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Content Management Forum

    
Typical Question: What's the Best CMS for.
...blah, blah, blah...
cmarshall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 2:49 am on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

So far, WordPress [wordpress.org] is winning the race.

There is no "One, True Answer" for a CMS. I don't believe that any CMS out there will fit all needs.

With that in mind, I have been mulling my options, and here is where I'm at.

My question? Does this seem like a logical conclusion? Do you have an alternative? Why?

First, the needs. Too many people start with a tool, then determine the needs from the tool. We're starting with needs first.

1) Squeaky clean code. I like XHTML 1.1 (Usually curbed to 1.0 Strict).

2) Accessible (I like WAI AAA)

3) Flexible (We don't know all of our needs yet, so I don't want to lock us in).

4) Usable (Goes without saying. Leave fancy stuff behind if the site isn't usable, but I do like pizazz).

5) Has to Have a Powerful, usable calendar module. This is a MUST.

6) Secure, Multi-user administration. I would really like the ability to designate security groups. (WordPress falls down here).

7) The ability to post articles and pages.

8) The ability to radically change the site structure and appearance (Too many CMSs force you to fit their model, or make skinning a major engineering effort -see Gallery 2 [gallery2.org]).

9) Simple administration and posting. This site will NOT be used by geeks. Too many CMS systems are designed by and for geeks. That cannot be stated strongly enough. Massive racks of icons, ala PHPNuke, need not apply.

10) It can't be a giant resource hog. Drupal [drupal.org] scares me here. It requires you to jack up your PHP memory requirements to 12M.

11) PHP-based. I don't want to deal with CGI, even if RoR is the basic blood of Web 2.0

12) Did I mention simple administration? I really, really mean it. Many people using the site will not even have high school educations.

As I said, WordPress is winning. It will do all of the above, but I would like a more powerful security model. It has a very basic "flat" security model that is great for a blog, but this site will be more like a portal than a blog, but much, MUCH simpler than most portals.

Any feedback?

 

cmarshall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 12:35 pm on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Another oft-lauded CMS is Joomla [joomla.org].

The main problem with this is that not one single page on the Joomla site passes validation. I may still download the 1.5 beta and see if that works.

Drupal [drupal.org] has the same problem, but I have seen Drupal implementations that validate.

Validation is a showstopper. If I can get the CMS to validate without altering the core code, then it's acceptable.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 12:41 pm on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Validation is a showstopper.

I take that view with any third party code. ;)

Based on discussions here and throughout the community, it appears that WordPress has the leg up in this instance. I've heard and have read many good things about WordPress.

cmarshall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 12:51 pm on May 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have several WordPress blogs, and they all validate XHTML1.1/WAI AAA without modifying the core.

WordPress has several very good calendar plugins, and the administration is acceptable (but slow).

The main issue I have is with the security model, which is based around blogging and news sites. My use would be a bit different (a community site).

I know how to write WP plugins, so I can easily add the custom features I'll need, and I can skin WP quite well (look at my home site to see).

Basically, all the others seem to be hunting sparrows with a 10-gauge shotgun. WordPress is just slightly less than what I want, but all the others are way more than what I want.

bill

WebmasterWorld Administrator bill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 6:35 am on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

You can control an unlimited number of websites and authors on one install of MovableType. Does WP let you work with more than one site yet?

The system works with your own templates, so if you have a validating XHTML template MT can work in the background to fill in information where you tell it. It makes a nice CMS and the interface has been used by non-technical people for years.

You seem pretty set on WP, which is fine if it meets your needs, but I thought I'd mention another capable platform.

cmarshall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 10:24 am on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

You are correct. MT is a nice system, used by many "grown up" sites; but it goes against a couple of my requirements. Specifically:

10) It can't be a giant resource hog. Drupal scares me here. It requires you to jack up your PHP memory requirements to 12M.

11) PHP-based. I don't want to deal with CGI, even if RoR is the basic blood of Web 2.0

I also could care less about multiple sites. If we want to do that, then I would certainly not use WP, and would probably go for a CGI-based system like MT.

