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A history of Midgard visuals

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 19 April 9200.
Planet PHP

As far as open source CMSs or web frameworks go, Midgard is one of the oldest ones. We started the work on it somewhere between 1997 and 1998, and the first version was launched in May 1999. Over the years our communications and visuals have changed quite a bit, and this post aims to show some of that evolution.

Much of this material has been gathered from old blog posts, various version control systems, and the Internet Archive.


The first Midgard website, designed by Janne Puonti had a distinct Art Deco vibe to it. Back then terms like Content Management System were not that established, and so at first we called Midgard an application server:

Animated GIFs were cool, and obviously we had one featuring our logo orbited by the dot from the i in Midgard:

We also had a set of custom logos for different areas of the website content:

Back then a lot of software still came on physical media, and so Midgard visuals also carried to that area, like Aurora's Midgard CD:

Hong Kong Linux Center's Nadmin Studio was even more ambitious Midgard distribution, including a manual, a full Linux setup, and Midgard integrated with services like LDAP:


After a couple of years some simplification was in order. We also swapped abstract imagery with a photo of some of our contributors. I'm not so sure how smart the lens flare in the logo was, however.

This design was by Piotr Pokora, the current Midgard maintainer:


The year 2003 was probably the high water mark for Midgard as a community. We had contributors from a lot of different places and new cool frameworks like MidCOM.

This was the time when we started separating conceptually between Midgard the content repository (then called a framework), and Midgard the content management system:

Most of the designs from this period were done by Tony Lee from Japan.

Aegir CMS

Aegir CMS was the administrative interface, derived from Hong Kong Linux Center's Nadmin Studio distribution of Midgard. Aegir had its own branding and was marketed as the end-user solution in Midgard-land:

Unfortunately no good copies of the old Aegir website have remained, but here is how the login screen looked. Since Aegir and Midgard supported multi-company hosting out of the box, some ISPs were using it as their management interface:


After a while we rolled the Aegir story back into Midgard, and had a product family of sorts, with the different administrative interfaces and libraries having their own logos:

And of course we were convinced that Midgard was on the top of the CMS world:


Truncated by Planet PHP, read more at the original (another 8447 bytes)