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Content Management

Content Management

One of the most important decisions to make when developing a website is to determine which (if any) Content Management System (CMS) to use. A CMS, in brief, is a bit like a framework around which you build a website. All websites need a few common, basic components in order to facilitate things like Operation, Security and a level of Functionality – a CMS will deliver this as a foundation block and also provide ‘plug-in’ scripts to further develop the site.

A ‘plug-in’ or ‘add-on’ script is a bit of code that another developer has already written. It is normally written for a specific purpose and to be compatible with a specific CMS. A website designer doesn’t want to have to re-invent the wheel, so he will generally choose a CMS that has as many of these plug-ins available that will help him/her develop the site in the direction that you have instructed. This will save him/her development time and ultimately should save you, the client, money.

Many development companies will push you towards what they know, rather than what is best for you - and you may become unstuck later down the line when their initial solution can't cope with your new requirement six months on. Saxon Websites™ has experience of a wide range of CMS’ and will take the time to choose the right one for you – should we decide an off-the-shelf solution is best for you, that is. We have the experience to afford you the correct choice and the ability to compose a bespoke website should there not be a correct choice readily available.

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Common Content Management Systems

Blogger CMSBlogger is not really a CMS, it’s more of a Blogging platform owned by Google – but it does have a substantial following and websites using Blogger are popping up all over the place. There are some great templates and gadgets available. Its use is limited and the fact that it’s a ‘closed’ system and it’s hosted on their server makes Blogger very inflexible.

DotNetNuke CMSDNN is a CMS based on the Microsoft Technology stack and has a great 'drag-and-drop' user-friendly Administration interface. It has a big following, mainly due to aggressive marketing by the company rather than natural developer choice. DNN now has two commercial editions besides its open-source version and it will be interesting to see if the good scripts remain open-source or migrate to ‘available with licensed version only’ in the near future.

Drupal CMSA favourite with developers, this CMS has a lot going for it and is ranked #2 behind WordPress for popularity. The Administration and Editing interface takes a little while to figure out and there is a learning curve – finding items can be difficult at first. It has plenty of Plug-ins and Templates and is pretty flexible.

ExpressionEngine CMSBuilt around CodeIgniter, an open-source PHP framework – this CMS is expandable and versatile with some powerful features. It doesn’t have a large amount of themes or add-on modules readily available, but those it does have, are ‘quality’ in the main. Needs a healthier developer contribution community.

Joomla CMSNot sure why this CMS is ranked #3 for popularity, pretty much a developers nightmare. It does have a neat graphical user interface for administration to be fair, although trying to find your way around is another matter. Looks user friendly – but actually isn’t. On the plus side, there are some neat contributions and it can be quite powerful if you rewrite the core files … which sort of defeats the object we think.

Magento CMSMagento has gone the way DNN appears to be going unfortunately, a great product which started its days as open-source, but, now comes in two flavours – one of which is commercial of course and can get expensive (so only really viable for medium-large companies). The free version is limited and code-heavy, which could lead to performance problems if you do not have a robust server.

Typo3 CMSConstructed with modularity in mind, this open-source content management system is supported with thousands of scripts and can easily produce large content-rich sites. It is not the easiest CMS to install or manage however and can be heavy on resources due to size and an extremely comprehensive/robust file structure. Maybe a bit over-kill for some applications.

vBulletin CMSvBulletin is a commercial platform with which you can create fantastic community websites. An extremely powerful, application-specific software which is tuned into a growing market. This CMS is expensive to license and so has limited usage due to cost and lack of flexibility.

WordPress CMSWordPress has evolved from being just blogging software into a neat, flexible Content Management System. It has an excellent developer following and there are plenty of contributions to choose from, unfortunately not all good – so be careful. The Administration and Editing interface is very user friendly, making this CMS extremely popular.

Zen Cart CMSZen Cart prefer their software to be categorised as being ‘Shopping Cart Software’. Fine – still a quality CMS in our books though. Not very user friendly to be honest, however, the core files are nicely laid out and accessible for modification - you really can do almost anything with it. Perfect for building bespoke systems and probably the best for ecommerce websites.

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Topic: Content Management Systems
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Michael (Dartford) says...
I am very impressed with the layout and range of features that you have on this site. Is it a CMS or is it a bespoke website?
Admin:
In response to your question Michael, Sarah T was correct - it is indeed a Zen Cart. We are yet to add products and services which probably gives it a different look and feel to normal Zen Carts. All will become clear within the next week hopefully. - Ed
1st January 2014 10:27pm
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Sarah T (Birmingham) says...
Not too sure, but think it's a Zen Cart. I say not 'too sure' cos I've never come across a Zen Cart with comments like this - they normally only allow you to make a comment about a product. Unsure
1st January 2014 10:58pm
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