10 Things To Consider When Choosing The Perfect CMS

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Choosing a content management system can be tricky. Without a clearly defined set of requirements, you will be seduced by fancy functionality that you will never use. What then should you look for in a CMS?

I have written about content management systems before. I have highlighted the their hidden costs1, explained the differentiators behind the feature list2 and even provided advice for CMS users3. However, I have never actually asked what features you should look for in a content management system. And that is what I will address here.

Illustration of a sales man selling a CMS the client does not need.

When I left home for university my mother taught me a valuable lesson. If you want to save money, never go grocery shopping when you are hungry, and always write a list. If you don’t, you’ll be tempted to buy things you don’t need.

The same principle is true when it comes to selecting a content management system. Without a clearly defined set of requirements, you will be seduced by fancy functionality that you will never use. Before you know it, you’ll be buying an enterprise-level system for tens of thousands of dollars when a free blogging tool would have done the job.

How then do you establish your list of requirements? Although your circumstances will vary, here are ten things that are particularly important.

1. Core functionality

When most people think of content management, they think of creating, deleting, editing and organizing pages. They assume all content management systems do this and so take that functionality for granted. However, that is not necessarily the case. Nor is there any guarantee that such functionality will be presented in an intuitive way.

Not all blogging platforms, for example, allow the owner to manage and organize pages in a tree hierarchy. Instead, individual “posts” are automatically organized by such criteria as date and category. In some cases, this is perfectly adequate. In fact, this limitation in functionality keeps the interface simple and easy to understand. However, in other circumstances, the limitation can be frustrating.

Blogger Homepage

Consider carefully the basic functionality you need. Even if you do not require the ability to structure and organize pages now, you may in future. Be wary of any system that does not allow you to complete these core tasks.

Also ask yourself how easy it is to complete these tasks. There are literally thousands of content management systems on the market, the majority of which offer this core functionality. However, they vary hugely in usability. Always test the system for usability before making a purchase.

2. The editor

The editor is one core feature worth particular attention. The majority of content management systems have a WYSIWYG editor. Strangely, this editor is often ill-conceived, despite the fact that it is the most used feature within the system.

The editor is the interface through which content is added and amended. Traditionally, it has also allowed the content provider to apply basic formatting, such as font and color. However, developers have recently moved away from this type of editor to something that reflects best practice.

The danger of traditional WYSIWYG editors is two-fold. First, content providers are given too much control over the design. They are able to customize the appearance of a page so much that they undermine the consistency of the design and branding. Secondly, in order to achieve this level of design control, the CMS mixes design and content.

The new generation of editors takes a different approach. Content providers use the editor to mark up headings, lists, links and other elements, without specifying how they should appear.

Wordpress WYSIWYG

Ensure your list of requirements includes an editor designed on this principle and that does not give content providers control over the appearance. At the very least, look for content management systems that allow the editor to be replaced with a more appropriate solution.

The editor should also be able to handle external assets, including images and downloadable files. That brings us to our next point: management of these assets.

3. Managing assets

Management of images and files is badly handled in some CMS’. Badly designed systems can frustrate users with poor accessibility and usability. Images in particular can cause problems. Ensure that the content management system you select forces content providers to add <alt> attributes to images. You may also want a CMS that provides basic image editing tools, such as cropping, resizing and rotating. However, finding one that does this can be a challenge.

Also, consider how the content management system deals with uploading and attaching PDFs, Word documents and other files. How are they displayed to end users? Can descriptions be attached to the files, and is the search function capable of indexing them?

4. Search

Search is an important aspect of any website. Approximately half of all users start with search when looking for content. However, the search functionality in content management systems is often inadequate.

Here are a few things to look for when assessing search functionality:

  • Freshness: how often does the search engine index your website? This is especially important if your website changes regularly.
  • Thoroughness: does it index the entire content of each page? What about attached files, such as PDFs and Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents?
  • Speed: some search engines can take ages to return results. This is especially common on large websites.
  • Scope: can you limit the scope of the search function to a particular section of the website or refine search results once returned?
  • Ranking: how does the search engine determine the ranking of results? Can this be customized by either the website owner or user?
  • Customization: can you control how results are displayed and customize the design?

The issue of customization, of course, goes far beyond search.

5. Customization

I have had the misfortune of working with content management systems that are completely inflexible in their presentation.

Illustration demonstrating the inflexibility of some CMS

Your content’s presentation should not be dictated by technology. It is simply not necessary now that we have techniques to separate design and content. Unfortunately, like some Web designers, many CMS developers have not adopted best practices and have created systems that produce horrendous code. This puts unreasonable constraints on the design and seriously impacts accessibility.

You need a content management system that allows flexibility in the way content is retrieved and presented. For example, can you retrieve news stories in reverse chronological order? Can you display events in a calendar? Is it possible to extract the most recent user comments and display them on the home page? Flexibility makes a CMS stand out.

Speaking of user comments, all forms of user interaction are worth mentioning.

6. User interaction

If you intend to gather user feedback, your CMS must provide that functionality or allow a third-party plug-in to provide it. Equally, if you want to host a community on your website, then you will require functionality such as chat, forums, comments and ratings.

At a minimum, you will need to be able to post forms and collect responses. How easy does the CMS make this process? Can you customize fields or does that require technical expertise? What about the results? Can you specify who they are emailed to? Can they be written to a database or outputted as an Excel document? Consider the kind of functionality you need and look for a CMS that supports it.

Also ask what tools exist for communicating with customers. Can you send email newsletters? Can recipients be organized into groups that receive different mailings? What about news feeds and RSS?

Finally, consider how you want to manage users. Do you need to be able to reset passwords, set permissions or export user information to other systems?

But user permissions are not the only things that need managing. You should also consider permissions for those editing the website.

7. Roles and permissions

As the number of content providers on your website increases, you will want more control over who can edit what. For example, one group may need to be able to post job advertisements but not add content to the home page. This requires a content management system that supports permissions. Although implementation varies, permissions normally allow you to specify whether users can edit certain pages or even entire sections of the website.

Illustration showing the consequences of not having a permissions system

As the number of contributors grows still further, you may require one person to be able to review content being posted to ensure accuracy and consistency in tone. Alternatively, content may be inputted by a junior staff member who requires the approval of a more senior person before making it live.

In both cases, you’ll need a CMS that supports multiple roles. This can be as simple as having one “Editor” and one “Approver” role, or more complex with customized roles and different levels of permission.

Finally, enterprise-level content management systems support entire workflows in which page updates have to go through a series of checkpoints before going live. These complex scenarios require the ability to roll back pages to previous versions.

8. Versioning

Being able to revert to a previous version of a page allows you to quickly recover if something is posted by accident.

Some content management systems have complex versioning functionality that allows you to roll back to a specific date. However, in most cases, this is overkill. The most common use of versioning is simply reverting to the last saved state.

Although this sounds like an indispensable feature, in my experience it is rarely used expect in complex workflow situations. That said, although versioning was once a enterprise-level tool, it is becoming available in more and more content management systems.

The same can be said of of multi-website support.

9. Multiple website support

With more content management systems allowing you to run multiple websites from the same installation, I would recommend this as a must-have feature.

Although you may not currently need to be able to manage more than a single website, that could easily change. You may decide to launch a new website to target a narrower audience.

And with the growth of the mobile Web, you may want to create a separate website especially for mobile devices. Whatever the reason, having the flexibility to run multiple websites is important.

Movable Type admin system

Another feature you might not require immediately but may in future is multilingual support.

10. Multilingual support

It is easy to dismiss support for multiple languages. Your website may specifically target the domestic market, or you may sell a language-specific product. But think twice before dismissing this functionality.

Even if your product is language-specific, that could change. It is important that your CMS be able to grow with your business and evolving requirements.

Also, just because you are targeting the domestic market doesn’t mean you can ignore the issue of language. We live in a multicultural society in which numerous languages are spoken. Being able to accommodate these differences gives you a significant edge over the competition.

That said, do think through the ramifications first. Having the ability to add multiple languages doesn’t mean you have the content for them. Too many of my clients have insisted on multilingual support and yet never used it because they neglected to consider how they were going to get their content translated or pay for it.

Conclusion

Consideration of features is an important part of the process of selecting a CMS, but it is not everything. It is also important to consider issues such as licensing, support, accessibility, security, training and much more4.

I leave you with a word of warning: don’t let your list of requirements become a wish list. Keep your requirements to a minimum, but at the same time keep an eye on the future. It’s a fine line to walk. On the one hand, you don’t want to pay for functionality you will never use. On the other, you don’t want to be stuck with a content management system that no longer meets your needs.

(al)

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://thinkvitamin.com/dev/the-5-hidden-costs-of-running-a-cms/
  2. 2 http://boagworld.com/technology/too_many_content_management_systems/
  3. 3 http://boagworld.com/site_content/advice_for_cms_users/
  4. 4 http://boagworld.com/technology/too_many_content_management_systems/
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Paul Boag has been working with the web since 1994. He is now co-founder of the web design agency Headscape, where he works closely with clients to establish their web strategy. Paul is a prolific writer having written the Website Owners Manual, Building Websites for Return on Investment, Client Centric Web Design, Digital Adaptation and numerous articles for publications such as .net magazine, Smashing Magazine and the Web Designers Depot. Paul also speaks extensively on various aspects of web design both at conferences across the world and on his award winning Web design podcast boagworld.

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  1. 1

    Nice article, although I’ve always used WordPress for all my projects, since it’s relatively popular, and clients find it easy to use too.

    3
  2. 2

    now what does the author recommend?

    3
  3. 3

    I like to see a conclusion too indeed. In like a top 5 – 10 – 20 or something

    1
  4. 4

    Looking for the best Open Source CMS? then choose Joomla! – http://www.joomla.org

    -13
  5. 5

    This article was flawed from the start with “Perfect CMS”….no such thing exists unless its custom built.

    0
  6. 6

    I think you should have included Security. It is a really important aspect. What is the point of wasting time on creating a website and then out of the blue all your content is gone – a cracker visited. Security should be one of the aspects to look at. You could easily search Google for vulnerabilities. The less results you get, the better.

    3
  7. 7

    Yeah, not sure why you’d bother going through your wish list when you could just use Joomla, tick all these boxes and then extend it how ever you need to.

    -4
  8. 8

    The answer is simple: the holy trinity of CMS Drupal, Joomla, WordPress.

    Each does most of these things well out of the box and likely perfectly with contributed modules/plugins. The race is on for who gets all these points (and more) right out of the box first.

    Strictly based on this 10 point list Drupal is closest to the goal, but it isn’t perfect (yet).

    -2
  9. 9

    I have used a lot of so called CMS apps – wordpress, movable type, joomla, drupal, etc. I can’t stand the template modal of these programs. It is very frustrating trying to write standard validating code. You have to hack up the core and make modifications to everything, learn templating systems and all kinds of garbage.

    modx fixes all of that go check out modxcms.com a true SEO CMS :D

    2
  10. 10

    @Tom, I am falling in love with ModX. I have used it on few small sites. I love the fact that any page is a template. It is a CMS framework, the best of both worlds.

