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Author Topic: Content management solution for a small software site?  (Read 14052 times)

tranglos

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Content management solution for a small software site?
« on: February 16, 2007, 06:27:21 PM »
I've hand-crafted my HTML ever since I put up my first website in 1998-ish. I've had enough :) Does anyone know of a content management system that would be suitable for a small ISV shop?

Most CMS packages are geared for collaboration, with to-do lists, calendars, wikis, chat features, blogs and such, I don't need any of those. I don't need a built-in forum or bug tracker, since I can plug in phpBB and mantis. What I need is something that will give me a not-too-complex layout to put the content in. I just no longer want to spend time on designing HTML, because I suck at visual design, and my pages always end up with the late 90's look.

I need to have identically-structured sections, one per application, where each section has subsections for the program description, license, download page, FAQ, screenshots, testimonials, etc. So it's mostly static content. This also means the system should tend towards a "read-only" thing for users, unlike wikis, which are writeable by default. I need a nice, clean look to start with, that I can gradually convert to a custom design later on.

Ideally, when releasing a new version of a program, I would like to specify the release date and version number just once, and have it displayed wherever necessary, rather than updating a dozen of pages manually - because right now I always forget about some. I don't know if any CMSs have such a feature.

As for the looks and simplicity of tweaking, I love DokuWiki, but it *is* a wiki and is not really suitable. I've created a very nice blog design with TextPattern, which has a pretty steep learning curve, but is nicely consistent and malleable. However, while TextPattern shines as a blog, it has poor support for static pages, like most of mine are going to be - you practically have to fight against its design and purpose to get a static page. And with TextPattern, you are really designing the visuals of your site from scratch, which is what I am trying to avoid.

I liked Plone a lot, unfortunately my host doesn't support Zope and whatever else it needs at the backend.

It needs to be free, and ideally php/mysql, because I can work with php. Oh, there's also Simple Machines, which DC is using, but it seems too complex for my needs. I really want to spend as little time on the design as possible, so that I can start without learning all the intricacies of the architecture if I need to add a block here or remove one there. Would Drupal or Mambo be worth w try? Anything else? Maybe I shouldn't be looking among CMS packages at all, but elsewhere?

marek
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 10:07:13 PM by tranglos »

mouser

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2007, 08:19:23 PM »
The best way to go insane is to go looking for the best CMS.  Everytime I've tried it I've lost a day and felt more confused at the end then at the begining.  There are just so many different CMS out there.

Last time I checked, Drupal was the one that seemed nicest to me in terms of core organization.  Joomla has a big community but it just never felt right to me.  But there are some new cms out there, including some designed for smaller sites, that seem tempting.  I look forward to more users posting their opinions.

ps1. As someone who has done static html coding as well instead of cms, I've always hoped to find an intermediate solution - a nice cms that works using templates and site menus, but works not from a database of articles written online but by "compiling" content files you write on your local pc and generating a website from them..  We've had some discussion about that here before but it's a lot like swimming upstream.  And although there are a few cms-like things that do something like this, nothing very active.

ps2. We're all excited to hear about your plans.. good luck and please let us know when we should come take a look!

Veign

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2007, 08:44:09 PM »
Its too bad mine isn't ready for prime time.  Your needs are exactly why I created a CMS system...

tranglos

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2007, 09:00:12 PM »
Its too bad mine isn't ready for prime time.  Your needs are exactly why I created a CMS system...

You may well be ready ahead of me :)

Veign

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2007, 09:09:32 PM »
The VcmsPHP system is built and working flawless on several sites but I just haven't had the time to build the website as I am currently going through a major overhaul of my main website.

Too many projects, too little time...

tranglos

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2007, 09:16:19 PM »
The best way to go insane is to go looking for the best CMS.  Everytime I've tried it I've lost a day and felt more confused at the end then at the begining.  There are just so many different CMS out there.

Exactly. One thing I didn't mention is WordPress, because it's primarily a blog, but it's quite elegant and may be good enough for a start. I'm in no hurry to decide, but even before my current project is ready, I would like to move the old stuff to a new site design, to see how it fares. So I took this sage advice and went looking for a domain first. Now I want to put something there...

