complete web package solution

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by benneh, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. benneh macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2006
    hey all,

    I'm hoping I can get a second opinion on some of the things I have in mind for a client. They want a site design complete with cms for a blog and news system.

    Although I can code it myself using php + mysql, I rather not because:
    a) having dealt with them, they don't like to pay much
    b) i'm doing it as a 'favor', and hope to score some sweet lcd monitors in exchange (they're a computer repair shop)
    c) i'm not fully confident in my php/mysql security knowledge

    So what I'm about to propose is using a free CMS, but I'd like one where I can go nuts with visual design, and not be restricted to customising around templates and modules. Is there such thing? I hear Drupal is good for this?

    As for blogging, I've heard some cases where people install Blogger onto their server. Is it possible? Blogger basic system is good enough I think. Can wordpress do feeds?

    Pretty much I'm after free stuff, since I can't cover my overheads already. Please throw some suggestions!

  2. jer2eydevil88 macrumors 6502


    Feb 6, 2004
    From experience, you really shouldn't put much time into this for them unless you get something in writing guaranteeing you payment ahead of time.

    If you really just want to do this for experience there are a couple ways to go about doing it that aren't very hard.

    Yes wordpress can do feeds and so much more than blogger but blogger is hosted by google so you don't have to pay for any hosting costs. If (and this unlikely) blogger goes down then so would your website. Drupal is a very good CMS but it has lots of modules and you mentioned you wanted to avoid that.

    Any content management system you sell this company on for the website will need to be constantly updated/maintained for security to be maintained. If you don't want to be bothered with maintaining a website for them for "free stuff" then be sure to choose something they are willing to update themselves.

    Based on your description I have listed two options I can think of just off the top of my head along with their pros and cons.

    Wordpress -
    Wordpress is better known as a blogging tool but it has excellent content management written all over it.

    User Pros and Cons:

    Excellent user control panel and wysiwyg editor will let users on just about any platform edit their website.

    There are many options and its possible that less technical customers will not know what anything does much less where to find an option.

    Technical Pros and Cons:

    If you host with a company using LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) servers that grant users ssh access you can configure wordpress to use search engine friendly urls in minutes. Wordpress boasts an advanced caching engine that supports large amounts of traffic without a problem, so if your company site gets hammered by something like digg it won't kill the server (unless your host sucks).

    None of the technical pros will apply if your host sucks at configuration. If you don't have ssh access on your account you won't be able to link apache to the wordpress installation for the advanced cache feature.

    Design Pros and Cons:

    LOTS of documentation on how to skin Wordpress plus coming from experience, its pretty darn easy to do as long as you had a design in html before hand. The themes are broken into multiple pages allowing you to have multiple designs for each section of a wordpress blog.

    You will need to know PHP or you won't understand what you are theming. A lot of patience is necessary for working out the albeit rare and strange things that Wordpress does, like when it outputs a variable pre-formatted into a theme!! WHY Wordpress!! Why won't you let us do the styling in the theme only?? As the themes are broken into multiple pages you won't have a complete product until you do all the pages.

    FusionNews -

    User Pros and Cons:

    Its easy to use and very minimalist so people won't have trouble learning all the tools like in wordpress.

    May be too simple for some users and put them off to your entire site.

    Technical and Design Pros and Cons:

    Small installation and easily integrated into a premade website. This means that you can construct a site, come up with a design and then later add the fusion news sections.

    It doesn't really manage everything on the site the way that Wordpress does, its more of a page management software than anything else.

    I will await any more questions you have before I bother going into any more detail.
  3. benneh thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2006
    Thanks very much jer2eydevil88!

    I quite like the sound of FusionNews, and might give it a download/try.
    Although I'm looking for a free CMS, chances are I won't bother much with updates. It's mainly going to be content based (no credit card transactions on the front page anyway), so even if it does get hacked, we can always revive with a back-up copy.

    Which brings us to blogs; although I could easily set them up with a wordpress/blogger, I don't like the idea of being hosted on 3rd party. Rather like it stored locally to maintain full control.
    In fact I'll give both a try first. Would I be able to download the full wordpress engine?
  4. vicious7 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2007
    Jacked into the net...
    I think Drupal and Joomla are great options if you want to keep things simple while producing high production value to customers and surfers alike. They are also well supported through the community.

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