CALF is crufty, crappy, unmaintained software. I have not touched it years and had to resurrect this page with the help of the Internet Archive! The demonstration version and many of the links on this page are dead and will in all likelihood stay that way. It was the first piece of software I built on my own and includes many beginner's mistakes.

This web page and software is placed here for the sake of documentation. There are many pieces of software that are more advanced, more up-to-date, and more appropriate for almost anything you might want to use it for. I will not be able to help anyone with bug reports or problems with this software. Do not send me emails about problems or dead links on this page.

If for some reason, you decide that you want to support this software and take up the code base, please contact me about organizing a transfer of responsibilities.

Welcome to CALF's homepage.

CALF is the Collaboratively Administered Lister and Filer. It a web application written in perl that acts as specific type of web-based content management system. Read more, look at the screen shots, and visit the links below to find more.

Current Version: 0.9.0

This Page:

Documentation: Other Important Links:

About CALF

As mentioned at the head of the page, CALF is the Collaboratively Administered Lister and Filer The best way to understand what CALF does is to see it in action.

At it's core, CALF is simply a very specialized database frontend running on the web (although, to some extent, this claim could probably be made about any database-driven web application). It is written in perl and accesses the database through Perl's famous DBI database interface. It uses Andy Wardley's Template Toolkit for page generation. Since conception, it has been a Free Software project and it is licensed under the GNU GPL.

Major features include:

CALF was created as a means to an end. That end was a project of the non-profit organization Organizers' Collaborative that eventually developed into the Democracy Groups website. The idea was first given form in a prototype of the Democracy Groups site written in PHP over Summer 2000 by Yukari Wada and Rich Cowan. A year later, Benjamin Mako Hill, working with the old prototype and with Rich Cowan, wrote CALF between September and December of 2001 as part an internship with OC and his academic field study from Hampshire College.

CALF was written in the context of and developed to display the Democracy Groups database. However, the desire to use the software in a variety of other uses (both inside the organization and outside) was a consideration from the beginning. The software was designed and engineers with this goal in mind. After the second beta launch of the Democracy Groups website and a period of bug-fixing, CALF was extracted from the Democracy Groups code and packaged in the form you see today.

Finally, CALF has been designed as and is being run as a free software project. This means that not only are you free to distribute, redistribute and use CALF any no cost, you are welcome to change, modify, and share those changes. If you are use, plan on using, or are interested in the software, please don't hesitate to join the mailing list, download the software, submit patches or ideas and become an active participant in the development and direction of CALF. If you are new to the concept of free software, make sure you read CALF's license (the GNU GPL), and the Free Software Foundation's essay What is Free Software?

Recent News

Wed Feb 13 16:40:13 EST 2002
As this in the first public release, there's little to say here other that. Please check out the website, the packaging, and the documentation and send email to the development list at or to me at As always, up to date information on the development of the software can be found on the list archives and development information up to and including the last release of the software can be found in the development ChangeLog which automatically generated from the CVS logs with each release.


Screenshot of the editors interface in the CALF demonstration site (click on thumbnail for the full-size image):

Screenshot of the "edit item" page in Democracy Groups (click on thumbnail for the full-size image):

However, the best way to get to know the software is to use it. Both the sites pictured above are available for browsing:

Any questions or comments, contact me at:
Mako Hill <>