There may be some commercial solutions written with ISVs in mind, but I haven't seen any yet, and from what I *have* seen  CMS systems are either open-source or pretty expensive.

Ideally, for an ISV site CMS, you'd just enter the core information (app description, release date, download links, etc) on one config screen, and a default site would be generated for you.

It's a niche, I guess, but the needs are very different from those of an individual blogger or a community. Download statistics are a must, and I'd love to have a way to centralize application info: enter the version number only once and refer to it via some tag everywhere. This is easy to add to any php-based system, but then you'd have to re-apply the changes when upgrading, and the system must allow for php code in posts, which not all systems may support.

I'll probably give TextPattern another try, because it really is an excellent design, very elegant and extensible. It's just that you have to go some extra length to get static pages, so the site becomes one big workaround.

By the way: did you tweak Simple Machines a lot? DC has an awesome set of features; the forum itself is much better than phpBB. *Every* DC feature I've tried is more convenient to use than anything else I've seen.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 09:18:57 PM by tranglos »

mouser

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2007, 09:37:43 PM »
I have done a ton of modifications of smf, BUT i don't think anything important that you might be referring to.  mostly to do with the donationcredits stuff.  most of what you see is smf built in stuff with minor tweaks.  However if you don't have a strong need for the best forum, you might be better off just using one integrated into the cms you choose (drupal has it's own forum for example).

dk70

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2007, 04:47:38 AM »
You end up with Drupal I think :) What cant Drupal do? Very popular, very documented and quite easy to use.

Anyway, recently I was looking for something much less ambitious for a mini site and was close to jump at CMS Made Simple http://www.cmsmadesimple.org/ Yeah, they use SMF too ;) Mouser is right, you can waste days and not getting anywhere but actually most you can dismiss because of development speed, support. Many projects are halfdead it seems - not that many options if you look closer, for example at Opensourcecms http://www.opensourcecms.com/

If you want almost personal support check out Serendipity http://www.s9y.org/ Beats Wordpress by far if you ask me. So WP is getting there but was not first for sure. For example static pages, being able to move blocks about through administration is old news to s9y. Installation of plugins/themes is done through ADM and a thing called Spartacus - you see all stuff available and can pick and chose - also when uninstalling. Much easier than WP. Some problems due to being a tiny project but check forum and notice a certain "garwinhicking". Main coder dude and amazing. He see s9y more like a framework for whatever. I have only little clue about php, css above basic hacking level but I can modify s9y very easy - or go ask and I get answer, perhaps 1 hour later and likely from the man himself. s9y is still mainly blog so not a natural suggestion for what you ask but neither is Textpattern or WP - this can be extended as you please/are able to. If interested post your wishes at their forum and see what they say. Project has same problems any small project has so unless you find close to 100% confidence probably best to go Drupal, something else. The guy who invented php use s9y btw ;)

Should it or similar sized CMS meet requirements may be a good question what will be easier to maintain and develop - the massively documented project with endless options or the tiny one with fewer yet adequate? Projects sized as s9y, CMS Made Simple appeals 10 times more to me than WP, Drupal - simply easier to figure out problems.

Forgot Website Baker, another good one http://start.website...org/en/features.html similar size and probably more suiting requirements than s9y. Check forum again (also SMF here!)

tinyvillager

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2007, 05:57:50 AM »
    ExpressionEngine Core
   http://www.pmachine.com/ee/pricing/

   Or Drupal

Both of these are rather easy yet powerful.You can go either from simple blog or
massive "site"

 I too have procrastinated when it comes to putting up a site.I got the CMS,domain name,host,etc.
But need a creative boost.What to say,what to do, what to create, what to share,oh so many
choices.The brain is brewing but the fingers lay still. :mad:

I just installed xampp which has really got me excited though,developing locally is so freakin sweet. :-*

VSiAQ

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2007, 10:34:54 AM »
I'd choose TextPattern. A very good and simple CMS.  :-[

tranglos

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2007, 12:37:07 PM »
Thanks for all the replies! I spent last night checking out the various CMSs and playing with WordPress and Drupal locally. They're nice, with a really impressive range of themes and plugins, but in the end they really get in the way of what I need. The same with TextPattern, really - it provides none of the automation I'd like to have, and I would end up copying and pasting code to get a number of identically structured sections, while at the same time it won't even do download stats. I need to spend so much time on KeyNote that I can't devote any to coding php on top of that.

