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ANOTHER newbie CMS question

Looking for a feature rich CMS I can grow into fairly easily



10:50 pm on May 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

First off, let me say I've been going through the forums a bit, and really appreciate the content provided here. You guys have given me a lot to think about, and helped me solidify several ideas. This is my first post here, and I'm pretty new to the whole CMS thing. Anybody can slap together a basic website, but this is somewhat more involved, so I figured I'd better pick the brains of a more experienced community.

I'm planning on opening up several content rich domains, all of which are at least somewhat interrelated. I'd like to host all of these domains using 1 CMS implementation, and have the option of using 1 username/password combination per user to allow access to all of these different websites.

I want to post tutorials and reviews, some protected content for members, and a members-only forum. Further, I'd like this one CMS to be able to host individual forums for each domain (again, using 1 username/password to access any of the different domains' forums). I'm also interested in monetizing these sites at some point, so adsense, affiliate programs, etc. will become important as time goes by. I've included a slightly more detailed list of things I'd like to prepare for below.

I realize I'm not ready for all of this at once, but I'd like to start with a system that can grow into what I want to accomplish (as I learn to add more capability), so input from people with experience in these areas would be greatly appreciated.

I've done my best to gather features and info from cmsmatrix, and opensourcecms, but I still have some questions about the multitude of Open source CMS options available.

So far, based on features, I'm looking at the following:

Tiki CMS/Groupware
eZ publish
Joomla (STILL waiting on 1.5 . . .)

Based on what I'd like to accomplish (see below), and the capabilities of the systems named above, does anyone have a recommendation on which would be the best to move forward with?

Here's the list of things that I'm most concerned about as this series of projects grows. Please comment on anything I'm leaving out or you think I may have an incomplete understanding of.

*** One CMS install to host and manage content of multiple domains (in so far as is practical).

*** Share User profile/account info between these multiple domains (1 membership – and 1 login - for all related sites).

*** Good forum capabilities (search functionality, user profiles, possible separate forums for each domain, block spam posts, require login, etc.)

*** Ability to import/export syndicated feeds (RSS/XML/whatever) to/from related sites/domains.

** Simple import of articles/publications in a variety of formats (ODF, Latex, XHTML, etc.)

** Flexible export of content (as “print friendly”, or PDF, or XHTML for example).

** SEO friendly features: meta tags, static and readable URL's, no cookies or session ID's in URLs.

** Bot detection capability (restricted content requires login for a human visitor, but allows a recognized search engine bots to index content without login).

** Content control and protection. Showing part of an article, but requiring login to get the whole thing:

** Performance (bandwidth usage, DB access, etc.)

** Ease of Administration. Setup and administration must be as simple as possible, I don't want to become an expert website coder, I am more interested in the content of the projects (eventually businesses).

As I said before, any input would be greatly apprecicated.

Thanks in advance


11:21 pm on May 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Maybe it's not for you, but Typo3 could do all of these things, and more. It's not an out of the box solution, but as you say "I realize I'm not ready for all of this at once, but I'd like to start with a system that can grow into what I want to accomplish (as I learn to add more capability)", it may be a good choice. Typo3 takes some time to learn, but is very versatile.


11:46 pm on May 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks Kneek for the quick reply. I have to admit to not looking seriously at Typo3, in part based on what I read in other places on this site. While it's generally considered very capable by those that comment, it's also almost universally regarded as having a terrible learning curve, and hit or miss support. Again, just from what I've read - I have no experience with it either way.

Plugging in and configuring modules or themes is one thing - a little html or css here and there is expected, but I really don't want to have to become a web coding expert to make this (or future) projects fly. My concerns may be invalid, please correct me if this is so. In any case, I will look into Typo3 a little more closely. Thanks again for your input.

Anyone else, and/or on any of the other options?