MT also suffers from the same problem as WP: It's a blogging platform; not a portal/CMS system. The application I have in mind is basically more of a "mini-portal" than a blog. WP is being slightly bent to fit this need.

I'm also not familiar with MT's security model. Since it is a blogging platform, I'll lay odds it's similar to WP. A portal CMS would probably have a security model more to my liking. If I remember, PHP-Nuke had a security model like the one I need, but it violates almost every one of my other requirements. I had to basically rewrite PHP-Nuke once in order to produce valid code, and it was hacked by an old exploit. I never want to go through that again.

natto

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 2:54 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'd recommend that you take a look at Expression Engine (http://www.expressionengine.com/).

To answer your criteria that you poasted above:

1) Squeaky clean code. I like XHTML 1.1 (Usually curbed to 1.0 Strict).

You use your own code for your templates and insert the Expression Engine tags into it so the quality of the code is up to you.

2) Accessible (I like WAI AAA)

Same answer as nuber 1.

3) Flexible (We don't know all of our needs yet, so I don't want to lock us in).

Not sure what you mean by flexible. Expression Engine comes with a lot of extensions and plug-ins.

4) Usable (Goes without saying. Leave fancy stuff behind if the site isn't usable, but I do like pizazz).

Do you want your site to be usable or the CMS to be usable? It's up to you which features you implement on your site. If you don't want to use module X then you're not forced to have it.

5) Has to Have a Powerful, usable calendar module. This is a MUST.

I haven't checked if it's powerful but I'm sure it comes with a calendar module.

6) Secure, Multi-user administration. I would really like the ability to designate security groups. (WordPress falls down here).

I *think* so... but check out the website to be sure.

7) The ability to post articles and pages.

Yes, although for articles and pages you may need the static page module (just Google "expression engine static page module") for these.

8) The ability to radically change the site structure and appearance (Too many CMSs force you to fit their model, or make skinning a major engineering effort -see Gallery 2).

See point 1. You use your own code and can structure the site as you see fit.

9) Simple administration and posting. This site will NOT be used by geeks. Too many CMS systems are designed by and for geeks. That cannot be stated strongly enough. Massive racks of icons, ala PHPNuke, need not apply.

It all seems fairly simply to me (but I'm a web geek) but again, check it out for yourself.

10) It can't be a giant resource hog. Drupal scares me here. It requires you to jack up your PHP memory requirements to 12M.

I can't answer this one, but check the Expression Engine forums for help (available on their website).

11) PHP-based. I don't want to deal with CGI, even if RoR is the basic blood of Web 2.0

It runs on PHP and MySQL.

12) Did I mention simple administration? I really, really mean it. Many people using the site will not even have high school educations.

See the answer to question 9...

I use this on my own website after getting frustrated with having to almost reverse engineer Wordpress templates to fit my site design. I have little to no PHP knowledge yet still managed to get it set up and to include some various if/else statements in the templates.

I downloaded the free, personal use version (the most expensive commercial version costs $250 so I wouldn't say it's too expensive) and use that. Download it yourself, install it and play around.

cmarshall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 3:09 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks, Natto!

I'll check it out.

Looks good so far. I'll have to see if the free core will give us whet we need. This is for an NPO that runs on a shoestring, so we can't afford to pay anything.

cmarshall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 10:14 pm on May 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Follow-up on EE:

I like it. It has exactly the security model I want.

However, it completely falls down in regards to the calendar, and that's enough to remove it from consideration.

Thanks! I will certainly keep this in mind for other uses, as it is a very nice engine.

[update]I found a Role Manager Plugin for WP that gives WP the security model I want. WP wins.[/update]

natto

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 8:33 am on May 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Before you rule out Expression Engine, try a quick search on their site for calendar plug-ins to see if there's a better one. If not, then best of luck with Wordpress :)

cmarshall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 10:22 am on May 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I did. I searched quite a bit. I only came up with a couple of minor things.

