introduction - CMS
what is a CMS:
CMS: content management system
content: The meat of your website: the words and pictures.
management: Editing, updating, changing, organising.
system: The tools and procedures you use.
A CMS is a web application:
a program that runs on the web server.
are all CMSs.
There are many more!
You use a CMS to make and edit your website,
through a web interface: through its own web page
with forms and buttons.
Most of the popular CMSs these days are written
in PHP, with MySQL as the database.
You don't have to know PHP or MySQL to use or administer
the CMS — but if you do have any knowledge,
it will be helpful.
With a CMS:
Many developers can edit the website.
People with little knowledge
of web development can edit the web pages.
Easy to store, sort, manage, and distribute the content
of the website.
One piece of content can be used multiple times,
in different areas of the website.
Who is using a CMS for their website?
Should you use a CMS?
A CMS can be very useful, but it is not the
for all websites.
A CMS is most useful if:
You have a big website,
especially if you need to change the content often,
and especially if you have several people who put and change
content on the website.
Yes, a CMS makes it much easier to edit the website.
But — just like everything else in life:
Anytime something is easier,
on the other end things will be harder and more complicated.
Some has to know enough to
choose the right CMS.
Someone has to understand how the CMS works.
Someone has to do the hard work of setting up the CMS.
Someone has to have a lot more knowledge, to administer the CMS,
backup the database that holds all the content,
change the design when needed, and more and more.
Someone has to make sure the CMS program will be upgraded
when needed. There could even be the possibility it would
need to be changed to another program in future.
Someone needs to do some thinking,
and "test-driving" before you actually put your site into a CMS.
Someone has to teach the people how to
put their content into the CMS —
it is easier than making html pages, but still
needs a little training.
So like any tool, a CMS brings a new set
of things to learn and problems to solve.
planning for a CMS:
What kind of content does the website have?
How is your content structured?
How will it be chunked and fit into the CMS?
What is the present overall structure of the website?
Its divisions and subdivisions?
Who are the staff now and what are their abilities?
Will there be new staff (or less staff?) needed
after the CMS is used? How will the staff fit into
the CMS as "users"?
Who is going to administer the CMS itself?
Set it up for the site? Upgrade it? Solve any problems with it?
More about administering a CMS]
choosing a CMS:
There are many different CMS programs.
Just like anything else, no one is best for everybody.
Each CMS has different suitablity for the people
working with it, and for the site.
These days, we are usually choosing between Joomla or Wordpress.
We might consider Drupal.
If we are specialising in a certain thing on the website,
such as videos, we might dig a little deeper: what extensions are available
for a particular CMS? Is there a CMS that specialises in, for example, videos?
The things to think about
Purpose of the website
Is it mostly news or other time-based information?
Is it mostly information that doesn't change much?
Is it for only one language, or many?
Is it for videos, audios, or other specialised content?
Needs of the end-users, the people viewing the website:
using the website.
finding things on the website.
how does the CMS help these things?
Needs of the staff who work on the website:
Their abilities and technical level
The "workflow" - how does the website
get made in the office? (how does the work
"flow" from one person to another?)
how does the CMS help these things?
Security of the CMS app
Are security problems openly discussed?
Are security patches developed and released quickly?
Support for the CMS app
Is the CMS being actively developed?
Are there active forums and mail lists where people
discuss the system and help with questions?
Do you know
using the same system?
Your server environment
Does the CMS work on the server you use?
(or want to use!)
Cost of the CMS app
Many excellent CMS apps are free, open-source programs.
The best places to find them (and many other great programs) are:
One of the best ways to decide, is to ask other people
who are using a CMS. Find out which one they use,
why they chose it, what they like and don't like about it.
The best CMS comparison i have read on the web, with explanations of how to compare CMSs,
Here are some files
with information about comparing some CMS's
Here is a list of websites comparing CMS's:
"cmsInfo is an internet community of users and developers of Content
Management Systems. Dedicated to provide news and information of
the Open Source weblog niche."
The biggest list of cms apps.
A community service to everyone interested in looking for a means
to manage web site content. Discuss, rate, and compare the various
systems available on the market today.
Select different systems and compare.
Feature lists, comparisons, and resources
to help you select the right CMS.
An independent source of analysis and reports on content management,
records management, and enterprise search solutions.
Open Source Content Management
– international association
"OSCOM is the international association connecting users and
developers of Open Source Content Management solutions.
OSCOM organizes events, promotes standards and undertakes
projects to further the state of the art of Open Source Content
Management. OSCOM promotes Open Source Content Management solutions
as powerful, affordable and flexible replacements for proprietary
List of current cms packages:
(This is a summary of a great talk by Claire Spencer
in March 2006, with unauthorized additions by James Walker.)