    1
  11. 11

    Very interesting list. Useful indeed. If I may, I’d like to suggest a couple of other things:
    - modularity (customisation is one thing, elegant scaling and extension with new functionality is another)
    - possibility of integration via an api

    other considerations:
    - license, source model (do you need an open source gpl cms or a closed source, company supported one?)
    - user base (how large is the community supporting and using the cms?)
    - available documentation
    - development speed

    3
  12. 12

    Does anyone in these articles ever have an opinion other than ITS ALL WONDERFUL, STUNNING, SUPER?

    How about actually listing what each CMS is good/bad at rather than just a catalog of what HypotheticalCMS should be good at?

    What’s the point of editorial if you never, ever take a stand on anything?

    3
  13. 13

    Nothing Gets change…. History repeats itself !!

    -2
  14. 14

    Very nice list. I’m a huge WordPress junkie, but am now becoming frustrated by how difficult it is to have a good working hierarchy, like you state in Point #1. Does anyone have any suggestions for an alternative?

    0
  15. 15

    ModX, everyday of the week. Hands down it is simply one of the easiest, feature rich and extensible CMS applications i have ever encountered. And i’ve tried approximately 60% of the CMS apps that can be found on opensourcecms.

    A conclusive list would have been interesting though. The top 10 CMS apps or so…still, interesting article.

    1
  16. 16

    Have to agree with Jackparsons. This article was way too generalised and abstract to be of any real value. Disappointing – no beef in this sandwich – but still a massive SM fan :)

    0
  17. 17

    @jackparsons put it this way… Drupal is so customizable that if the default doesn’t do all of these 10 things you can add modules to do it. And if they don’t do it the way you want it you can modify it. Only problem is its quite difficult to set up how you want it if you don’t know what you’re doing.

    @Arnold Wender … please justify why it is the best. Joomla has the prettiest interface but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the best.

    0
  18. 18

    All the screenshots are of blogging apps. I don’t think they really count as a CMS since all they do is one specific thing.

    0
  19. 19

    agreed, but really would like to see some comprehensive comparisons done. i’ve done sites in both joomla and wordpress, and had success with both (and plenty of quirks with both too). i would recommend either to a client depending on their needs, but i’m open to learning about new/other ones.

    0
  20. 20

    If you want a comparison of CMS systems, go to the CMS Matrix.

    1
  21. 21

    I can not figure out how people can use WordPress as an CMS.
    It’s like using a car as a boat; It can work, with tweaks and fixes. But it will, one time or another, sink!

    I personally use Joomla! With it’s great arcitecture and easy-to-learn Component development, it makes it the perfect CMS!

    -1
  22. 22

    Well recently I found a CMS developed on Coldfusion(http://www.gosava.com/go/sava/), it’s open source and it’s free. It has almost all the features listed here. The problem: Well coldfusion isn’t a free platform.

    Is there a PHP based Open source CMS with all this features (including versions)?

    0
  23. 23

    Thanks for this exellently article !
    Personnally, is use frequently WordPress and i not use the WYSIWYG

    0
  24. 24

    One thing that comes to mind is tech support. Can you get tech support/assistance if needed? Though I love WordPress as a blogging platform, I have a hard time with open source lack of support (in general). The WordPress forum is pretty non-existent. I do a search for a particular question and it turns out I’m not the first one who asked, but it never got answered.

    0
  25. 25

    Zander Martineau

    March 5, 2009 4:38 pm

    Interesting article, I agree that for the ‘perfect’ situation you have to go with a custom built CMS but for those that can’t build one, you gotta go with Textpattern – it’s like ExpressionEngine but free.

    1
  26. 26

    InternetStrategist@GrowMap

    March 5, 2009 4:40 pm

    IMHO, the most valuable posts are those that provide specific recommendations or comparisons. WordPress is the clear leader for blogging and probably for most other sites with the possible exception of stores which would might be better off on Volusion. Why reinvent the wheel if it isn’t absolutely necessary?

    Joomla or Drupal could be great solutions IF you have the skills to use them. Those who don’t might do well to stick with WordPress. It is simpler to learn, there are plenty of online tutorials, and it is easier to find someone who can assist you.

    0
  27. 27

    I tend to try to steer customers away from CMSs. They just end up calling me to edit their site, so what’s the point?

    2
  28. 28

    For someone totally out of the loop with CMS, blogging, and all the newage Internet things, what would you guys suggest to get familiar with it all?

    I don’t even have a mySpace or Facebook page :(

    0
  29. 29

    Joomla is a great CMS, I’ve tried a bunch of them and chose that one because it has a ton of people developing extensions for it, they are mostly free and run pretty good. To my knowledge it does everything it says in this article except 8 and 9. The truth is there is no “perfect” cms, they all need some tweaking and it all depends on what your client is selling.
    The only one I haven’t tried yet is Expression Engine, I keep hearing it’s good but for some reason it’s not convincing me.

    -2
  30. 30

    The best CMS is one that is custom built. You can specify the requirements, security and design is not restrictive.
    Why worry with things like Joomla or WordPress?!

    0
  31. 31

    This article doesn’t help to choose the best CMS. Drupal and Joomla are the best if you like a complex site BUT if you need a blog or a fast/normal site WordPress is perfect. We need to choose the right tool in each project.

    0
  32. 32

    Choosing a CMS depends on a lot of factors and the above-mentioned options (WordPress, Joomla etc.) won’t work for everyone. Some factors include:
    - Existing business development environment
    - Existing business skill sets
    - Possible integration with existing/new EDRMS

    0
  33. 33

    I just completely fell in love with Textpattern. If you’re the guy who writes his templates from scratch and wants maximum flexibility, Textpattern is it. It’s more or less like ExpressionEngine, but free and open source. 99% of the weaknesses I’ve heard about Textpattern, have by now been completely ironed out.

    Yes the editor is pretty plain (either raw HTML or textile), but I used to use the raw HTML mode in WordPress anyway. WYSIWYG editors tend to put a lot of nonsense tags and rubbish in the posts.

    I’ve used WordPress and I think it is an outstanding blogging tool. But it really excels there and ends there as well. Yes, you can force it into trying to resemble a CMS in a halfway working manner, but the customisation and the fact that if you want to present your posts in a non-blog like way, you’ll end up with raw PHP everywhere just turned me off.

    In textpattern you just write HTML and easily to understand textpattern tags. You can even use the textpattern tags in your posts, so you can even pull other data from your DB into posts on a per-post basis! Or you can do conditional stuff even within your posts. Try to beat that. It gives me maximum flexibility in a pretty logical system.

    1
  34. 34

    The idea of a ‘perfect’ cms is a myth, that’s like still saying we all should be driving a T-ford. I agree with Paul on the importance of the described features one thing I lack in the ongoing debate aswell though is the fact that nobody ever mentions a .net based cms.

    Without flaming or anything but are you all saying that PHP is the way to go and a solution like Telerik’s Sitefinity isn’t good?

    I’ve fiddled with drupal, Joomla and a whole list of others and frankly haven’t found an easier cms to modify (both layout and code) then Sitefinity.

    -4
  35. 35

    Glenda Watson Hyatt

    March 5, 2009 6:08 pm

    I am surprised that accessibility, besides the mention of managing images, was not included. Accessibility, both in terms of the user interface and the front end, is a necessity, particularly in jurisdictions where web accessibility is a legal requirement.

    0
  36. 36

    Joomla, a good cms?
    are you crazy??

    take a look at Frog CMS, http://www.madebyfrog.com

    and you will see what is a good minimalistic cms!

    -5
  37. 37

    I use Joomla. It is a bit difficult at first when trying to create your own design. If you have the patience to go through several tutorials or buy a Joomla book, it will pay off in the long run. I now know how to customize a site from scratch :)

    -2
  38. 38

    I use WordPress and a blogging platform. Not a CMS. Joomla, although feature rich and robust is a paint to customize – I don’t want to learn a whole new language to make it my own. Xoops is a bit better in the customizability department but its documentation is very lacking.

    I’ve recently stumbled on CMS Made Simple. It’s fairly simple to setup, has all the basic features you need and is pretty flexible when it comes to templates and themes. You can always test drive CMS systems over at http://www.opensourcecms.com.

    0
  39. 39

    I’ve been looking for a CMS 3 years ago and settled on Typo3. It is feature reach but the learning curve is very steep at the beginning.

    5
  40. 40

    Can anyone recommend a CMS (PHP, MySQL based) that offers approval for page changes? A client wants to be able to make changes to a page, then have someone else approve and post the page. I’m familiar with WP, but trying to write a plugin to do this might take too long. Thanks!

    0
  41. 41

    Less is more. Start out with some basic core functionality and build up from there, which argues for the open source or bespoke models. There is no such this as a perfect CMS. In my consulting days, I’ve had the misfortune of being tasked to cram Interwoven/Autonomy (for a mid size publishing house) and Vignette (governmental org) into companies where they were clearly inappropriate. In both cases these companies eventually ended up scrapping and moving to customizable open source packages.

    0
  42. 42

    After trying Joomla-Drupal-WordPress, i’ve settled with WordPress, but i can’t say i’m decently satisfied with any of them. My opinion is that a CushyCMS-like CMS with advanced features would be almost ideal. For its simplicity and friendliness to the client that is.

    0
  43. 43

    I love working with wordpress too! But sometimes it’s not up to us to decide really. I think it’s nice to work on a few CMS rather than sticking to just one. Much more versatile that way

    0
  44. 44

    I would suggest that upgradability as well is an important point – I love how WordPress upgrades to the latest versions & with bugfixes and security vulnerability patches – all at a click of a button.

    If you need to spend 1/2 a day upgrading your install, making sure your modifications are still there (think something like phpbb) – and multiply that by X number of client sites… it gets a bit tedious.

    0
  45. 45

    CMS integrated in WP is the best. You don’t need to pay money to buy another one. This is the best part of having a blog under WP :)

    -5
  46. 46

    I have developed several sites using WordPress and still love it. But a recent project required a more granular permissions system, especially the ability to control who could publish what to where. For that project, Expression Engine fit perfectly.

    For those above who mentioned support, I find that the overall tone of the EE support forums is much more professional and helpful than in some of the open source communities. Of course, with EE you are generally – but not always – dealing with paid support staff. In my case, the $99 investment paid for itself right away.

    So, I do not get the whole this vs. that CMS debate. What is best always comes down to identifying project requirements and selecting the right product to fit the project. In the end, I do not think “top” lists of different CMSs are helpful in isolation from projects, requirements, and deadlines.

    1
  47. 47

    WordPress=blogging-period
    Drupal=great-if you have lot’s of time on your hands
    Expression Engine=like it used it, still use it for most simpler client work
    ModX=Best I’ve found so far for larger more feature-rich sites.

    1
  48. 48

    Personally I prefer wordpress. It has plenty of supporting tutorials. The plugins are fantastic as well. Lately I’ve been messing with Frog (madebyfrog.com) free open source and very basic. The downside is smaller os projects have less support.

