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Author Topic: Choosing a CMS  (Read 12506 times)
Renegade
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« on: January 28, 2011, 01:48:21 AM »

Well, I'm starting a new website and I am debating changing the CMS I usually use, DotNetNuke.

I've not looked at Joomla in a while, so I'm wondering if it has finally achieved of sane degree of usability. Last I tried, it was about the most obtuse thing I'd ever seen.

Has anyone been using it lately?

Also, WordPress... I've been using it for blogs, but nothing more. How does it stack up for a real website? Has anyone been using it like that? It's been great for blogging... Not sure about making a website from it though.

I'll be using whatever I end up choosing on Windows 2008 R2, with SQL Server 2008 and IIS. Not a LAMP server. Emphasis on not A as in not Apache.

My priorities are:

1. Reliability
2. Ease
3. Extensibility

I'm also concerned about third party modules/plugins/addins and that there's a decent selection of quality stuff. e.g. I'm not interested in "Bob's Joomla NewPort CMS Uber-Awesomeness that's 10000x better than Joomla and has over 3 exciting modules available!"

i.e. I want the site to work for me, and not me to work for the site.


Oh... And I'll need to get a skin too... Something that's super simple.

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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2011, 02:03:10 AM »

Quote
I've not looked at Joomla in a while, so I'm wondering if it has finally achieved of sane degree of usability. Last I tried, it was about the most obtuse thing I'd ever seen.


You obviously haven't looked at Drupal yet then -- I strongly recommend you cross it off your list.
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Renegade
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2011, 02:18:51 AM »

Quote
I've not looked at Joomla in a while, so I'm wondering if it has finally achieved of sane degree of usability. Last I tried, it was about the most obtuse thing I'd ever seen.


You obviously haven't looked at Drupal yet then -- I strongly recommend you cross it off your list.


Hahahah~!

I've heard that about Drupal woes, and it's pretty far from my mind. smiley
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2011, 02:37:06 AM »

Wordpress can do pretty much everything that you want to do with it. If you're thinking about static website and later wants to add blog to it then it'll be easy to use WP in this case than drupal or joomla.

Movable type (Opensource) is one more CMS with which i'm experimenting and not sure whether to suggest others as of yet. Habari good for blogging but not consistent with regular development and support. Text-pattern is too complex for me to manage stuff. Magnolia- used twice to setup simple sites and it's set it and forget it type of solution. SilverstripeCMS suitable for static sites, not sure if there is any blog add-on to it.
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nudone
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2011, 02:52:25 AM »

i've had to use CMS Made Simple a few times. after using Joomla!, i found it very easy to use. cmsms uses the Smarty tagging system (if that's the correct way to describe it), which is nice and freindly - no point though if you already know php.

cmsms has been the easiest to customise regarding html/css. essentially, you are just adding your smarty tags into the html you've created before evening thinking about what cms to use. but, again, if you are down with php - you don't need smarty.

if i was going for ready made templates and plugins, then i'd just go for wordpress. having said that, i'm working with wordpress at the moment and i've installed about 20 plugins to get it to the point of providing the same functionality as cmsms. which seems a bit odd now that i think about it as i was thinking that cmsms was quite simple (as its name suggests).

(also currently working on Joomla! and i hate it. because of what mouser has said, i never want to find myself using drupal.)
« Last Edit: January 28, 2011, 02:54:26 AM by nudone » Logged
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2011, 02:56:03 AM »

I use Joomla for all of my websites these days. If you need a hand finding your way around let me know. It's not as complicated as it first appears.

Just a word of warning - don't try version 1.6 yet if you want to use extensions.

It has only just been released and whilst I think it is supposed to be a big improvement on 1.5 in terms of logical layout etc. it is also a big change (a major rewrite that has been in beta testing for the past year) and it is going to take a long time to get extensions converted/rewritten for the new version.

I'm sure it is stable and worth a look - and if you don't need extensions might just do the job well.
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2011, 03:14:28 AM »

Hmmm...

Carol, I think you put the last nail in the coffin for Joomla for me. If they're in beta for a year, and have major breaking changes, then I'm not interested. It would make upgrading a nightmare.


@nudone - Is it worth giving a spin? How does it compare to WordPress for ease? Does it compare to Joomla or DotNetNuke for power? You've got me interested there...

If you were to pick between WordPress and CMSMS, which would you go with?
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2011, 03:39:59 AM »

Carol, I think you put the last nail in the coffin for Joomla for me. If they're in beta for a year, and have major breaking changes, then I'm not interested. It would make upgrading a nightmare.

So are you only prepared to use a CMS that has finished development?

The reason it has been in beta for a year is because they made a lot of changes that users have requested.