I've checked out a number of sharware vendors, small and large, and while I've seen a couple that use heavily customized CMS, most of them fall into one of two groups: professionally designed corporate websites on the one hand, and simple, handmade HTML on the other. And I guess there's no disgrace in the latter - you can have a pretty unimpressive site and still a fantastically successful product (Total Commander, TextPad, EditPad Pro). But I could't find anything in between the two extremes.

Perhaps I should be looking for php templating systems instead, just so that I could do $appname = 'this'; $version= 2 and then refer to $appname and $version throughout the site. That by itself would be a great time saver. I have seven freeware downloads on my site, and making sure all the pages are updated and consistent is really tedious. And in the end, they're not even very functional, e.g. there's no search in the FAQ pages. As mouser very nearly predicted last night, I'll postpone the decision :)




urlwolf

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2007, 04:56:24 PM »
I'll throw my hat in:
http://radiantcms.org/

Radiant is ruby, so it doesn't get any easier to modify.

http://www.alfresco.com/
This seems to be an up-and-coming one. But it's kind of enterprise stuff, maybe not worth checking.

I'm actually facing similar problems to chose a CMS for an academic home page. I'mroght now thinking on using WP + a bunch of static pages. New publications will be posts under the category "papers" or a more detailed "topic" category. Then, a link that filters by that tag will show all papers. The advantage of using WP is that you can add content  fast using editors such as windows live writer... but I'm curious to hear about alternatives...

dk70

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2007, 02:16:43 AM »
One of those I would have prefered to Serendipity was MODx http://modxcms.com/ but good example of why some love this and others hate that. I can see it is "cool", I can see it offers all most would want from cms/blog/whatever but I just hate interface and find it confusing to modify - even after testing properly on local Xampp. That is how I "evaluate", get it on Xampp then look for learning curve - if neck has to go all the way back to see it Im out. Room for misunderstandings and wrong judgement of course but a lot better than reading feature pages and trying demo sites on internet.

Advantage of WP is also you can pick and chose among a gazillions of themes and extensions. So many some will be buggy, not so compatible but still selection is biggest benefit to smaller project where you have to settle with whats available, may be even wait for things to come. Does not speak of quality in code or other featues regular enduser dont notice at first. I know some of those people at s9y shake head at WPs security and general code quality - yeah well but who is no. 1? ;) Same with Drupal, Joomla - perhaps a handful more. Popular gets more popular then - but if you, as an enduser with no intention of hacking, go crazy on Xampp testing (there is much more to test than what is on Opensourcecms) I think you will find popularity is mostly earned.

Changelog for all these project will be full of security fixes - again turns you to the most updated, most supported project. Smaller projects might not be able to close all holes just like that - or is slow at releasing fixes. For sites that matters security fixes should be regarded a "feature" - also why to avoid those not updated for months. Can be long time in world of server/php exploitations. If SMF went out of business I think you would see a change of forum software here very quickly.

I once almost got kicked out of a web space after experimenting with an upload script - as part of amateur SMF hacking :) Worked ok but also for those uploading files to site, phishing away, heh. Barcleys Bank or whoever it was in UK did not like it, neither did server ADM. Got loads of traffic from Israel I think, like 1000s of hits within hours. They blaimed SMF security completely but failed to notice it was upload script I found at HotScripts living inside SMF, not related to it at all. Possible it could have been an extension/plugin to SMF, was in a way. And how many phpBB forums have not been taken down because of their so so security? Even the locale/national support site here got hit once they waited few days to upgrade with latest crucial patch. Secuirty is important.

tranglos

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2007, 08:38:23 AM »
Very good points all. It's the first I've heard of Xampp, but all the components run on my machine all the time, and local testing is the first thing I do.

Popularity of a package cuts both ways, I suppose: bugs are eliminated faster, but widely used products also get hacked more. But I would definitely feel safer with a widely used version 2 of something than with a 1.x release that's hardly seen mass use yet.

iphigenie

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2007, 11:37:01 AM »
That is one of my areas of expertise. I have written quite a few CMSes (6 different ones over the years, i think), and used/adapted at least a dozen different ones for different project. I ended up writing a CMS so many times because most only look good in the surface and are either unfriendly to developers, designers, or end users... And I have literally tested hundreds from red dot (costing millions) to open source ones.