    0
  49. 49

    Found a typo .. Item 8 Versioning – “it is rarely used {expect} in complex workflow situations. “

    0
  50. 50

    I don’t know. I didn’t read this as an information junkie looking for a bookmark. Good article with good points of consideration when thinking for ones self.

    0
  51. 51

    i think joomla has all the above features but i don’t know why i don’t feel comfortable while working in joomla’s editor.

    0
  52. 52

    VIVA JOOMLA!

    Joomla is to CMS what Firefox is to browsers.
    You can customise it with cool plugins and end-up quickly with an incredible engine. Terrific community. Awesome & powerfull templates (rocketthemes, gavick, yoojoomla, etc…). HUGE numbers of plugins and extensions for any kind of jobs. I can go on and on… I am a Joomla evangelist.

    The problem with Joomla is… the extension catalog on Joomla.org : it’s messy, not powerfull, and so frustrating I now do my searches via the advanced google search.
    I am confident it will be better very soon.
    Remember : Joomla is still 1.5, and 2.0 is coming.

    Last note :
    Joomla is your best lover: hard at the begining, orgasmic at the end.

    0
  53. 53

    B2evolution is my preferred CMS. It is simple. It is neat.

    It is really easy to manage multiple blogs with B2evo. I love it.

    0
  54. 54

    WordPress is my favorite cms, although it’s a blog engine!

    0
  55. 55

    Bigace

    I was looking for a CMS which had the above requirements. I needed to build the website with a custom design, and it must be easy to use for content editing. None of the above examples (WP, Drupal, PHPNuke etc) met my needs or they were too complicated. If you want an open-source CMS, which allows you to build your website, customizing your design freely (or using templates), easy to edit pages with an amazing editor, languages support, building your own forms etc etc. Try BigAce

    0
  56. 56

    I prefer Zope. A great CMS-Framework for building CMS. When it is toooooooo much to learn, you can use Plone or ZMS.

    0
  57. 57

    Helpful article. What strikes me, is that you don’t mention minor topics as price and size. Furthermore hosting and security are left out. My recommendation is simple:

    a) small + medium enterprises with little cms-expertise: use hosted solution and use given templates (wordpress etc.)

    b) medium size enterprise with reel need for distinction by design and inhouse-skills: host your own version of joomla etc.

    c) big enterprise with money to waste: use an agency

    0
  58. 58

    Awesome article… really helped!!!

    Has anyone found a CMS that can Crop Images and save into the resource library??…That’s a really useful tool cause clients keep coming back to me to resize their images….PAIN!!

    0
  59. 59

    Useful tool to select a CMS System:
    http://www.cmsmatrix.org/

    0
  60. 60

    Some people call for recommendations. I’d like to see that too, but consider how many CMSs are out there: http://www.cmsmatrix.org/
    So it would boil down to the usual suspects that have been named already in the contents.
    I think that one commenter was right and that there is no perfect CMS right now. Every projects has different needs.

    0
  61. 61

    We’ve been using SquareSpace for over a year and a half now and we’re really blown away by it’s power, ease of use, and affordability. We’ve built everything from tiny blogs to huge social sites using the platform and it never ceases to amaze us what we can do. I highly recommend it.
    See some of the sites we’ve built using SquareSpace: http://www.thebrandonstore.com/portfolio

    -1
  62. 62

    I hate reading articles like this where the author doesn’t step out and actually offer some real suggestions.

    In my opinion, if you want to read a much better article (with suggestions), check this one out:
    How to Choose the Right CMS. It listed some great new options that I had never heard of before. I personally use WordPress and Joomla, but am always looking for the next best thing.

    0
  63. 63

    Did you notice world’s first website using Twitter for Content Management? Here’s the home page: http://twitter.com/hereinspaziert (site is in German) It’s great fun!

    0
  64. 64

    Joomla = good for non technical ysers who awant to build complex sites via the exponantial list of plugins/modules. Thus, the template system is a real mess and it still suffer of the “joomla looking” website.
    If you want a functionality that does not exist, you better know how to hack the core and pray that it does’nt break anything else.

    Drupal = Best for communuty website. Easier to template (still impose some markup) and you must install several module to do on little thing so you better have a great organisation if you don’t wanna be lost if you want to change a little behaviour. The learning curve is greater than joomla but it offer more in certain circonstance. More developers oriented.

    WordPress = Best blogging system so far. Highly user oriented it provide the best UI and functionality and basic CMS feature. I’ll recommend it in priority for any blog project (side to side with Dotclear) but it’s also not the ideal solution for real blogging system. The template is not that bad but it contains php code which is not the best way to achieve a good css oriented design.

    MODx CMS = The best templating system ever. Content and functionality are separated.
    You can put any css you want, nothing is imposed.
    The logic is absolutely stunning, it may be the best system available but due to the little popularity it does not have so many plugins (compared to the trinity).
    The next release will have all the functionality listed in the news (exept versionning) but will still be developers oriented (with basic php knowledge) and (in the beginning) still lack third party plugins.
    Well it’s a Content Management Framework (CMF) so it does go further than most of the common CMS’s.
    Iis a fork of Etomite (which i never used) but tne next version is rewrited from the ground. Check the website to know more.

    Expression Engine = Same to MODx, more blog oriented but developers friendly. I don’t use it anymore since it’s not free.

    I’ve also tried spip (not the last version) and DotClear. The first one is popular in France and have great functionality (the last version seems to provide really good features) and Dotclear is almost the same as MODx regarding the blog capability.

    My choice?

    - Drupal for big project (better than joomla in templating features, equal in modules/plugins),
    - WordPress for Blogging,
    - MODx for corporate website.

    Since i really like the MODx logic, i’ll probably switch to it for big project with the next release (MODx revolution).

    1
  65. 65

    Missing one aspect in the list: Flexibility. That is: How well does the CMS separate content from presentation. In some of the older CMS content can only be related to one template, while a more modern approach is to create re-usable conent.

    0
  66. 66

    Does the perfect CMS exists? Everyone wants different features…

    0
  67. 67

    Its all about Concrete5. I suggest you check it out.

    0
  68. 68

    Drupal is the best CMS today. It can be expensive to implement it but there are Drupal based Hosted Solutions (Instant preconfigured Drupal site) like Galaminds which offers competitive pricing and has many verticals.

    Suzanne

    0
  69. 69

    mecaniqueorange

    March 6, 2009 1:41 am

    totally useless post, sorry…

    0
  70. 70

    ExpressionEngine ftw for me! :-) .. but WordPress also works perfect if you’re only doing a blog or a simple site.

    - bjorn

    0
  71. 71

    I’m designer and I also agree about wordpress! but for portfolio sites I recommend BERTA engine (CMS). It just does online portfolios and you don’t have too much possibilities to mess it up and of course – its free.

    i believe, that future is in one-purpose CMS. maybe something where you choose kind of template (orientation). it does one task, but does it great. i still think even wordpress is too complicated (but of course, quite flexible.)

    0
  72. 72

    I’ve used them all and Expression Engine is by far the best. You can customise every single one of the considerations herein, and it’s easy. Great user base hence forums and since it’s commercial (yet cheap) you get great support. New version out soon too.

    Built my own site with it (Linssen.)

    1
  73. 73

    WP as a CMS? Car as a boat … absolutely. Jake says only a custom cms will do exactly what you want, which is spot on.

    Internationalisation support, absolutely, check if utf-8 built into to everything and every layer.

    I thought the article was very good and raised some good talking points and should be on every cms purchasers’ reading list.

    I missed some things that I would be looking for if I was looking for a cms:
    1. SEO options, what do native urls look like? How easy is to make CoolURIs?
    2. Database independence, can I move my database from one vendor to another if I wanted to?
    3. Import / Export, can I take the whole thing and move it to another system just by juggling with the data layer?
    4. Automatic or prompted RDF creation, if you don’t have this then wave the sweb (web3.0) goodbye

    Overall though, I’d be wondering, why manage all my photos when there is Flickr? Why manage all my blogs when there is WP and blogger? Why build in IM when there is Twitter?

    In other words, is integration and the possibility of mashups of my own data built in, if not how easily can I integrate content like that?

    The questions and the answers keep moving, so there is no “best CMS” just the best stab you can make for yourself, which will be a stab in the dark until you have put the straightjacket on and tried it for size – then its too late of course!

    0
  74. 74

    I’ve developed a few websites and tried to use Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, LCMS, and others. My current favourite – as a non-expert, but with programming experience – is MODx. For simple sites, which is what I believe most non-professionals build, Drupal etc are way too complicated. If you know a little HTML and a little CSS, MODx is great. It includes all the stuff you need for consistency and security, and leaves you free to concentrate on the look and content. The learning curve is way lower than the others.

    0
  75. 75

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a CMS that is primarily a product database? ie – a website with a few content pages and 100′s of product pages.

    0
  76. 76

    Well, although the actual article was pretty blang, at least it’s provoked some great responses. I’ll be checking out some of your suggestions guys – thanks!

    0
  77. 77

    I don’t think this list makes a particular useful starting point for everyone. The author raves about simplistic application features, that aren’t appropriate for everyone.

    Unless you have totally untrustworthy employees, using a cms bogged down with complex permission systems is nuts. This usually just hinders content completion, rather than enhancing content quality in any way.

    Likewise “nesting pages” is a redundant feature. This adds another layer of superflous application logic. Practically having a partitioned database just for that does you no good. What people actually want are just -structured menus-. And there are huge technical differences in how to implement that. Which lastly makes a non-insignificant perfomance contrast.

    In my opinion, the more important features to watch out for in WebCMS are:
    (1) Complete usage of parameterized SQL instead of mysql_query() and string concatenation.
    (2) _Thourough_ input parameter filtering, like $_GET->int(“param”)
    (3) If there are templates, they should be bare PHP code, no intermediate Smarty BS. And it better auto-encodes all incoming variables as entities(), unless flagged otherwise. This way templates can be mostly HTML and thus more easily replaced. (The article author made an important point about localization!)
    (4) Configuration settings for WebCMS do not belong in the database. The database is for content, not settings that change just once a year.
    (5) Other SQL optimizations. For a single page request, there shouldn’t occour 20 queries. (Just one.)
    (6) Use of a senseful HTML variant. If your WebCMS uses XHTML just to be hip, and without embedding any other XML formats (SVG, MathML), you have a problem. Compliant HTML4 based on SGML is also still a very valid standard.
    (7) Proper HTTP support. A CMS should respond to Accept: and Accept-Language: headers, and itself return pages with senseful caching info. At least a Last-Modified: or Version: field should be there.
    (8) If your WebCMS exposes database-internal IDs, like “index.php?page=17.333″ – this doesn’t bode well for security or usability either.
    (9) Yeah, and built-in caching. I say it should be built-in, and be executed at content creation time (most CMS build the cache when a page gets requested first). It might also be appropriate if the WebCMS itself can build a static / or at least pseudo-static HTML snapshot of the database content itself.
    (10) Use WordPress only for technical websites if you want it to be taken for satire.

    So, what’s seriously to consider is overall application design and security. Usability and the right feature set are important, but they come at a price.

