Creating CMS for a non-profit

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by janitorC7, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. janitorC7 macrumors 6502a

    janitorC7

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    North Hollywood, CA
    #1
    Hey Guys,

    in my free time, when I'm not designing, I work doing design for a non profit in the San Fernando Valley, CA.

    The National Kidney Foundation of Southern California.

    I have spend the Last few months creating a new design for their website.

    Their Current Website is well not so good

    My new design is better. Please note that this is not the final design, also not that this page (at the moment) does not comply with web standards. Please also note that there are a few changes that I have not posted yet.

    My Problem, is that I am more a designer first, not a programmer. Admittedly however I know some basic: PHP, SQL, JAVA, HTML, CSS, Minimal AJAX.

    What I'm trying to do: Is to implament a content management system so that the office employees (who do not have the skills listed above, or even the skills to edit the website on something like contribute, nor the time to do this) can update the content on the website.

    I am trying to set up a very user friendly Content Management System. I have explored a few options: Joomla, CMS made simple, Drupal, word-press, ect. I am a fan of the simplicity of the CMS made simple system.

    Like you can see from above I have a design, which I would like to implement into a CMS Made Simple template.

    If posting for this kind of issue is against the Forum rules I apologies but I believed that this as in, not posting for monetary benefit would be allowed. If I am wrong about this hoever I apoligize but ask the Gods to take pitty on us and let this post continue. I have only a few weeks to program a CMS for this very reputable Non-Profit organization.

    Please note that I am doing this job free of charge.

    Please also note the impression that a good looking website leaves on potential Contributers.

    The Contributions that the Foundation Receives benefit: sending transplant recipients to camp, Research to find cures, Programs to increase the amount of organs available for donations, ect.

    For anybody who would be willing to help us free of charge, or anybody who is able to walk me though this more of less step by step, we can: Give you recognition on out website including a link or email to contact you, and of corse a letter of recommendation and the good feeling of a job well done that helps people in need.

    anybody interested please either:
    PM me here
    Email me at kringsc@kidneysocal.org
    Email me at kringsc@ceekdesigns.com

    I thank any help I can get..

    Thank you

    Cooper Krings
    Ceek Designs
    National Kidney Foundation
    Southern California
    www.ceekdesigns.com
    www.kidneysocal.org
    www.teamsocal.org
    kringsc@ceekdesigns.com
    kringsc@kidneysocal.org
     
  2. Savings macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    #2
    Looked at Drupal? I hear that it's very extensible in terms of themes and customization AND very quick to set up.

    EDIT: Whoops, didn't realize you had mentioned looking at Drupal in your post. Sorry!
     
  3. janitorC7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    janitorC7

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    North Hollywood, CA
    #3
    I have, but for the life of me I connot figure out how I would intagrate my design into if. If you have any tips on how to do that. I would much appreciate
     
  4. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #4
    Do you use Dreamweaver? If so you should look into making a template page in DW, and set up a site that "the laypeople" can manage using Contribute.

    If not, you could make a simple CMS with some basic php/mysql (and some Ajax for show) unless you find some decent open source CMS.
     
  5. Savings macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    #5

    Contribute is a great piece of software. I've used it for a couple of side project sites myself and it's amazingly easy to set up. The only issue here is the budget, since Contribute costs somewhere in the $70-100 dollar range, last time I checked, but I believe there's volume licensing available. Absolutely great for the customer updating the site, since it has some sort of drag-n-drop support for Word Documents into websites that seems to work well.
     
  6. janitorC7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    janitorC7

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    North Hollywood, CA
    #6
    I had tried the DW approach the first time I attempted to implement this design. But our website is very extensive and when I change a template I have to re-upload a lot of the site and it takes hours, also changes are very often. that and the contribute way still confused "the laypeople"

    I have looked at many of the open sorce solutions and named the ones above that I liked, I really am trying my best to integrate them into my system, I'm having a lot of troubles.

    I'm not entirly sure where I would start if I wanted to program my own CMS, any ideas of where I would start, or any guides on how to do this?
     
  7. janitorC7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    janitorC7

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    North Hollywood, CA
    #7

    I agree I have a volume licence that I give to clients to update the sites I create for them, but for a medium scale business such as the NKF, its impractical, thanks for you suggestion though.
     
  8. janitorC7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    janitorC7

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    North Hollywood, CA
    #8
    Guys,

    Any other suggestions.

    I'm really starting to run out of options.

    I'm kind of desperate, again if anybody is willing to help, it really would look good on a resume
     
  9. one3 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver-ish
    #9
    I've used this very simple CMS once or twice:
    http://www.solucija.com/home/snews/

    I like it because unlike most, it does not base itself on a predefined template but is flexible so you can insert components of the CMS into your design.

    It's not as feature rich as some others, but for simple things it works great. And it's tiny!

