Good CMS?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by giganten, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. giganten macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    #1
    I am creating a portfolio, blog for me. I want to update my portfolio easy and to use it as a blog plus a box for latest news in my blog and another with latest work on my front page. I have another project to for a friend that wanted help, he want a page for his shop where he can add some news and special offers. A CMS would maybe good to learn so I can use it on both projects.

    I am looking on Drupal right now is it easy to use or should I use another program?

    I can XHTML and CSS but I haven't worked with php. Will that be a problem for me or can I make me a custom template (design) in drupal? And if you know any good guides how to make my XHTML + CSS files to work with drupal I would be very happy.

    But if I should try to learn some other CMS please tell me.
     
  2. Photomax macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle
    #2
    I looked into all this a few months back. In the end I went with Wordpress. What I did was create a static front end using XHTML and CSS for the home page, portfolio page, and contact page etc. I then used a Wordpress install to create a blog page for the same site. I made my own CSS so I could create identical design appearances for the static pages and Wordpress pages. That took some doing. If you don't need the static pages then the install will be easier.

    I also decided to get a test system going where I could run PHP and SQL on my Mac without having to upload the actual site to a live server. This was a good move as it took some time to sort out the CSS between the static pages and the Wordpress pages.

    There are many options: Moveable Type (one of several Expression Engine systems), Text Pattern, Serendipity, boastMachine, Drupal etc. Notice I don't list Blogger or MSN etc. But I would look into www.wordpress.org

    A potential business partner is urging me to get into Ruby on Rails so I could create my own system, but I am not so sure...

    Cheers,

    Max
     
  3. Daringescape macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Location:
    CA
    #3
    Drupal is VERY customizable, but not very easy to use for most people.

    I have found Joomla to be very easy and its free as well. If you know html and css, you can figure out the basic php functions by looking at the code and customize a lot in Joomla.

    There are also quite a few good commercial Joomla template sites out there

    like Rockettheme.com and yootheme.com - and many others.

    I dont use Joomla a whole lot, but for what you are looking to do it seems like it may be a good idea.
     
  4. ChoMomma macrumors 6502

    ChoMomma

    #4
    As someone who has worked on quite a few Joomla sites, I highly recommend it.

    - Free
    - Good Support Forums
    - Easy to learn (I taught a lady in her 60's how to use it)
    - Very customizable
     
  5. giganten thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    #5
    So i should try joomla then. And it is free to use it commercial projects like my friends shop?
     
  6. zarathustra macrumors 6502a

    zarathustra

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #7
    Hate to say it, but unless you want to spend most of your time tweaking things, joomla is not the best for a professional portfolio site.

    It's very powerful and flexible, but for the sake of simplicity and semantically correct page layout I prefer http://www.textpattern.com.

    Just posted the same info in a different thread, but still useful:

    Try dozens of CMSs (both frontend and backend) before you install.

    http://opensourcecms.com/
     
  7. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    #8
    I have always had good success with Movable Type.
     
  8. arcobb macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado
    #9
    http://opensourcecms.com/ itself is a Mambo/Joomla site. Also I find the new Joomla 1.5 version much easier for beginners to learn the the older versions. Not many extentions for it yet ... but they are coming.
     
  9. Photomax macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle
    #10
    I am right in the middle of this myself. I created a localhost environment to test all these systems. I now have Joomla, Drupal, CMSMadeSimple, and Wordpress running. I think I will also try Textpattern.

    Asking which CMS is best is a confusing question to answer. There are so many opinions out there. More often than not the response of "I like XYZ" comes from the fact that is what that person is using.

    You also have to decide what kind of site you are going to build. How many users and administrators will there be? How many sites will run from the same system? Do you need a blog, a forum, a gallery for pictures, a lot of private areas or an open community page?

    How easy is the system to install? How many themes are there? How many add on features are available? A very important concern is how good is the system community as a whole? Can you get your questions answered? Does the community treat new users with respect? Are there well written tutorials? These systems are constantly being upgraded and changed. How will this effect you?

    I don't have all the answers to all of this. I am still evaluating them. After doing a lot of digging it sounds like for a site that has a small number of active users Wordpress is a great choice. Wordpress can do a lot more than blogging. After spending a day with each I think I prefer Drupal over Joomla. CMSMadeSimple looks easier and more direct but its new and there are less themes and modules etc. Drupal seems more complicated to use than Wordpress though. Creating post and writing content while adding images is pretty straightforward. With systems like Drupal there are all kinds of modules that have to be installed and activated. I have a new small community page project to build: at the moment I am leaning towards Drupal. Sounds like Drupal has a learning curve but the rewards are worth it. If I am going to build a personal site then Wordpress seems like a great choice.

    Bottom line is this task is like the proverbial group of blind men touching an elephant and describing what they feel...
     
  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #11
    Would you guys go with a known CMS, or write one yourself? Just looking for what the "industry" thinks..
     