    2
  78. 78

    The one which we are using, and that fulfills all the features mentioned above is eZ publish.
    It has a bit steep learning curve but provides great feature list, especially regarding customization possibilities.

    0
  79. 79

    How about performance? Doesn’t matter what features you have if it runs like a bucket of shit during peak traffic times

    0
  80. 80

    The best i’ve found so far is something called Cotonti. It’s really powerful but lightweight at the same time. All the great functions are included plus if you need anything extra, There’s a large Plugin community or write on yourself. It’s also completely open source which is also a bonus.

    What makes it stand out for me is that it’s more of a Content management Framework. It can be used for more than just Content Management.

    0
  81. 81

    Great article and I would love it if you could list some of the best examples. One of the problems I see is that it’s hard to get the flexibility of a self-install solution combined with a managed/hosted service. For example, I think I would like a hosted (and managed) drupal CMS, but i haven’t found anyone that does this off the shelf. Take wordpress for example – if you go with the hosted solution, you get 20 or so modules to play with, thus limiting what you can do compared with running it yourself. I think this has to change. Could you perhaps list some of the better CMS?

    0
  82. 82

    Thanks for another interesting article. I have always used WordPress in my work, which I find the simplist to implement in terms of design, as well as being easy to use for both myself and my clients.

    0
  83. 83

    wou!!!
    this theme needs a 2º round, at less…

    0
  84. 84

    WP is a tight package, that’s for sure – but it’s definitely not an enterprise-grade CMS suite. Those who said “no CMS is perfect” are absolutely correct. There are many factors you need to consider when choosing a CMS but always (always!) investigate how easy it is to customize a certain package. You WILL need to. So give extra thought to questions that ask things like “how well does this perform the core of what I need?” and “can this be extended? what if i want to add FeatureX?”

    0
  85. 85

    I have given up on the most common choices for CMS

    WordPress? Should be used for a blog. Still no custom content types? forget it.

    Drupal? Design by developers and you can tell, try teaching a client who is not tech savy how to use it.

    Joomla – Still impossible to do a custom skin well and again try teaching a client who is not tech savvy to use it.

    Silverstripe and Concrete5 are the two I would recommend. Very flexible (I have used silverstripe for 5 page sites, and 200+ page sits), you can customize it just about any way you want with out having to know a lot of in depth coding knowledge.

    The icing on the cake is that they are very intuitive.

    0
  86. 86

    Glad to see Paul on Smashing :)

    I prefer Drupal for most projects; I have an nice installation profile, so it doesn’t take me long to put up the basics. Drupal do rely heavily on modules outside core, but with the modules centralized on drupal.org (and status update), it serves me well. Drupal + views + cck = yummy!

    0
  87. 87

    what about safety and security? if your open source CMS is compromised who do you turn to?

    0
  88. 88

    ModxCMS is hands-down my favorite CMS out there. We use it at work for every site we produce, excluding shopping carts. It also handles blog functionality, though, I would still use WordPress over Modx for (quick & easy) blog set ups.

    0
  89. 89

    To me CMS is also about giving the power of managing a site over to completely non technical (webwise) people, so power with simplicity is key. Just because it can do lots of fancy things doesn’t mean you have to confuse the novice user! For this reason I use an open source CMS called Website Baker which understands power with simplicity for the user. Plenty of easy to install modules that are easy for the user to use! Well documented for both parties etc… fits alot of the 10 items in this article. enough of my rabberling go check it out :o)

    0
  90. 90

    Very good article!

    I use Joomla! CMS for my projects.
    But sometime clients ask to use Drupal, so I use it too…

    0
  91. 91

    Squarespace

    0
  92. 92

    What about the seamless integration into Software front-end technologies or even back-end data models? That is what nearly every CMS misses and what hurts over and over.

    0
  93. 93

    Does anyone know what WYSIWYG editor or CMS is shown in the screenshot above in section 2?

    0
  94. 94

    I’ve been building with CMS for about 4 years and feel like I finally found one a couple years ago that suits 90% of mine and my client’s needs. CMS Made Simple at http://www.cmsmadesimple.org – Clients love it and tell me it is easier to use than Word Press and a lot easier to use than Joomla.

    1
  95. 95

    Nice tips. But I tend to write up content management systems from scratch…

    0
  96. 96

    I do not understand the point of this post. In my opinion:

    1. There is no perfect CMS. Each client has different requirements in terms of functionality, design, publication channels (web, print, mobile, etc.), security, etc
    2. Webdevelopers that use WordPress or any other blogging app to develop a corporate site should look for another job. Use the right tools for the right job.
    3. A good CMS has total seperation of design, functionality and content, is able to publish valid XHTML (strict), and works with/on a DTAP (Dev, Test, Accept. Publish) environment
    4. Enterprize WCM systems should work with some form of blueprinting (like Tridion R5) to publish mutliple (hundreds) of publications (sites, print, etc)
    5. I agree with previous comments that Modx is probably the best solution for smaller sites, although you might also want to look into eZ (www.ez.no)

    0
  97. 97

    I use WordPress for small sites and personal projects (<10 pages, not counting blog posts). WordPress is simple, easy to use, and there is more documentation than anyone could possibly need, lol.

    ModX, I’ve found, is the best CMS for larger sites. It is so extendable and customizable without being intimidating (ahem…. drupal). It’s the best of both worlds in terms of design and backend development.

    0
  98. 98

    WordPress for blogs
    Joomla for sites

    0
  99. 99

    The feigned excitement of the guy with the clenched fist in the first cartoon is most excellent. :3

    0
  100. 100

    The screenshot in section 2 is the wordpress editor.

    0
  101. 101

    If you’re using a windows host, Fooshy is cheap alternative with a lot of flexibility. You only buy the parts you need and can plug in add-ons later. Also, you’re not restricted by templates – the content managed parts are added with a few simple lines of code.

    0
  102. 102

    There is no perfect CMS – this is absolutely true. You must define requirements and make sure you get an inkling of what the client plans to do with the website in the future.

    Custom CMS – Bad idea. OK sure…this be fine and dandy for a small static website, but beyond that, this is a terrible decision. I have worked for a company for 5 years that has done both custom CMSs and Out-of-the-Box solutions and we’ve come to realize 1 thing – if you properly gather requirements, you will find an out-of-the-box solution out there that can fulfill a majority of the needs (with some small customizations needed). There is no way you (or small company) can build a custom CMS and support it (documentation, plugins, api, upgrades, bugs, etc…) at the level of which an out-of-the-box solution can. And lastly, with a custom CMS you have now married your client to you (which is selfish and unprofessional). If the relationship between the client and yourself goes sour, the next person coming in needs to spend time getting to know the system (which will most likely have little or no support).

    My two cents…

    0
  103. 103

    I started by using Mambo, moved to Drupal used WordPress and now I use mostly Spip. All are great but spip is often forgotten. If you don’t want your website to look like it was made with a cms, choose SPIP. It’s webdesigner friendly and writter friendly.

    0
  104. 104

    ExpressionEngine FTW!

    0
  105. 105

    How about a CMS/Publishing system that I can integrate into my site? I want to extract all the site content and let editors manage the content.

    0
  106. 106

    We tested Drupal, Joomla and Plone before choosing a platform. Plone http://www.plone.org blew both of them out of the water from a usability perspective and from a feature standpoint. Python vs PHP was also a big plus from our perspective.

    Sure Plone has a bigger learning curve from a developers point of view, but I don’t see that as a negative. Also has an active a dedicated community and good documentation.

    0
  107. 107

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Umbraco. Maybe cause it’s ASP.NET…

    Anyways, for a non-coder like myself it works great. But you will eventually have to learn some XSLT stuff..

    0
  108. 108

    Nice tips. No CMS can be called the best… what you choose depends on what you wanna build.

    0
  109. 109

    Very useful post. I always end up with WordPress for all of my projects, but I have a feeling that may be because I’m just so used to it. Great tips for when I finally need to choose a different platform.

    0
  110. 110

    Another vote here for WordPress. Even as a basic CMS for small to medium-sized sites. I’ve found its easier than Joomla in just about every way. The code in general is much cleaner, organization makes more sense, and its easier for clients to learn – which is one of the main reasons for using a CMS in the first place, yes?

    0
  111. 111

    Not much talk about non-free/oss apps here; the article didn’t say it was only about free/oss packages.

    I am responsible for hundreds sites with over 300,000 pages, and over a hundred users. I’m not about to stick that in blog software like wordpress (which we use specifically for a blog site we run), small-site cms like joomla, or even anything backed by mysql (more likely Oracle). My responsibility to the enterprise for development and support outweighs my desire to use free/oss “just for the sake of it”. If it’s good, and it’s commercial, it’s a contender.

    Where are the reviews on commercial apps (Contegro, Reddot, etc)?

    0
  112. 112

    Don´t forget DotNetNuke, it´s a great open source solution.

    0
  113. 113

    I’m an avid Textpattern fan and user. I use it for all my clients and they seem to really take to its simplicity. It’s scalable, flexible, easy to install, easy to update, has a tiny footprint, manages assets very well, has a huge library of plug-ins that are well supported and documented, very clear documentation and support from the community and for anyone who has a good handle on XHTML and CSS, it’s a breeze to modify even on a granular level. And it’s free.

    ExpressionEngine to this day has no asset management (version 2 should be coming out soon, though) and it costs $250. So I’m waiting to see if it gets usable later.

    Drupal is very complex, but powerful. You may want to use this for more enterprise-level projects.

    WordPress is for blogging primarily. It can be used as a CMS, but not without a lot of hacking.

    Joomla is pretty good, though it’s a real rigmarole to install and to add templates. Plus the documentation is very spotty and incomplete.

    Go TXP.

    0
  114. 114

    WordPress is my CMS of choice. I went to that and never looked back. My clients seem to feel the same way about it.

    0
  115. 115

    SilverStripe is open source and easily customizable/themable. Ive used Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla, but unless a site needs functionality that SilverStripe cant easily add, I use SilverStripe.

    0
  116. 116

    Design flexibilty etc are just parts of the initial phases of a web project. When a web project is done, what becomes central is further support and enhancements. Any custom-made CMS will quickly become legacy if there’s no active development. Choosing the best long-term solution should be focused on developing and supporting in-house only the business differentiating features and their respective modules, where the core and all generic functionality should be supported by a (open source) community.

    Personally I’d go for a system like Drupal for any front-end system and develop only those custom modules not fiting the business needs. Going Enterprise (e.g. adding DMS) I would integrate with something else with the same concept (like KT). Such systems could grow complex, but the key is each part gets supported by their respective community and I only need to focus on adding the business value. Of course, there are also integration, scalability issues, etc; but at the end it all depends on budget, deadlines and people committed.

    0
  117. 117

    concrete5 cms has everything here except for a multi-site manager.

    0
  118. 118

    I actually agree with Paul’s decision not to make recommendations or produce any kind of CMS list. This comments thread has largely served that purpose, and if he did include that list – everyone would be using comments to tell him how wrong it was that Drupal was #3 and WordPress was #2.