8:46 am on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've started using Typo3 less then a year ago, and think I would be capable of creating all website functionality you listed. Just to show that while there is a learning curve, you definitively don't have to be a hardcore coder. I don't know php (well) and only have some html and css skills. Using typo3 you have to learn some typoscript, but there's a lot of documentation, from tutorials and code snippet sites to video's. After reading some of the core tutorials and/or seeing some of the video's, you could have a typo3 site up in one or two days. After that you could just build on that and keep learning in the process. Most extensions are pretty much plug(, configure) and play by the way. Also, the response time in the mailinglists really isn’t that bad. Just my experience... You could always take a look at some of the documentation, extensions, etc. at [typo3.org...]


10:44 pm on May 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Well, I did go look at what typo3 has to offer, and it looks very promising. I'll dig further into the plugins and documentation over the next few days, and definitely move it up the list of possibles.

Thank you again Kneek, for all your help. Do you (or anyone else) have any suggestions for an inexpensive and reliable host? There are a few I've worked with, and others I'm looking seriously at, but it never hurts to get some more input. Maybe I shouldn't ask that question here - don't want to violate this sites TOS. Apologies in advance if this is the case.

This has been kind of a one sided conversation so far, anyone else with a suggestion? Or maybe compare/contrast the recommendation already given?

Thanks again


1:46 pm on May 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Typo3 is a powerful system and probably comes closest to meeting the largest number of your requirements straight out of the box -- though not all. The downside is that you'll need to learn TypoScript to handle templates.

Drupal's not a bad call for your needs either but will require extensions to reach all your functionality.

Mambo rocks, but you cannot handle multi-site management and unified login without extensions and you will have to install a forum (which isn't a bad alternative regardless if you want robust and solid performance).

I don't think wiki is the route for you...

ez, while a very good system, won't meet a number of your requirements and that leaves you relying on extensions. unfortunately the ez community is not as large as the Drupal/Mambo/Joomla crowd so you're kind of stuck. Some of what you want may only be available in the closed license (not sure on this point).

Joomla.... well, if you want to wait for what is basically a x.0 release...and under god knows what license!


5:44 pm on May 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks RicoFlan for your input. I am leaning pretty seriously to Typo3 after what I've discovered from Kneek's input, and your follow up, but I'll still test out a few options.

Drupal has always been interesting, but I worry that it has it's own learning curve, and by the time we start talking about extensions/customization to accomplish what I want, I'm probably no worse off with the Typo3 learning curve.

Mambo is still a good option, but again - by the time it's extended to handle everything I want, then I'll have learned more about customizing the system(s) than I was really keen on doing in the first place. Probably better to start with a system that can handle most everything I want to do out of the box, and expand it as I need it.

Of course, I'm not sure how valid that argument is given the initial learning curve of Typo3 or Drupal anyway. I suspect that no matter what I choose, I'll be learning more than I care to, or hiring somebody to implement it for me.

WebGUI is still kind of an unknown. CMS Matrix shows that feature-wise, it's at least as capable as the other top candidates, but it's Perl based, and that frightens me a bit. :) Anyone have any experience with it?

In any case, thank you both for your input. You've helped clarify the options substantially.

Anyone else out there with some thoughts?


4:33 pm on May 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Being completely incompetent in Perl I have stayed away from WebGui. I work with mambo, Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and osCommerce. I find that selection covers a large enough swath of client needs. Plus the whole PHP route to customization is much more appealing...

The learning cruve on Drupal relates primarily to the templating engine you choose to use (though if you are a hardcore PHP dudue you can bypass the tempalting engine approach completely). PHPTemplate is bundled with Drupal, and you can also use Smarty, XTAL, or others. Being able to deal with the templating engine is a key to the presentation layer. But, that said, you may be able to find an existing template that covers a lot of your needs.

Adding extentions to Drupal will cover a lot of your additional ground, but I think your basic reaction is right: Choose the system which gets you closest right out of the box and keep you mods under control -- remember, every time you hack a core file, the difficulty and potential complexity of upgrades increases.

Good luck!


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