  11. Photomax macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle
    #12
    If you have the skills then I see that as an advantage. A colleague is urging me to learn Ruby on Rails so I can build stuff. I am not sure if I am ready for that though.

    Some people have a ton of PHP, database and Ruby skills and could do this. Its pretty geeky though.

    I know html and CSS pretty well. I am sort of a code snob and admire guys that build great looking functional sites with nothing but minimal XHTML and creative CSS (without plugins, Javacsript, Flash etc.) But thats just me.

    One thing though: I think a lot of folks automatically decide that they have to use a full blown CMS system to build their site. Unless you need all that interactivity you can build fantastic sites with CSS alone. The code and bandwith is leaner, simpler, and easier to maintain.
     
  12. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #13
    Bingo! That's my advice, and informally I suggest you focus on Drupal a bit more than the others - it's excellent, easy to use and you don't have to be a guru to use it. It's also one of the most widely supported as well.

    Use the free open source solution - because it will save you valuable time doing what you do best, content, still save you money, and if you test and find the right one for your needs, you'll still be able to add content but at the same time keep it flexible so your site (and your expertise) will grow. This implies finding a basic but scalable CMS from the opensourcecms.com page. Drupal is a recommendation that fits this mold.

    -jim
     
  13. elppa macrumors 68040

    elppa

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
  14. giganten thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    #15
    I am not really sure what cms I should use yet. But I will go for Drupal or Wordpress first.

    Which will a learn fastest? I have 2 - 3 weeks on me, to get my site finished for the course. So I just want the blog to work with my design right now. And I will add the other functions when/or if I have time.

    Do you know any good tutorials for wordpress or drupal so I just can take my xhtml and css files and use them. The start, about and maybe portfolio page can be static and just have the blog page "dynamic" for now.

    Thanks

    Edit: How can I test my page on my computer if I download Wordpress or Drupal?
     
  15. Photomax macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle
    #16
    I think Wordpress is simpler than Drupal. If you are building more of a blog/portfolio page and not a multiple user community page then it seems like Wordpress is a good choice.

    You can't just throw a xhtml and CSS file on top of either and expect it to work though. If you knows CSS you can take one of the very basic themes, strip it down and build a custom CSS theme using your own graphics etc.

    The only way to test these systems locally on your own computer is to get PHP and MySQL running and install the CMS system of your choice in the appropriate folder.
     
  16. giganten thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
    #17
    Yeah I know that need php and MySQL but can I use some program to test on or how should I get it on my mac, can you get a plugin or something for dreamweaver?
     
  17. Photomax macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle
    #18
    Before you get into creating custom themes etc I would get your PHP and MySQL running and organized: create the local test environment.

    Then download Wordpress. It downloads as a folder full of goodies. Follow the install instructions carefully. You can then test it out and put it through its paces. Once you have succeeded with Wordpress you can try the same thing with Drupal and the other CMS systems.

    Wordpress has a lot of themes and support. Some of the other CMS systems give you some broader CMS power but there are fewer themes as far as I can tell. Wordpress is known as a blogging platform but it does most of the CMS chores as well.

    All of these systems install pretty much the same way. You really don't need stand alone programs like Dreamweaver to get these to work.

    One of the challenges with creating a CMS site is achieving a unique look: they all tend to look alike. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what your goals are. There are quite a few PHP files and a lot of style sheet declarations within the CSS file to contend with if you are going to build a custom theme. Static pages with lean XHTML and CSS are much simpler, more direct, faster and simpler to work with...
     
  18. giganten thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 23, 2006
  19. Photomax macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle
    #20
    For $30 this book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/im...e=UTF8&n=283155&s=books&qid=1197497217&sr=1-1 will give you an overview on creating a test environment using PHP and MySQL. It also covers Wordpress, Expression Engine, Movable Type, and Text Pattern.

    I would spend some time checking the forums on www.wordpress.org for insight. Almost every question has been asked and answered before.

    MAMP does work, and is simpler, but you give up some user control and you might not always have the latest versions of each of the pieces. So, folks prefer to download and install them separately...
     
  20. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #21
    I don't like CMS for sites with only a couple of people entering content.

    It's been my experience that CMS looks ugly as sin, and is hard to tweak to your requirements.

    I've tried a couple of CMS including a bad experience with PostNuke, and found they got between me and actually building the site. I deleted all the CMS machinery and found life was much easier.

    CMS works if you have a lot of people entering content, and someone skilled in making it all look nice. Otherwise, get that junk off my site!

    I feel it's become a buzzword of the moment.
     
  21. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #22
    CMS as a buzzword.. I never thought of that before.

    now for my 2 cents.. I'm working on a basic CMS, where it'll pull data from a database and insert it with just one line of php.. then it hit me, aren't there CMS's like that elsewhere?

    and then I remembered cutenews.. I used it a few years ago, I don't know what it's like now, but I got it to work pretty well, and it pulls data from a database with like 3 lines of code..
     

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