    Every single one of these CMS packages people are plugging has serious shortcomings, and they all have awesome advantages. I’ve used a lot of them, but not all, and I have some serious points of contention for my faves too.

    I would never tell a client they have to use a specific technology over another. If you are doing a technical review – make recommendations. If you can’t get the job done the way your client needs, then partner with someone who can.

    You could easily write a book (that would be outdated in six months) on this topic. I think this article does a great job of bringing some points of focus to the process.

    The title might have been slightly misleading, and some good points are brought up in comments about accessibility and flexibility. No CMS is ever perfect. Find the right one to fit the job, not your preferred working style. Accept that parity isn’t good enough and that you’ll most likely have to rebuild and add on to parts of it and you’ll be fine.

    0
  119. 119

    After reading the above posts I decided to stop my Drupal training and convert to ModX. I have been reading up on it and it sounds like exactly what I am looking for. I am an HTML/CSS/PHP guy that finds ‘designing’ in Drupal somewhat of a pain. ModX seems to be made for developers who want to get specific with their design. That is me. If anyone has more insight, please let me know! ! ! Note: I don’t create big sites…100 page sites, max.

    0
  120. 120

    You forgot number 11: do not use Joomla.

    1
  121. 121

    Ah how about platform, speed, configuration, friendly urls, ease of adminitration, custom modules, community, AND MOST IMPORTANT COST!!

    0
  122. 122

    Interesting responses — agreed the discussion is of more relevance than the article itself. I’ve noticed many of you seem to be operating from the perspective of corporate website needs (“corporate websites” has been mentioned in a number of posts). It would be good to remember that design for corporate entities isn’t necessarily the norm — there are a lot of small to medium-sized businesses who have very simple content management needs and few staff, and, IMHO, Drupal and Joomla and the like are overkill for these “little guys” who just want to go in and edit the content on a page.

    0
  123. 123

    @Ethan – you sound a lot like my boss, and have the same name. Is it possible I ran into you randomly on the internet? Crazy if so.

    I’ll have to agree with Ethan on just about everything he said; it was dead on and uncannily relevant to an e-mail chain making its rounds in our office regarding more effective offerings for our clients. Currently, we use Drupal for large projects that have a ton of content, a high level of interactivity, require simple eCommerce to be integrated with a site, or require community functionality.

    The majority of our work is for small informational corporate sites that have very little in the way of interactivity, normally maintained by the clients using Adobe Contribute; we are missing the opportunity to add value to their sites by allowing better visitor interaction, spend unnecessary time programming forms that submit to a database or e-mail when this could be automated, and spend unnecessary time configuring and supporting Contribute.

    That said, using Drupal on those types of projects is like trying to assemble a computer using a large pipe wrench; you can probably do it, but you’ll spend most of your time trying to get the screws from slipping between the jaws of the wrench when all you needed was a small screwdriver. We have been evaluating simple CMS systems that would require minimal overhead and configuration, and have yet to find a silver bullet.

    MODx seems like a possibility, but still may be overkill for our needs. Using something like django with a few extensions (like django-cms, which is very simple) may also be a possibility, but may be too simple. Does anyone have a suggestion?

    0
  124. 124

    I created few sites with Joomla! and I can say it’s maybe complicated for some who have no PHP skills to modifie it. Joomla! is good for larger sites but you really need to know PHP and Javascript to create what you want. I developed Worpress site in a few days and it’s a lot cleaner code than Joomla, lots of good tutorials and easy to modified almost everything. WordPress is possibly the best for small and medium sites.

    0
  125. 125

    Selecting a CMS can be tricky. With cmsmatrix.org you can compare the different features.

    riotfamily looks pretty neat, check out the test drive.

    0
  126. 126

    Great article. When I first researched for a CMS to use I found that most did not have half of the features listed here. For that reason I built my own, the list of ideas and must haves will be a definite help to my re-design coming up! Thanks!

    0
  127. 127

    I’m just glad to hear no one praising Ektron. I manage a site at work with Ektron and it is a pain in the tail and after reading this review, it would not rate highly on many of the topics you ask. I also wish the author made some recommendations.

    3
  128. 128

    Hello,
    I think Perfect CMS should have Copy&Paste features, be easy extendable for new Backend and Frondend modules, fast in use, and have frond-caching possibilities. It’s also good when it has SEO optimization, like generating sitemap.xml for google and have friendly-urls support.
    If someone considering which CMS to choose, please also check out Lightnote CMS. http://lightnote.net. It’s really very user friendly, very customizable (you have full freedom in designing templates, or programming modules for that). See the demo at http://demo.lightnote.net/cms/ .

    0
  129. 129

    @Rich – For me, a simple (yet flexible) CMS for the ‘lil’ screwdriver’ sites you describe might be FrogCMS Link. It provides great flexibility for content and design, so you can steer your website easily in any way you want.

    0
  130. 130

    easr or west
    joomla de best!!!!!!!!!!!

    -1
  131. 131

    I saw only one mentioning of Typo3 here, so i’m adding another vote for it. I’ve built many sites with it, it is pretty difficult to learn yes, but once you do that, you never go back! It’s the most flexible system, several thousand modules, great API for writing own. Most of the Slovenian (where is come from) government institutions’ websites are made with it. It meets all of the requirements above so it’s definately my choice!

    And no, this is no out-of-the-box solution like joomla!

    I have websites with 3000+ subpages, 400 website editors with different permissions, multilanguage and multidomain all in one installation, and i found only Typo3 to meet all of those demands at once with no aditional modules installed.

    0
  132. 132

    Don From Clover Content

    March 6, 2009 4:48 pm

    I’m not sure that any CMS can meet all of these requirements. Choosing a CMS is very much a matter of understanding the goals of the site. I would agree that for a large scale site, Joomla and Drupal are good, but they can also be overkill.

    I created a super simple CMS that is geared toward small sites because a lot of the popular CMS systems are just too much for end-users to handle. Flexibility in design is a big issue too. I can’t say my product meets all of the criteria mentioned here, but this does help get an idea of what others are thinking.

    0
  133. 133

    Concrete5 looks promising and I’d consider CushyCMS if there was a self-hosted equivalent. From an ecommerce perspective, Magento or Shopify really has it covered. However for general brochure websites, WordPress ticks every box.

    1. Not a huge learning curve is involved, if anything WordPress has heightened my knowledge of PHP/MySQL in general.
    2. Through the use of third-party plugins, WordPress can be streamlined so even the most non-technical person can create/edit content.
    3. It’s so flexible, with the exception of ecommerce work, I can’t think of a single occasion when I’ve had to consider another CMS solution.
    4. Going by the increased popularity of WordPress, I’ve found support to be abundant.

    As mentioned, there isn’t a perfect CMS because individual needs are subjective.

    0
  134. 134

    The comments are more interesting than the article itself.

    0
  135. 135

    this article aside, I recommend WordPress for anything where you don’t need custom modules (shopping carts et al) and Typo3 beyond that.

    0
  136. 136

    I found this great little cms out there called “CMS from Scratch”. It is very “CushyCMS’ish” but hosted on your own server. My clients find it very simple to use, it is just stupid crazy easy to create custom templates. It’s a flat file cms, so great for small to medium sites. Check it out! great for “designers” because of the simplicity and total freedom to design to your own specs!
    http://www.cmsfromscratch.com/

    0
  137. 137

    Can’t you guys stop using WP for everything?`(Well, I’m glad you don’t preach Joomla!)

    but what you are doing seems to me like brainwashing…

    I am tired of hearing this WP-Propaganda everywhere, when I need a lorry (a CMS is a lorry) I don’t choose a family car …

    why not telling abut CMSMatrix and other, really helpful and contentful informations???

    0
  138. 138

    this is one poor article. It would be a way better IF ONLY author could add some CMS samples. I mean, c’mon, I know what I need, I don’t need someone to tell me that. I need that some one tell’s me which CMS I can use and which fulfilles my requirements.

    0
  139. 139

    Concrete5
    CushyCMS
    MODx
    honorable mention: Silverstripe

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    Hi Paul

    Great article. Those are some great points to keep in mind when looking for the perfect CMS for your organisation. One thing I would add is the need for flexible workflows so that you can match it to your organisation’s approval / quality assurance processes. Not all processes are linear, and great CMSs actually allow alternative paths is the process is not completed within X days (MySourceMatrix for example).

    Those who did not get the point of this article obviously have not experienced selecting an appropriate CMS to fit business requirements (or at least not for a large organisation). As others have said, there is no perfect CMS for all situations – however if you start with a list of prioritised requirements, you will be well on your way to selecting the best CMS for your situation, without getting caught up in the other nice system features that you really did not need. NOTE: You need to then properly evaluate/demo the selected product/s against these requirements to ensure that they fulfil them completely – do not rely on the products features checklist.

    The web manager of the last organisation I worked for chose the CMS product first then built the requirements list around it. Now they are stuck with a horrendous CMS that is painful to use, required so much customisation that they may as well have built on inhouse, and is just an overall embarrassment to the web team.

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    Mark Claudius Png

    March 7, 2009 3:02 am

    I think another important aspect is the footprint of the CMS and the quality of the generated code. WordPress for example doesn’t support xHTML 1.0 Strict so you end up with attributes like ‘target’ etc. I have nothing against Drupal but I’ve seen too many programmers conveniently load too many external CSS or JavaScript files in the header (What did that article in Yahoo! say?).

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  142. 142

    Hollis Bartlett

    March 7, 2009 5:30 am

    I’ve been hearing alot of support for ModX for small sites, and complete separation of design and cms, but to be honest I’ve tried it and was not as impressed as others appear to be. Perhaps I’ll have to give it another shot.

    However, I have to say for small ‘static-y’ sites that require a little extra functionality, I’ve had great success with Website Baker. You can make a design, drop in the appropriate tags where you need them for dynamic content, and you’re done. More importantly though, the interface for end users is drop-dead simple and intuitive, much moreso than WordPress. It’s also very easy to customize that back end if you want to add some branding or whatever, and very easy to restrict usages of components, pages or anything. For non-tech end users, I have yet to find anything better for management. For developers/designers, it dead simple to implement too. I can take just about any static site and make it CMS managed in about an hour with Website Baker.

    Joomla/Drupal et al certainly have their place for more complex needs, specifically the thousands of modules available for them if you have specific requirements, but I’d agree it’s a sledgehammer approach for the typical SMB brochure/news site, and an inappropriate solution. WordPress is OK for blogging, OR is the site is a blog with some static pages for information.

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  143. 143

    Alexander Ceballos

    March 7, 2009 6:11 am

    This article is describing Drupal … or at least this is concluded to evaluate the characteristics of a CMS are mainly the best features of Drupal. If anyone would doubt look at this:
    http://www.topnotchthemes.com/blog/090224/drupal-vs-joomla-frank-comparison-ibm-consultant

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  144. 144

    MODx has to be the best cms out their, it’s easy and flexible, you use it to manage content, not layout.

    cmsmatrix.org is a good resource if anyone wants to compare cms/cmf systems.

