|Initial release||July 2001|
|Stable release||3.0.17 / August 2014, 13|
|Type||Content Management System|
|License||GNU General Public License|
This software, known for its easy setup, use and maintenance, is widely used by networks of people, in public or private institutions. The last P in the word SPIP both stands for Partagé (shared) or Participatif (participative), in the sense that the software is especially tailored for collective online editing. Its mascot is a flying squirrel.
SPIP is a free software for content management used both by institutional sites, news sites (the webmaster of Le Monde diplomatique newspaper is one of the initiators of SPIP), community portals or academic sites, or personal webpages.
The pages of the site are generated 'on the fly': the contents stored in the database are formatted through presentation 'skeletons' that merge HTML and SPIP's own mark-up language. A caching system avoids the generation of pages at each request: when a page is requested, SPIP checks if it doesn't exist in its cache and if it isn't too old, it will be displayed. The life-span of a page is adjustable in its presentation skeleton.
SPIP was originally conceived for the uzine.net site, then designers decided to give it away under GPL License. Since its launch 2001, it has also been tested by le Monde diplomatique and www.vacarme.eu.org.
SPIP integrates a cache mechanism, an authentication system, an automatic setup module as well as an interface for administration and input of articles. SPIP's main feature is the creation of dynamic pages without any PHP knowledge, thanks to a template system relatively easy, known as 'skeletons.
In early 2003, the 1.6 version made it possible to display the private back-end interface in several languages. A space for translators is set up in order to multiply the number of available versions.
In April 2005, the private interface of version 1.8 has been reworked in order to take into account an analysis of ergonomic processes. An important modification for developers is SPIP's core that now benefits from a new compiler. It then becomes possible to elaborate skeletons with more and more complex functionalities without requiring any coding work in PHP.
Numerous re-workings are currently under way, such as the reworking of the private interface in the form of skeletons.
The 1.9.1 version introduces a template system, akin to Wikipedia.
The 1.9.2 version modifies the directory structure to allow a better mutualisation of sources.
The 2.0 version supports multiple SQL databases, and introduces easy skeletons for web forms.
The 2.1 version pushes further on the concept of modules, along with improved security and stability, a new interface for plugins management, and many more features.
The 3.0 major version was released on 19 May 2012: it was deeply redesigned towards a higher degree of modularity. All non-core functionalities are now in plugins. The private area has been thoroughly rewritten in order to make the editorial objects as generic as possible. It's now much easier and quicker to create new editorial objects and to customize existing ones. The new revolutionary DATA loop allows SPIP to connect to any kind of data (not only SQL tables). These data may be found locally (XML, CSV, YAML files, enumerations...) or directly on an URL (list of YouTube videos, Flickr photos, Google spreadsheet, online calendar...). So the web itself may be used as a database.
A mailing list is available for English language users : 
Article notes and references
- Comparison of content management systems
- List of collaborative software
- List of applications with iCalendar support