    Make sure you check out their "Tips" PDF - it's great and will give you an idea of how easy it is to integrate into your design:
    http://www.solucija.com/docs/sNews-Tips_and_Tricks.pdf

    Hope this helps
     
  10. janitorC7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    janitorC7

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    North Hollywood, CA
    #10
    This Seems interesting and like a nice CMS. However the security seems a little on the light side, and for a high profile foundation I dont think it will work. However, thank you very much for the sugestion.

    again, if anybody has any other ideas, or is willing to help out.... We really need it
     
  11. mania macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    colorado
    #11
    Uh - I have just written one (using code igniter). I might need some beta testers. pm me if you want.
     
  12. janitorC7 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    janitorC7

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    North Hollywood, CA
    #12

    I tried PMing you, didnt get anything...

    anyother ideas guys????
     
  13. Conticreative macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
    #14
    A few thoughts about CMS

    I have been working with CMS and open source scripts for over two years now, but I have been a web developer for over 10 years.
    I actually stopped designing static websites all together because once you learn to work with a CMS you realize what a waste of time it is to develop anything else.
    I would feel like I am doing a disservice to my clients if I built them a static site. here is why:

    With a CMS they can finally enter and manage their own content easily and for good. What I mean is that I can start with a "Brochure" style site and add features as their needs arise. Plus if they change their logo or simply want to redesign the site it can be done without touching the content itself while the actual site is still working. A client will never lose any of the work that went into organizing the site. In addition, it allows me to design seasonal or event specific templates that they can plug in as they need. An example would be a Christmas template. Try that with a static site.

    As far as what to use, I am partial to Joomla, I find their template system (V. 1.0.11) the closest to designing a regular site. I even wrote a short article on how to use Dreamweaver to work on a Joomla template (it's available at http://www.conticreative.com/blog--articles)

    There are some nice tutorials on building Joomla templates around too. The new Joomla! version is changing the template system for a more powerful one with overrides and more design control, but in essence works very similarly.

    Drupal is also a very powerful system with some nice features for non-profits. Their template system is a bit more complicated (they actually use at least 3 different systems) and requires a bit more knowledge of PHP. Drupal used to be hard to install but the new version is a lot easier. There is even an add-on suite especially written for Non-profits.

    If you want something really simple, the best I found is websitebaker.com, a really sleek simple CMS, but more adept at regular companies than non-profits because the latter usually need some multi user managing system.

    Drupal in this area is king. Another nice CMS is e107 but I don't have much experience with it. Some people swear by it.

    If you like to see all these CMS in action, go to opensourcecms.com or go here for a very nice comparison.

    One thing for sure, once you develop with a CMS you'll never want to go back. I have used Macromedia Contribute and I got really good at Dreamweaver's templating system, not to mention using SSI, but nothing compares. From a graphical integration point of view, with a bit of ingenuity you can do practically anything. If you have special needs as far as scripting both Joomla and Drupal have hundreds of plug-ins available that will make your head spin. One that I always install is the SEO extension for plain URL writing. PHP URL are hard to read for humans and search engines alike.

    One thing to keep in mind when designing CMS templates is that they need a fair amount of PHP variables in them. Mostly because they have to be able to accept administrator's choices in the matter of modules and such. For example, an admin can choose to show or not show on a page by page basis the right column (in a standard 3 col template) and the template has to be able to allow that. The PHP is actually very simple and easy to understand even for a non programmer.

    The biggest satisfaction has been delivering the sites to clients that requested a plain old website and see their face when I explained the possibilities. Many are just thrilled and would never go back.

    I recently had a discussion with a developer claiming that CMS are "hard to code, and need a team of experts to manage", so I am writing an article to dispel this myth. Some CMS are hard to code and manage, but they have come a long way in the past few years.

    If you want to build really simple sites, actually Wordpress is a nice alternative. I have used it for basic sites and I like it's simplicity and power. It has grown from a blog to almost a full CMS with forums and other nice add-ons. Plus, it's fairly easy to design templates for.

    In conclusion, you are on the right track. Since it is your first CMS attempt, I would go with Joomla because is the one that will allow you to make a template quickly or even use one of the excellent pre-made templates you can modify with little effort. I like joomlart.com templates because they are very powerful and full of nice features and they are just about $35 each. They are also all valid XHTML and totally built without tables (but Joomla isn't. It takes a bit of know-how to avoid the Joomla tables and one of them needs a core code hack to get rid of it. Joomla 1.5, with the override system will make that easier).

    Take care and I hope I helped with my post. feel free to email me or visit my site at conticreative.com. I can point you in the direction of some nice tutorials. Joomla.org or Drupal.org are nice resources as well.
     
  14. ddekker macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    #15
    I give my vote for Drupal, fairly easy to get something rolling, not bad to customize, very scaleable, I use wordpress for easy personal sites, and drupal for work related CMS sites, played with Joomla but struggled with the last version.

    good luck, and thanks for putting effort into a great cause.

    DD
     
  15. mania macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    colorado
    #16
    me neither - lemme check my settings.
     

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