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  145. 145

    Nice Post!!!

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  146. 146

    I’ve used the major CMSs available, I’ve found the most customizable with respect to standards, separating display/content etc is Zikula (http://www.zikula.org. Take a look at the demo page to test drive the lastest version. This is robust enterprise level CMS worth a look if you need CMS power. And the app is HTML Compliant to W3C guidelines, and Bobby accessibility makes your website display consistently across systems, enabling users with disabilities to get the most out of your site, and also provides for the standards of the future in all output sent to user’s browsers. Another thing I appreciate about the project is the attention to security, something that most projects haven’t paid enough attention to in the past.

    This CMS is definitely worth a look if you haven’t decided on which system to use.

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  147. 147

    MakeDesign,NotWar

    March 7, 2009 3:23 pm

    Excellent read – I’ve checked out several CMS’s though (blogger, squarespace, homemade cms, light, easybarry, expression engine, etc.) and WordPress always ends up scoring the highest – heck, I have access to a lot ‘nicer’ stuff and I still end up using it even for my own site simply because it’s easy to use, has tons of flexibility, an active community of 3rd parties, and an even more active core of staff/freelance developers making updates for them. This article merely validates how much I love WP :)

    Make Design, Not War

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  148. 148

    Could you please tell me what CMS Smashing Magazine uses?

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  149. 149

    I have to say, there have been a bunch of Drupal vs Joomla vs WordPress posts recently and almost of all of them have ended up in being comment flamebait between respective rabid supporters.

    This post, or rather, the comments on it, is a refreshing change. I see people pointing out strengths of different systems, but none of the usual diatribe – kudos

    Fully managed, hosted Joomla (training wheels included….), for those commenters asking, checkout simplweb.com

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  150. 150

    Oh jeez… another CMS commenting spree. If I hear another person recommending Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, or MODx, I will scream!

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  151. 151

    @ San Tia,

    meta name=”generator” content=”WordPress 2.7″

    (just view the source code )

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  152. 152

    Personally, I use Zikula for all of my website needs. I develop websites for a living and I have found wordpress is cool, but it’s a blogging tool. Joomla and Drupal are not as robust and customizable as Zikula to me. I think Zikula has a ways to go but the great thing about Zikula is it’s ability to be whatever you want it to be. If you want a great blogging site, you can use it. If you want a community site with calendars and image galleries, you can do that too. It can literally be anything you need it to be with the slightest bit of management. If you are an advanced user, you should check it out.

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    Thanks for the article, although I would have loved to see a list of the top couple of CMS’s that meet your requirments. At least a link to some good comparison websites.

    Love the podcast too.

    Thanks,
    Paul Pennel

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  154. 154

    I agree with iThinkMedia. Zikula is easily the best CMS out there. It’s probably best suited for those with a little technical skill, as n00bs might be a bit overwhelmed by it. But if you already know a bit about HTML and CSS, you should be good to go.

    0
  155. 155

    Umbraco all the way.

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  156. 156

    One of my favorite Frameworks is the Xaraya Application Frame Work (Link,) it’s block layout system (template engine) is among the easiest to use, and its modular system makes it very flexible and very scalable.

    It is not as polished as some of the “CMS’s” but it is by far one of the most versatile.

    0
  157. 157

    WordPress is the way to go. It’s getting there and will be a full feature CMS very soon. Even this website is using it. Just think!

    0
  158. 158

    Aren’t these pretty basic needs that everyone knows about? Not sure that there is much to talk about with a CMS that hasn’t already been talked about, though. Even more importantly than just thinking about what the CMS has now is thinking about the code base. There are some out there that are written in spaghetti code. Others (expression engine, mango blog, Sava CMS, etc) actually have a framework that they are written on top of. This allows them to build and grow effortlessly. Others (Joomla and even wordpress) cannot change as rapidly (not to say that they can’t at all, as they have obviously done quite well), which might be a huge issue down the road.

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  159. 159

    Both the article and comments got me thinking, and have given me so many ideas as to where I should focus next on our own CMS. We’ve found Joomla, Drupal, and lately (since the last few upgrades) even WordPress to be too complicated for our clients – not to mention that it’s a blogging platform, and not a CMS! Therefore I have been building a CMS for the last 2 years (Artificial Intelligence). We needed something that is good for building 3 – 200 page websites, included SEO, and that makes it a breeze to edit content for the type of client that owns a wine estate 200kms from the city and just recently got to grips with using Outlook. Giving a client like that the login details to Joomla is what I consider evil. Poor client.

    So it may not be the perfect CMS, and such a thing doesn’t exist, but for us, this solution is perfect, seeing as the platform is an ongoing development that’s being dictated by upcoming projects and current clients.

    Now there’s something funny I have to add here. The only time I’ve used another CMS in the last 2 years, was when I hooked CushyCMS up to a small, static site. No, it’s not even a CMS, lol, BUT, it allowed the client to edit content on a static site without any rocket science involved (took about 5 minutes!), and most importantly, without having to upgrade the hosting from a R20 per month package to a R100 per month package. In this case, CushyCMS was indeed the perfect CMS for the job.

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  160. 160

    Jes Roger Petersen

    March 9, 2009 12:20 am

    Typo3 is my choice …

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  161. 161

    For various reasons, at http://www.per-so-na.com we needed a .NET based CMS and we chose http://www.kentico.com. Its pretty good for the price and performs well against the checkpoints on this list. The freebie CMS’s are not always suitable for commercial work and beleive it or not, some organisations have genuine IT reasons for not using open source (such as internal skills, platform consistency, database licences etc)

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  162. 162

    I used to be all about Drupal/Joomla/Wordpress, but recently I’ve changed my mind. I find that most of my customers find theese too hard to use, and their sites tend to be neglected over time.

    I’ve recently changed some Drupal sites to the end-user-friendlier Website Baker. It’s definately worth considering if you’re setting up a “smallish” corporate webbsite. And mind you, I’ve tested almost half of the CMSes at OpensourceCMS.com. ModX and Website Baker are both gold!

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  163. 163

    One more point I’d like to address is buidling a website that’s heavily dependent on third party addons to any CMS. I did a multilangual website for a company in Drupal. The site totally depended on the i18n-Internationalization module among others. There are some serious security holes in 4.7, the version that the site used, but we could not upgrade, since the 3rd party modules would not work in newer versions. The only option: start over.

    So make sure that the *core functionality* of your chosen CMS meets your needs, dont make importanit features dependent on addon modules!

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  164. 164

    Seriously, what has happened to real developers recently? I’m talking about the ones who design and develop bespoke CMSs that do all the client asks and meets usability and accessibility standards, whilst being intuitive and easy to use. I do not, nor will I ever use WordPress, joomla, drupal, cushycms, etc. because as a developer, I lose control over functions, processes and features – and become reliant on plug-ins and other peoples code. In that situation, I would no longer be a developer, I’d just be a web admin kinda guy.
    Whats happened to taking pride in your own work, not someone elses?! You people are getting lazy.

    My own CMSs use scriptaculous drag-and-drop functionality for re-ordering of pages, supports multi-user permissions and uses a skinned and customised tinyMCE editor for content. Hit me up at http://www.artlines.co.uk (which is managed by my CMS btw) if you want to see more.

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  165. 165

    I think Joomla is perfect.

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  166. 166

    Comparing Joomla or Drupal to MODx is like comparing a Pinto to a Porsche

    Anyone making the switch from a CMS to MODx needs to do some serious unlearning because MODx is a CMF. One creates the CMS in MODx; No two MODx sites are alike.

    You determine how content is going to be displayed. Joomla and Drupal and other CMSs determine how to display it. You can change that unless you hack. Joomla STILL uses 100% width tables. Why can’t those by divs instead?

    In MODx you make that content display whatever you want it to be. It’s extremely flexible.

    @Sal B
    Have you heard of foxycart for eCommerce? With some SQL + tpls I can get several hundred eCommerce products up fast and not spend time in endless tweaks of death.

    @robthedog
    I feel your pain. I created a multi-lingual site in MODx. Beautiful and easy. We created flag links programmed so that if a page for that language existed it linked directly to it. If not, it went to the home page of that language. 90& of the english had corresponding German, French and Japanese pages. It was very easy. And it didn’t break, ever.

    Joomla is perfect… but for what? Just plain old content. Anything more than that requires lots of adminning.

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    I have been using Website Baker on my personal sites for a few years and love it. Very easy to use and intuitive interface.

    I am working on a new company web site with Sava and after an initial confusing period getting use to it I am finding myself very impressed.

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  168. 168

    EricInWisconsin

    March 9, 2009 2:18 pm

    I use any number of CMS’s for building websites. It depends on what the client wants/needs. Different strokes for different folks. If the client needs just a few pages up, I’d never recommend Joomla or Drupal, for example, but will readily recommend them if the client wants to get fancy. It also depends on whether I’ll be managing the site for them or if they will be doing it themselves.

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  169. 169

    USE UMBRACO, ITS THE BEST CMS ON THE MARKET AND CAN DO WHAT OTHERS CANT, WORDPRESS IS FOR DESIGNERS PLUS CUT AND PASTE CODERS. LOL

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  170. 170

    @Rich – I assure you I’m not your boss. If so I need a raise.

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  171. 171

    holy crap comments!

    ever heard of Ektron? no cuz it sucks ass

    1
  172. 172

    “WORDPRESS IS FOR DESIGNERS”

    haha, yeah, i think thats why i like it, plus you can edit the php from the CMS. its nice. plugins are crucial too. but i havn’t checked them all out yet….

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  173. 173

    PLEASE
    add a top 10 list at the end of your post as a conclusion !!

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  174. 174

    I think [www.concrete5.org] is a fantastic option.

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  175. 175

    Nice article. The choice to list important things when thinking about a CMS is a good one. People should think for themselves what is a good CMS and don’t use the top 10 list somebody else posted ;-) I’m missing upgradability and security in the list BTW.

    For me Zikula.org is a great CMS (or web application framework). For me it ticks all the boxes. I like developing for it and where it comes from and where it is going to.

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    Nicole Hernandez

    March 11, 2009 11:27 am

    SilverStripe does all of those things and more. I made a screencast a couple of days ago on the built in SEO features of SilverStripe. The only 2 I have ever recommended to anyone have been WP and EE, but SilverStripe is getting added as my 3rd because it’s more of a content management framework powerhouse similar to Drupal / Joomla without the awful interface and complication.

    I’m still looking at ModX and Concrete5, they look interesting.

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  177. 177

    @Sergio (who first mentioned Sava CMS). You talked about the downside of ColdFusion not being free. There are now 2 free CFML application servers that are very full-featured — OpenBlueDragon (which is also open source) and Railo (which will also go open source later this year as a JBoss project). In fact — the company that developed Sava (Blue River), deploys a lot of their sites using Railo.

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  178. 178

    The perfect CMS is the one that does the job you need it to do, for the needs of the particular site. There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” because every site has different requirements. I’ve used most of the popular free CMS and several commercial CMS and have yet to find one that I would roll out for every site.