I found out that there are many good CMS-es on the front end but almost all fall down rather badly in the admin interface - it is confusing, complicated, heavy, often slow or ugly. And before people jump in saying the one they use is good, imagine trying to explain to your mother or grandmother how to use the admin to add articles, organise the navigation etc. (The other area of weakness is often templating, making it very slow and difficult to adapt or greatly modify a site). Incidentally the best interface i found so far for a simple CMS (outside internal products which i can't show) is website baker. I think it's so simple a client given a website on it would actually update his site often. It's not a tool for what you are trying to do.

What I did was try the online demos of the admin of dozens and dozens of systems to find one that was intuitive. Surprisingly a lot of popular ones actually have very quirky non intuitive interfaces - people learn them and put up with them...

http://www.opensourcecms.com/

Has demos of a lot of those, and you can in a few minutes have a look and rule out quite a few.

Anyway on to a few which were mentioned

Expression engine is actually quite easy to admin, although I don't like their templating when you try to do something complex like cross referencing blogs etc. It has a slight modular nature so you could possibly write an extension for your software downloads etc. It is more a blog than a CMS, in that it is heavily biased towards the "chronological" side of things, alhtough you can give more structure to things. Expression engine does have publish-on-a-date so it might help you, but it doesnt have the files support, you'd have to kind of do that via links or something.

Plone - I have worked on some plone projects and I must say plone is a good choice if you are pretty happy to stick to the way it works and looks. Try to do modifications of plone - whether to make it look wildly different or to add complex functionality and you will get huge headaches. We sure did. You are talking literally hundreds and hundreds of files in multiple versions with very complex "override" rules etc. Just Zope might be enough for what you need and that makes it already a lot simpler, but it is still an extremely complex system to debug and figure out. Plone does a few things right though, multi-lingual content is one of them, the use of TAL is another (once our designers tasted TAL we have had to use it on all subsequent versions of our own CMSes, finding or writing TAL libraries in whatever language we used...)

I recently used ezpublish and it's a bit quirky but it does support the kind of things you would need for your site - the ability to have custom content types, the ability to schedule release of new versions of the document, uploading files within the cms (so they too can have a release date). It is quite a heavy system, and needs php4, so probably problematic on your host. But if they have a "fantastico" style panel they might have it on there. It's heavily CSS based so playing with layout is quite nice. I found the templating quite hard to get my head around (works on combining lots of snippets, with context based overrides etc., so chasing problems reminded me of plone) but the html is actually very clean.

spips and typo3 are two more i looked at recently for a project and spip especially seems quite extensible, but i didnt like the way the templates worked.

I suggest you pick one which is clean and simple, where you can see how you could build the content on your site on and clearly see how the database fits together etc. Then you can add the automation yourself behind it.



iphigenie

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2007, 12:08:00 PM »
It just occured to me, when did content management become synonym with blogging - most of the CMSes out there are not website content management tools but blogging/news management tools, i.e. they expect you to have chronological small articles with some keywords rather than any other organisation (like sections with information pages, products, faq, jobs etc.).

To me chronological keyworded content is just one option and one module in a CMS, and not the main one.

There really need to be a separation between
* website content management
* portal management
* blog management

a portal if often a bit of both

I think what tranglos needs is a full website management rather than wordpress or other blogging systems.

dk70

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2007, 02:34:31 PM »
You never get the perfect one so must cut down on requirements here or there. Really complicated to only pick based on what others say and quick trial runs. What brought me to Xampp. Sometimes you get a now-I-get-it experience from fooling around :) Have to invest some time.

Also notice the way people react when they have found a favorite pet. Not only recommendable but superb. Even the worst crap is lovely! Im thinking of comments at Opensourcecms, some obviously spam but I think I can smell that some have spend tons of time and finally beaten X - and NOW it is the best! Ruling Joomla ADM section might give the sensation... So be careful about recommendations. Didnt I just say it was easy to hack Serendipity into whatever? True, but I also have 55 forum threads bookmarked, heh. Really it is easy but may be not obvious - definitely requries some time.