As for upgrading - you are correct at the moment it is a nightmare but I believe an upgrade script is on the way. There have been a lot of complaints about this but I am absolutely sure it will be ironed out - otherwise 1.6 simply won't be adopted by the existing user base which would be catastrophic for the project.

For what it is worth I used to use WordPress and swapped to Joomla because it is more flexible and a good library of extensions.

Actually looking at the original message again to get a clue what you are planning to do you are rather limited because as far as i understand it neither Joomla or WordPress will work with SQL Server - they both require MySQL and most of the common CMSes require PHP5/MySQL.

You might have to look at something like DOTNETNUKE if you want to stick with Windows/SQL Server.
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nudone
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2011, 03:46:20 AM »

if you want quick setup, nice (free) themes and aim to blog more than anything - then wordpress.

if you have your own html/css or unique theme that has never had a sniff at a cms - then i'd consider cms made simple.

cmsms is good for adding any number of "content" blocks wherever you want on the page. these can be blocks of text, blocks of html, blocks of php, blocks of smarty code, even blocks of other blocks (they probably don't refer to them as blocks). blocks can be static, blocks can be editable.

imagine just creating an html page in whatever editor you like. this is the same html page (or pages) you use with cmsms - you'll just have smarty tags dotted around here and there that bring the extra functions and content.

for the blogging, cmsms uses "news". again, these use blocks so they could look like anything and be anywhere.

it's not like a one click solution but it's very flexible and easy to see why things are doing what they are - because thing are wrapped up with smarty tags.
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Renegade
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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2011, 04:42:00 AM »

I've got MySQL on there as well, and PHP5 of course. It's a WIMP server. tongue

I think I'll look into seeing if I can run WAMP along with WIMP though. smiley

Seems I may need to download a few things and give them a spin here locally then see if it's worth putting up into production.

Quote
For what it is worth I used to use WordPress and swapped to Joomla because it is more flexible and a good library of extensions.

@Carol -- You've got me interested in Joomla again... Damn you~! cheesy tongue Just when the decisions were starting to get easier... cheesy

Well, I think I may head off for a bit to explore.

Thanks everyone for the input. It's always better to get information from people you know than from some anonymous source somewhere on the interwebs. smiley
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« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2011, 06:58:41 AM »

cmsms is good for adding any number of "content" blocks wherever you want on the page. these can be blocks of text, blocks of html, blocks of php, blocks of smarty code, even blocks of other blocks (they probably don't refer to them as blocks). blocks can be static, blocks can be editable.

While it's only on the "my list of things to experiment with" list, at this stage. I'd also recommend CMS made simple based on what I've seen so far...it is indeed simple (to use). Straight forward WYSIWYG style content creation, with all the fancy stuff tucked away (but readily accessible) so as not to intimidate the user. And it's free as I understand.

I think I'll look into seeing if I can run WAMP along with WIMP though.

Hm... (How should I put this) ...I'd rather be burned alive than have to contend with patch levels on two entirely different routes to the same end in a production environment. Apache & IIS together, I suspect would leave one wanting to tear off their own head. Or it could be just me ... But I've never had any trouble doing anything I wanted to with IIS (which I've been at for a decade).

I am however a hugh fan of MySQL (with PHPMyAdmin) which works brilliantly with/on IIS.
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Renegade
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« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2011, 07:40:02 AM »

cmsms is good for adding any number of "content" blocks wherever you want on the page. these can be blocks of text, blocks of html, blocks of php, blocks of smarty code, even blocks of other blocks (they probably don't refer to them as blocks). blocks can be static, blocks can be editable.

While it's only on the "my list of things to experiment with" list, at this stage. I'd also recommend CMS made simple based on what I've seen so far...it is indeed simple (to use). Straight forward WYSIWYG style content creation, with all the fancy stuff tucked away (but readily accessible) so as not to intimidate the user. And it's free as I understand.

I think I'll look into seeing if I can run WAMP along with WIMP though.

Hm... (How should I put this) ...I'd rather be burned alive than have to contend with patch levels on two entirely different routes to the same end in a production environment. Apache & IIS together, I suspect would leave one wanting to tear off their own head. Or it could be just me ... But I've never had any trouble doing anything I wanted to with IIS (which I've been at for a decade).

I am however a hugh fan of MySQL (with PHPMyAdmin) which works brilliantly with/on IIS.

Sounds like CMSMS is my first on the list to play with & check out.

For the A in WAMP... well... I screwed up with my new server. I should have gone with VMware as the OS. But, it's Windows...

Problem is, I have limited funds, and I need to make the most of what I have. My $erver $pending is already ob$cene.