    However, there were 3 things left out of this article:

    1. Usability & accessibility (these are intertwined so often need to be considered together)

    2. Security. Joomla and WordPress are among the most insecure CMS around and both have unpatched vulnerabilities.
    Those CMS that have a lot of 3rd party plugins expose users to huge risks.

    3. Upgrades. Some of the CMS mentioned in the comments release security updates and bug fixes every month or two. Always consider the stability of the CMS and the cost involved in upgrading.

    Creating a list of requirements before choosing a CMS is just plain common sense. You wouldn’t go shopping for a new car without knowing what you want it to do.

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  179. 179

    Doug Cuthbertson

    March 12, 2009 1:50 pm

    I’ve played with a few CMS offerings (mostly as a hobby). I tried to build something out of Apache Cocoon several years ago and tried the Daisy CMS early on without any satisfactory results.

    I tried Plone after that. The Sean Kelly videos were very cool. However, I found it to have a steep learning curve and I had difficulties with its Zope underpinnings (not a friendly interface). Sometimes things (such as adding a new favicon) would revert to the default values. It wasn’t easy to see what I had done wrong in those cases.

    I tried Drupal early last year. It was a breeze to install. It left a little to be desired on security – I wanted to use reCaptcha for logins. Eventually someone made a module for the latest version that worked like a champ. It’s not a bad system at all and is updated regularly. The only caveat is that module development falls behind major releases sometimes, so you don’t want to be on the bleeding edge, or you’ll find a theme or other component suddenly not working quite right.

    Right now, I’m playing with a new kid on the block, Web2Py. It’s written in Python, and lets you create web apps from your browser. It’s fun, and worth a look, especially if you like Python.

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  180. 180

    Personally, I like WordPress and Expression Engine. One of the greatest challenges I have with setting up CMS’s for clients is when they need some customizing, how do you set up the customization so that the editor doesn’t have to jump through too many hoops. For example, custom image galleries, custom fields, etc… how do you set up a site so that these types of unique features are easy for a non-technical person to edit?

    Though WordPress and Expression Engine both have their failings, they both win in that the are SO EASY to learn how to customize, if you have just a little php background (or in Expression Engine’s case, even if you don’t).

    People who think writing their own CMS’s clearly have technical skills above and beyond that of many web designers, who are often xhtml/css experts with various levels of js and php (or asp or whatever).

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  181. 181

    Ive been using Joomla for years now. I am still using a personally modified, stripped down version of Joomla 1.0x rather than the shiny new 1.5. This is because it still fits the needs of me and the clients i work for, just because ’1.5′ is newer doesn’t mean i have to upgrade.

    People i have talked to say “but there is so many more features in Joomla 1.5″… my answer to this is “Yes, but what happens if i dont want all those features? i’m just going to spend time stripping them out!”

    What i like in a content management system is good core functionality for adding content, no more, nice and simple. After this point developments can be made to suit the clients needs, just because a content mangement system does something doesn’t mean i need it.

    What i like most about joomla is the xml ‘Parameters’ within content items. More often than not, clients want to customize individual pages which can be difficult in templated systems. The parameters make it easy for me to specify ‘options’ to users in simple textboxes, dropdowns and radio boxes that can control modules, colours whatever i want!

    What i dont like is the tinyMCE editor! What i really want to do is develop a WYSIWYG editor for joomla that is similar to wordpress’ which is supurb!

    anyway, before i started ranting i had a point… Choose a solid CMS, stick with it, develop it and you will feel much more comfortable!

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  182. 182

    @sergio (#17) There are now two open-source CFML (ColdFusion) engines OpenBlueDragon and Railo in addition to Adobe ColdFusion. So you could use Sava CMS as a n open-source solution.

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  183. 183

    * Why do I get the feeling that anyone saying “CMS x is obviously the best!” has probably not used more than one CMS?
    * If you think your CMS is easy to use, ask a non-computer savvy client to add a new page to their site. It’ll be an illuminating experience :/
    * I’ve published sites on six CMSs and installed several others listed here. However, and I know this sounds unduly harsh, basically every CMS I’ve used has sucked. The difference between CMSs is some suck less at certain things than others. Keep in mind my pessimism is probably because I do multilingual websites, which you probably do not.

    Two links: a short article on why I think the CMSs I’ve used all suck (to a greater or lesser degree), and RadiantCMS, a simple, easily extensible Ruby-based CMS which hasn’t been mentioned yet. It’s one of the CMSs I’m currently using, but it also has some suck – mainly because it’s still very young.

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  184. 184

    i see some people comment on thing when they have no idea. bunch of people pointed wordpress as a CMS. are you kidding me ??? WordPress is just and only just for blogging and doing this job very very good. but it is NOT a CMS. there are only 3 uber CMS around there. Joomla, Drupal, dotnetnuke.

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  185. 185

    Great article. And nice pictures.

    Regarding the accessibility section, I’ve just done a test on the home pages of all the big players. Interesting reading. One validates completely. Guess who …

    Results here: Dog Food, CMS Accessibility and a Nice Surprise

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  186. 186

    I’ve tried quite a few and have run sites with WordPress and Drupal. The more I do, the more I really like static HTML with a few server side includes. Add a lightbox, a search engine (Sphider is good)…

    If you are organised, and working on your own, then static pages can be almost as fast to publish as via a CMS in my opinion.

    I find the constant need to apply security upgrades to CMS software is a chore. The templates are restrictive (look — another three column site, yawn) and often a nightmare to modify. Do you want every page on your site to look the same? I don’t. Whatever happened to design (part of the reason newspapers are doing so badly online in my opinion)?

    I have recently upgraded one site to the latest WordPress (2.7). It is pretty good and has most things working well if the blog format is what you want.

    The bottom line is that CMSes are for people who can’t do design and for sites that need to shovel tons of content onto pages. Quantity over style…

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  187. 187

    If you’re thinking of evaluating WCM/CMS solutions this presentation might be useful:
    http://www.tinyurl.com/buyingawcm (vendor independent)

    Also we have a great WCM solution @ http://www.terminalfour.com :)

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  188. 188

    For all of you completely writing Expression Engine off just because of the cost, there’s also a free ‘core’ version which has most of the features as the paid version.

    Download Expression Engine Core

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  189. 189

    Try uCoz- Link [www.ucoz.com]

    0
  190. 190

    re: CMS security / vulnerabilities
    This was helpful:
    http://lampsecurity.org

    Any other CMS security review sites people use?

    0
  191. 191

    Wow great article, very informative, I followed some of the points in this guide when i made my cms

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  192. 192

    Joomla is my favourite and most preferred for all my site <a href=”http://www.subratsarkar.com”

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  193. 193

    Since I started looking for a CMS to use, I would say this is the most useful post…not because of the authour, but the comments..I guess that is what the post was to instigate.. I now have a lot of CMS’s to try out. Thanks to you all and keep the comments flowing!!

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  194. 194

    Those are good things to look for in a CMS.
    You guys might also check out WysGui 2, it covers most of those grounds. It’s very versatile and everything is editable. File management is pretty strong too.

    0
  195. 195

    Very useful article. I like the comments about the editor, not all CMS’s have to use WYSIWYG editors, seen a few that don’t recently. One new (and free) CMS I discovered recently was Halogy which seems to use Jquery for editing multiple blocks without a really heavy WYSIWYG editor.

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  196. 196

    Depending on your field of code expertise or your adventurability, PHP, ASP.NET, Ruby what ever, you can find good ones.
    Good support, good community, good usability, Low learning curve. PHP I would go with WordPress or ExpressionEngine.
    ASP.NET one that has suprised me is Umbraco at Umbraco.org. Pretty frickin’ awesome CMS. It is large scale but the development and frontend and backend capabilities look amazing. Capabilities and the new upgrade seem to squash some other CMS’s. Ability to develop in XSLT, ASP.Net and Python make it easy for people who know multiple languages to get into and easy develop this stuff. Good support, good community and great usability.
    Ruby I am not too familiar with. The one I have run across with this is RadiantCMS built on Rails. Seems good but like another poster said, still young and need some

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  197. 197

    Something to consider, especially if you are designer and not so code handy, is a Integrated or Flat File CMS- in these systems you can usually just cut your site from a PSD, do the CSS, then add a special class to the parts you want editable, and that’s it. Most even do images too. My favorite is Pagelime. The live view is really nice and it allows me to customize the backend for my clients. Also, theres no files on my server so I don’t need to worry about updating the version, but also, it’s not “hosted” so if I stop using it, or it crashes, my site doesn’t change/get messed up.

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  198. 198

    Like carlos, we (NovusCMS) recommend Umbraco. It has all of the recommended requiements mentioned by the author. NovusCMS designs and builds websites for public sector clients. For us, a CMS compatible with Windows Server is important simply because this OS is common in schools and government entities.

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  199. 199

    TYPO3 is my preferred solution since 2003… in the PHP world, for years it has been ahead the various eZpublish, Drupal, Joomla…
    now it is showing it age, but development has been accelerated lately.. TYPO3 4.3 is coming out for the end of november with great new features, and the path to TYPO3 5.0 has already been planned.. so i think i’ll stay here.. maybe i’ll integrate it with Zend Framework for some special duty!

    may everybody find his “own” cms ! :)

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  200. 200

    Gabriel Merovingi

    November 8, 2009 1:10 pm

    I use WordPress for all CMS work. I can understand that everyone has different taste and needs and that is perfectly ok, we will never agree on everything :)

    I would like to see a comparison of the biggest names out there though as previously mentioned.

    However I do not understand when people say WordPress cant be used as CMS but as a blog tool. I fully customize my WP work and you can never see that it is WordPress that is used unless I credit them. I dont know PHP but learned a bit while working with WP and my clients are ecstatic of joy.

    WP is far from perfect and the same goes for all the other brands out there. It all comes down to your personal preference and willingness to learn.

    0
  201. 201

    I have been using Joomla! for a while and it works for me. For example, my website is Joomla! But everyone that I showed to didn’t think it was a Joomla! website.

    Drupal seems to be overly complicated for me. Maybe because I haven’t given it much chance. WordPress – I’ve used it for a while, but I found it less flexible than joomla or drupal. But I know some friends who make a living out of using WordPress as their base for making websites.

    At the end of the day, the best CMS “for you” is what you are most familiar with. It always depends on how well you can tweak and modify a template (of a particular CMS) to meet your needs (or wants).

    Find the shoe that fits you.

    Best wishes to everyone!

    Peace ~

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  202. 202

    Jack,

    The web is full of clap happy wannabees. So be it!

    I’d imagine they SM avoid saying anything too harsh as it would impact ad deals and also potential legal issues, so they just play it safe.

    Ivan

    -2
  203. 203

    I love SM, they open my eyes to a lot of great designs and ideas I’d otherwise miss, but you’re entirely on target here Jack. They never write anything critical, point out flaws, or say why one product is better than the other.

    0
  204. 204

    I’ve tried Drupal and I found it very good for huge projects as ecommerce. But I also found it very boring with a lot of options and configurations that never end and really complicated for theming. The tutorials are really tricky (someone knows a good one ?!?).