Website Baker thinks of end-user that is true. The site Im messing around with in Xampp is for my brothers business and Im still wondering if I should not change to Baker instead of S9Y coolness of hacking. He is the one who eventually will use it not me, hmm. Lots of themes available for Baker too, easy to "fix" visuals. One problem Ive noticed is any more than a basic site really needs a "menu2" plugin or you are stuck with 1 menu block only. Not much swift modification possible, default goal is the simple site consisting of limited static content I guess, but it can be expanded. Ive seen some rather big ones in their showcase forum. If it cant meet requirements out of the box cut and paste post to their forum. Reply might tell a story about support.

Possible a plugin is needed for that cross site updating but you sure that is major problem? Even the little s9y has a content rewrite plugin. Strings {from} {to}, cant be Drupal and others dont have similar. Fire up some plugin maker then.

The really good ones like Drupal you can make into whatever just by clicking around in Administration. I find that easy with Drupal at least, messing around with visuals which often follows change of content not so much - close to not at all ;) I would like to use hot Drupal but when I see people being told to investigate default theme to obtain knowledge on how to do simple changes I run away. Knowledge is above hack level ;) Did you try new version 5? I dont really remember the old. Drupal site is overwhelming like Wordpress but I cant see same direct support from project sized as s9y, Web Site Baker.

Jammo the OrganizedFellow

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2007, 11:27:49 AM »
    ExpressionEngine Core
   http://www.pmachine.com/ee/pricing/
hehe, i was waiting to see when someone would mention my beloved ExpressionEngine.
i am in no way affiliated with pMachine, but i truly love its capability.

it doesnt work like a CMS as most CMS systems do.
i like it most cause it leaves the foundation of BUILDING A WEBSITE entirely up to you. code and design from the ground up. XHTML compliance is up to you. it really is a powerful CMS.


they do have a Pre-Sales Question sub-forum on their corporate site: http://www.pmachine....forums/viewforum/29/
i use the Core (free) version for my personal domain. recently purchased my first personal license for a new upcoming site.
http://www.pmachine.com/ee/feature_grid/
http://www.pmachine.com/ee/pricing/

best of luck to you!
As an aspiring web developer/designer, it is a constant struggle to cope with my ADHD + Hypomania/Bipolar Disorder.

The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

X_____jamjammo_____

tranglos

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2007, 12:54:16 PM »
it doesnt work like a CMS as most CMS systems do.
i like it most cause it leaves the foundation of BUILDING A WEBSITE entirely up to you. code and design from the ground up. XHTML compliance is up to you.

EE seems to be another blog/community thing - like anything that gets called a CMS today. It resembles TextPattern somewhat. If what you need is a shop window on the web, the blog/timeline/archive features get in the way. So what's the $249 plus VAT for if I have to do it all myself anyway? :)

If I could design a site to my satisfaction, I would. I could learn some php, there sure is a lot of free code out there to study. One thing I can't do is learn a talent for graphic design. Last time I took two weeks (gulp!) to come up with a color scheme that didn't suck. I don't know the first thing about creating buttons - like the very elegant, simple ones they use at pmachine.com. What's the graphics equivalent of dyslexia? - I don't know, but I have that :)

marek
« Last Edit: February 23, 2007, 12:59:42 PM by tranglos »

Jammo the OrganizedFellow

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2007, 01:17:01 PM »
EE seems to be another blog/community thing - like anything that gets called a CMS today. It resembles TextPattern somewhat.
EE 'seems' the be the opposite of what you 'think' it is amigo.
it allows total freedom to build any type of site you so wish.

example (these are some sites i have bookmarked for inspiration when i get stuck with the idea of 'what do i do next?' with my own EE sites):
http://www.solspace.com/ <~~NOT a blog. used as a content management system.
http://www.31three.com/ <~~NOT a blog. another amazing developer who uses EE exclusively for his clients.
http://www.chrisruzin.net/ <~~IS a blog.
http://www.storiesaboutgod.org/ <~~IS a blog, but more of a community driven site of short stories.
http://inthesetimes.com/ <~~definitely in the category of content management.
http://www.glcc.on.ca/ <~~ school website, content management.


as you can see, the user/developer/owner/admin of the site can make it be whatever it wants it to be. be it a blog, user community, or other.
As an aspiring web developer/designer, it is a constant struggle to cope with my ADHD + Hypomania/Bipolar Disorder.