I just don't have the time or resources to redo the server. Lesson learned... Sigh...
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« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2011, 08:56:38 AM »

*Shrug* Don't know that I ever met one I couldn't talk off a ledge... How screwed-up is which part?
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« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2011, 10:39:14 AM »

Very well described by Stoic Joker

Quote
all the fancy stuff tucked away (but readily accessible) so as not to intimidate the user

However as soon as you get into adding modules you are almost guaranteeing problems at the next upgrade. Of course this is true for most if not all but *in my experience* it is more so with CMSms. I have tried to stay away from most of the fancy stuff and and use it as a sort of stripped down page creator.
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Renegade
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« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2011, 07:42:02 PM »

*Shrug* Don't know that I ever met one I couldn't talk off a ledge... How screwed-up is which part?

It's a multi-proc machine and has tons of power. I should have installed VMware then installed Windows and Linux. It's the last time I'll make that mistake. Basically, to fix the problem I'd have to wipe it then reinstall everything. That's time consuming, especially as it's already working and I've have to move everything off to another server.
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2011, 10:39:48 PM »

*Shrug* Don't know that I ever met one I couldn't talk off a ledge... How screwed-up is which part?

It's a multi-proc machine and has tons of power. I should have installed VMware then installed Windows and Linux. It's the last time I'll make that mistake. Basically, to fix the problem I'd have to wipe it then reinstall everything. That's time consuming, especially as it's already working and I've have to move everything off to another server.

Ah... I've had projects like that. In a year from now you'll end up hating yourself if you just let it go undone. Best to bite the bullet and get it over-with before the 7 eyed monster grows a second head.

I had to do that with our company's main server a few years back because the whole shebang was on a single partition. Single domain controller, with Exchange, the inventory & accounting software, and all the user's files (etc...), (it was not my design) that had to be online 24/7.

Needless to say I had to preserve all of the various configurations, AD, and the company mail. It was a total bitch (I worked 48 hours straight that weekend), but I had it back up and running Monday morning.

And I had it setup right (finally), so all the silly assed problem that had been plaguing me, vanished!
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Renegade
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2011, 10:53:21 PM »

*Shrug* Don't know that I ever met one I couldn't talk off a ledge... How screwed-up is which part?

It's a multi-proc machine and has tons of power. I should have installed VMware then installed Windows and Linux. It's the last time I'll make that mistake. Basically, to fix the problem I'd have to wipe it then reinstall everything. That's time consuming, especially as it's already working and I've have to move everything off to another server.

Ah... I've had projects like that. In a year from now you'll end up hating yourself if you just let it go undone. Best to bite the bullet and get it over-with before the 7 eyed monster grows a second head.

I had to do that with our company's main server a few years back because the whole shebang was on a single partition. Single domain controller, with Exchange, the inventory & accounting software, and all the user's files (etc...), (it was not my design) that had to be online 24/7.

Needless to say I had to preserve all of the various configurations, AD, and the company mail. It was a total bitch (I worked 48 hours straight that weekend), but I had it back up and running Monday morning.

And I had it setup right (finally), so all the silly assed problem that had been plaguing me, vanished!

Is it possible to setup Active Directory on a single server?
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« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2011, 09:46:13 AM »

Is it possible to setup Active Directory on a single server?

Possible? sure. Wise? Not really... But if you look at the budget of most SMBs, you're damn lucky to get the first server in there (Part of why I'm such a fan of RAID5). Availability, redundancy, ($$$) How much more?!? It's too hard to sell (or really justify) for most small shops.

Hell the only reason our company has the balanced 3 server configuration we're using is they didn't have to shell out 90+ an hour to have it designed, setup, and configured. I did most of it (remotely) on my own time! Basically just because I like doing that kind of stuff ... And I felt being able to showcase the right way of setting up a network would help to dramatize what we can and will do for our clients..
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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2011, 09:52:28 AM »

I really dislike Joomla.  I've found the setup process to be quite convoluted and more complex/tedius than it needs to be (This is working from the ground up, not tweaking pre-existing templates). The code it generates if awful, littered with nested tables. The backend is a mess with a higher learning curve than [I feel] its featureset really warrants.

I've become a big fan of WordPress over the last couple years, it's evolved into a respectable CMS.  It cannot handle the complex work flow of the beast that is Drupal, but is a very elegant solution in most cases. On the surface it's relatively simple to implement and extremely easy to learn and use -- and since you've used it for blogging, you already know how. If you dig in a little deeper (Custom Menus, custom fields, custom post times, taxonomy...) can be quite flexible/extensible.  Short of projects that literally required ground-up custom infrastructure, I've yet to run into a situation where Wordpress came up short. Take into account the massive library of plugins and themes available for it you've got a lot available within close reach. I can think of no reason not to use it. (Which is ultimately why I went from not using it to using it myself).
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« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2011, 10:05:55 AM »

WordPress is really the best in most cases, become a big fan myself. However it has a bit to go to justify the CMS tag that's been hyped for it.
I wouldn't call it a true CMS until those custom fields become 'true' content blocks that are insertable within the content. In CMS content really needs to be divided into areas or blocks.
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« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2011, 10:12:13 AM »

WordPress is really the best in most cases, become a big fan myself. However it has a bit to go to justify the CMS tag that's been hyped for it.
I wouldn't call it a true CMS until those custom fields become 'true' content blocks that are insertable within the content. In CMS content really needs to be divided into areas or blocks.