    Speaking fluently french I use SPIP for small project. It is a good cms useful for small to big editorial websites. As said @Osvaldo, he’s really friendly designer (instead of Drupal who’s developer friendly). There is not a lot a theme on SPIP because you can actually easily built your own website based on your own pdf or png files. You’are also free to code good or bad css and xhtml. That’s up to you and your skills.

    As a designer, I choose 1st SPIP and then Drupal.

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  205. 205

    I understand that everyone is crossing fingers for open source, but there is one thing they omit – free editions of commercial software. I use free edition of Kentico CMS – feature mix is enough for small to mid size web site and you get professional look and feel, good documentation and support by forums. Fruthermore they plant a tree if you find a bug in their CMS (even you aren’t their client) ;) trees.kentico.com

    0
  206. 206

    I would recommend expression engine if you do your designs from scratch. it’s as easy as writing normal html/css.
    I’ve used joomla on one or two sites, but it’s a pain to customize and to update. and it’s a big security risk.
    you don’t need a lot of add-ons with Expression engine.
    for instance: if you want to build your own event management tool, you can do it with the core version. in joomla you would have to rely on a third party module. in EE you do it yourself, the way YOU want it to look or work.
    or if you want to display some content on the front page, you can do it with no add-on at all… you just type {exp:weblog:entries weblog=”news” limit=”3″} and your done.. well more or less…
    this goes for google maps integration, job-management, member management, news, static pages, user content etc etc.. there’s nothing joomla can do that expression engine coudn’t. I’ll bet you!
    give it a shot, you will not regret it!
    cheers

    2
  207. 207

    Hi guys,

    I’ve created a CMS that contains a few of these features either as standard, or as a plugin.

    An online demo and a free, downloadable version will be available very soon and can be seen at http://scottjarvis.com. I’d be interested to know how it compares for anyone who is familiar with CMS software.

    Thanks.

    0
  208. 208

    I’ve been providing custom web content since the 90s, even lecturing on what makes a website read well. But I never had to worry about the tech side; my clients’ web departments did that. Now I find I have to be more involved in understanding CMS.

    This piece gives a good general overview to people like me. I think a comparison of software would be nice, but that gets tricky since most people bring their own prejudices into play.

    I think the way the article opened the discussion means it actually did a good job.

    Oh, and one thing almost all the web people forget: no matter how easy it is to change a website, you still need to know what to change, how to change it–in other words what content is going to grab and keep your audience. It sounds very obvious, but I find today’s lectures on CMS, SEO, etc., never discuss this. It’s assumed that anyone can write good web copy. Want to guess again? :)

    0
  209. 209

    First of all thank you for the useful tips, Paul! I agree with most of them. But let me add one more thing.
    Any content management system should also provide SEO options for easy search engine optimization. And now CMSs that provide deep linking, 301 reditects, google analytics integration and other important features have more advantages over simple website control panel.

    0
  210. 210

    FlashMoto….The CMS that my company, Preation, invented has all of those features. We offer it under a SaaS model so that all of our users get the advantage of software updates and new features. Free trials area available at our website, http://www.preation.com.

    0
  211. 211

    From a real webdeveloper: http://www.typolight.org

    0
  212. 212

    Really amazing tutorial for me, bc i mostly confuse on which cms is to use now??

    0
  213. 213

    NovusCMS designs and builds websites for public sector clients

    0
  214. 214

    Bas, I totally agree with your additions. Also, it seems that a lot of the features in the main article are things that I took into consideration when I selected wordpress for my http://www.breakingthemarketingrules.com blog – but they seem focused on that: the smaller sites/blogs. But if someone is from a larger organization looking for a CMS they should consider talking to a CMS consultant like http://www.oshyn.com that is not vendor-biased and has done many many implementations for different types of websites. The reason is that they are skilled in helping you understand why one CMS would be better over another and will help you navigate the labyrinth of bells and whistles thrown at you from vendors.

    -1
  215. 215

    Check out the Squiz Mini CMS:
    http://mini.squiz.net/

    has all the features of most, intuitive and it is a sinch for front end users.

    0
  216. 216

    Thank you for the nice article

    I would suggest DiY-CMS:
    http://www.diy-cms.com/

    0
  217. 217

    I’ll go for Sitecore CMS, it’s xslt based, it’s easy, has clear manuals but the only dissapointment is that it’s not free…
    I also have worked with Joomla and Drupal, i don’t like them both much, but if i have to choose between them i’ll go for Drupal.

    0
  218. 218

    It’s Concrete5, hands down. It does depend on your needs but I have to throw in a vote for Concrete5. Bloated content management systems like Joomla or Drupal are terrible for the end-user experience and not very developer friendly. Concrete5 is a new powerful CMS that is easy for developers and even easier for end-users. It works on a in-context editing model so you make changes as you’re browsing your site. Try a demo of it here: http://bit.ly/concrete5cms

    0
  219. 219

    Spot on SIR!!! Great article…

    1
  220. 220

    @ Insidefreak

    I agree with choosing Sitecore especially for large complex websites. For me the manuals…they stink and are totally disorganized and fragmented. It’s really annoying trying to answers for anything in the documentation. To be honest I find it odd that a company that can create such a top notch cms can’t hire some technical writers that know how to write for such a capable product and organize the information in a coherent way.

    0
  221. 221

    Karl Francisco Fernandes

    November 23, 2010 8:27 pm

    Textpattern has always been my CMS-of-choice for all my projects. It’s extremely flexible, has a great developer community and is regularly updated with bug/security fixes. I’ve been using it ever since version 4 and it just gets better and better.

    The learning curve maybe a little steep as you have to learn TXP’s own tags, but even these are pretty logical. Converting any HTML/CSS mockup into a fully functional site is as easy as inserting these TXP tags into the templates.

    All the markup these tags add are pretty semantic too, and most of them can be affixed with CSS classes and IDs very easily.

    I just love Textpattern, and don’t see myself using any other CMS anytime soon. And I can’t wait for TXP5!

    0
  222. 222

    Nice compilation. Thanks for the article.
    Here is another .net Cloud CMS solution which has almost 30+ built in modules.
    For more details : http://www.jaenovationcms.com

    0
  223. 223

    There isn’t a perfect cms, it always depends what you like!

    But if you like, easy to use, quick installation and plugin/hook support, with SEO integrated already. http://www.jakcms.com

    1
  224. 224

    Don’t be boring, roll your own.

    0
  225. 225

    Another one to the list http://www.contao.org/

    What i already use only for images in combination with another cms is that http://slideshowpro.net/products/slideshowpro_director/

    because i don´t found any good plugins inside of the different cms´s above to manage image gallerys like in director.

    Thanks for the article and the huge comment list because of it :-)

    0
  226. 226

    another cms that makes this list is called phpwarmsky. it is lightweight and loads fast. easy to install and packed full of modules and themes. http://www.phpwarmsky.com

    0
  227. 227

    The big thing that has crept up the several times I’ve gone through the process of selecting a CMS is the issue of cost. Once you have gone through the steps that Paul suggests, you will more than likely be left with a couple of choices. Depending on how you implement the site(s), your cost could differ substantially depending on which you choose. Once you get to that point, here is a post that can walk you through the cost-estimate process: http://tumblr.com/xjx1wtqi0g

    Also, depending on who is involved in the decision, most times you will come to the “Open Source vs. Proprietary” debate. I personally lean towards open source for most applications. Here is why: http://tumblr.com/xjx1s6ublb

    1
  228. 228

    The bottom line is you as the designer/developer don’t need to spend valuable time training clients. If you’re looking for a system that’s very developer friendly and extremely user friendly, then concrete5 is your answer. I’ve worked with many CMS systems, and the only one that comes close to concrete5 is WordPress. Rumor has it that you’ll soon be able to run WordPress inside of concrete5! You can run multiple sites off of one install too, the core was built around that basic concept and ease of use.
    Chalk my vote up for concrete5, check it out: http://www.concrete5.org/r/-/6614.

    1
  229. 229

    cmsmadesimple.org

    Easy to use, easy to install, easy to build templates, powerful, extensible, modular. Better than wordpress, modx, silverstripe and definitely better than joomla.

    WordPress would be my second choice and sometimes my first choice depending on the site requirements.

    0
  230. 230

    There’s a great multitasking system EBIZ CMS to: ebiz.org.ua – the most inexpensive of clever CMS in the world!

    0
  231. 231

    So, as a developer, when choosing a cms I am first interested in security, modularity and API integration. Also, a community is very useful, as, engaging with other CMS users is essential. I’ve tried open source content management systems like Joomla or Drupal, but lately I’ve been inclined to use SaaS type ones like http:/www.ucoz.com. I find there all my requirements when choosing a SaaS type CMS and I also don’t use the WYSIWYG.

    0
  232. 232

    massive data produce but l think its not clear on the CMS

    0
  233. 233

    There are only three hosted platforms that are both easy to use for end-users (customers) and simple to deploy for designers and developers: Squarespace, LightCMS and Edicy (www.edicy.com). Only in case the end customer has in-house developers, WordPress or Drupal makes sense, otherwise updating, patching, plugin compatibility and custom backend code is going to be a mess.

    1
  234. 234

    I’ve been developing enterprise-level systems for more than a decade, I’ve mostly used MVC frameworks and other closed CMS’s.

    All I can say is, NEVER EVER use WordPress, the code-base is the worst I’ve seen in my entire career, majority of plugins are buggy, security flaws, and outright unscalable for real business needs.

    If you want to deploy a trivial hobby site then go for WordPress.

    0
  235. 235

    I recommend new cms system, because also people that know only html and css can build on it websites from scratch. Read more at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/simple-to-use-and-free-cms/x/1881459

    0
  236. 236

    Great post. When I am considering what CMS to choose, I typically ask these nine questions. I thought maybe your readers would also find them helpful. Thanks! http://blog.openviewpartners.com/choosing-a-cms/

    0
  237. 237

    You right because WordPress isn’t build for geek user. They build for people who need to blogging easily & freely. I am using WP on my weblog & fun with that CMS.

    0
  238. 238

    The approach for choosing the CMS should actually be simple -

    Find out what you required immediately from your CMS
    Choose a CMS which gives just that what you want from a list CMS service provider
    Start working with the CMS as per your needs and requirement.
    Test what you have created and analysis the changes required.

    http://www.idslogic.com/content-management-system.html

    0
  239. 239

    Would love to see this article updated for 2013. A lot has changed, but I think the article’s intent is no less valuable than it was when it was first written. My company is a DNN-centric shop, so of course that’s the system I prefer for all the reasons above and more (such as its enterprise social networking tools), but with 1,600+ CMSs out there the choice today hasn’t gotten any simpler for those new to the market.

    Jason Stone, Engage Software
    St. Louis, MO

    0
  240. 240

    haha, good one.

    0
  241. 241

    You need to try Microweber, – http://www.microweber.com it is much more easier than WP.

    0
  242. 242

    Hey! Right now I am working on CMS project. I am going to re-write it.
    Whats you suggestion, what functionality should I have in my CMS project.

    0

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