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A simple article repository site - narrowing down the CMS
moonroot



 
Msg#: 4110380 posted 10:20 pm on Apr 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd be very grateful for some advice. I'm building a simple site in terms of functionality and after playing around with Joomla I'm looking for alternatives.

I'm comfortable with HTML/CSS, it's a low traffic site holding several thousand articles, a mixture of pdf and html content, administrated by one person.

There will be about 12 categorised for the articles and therefore 12 article listing pages which will offer links to these articles.

The articles will be either HTML pages or PDF format thus the most important feature we need is the ability for the article listing pages to display and offer links directly to either the PDF or HTML content.

Also, the use of tags would be great, and the ability to search out (and narrow down) content based on tags.

So all in all a very simple site. No user permissions will be needed, no forums, blogs etc. A CMS with a simple learnig curve would be great.

I've been attracted to CMS made simple, Expression Engine and MODx for their simplicity. I'm also considering implementing it as static pages but as it will eventually grow to several thousand plus articles maybe that's not a good idea.

Any advice would be very gratefully received.

 

ergophobe

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



 
Msg#: 4110380 posted 9:04 pm on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry this has gone so long without a response.

One question: what will your workflow be? Do you want to auto-generate PDFs based on the HTML content, or will these be created separately and manually?

I ask because in the one case you would need something with a decent PDF converter, but otherwise, you could probably use anything.

weeks

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4110380 posted 10:25 pm on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is actually a very tough question. It gets to the heart of what many of us are facing today.

I'm also considering implementing it as static pages but as it will eventually grow to several thousand plus articles maybe that's not a good idea.

What is your worry here? Well, maybe it is the issue that does not get discussed, "Where are we going to be in four years?" Not your biz, the web. If you are not on a very stable format that has some good support, you're going to be re-working (probably) your entire site as son-of-iPad, HTML99, Bing or whatever (unexpectedly) becomes the new standard you must adapt around.

What we're doing is outsourcing where we can. Stupid simple example: Everyone gets a site search via Google Custom Search. Put in on the site where people will use it. Seems to work.

moonroot



 
Msg#: 4110380 posted 8:25 am on Apr 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ergophobe,

Thanks for the reply:

1. We do not need to be able to generate PDF's from HTML.

2. Not all the content on the site will actually be hosted on our servers, some of it will be hosted elsewhere so we'll need to be able to 'add' content including Title, Author, the external link, and an entry to say it's external content. Such content needs to be searchable by users and also be listed alongside our own hosted content.

I'd been working with Joomla recently but have just abandoned that and am realising that the level of configuration needed is possibly beyond me.

The only option I can currently see is to implement it as a static site (with a bit of PHP for includes) and in a couple of years when we have a budget to pay for either a custom CMS or a customised Joomla.

Regards workflow:

1. Add article which includes title, author, content. And assign content to one (or more) of the 12 categories. The article will either be HTML (plain text) or PDF file.

2.It would be ideal to assign once item to multiple categories.

3. We would also be adding a limited number of audio and video content. Some of which will also be hosted externally but would need to be listed as if internal content.

Thansk

ergophobe

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



 
Msg#: 4110380 posted 3:49 pm on Apr 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

>>Such content needs to be searchable by users

The only way I know that you can have content searchable by users on two different domains would be to use something like a Google custom search engine or an Apache Solr type setup. The Google option is simplest of course.

As for the rest, your options are pretty much unlimited. Most of the CMS I've tried would do it without issue. Certainly ModX will, which is on your short list. I don't know EE except by reputation (very highly regarded), but I don't see an issue there either.

For PDFs, whether hosted on your domain or externally, you'll just have to link to it. Most CMS will let users without FTP access do this using some sort of file upload/attachment module.

As for the audio/video, you create a page for the vid with some relevant text and ideally a bit of a summary to make it searchable and also to help the user decide whether it's worth a listen. For external ones (i.e. Youtube), you just embed them the embed code. For the internal ones, I've had good luck using SWFTools, which has plugins for various CMS (I'm using it on Drupal, but I know people who use it Joomla and WP).

Finally, if by external, you mean something like Amazon S3 or Kaltura or some other external media server, then you'll need some connector to tie in. I know of a few for Drupal, and I'm sure they exist for other CMS but I've not used them.

I hope that helps a little

moonroot



 
Msg#: 4110380 posted 8:50 am on Apr 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks ergophobe,

That's very helpful. Regarding the external content I was wondering if it may be at all possible to include an entry for it within the CMS, so there's no need to search an external domain.

The entry for it would simply be the meta data (title, author ...) for the article and not the actual content itself. So users could search for it based on the title/author.

Also, what's your opinion on CMS made simple contrasted with Modx and Expression Engine ? It's just that CMSmadeSimple does seem to have a much lower learning curve whereas Expression Engine seems at first glance more complex.

Thanks

ergophobe

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



 
Msg#: 4110380 posted 3:07 pm on Apr 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

>>opinion on CMS made simple

Funny you should ask:
[webmasterworld.com...]

As for the rest, you certainly could have the metadata on your site and even an abstract of the main article and do it that way if you don't want the content itself searchable.

If you want to have very a specific entry form with lots of specific metadata other than author, title and tags (which most CMS will let you do), you might want to look into ModX template variables or Drupal CCK.

moonroot



 
Msg#: 4110380 posted 8:53 pm on Apr 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks Ergophobe, highly informative.

I might play around with CMS made simple and then try Expression Engine. The latter as you say is highly regarded.

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