The problem with calendars is that they are very difficult to write administration code for. The best out there is a system called WebCalendar [k5n.us]. The problem with WebCalendar is that it is so complex to administer that I vetoed it as a resource for my engineering staff. I could never foist it on the mensch.

WP has one that is pretty easy and natural to administer. It does not have a couple of crucial functions that I want, but there is definitely a plan to add these in the future. I'll have to rely on their ambitions.

chance1376

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 5:13 pm on May 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Have you given a look to Post Nuke?
1. Theming in Post Nuke is easy create your html and drop in the tags. PN has been moving to a smarty based system and a lot of newer modules are template driven so you can tweak or revamp the output as you would like.

2. The devs have been working on accessibility following the WCAG accessibility guideline.

3. Should be able to find 3rd party modules that suit your needs. The 3rd party scene isn't as busy as it but a lot of that is because the upcoming version makes coding modules much easier but they can't be back ported to older version.
Also there is a module called pagesetter that is worth its weight in gold. If define the data/files/images to be inputed or uploaded. Then you create the templates to display the data. So you can create a lot of features for a niche that would never get coded as a 3rd party module unless you paid for it.

4. Its pretty basic stuff and with the template system you can a little extra zing if you like.

5. There are several calender modules postcalender is one off the top of my head. Plus templates for the pagesetter module that give you calendar functionality. I guess it depends on what features you are looking for.

6. PN has an excellent granular permission system. You can give groups admin access to a certain module(s) or the entire admin panel. Of course you can give non admins different layers of permissions.

7. Has a news module that you can add the scribite module in to use your favorite WYSIWYG editor like xinha, TinyMCE, and FCKeditor. There is also the HTML Pages module for static content that will also use the scribite module to plug in a WYSIWYG editor.

8. Again great templating system if you want some examples I can dig them up just sticky me.

9. Even though Post Nuke is a fork of PHPnuke there have been many changes. The PN admin is tabbed so you can place modules in any tab you like. For example you know your client will need to admin 5 modules just place them on a single tab and make that the default admin view so they don't see the other modules but can access them if need be. Also you can create a template for the admin panel if you want to do something different.

10. I can't say how PN fairs here although I have used shared hosting where I had to pump up the php memory for a gallery and PN ran fine before that.

11. Check

12. I think if you limit the users to see what is only needed that would probably help you out.

One other thing that I didn't see mentioned was spam control in your requirements. PN has modules for askimet, bad behavior, and a pretty good registration captcha. Unlike most scripts PN doesn't use an image based captcha, although you can install one if you like. The admin defines a question like " answer the following math problem 2+2=" or the " the color of the sky is?". Then of course you have to define the answer as well.

On Problem with PN is it is in a transition phase between releases. The version you download now comes pre packed with some basic modules. Some of which have been fixed up from the phpnuke days, some of these are rewritten for the next version of PN and others will be thrown out on the next release in favor of 3rd party modules that are superior. So it is best to remove some that are prepackaged and install the 3rd party versions.

I am sure there are some other things you might find that you don't like but as you said there isn't one answer for CMS. I thought PN would be worth a mention since it often gets over looked due to being a fork of PHPnuke and the default install isn't appealing to say the least. But it allows you to get under the hood and do quite a bit with out hacking the core.

cmarshall

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3351469 posted 5:22 pm on May 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks! I'll give it a serious look-see.

Spam control isn't a problem because we will allow zero discussion or comments. It's not too difficult to spam-control contact forms.

PHP-Nuke was garbage the last time I tried it (several years ago). I had to rewrite the entire thing to make it validate, and then some script k1dd13s hacked it using an old exploit. I never want to go through that again. It took several months, and I had to s---can the whole site after that. It was way too forked from the original to fix.

I need a system that can be easily upgraded without having to modify the core.

I have heard mixed reviews about PN, but I'm game to give it a try.

Again, thanks!

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