Big Medium generate?

Big Medium generates static .shtml pages.

What are the system requirements for my server and my PC?

Check out the system requirements page for all the details.

Is there a utility to import my site's contents into Big Medium?

Sorry, no. Each page needs to be entered individually into Big Medium's content editor. (If you are upgrading from Big Medium 1.x, however, Big Medium 2 does have an importer to convert your site for the new version.)

Are there any browser requirements for my site's visitors?

No. Sites managed by Big Medium may be used by any computer and browser. The pages generated by Big Medium may be viewed from all browsers for which your website was designed.

Collaboration and Editor Accounts

Does Big Medium offer multiple user accounts?

Yes. Big Medium allows you to create an unlimited number of login accounts, each with different access privileges to a specific set of websites managed by Big Medium on your server. This means that you can allow specific individuals from anywhere in the world to contribute to your site(s), and you can carefully control what they're allowed to do. User accounts may have one of five levels of privileges: writer, editor, publisher, webmaster or administrator.

There are no fees for additional users. Add as many as you like.

Can I require that content be approved before it's published?

Yes. Accounts with writer or editor privileges cannot publish articles or edit published articles. Only accounts with publisher, webmaster or administrator privileges may do this. Unpublished articles, while not visible on the public site, may still be previewed and edited within Big Medium before being shared with your site's visitors.

Hacks and Modifications

Do I get the source code with Big Medium?

Yes. Big Medium's code is open and unobfuscated.

May I modify the Big Medium source code?

Yes, as long as you do not redistribute the modified code without permission. Please be aware, however, that alteration of the Big Medium software is done at your own risk.

Big Medium is built with a modular design that allows Perl developers to add their own modules and custom features. I still need to pull together all of the documentation that spells out the API ("application programming interface"); I'm currently aiming to get this done for Big Medium 2.1.

Do I have to link back or give credit to Big Medium?

No. A nod my way is always appreciated but not at all required.

Can I rebrand the Big Medium control panel with my own company's name, look and feel?

Yes. You are welcome to change the graphics and layout of any of the Big Medium pages, provided that you keep intact the Global Moxie copyright information at the bottom of the administrative pages. You can change the look and feel by editing Big Medium's CSS style sheet.

Download Big Medium
Try it free for 30 days, or buy to unlock.

Blown Away

“I’m blown away by Josh Clark’s deep understanding of the iPhone user experience.”
—Jürgen Schweizer, founder of Cultured Code, maker of Things iPhone app

“It’s rare to find a person like Josh Clark who speaks so intently to the topic of interface design and mobile devices.”
—John Maeda, president of Rhode Island School of Design

“If you have time to read only one book on what makes apps successful, it is Tapworthy by Josh Clark.”
—Andreas Sjostrom, manager of mobile solutions, Sogeti

More praise for Tapworthy