They are insertable in the content, see get_post_meta -- and that's without delving into functions.php.  You can further expand it to add fields to custom post types, really going into "real cms" territory.  The developer-side to make that happen isn't as easy as it could be (I'm sure that'll be addressed...) yet, but the functionality is there without modifying the core or bringing in plugins.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2011, 10:51:02 AM »

I really dislike Joomla.  I've found the setup process to be quite convoluted and more complex/tedius than it needs to be (This is working from the ground up, not tweaking pre-existing templates). The code it generates if awful, littered with nested tables. The backend is a mess with a higher learning curve than [I feel] its featureset really warrants.

There are some good and simple template design tools out there (try Artisteer which creats templates for Joomla, Drupal, WordPress and DotNetNuke).

Tables are only there if you use tables for layout yourself or the template uses tables. No reason why Joomla shouldn't be table free.
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« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2011, 11:19:43 AM »

I have used Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal and Django (not really a CMS) but don't claim to be an expert in any of them.

I have only used Wordpress for knocking up simple sites quickly and have found it great for that. I have not really explored the extensions.

I used Joomla because I wanted the Document Management module. I have never really felt comfortable with Joomla beneath the covers.

I have a little more experience with Drupal than Wordpress and Joomla and have created a few modules. It did take me a while to get my head round Drupal and I understand Mouser's reservations but once I got the hang of it (only after reading Pro Drupal Development) I quite liked it - that is until I started using Django.

Django was a revelation although more of a framework than a CMS. Much easier to use and understand than Drupal and coding is in Python rather than PHP. I find Django a joy to work with but don't yet know what issues I will find with deployment.

The only one of these that I have deployed in an MS environment is Joomla and that worked fine with the only issue getting single sign on to work.

Not being fully up to speed with Django, I recently went back to Drupal to set up a site using Ubercart and actually didn't find it too bad on revisiting it.

My choice would depend very much on what I was trying to acheive. If I wanted something quick and simple without much in the way of add-ons I would probably choose Wordpress. If I wanted something with more than out of the box functionality I would choose Drupal unless there was a specific module in Joomla that I needed that did not have a Drupal equivalent.

When I get up to speed with Django however I am sure it will become my preferred choice over Drupal.
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« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2011, 11:26:05 AM »

They are insertable in the content, see get_post_meta -- and that's without delving into functions.php.  You can further expand it to add fields to custom post types, really going into "real cms" territory.  The developer-side to make that happen isn't as easy as it could be (I'm sure that'll be addressed...) yet, but the functionality is there without modifying the core or bringing in plugins.

Good point, haven't delved too deep into get_post_meta (or custom_fields for that matter) other than playing around with it. In my opinion the next step after this will bring real CMS to WordPress
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« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2011, 03:29:34 PM »

Wordpress is a "CMS" in the same sense that SMF (the system this forum uses) is a "CMS". It manages "content", yes. But it's not what most people think of when they think of "CMS". It's not a general-purpose system that's actually *made for* making average, non-blog websites. Wordpress was made for and is still best for *blog* sites. If you have no intention of doing blog-style content, or if blog-style content is not the *core* of your site, then Wordpress is in my opinion not the best solution. You'll be working against the system and/or with lots of hacks and addons to get it to do normal stuff that works out of the box with other more generalized CMS platforms. That being said other CMS systems don't give you blog functionality that is as nice and complete and easy to use, in most cases. So again if blog-type content (not even necessarily a real "blog" per se, but sequentially posted blog-roll style content/articles) is your goal, then Wordpress may still be best. For all else, set it aside.

As far as general CMSs, I use Joomla a lot, but I'm not totally pleased with it. I find the back-end reasonably intuitive, to a point, but there are some quirks that do annoy. It's actually reasonably flexible out of the box, the install is very easy (don't try to start building a template from scratch, this is as mad as doing so for Wordpress or any other CMS and it's difficult), and it's very extensible. The community support and extensbility - availability of addons - is probably its biggest strength. Next to Drupal I find it much easier to use and easier to extend. Drupal is more powerful but only if you spend the time to learn its complex taxonomy system (and need its power/flexibility) and/or you want to delve into development/code hacking.

Other options to consider, very nice UIs and default setups though with fewer modules available for extending the core, are Concrete 5 and SilverStripe.

- Oshyan
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