The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

X_____jamjammo_____

tranglos

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2007, 01:48:24 PM »
as you can see, the user/developer/owner/admin of the site can make it be whatever it wants it to be. be it a blog, user community, or other.

I apologize if I sounded harsh, didn't mean to. I've come to realize I asked the wrong question originally. Instead of looking for a content management system, I should have asked if anyone knows of a great but perpetually unemployed web designer, as I couldn't afford any other kind :)

marek

iphigenie

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2007, 07:49:27 AM »
I don't think anyone was criticising EE outright, but I wouldn't say it's the best fit for the kind of site discussed, and my private toysite runs on EE.

EE is a quite bit more flexible than many blog systems because it supports custom fields, multiple content types/weblogs etc. It's better than many other "blog" systems that try to call themselves CMSes but it quickly can get frustrating if you try to extend it too far out of the blog form.

The companies which you list and which rely on EE a lot typically don't do e-commerce and tend to even stay away from sites that do the page model. They will mostly be news oriented sites or campaign oriented sites, where the multiple items per page, community-centric features of EE work pretty well to start with. There are a few exceptions which have found a way to make EE work as a catalogue or presentation website but that is because they knew it very well already. I wouldnt recommend starting a first project in EE which already requires bending EE out of shape, it will be a frustrating path.

It's simply the golden rule - don't plan a project in a new tool which will require you to bend the product backwards - it's a recipe for trouble. (I learned that the hard way with zope/plone)

For example in a tool like ezpublish I can create a "content type" of, say, "software product" with custom fields and subcontent (description, file to download, contact form, screenshots, history lines) and have the system automatically create a default "view" page with all the fields. Which you then can customise, extend etc. And having multiple lines of update history and multiple screenshots or related video demos etc. is very straightforward - adding a "related content" type block to the the page is a 2 minute job. Making a software object a "product" which can be used in the shopping cart is also a few minutes configuration etc. Now ezpublish is overkill for the site in question, but I just chose it as an example simply because the usage they had in mind designing it is the kind of thing that you will want to do and therefore it just happens to make your job easy.

In Expression Engine I could create a new "blog" and set custom fields to at least some of the options above. I then have to go and create new templates via the admin tool, then edit them to put those fields I created in the pages (else it just looks for the standard blog fields). And if I look in the database the data in in "generic" tables with fields called field11, field12 - makes it very cryptic if you want to pull the data to do something else like generate an order form etc. And if i wanted, say, multiple screenshots or multiple history lines I almost have to create yet another blog for screenshots and history updates and create a cross-link which is quite a bit of work. All this because the usage they had in mind when creating it was very far aways from "software sales site".

I know cause I moved my site from a bunch of 5 year old perl scripts to use pmachine with less perl scripts, then expression engine. EE promised cross linking between "blogs" so I imported all the list of games and related news into two blogs but it couldnt reproduce easily the functions I had on my old perl scripts which was all the cross linking between games and news. Of course that's because it needs a lot of fiddling and trial and error and some custom php in your pages and I havent yet spent the time to do it. (I want my private website time to be spent on content and ideas, not things that I do at work all the time)

For a blog type site, EE is great. To try to extend it into a software site is something that could be done but will be much more frustrating than using a system that is built from the grounds up to be a website engine. On the other hand using a full blown CMS to do a blog type site is a frustrating thing, you need to spend so much time configuring lots of details when a blog tool like EE or wordpress comes beautifully preconfigured from the start.

Lets not start being all defensive of our favorite platforms. I have tried more than 100 in the last 4-5 years, built sites on at least 20 different ones, modified/extended at least a dozen, written or led a team writing a CMS from scratch on 5 separate occasions  in 4 different programming languages. None is perfect and none will cover all situations. Most CMS and blog systems out there are really good at doing certain things for a certain type of people - the trick is to figure out which one will better work with your type of project and your type of user.

In this case I think we are looking at a website with "documents", some of which is structured "catalog like" data (software product sheets), probably one or two sections of which will be blog-like (what we used to call news-like, i.e. chronological with tagging) for news and developer diary, which needs to integrate with a forum section and probably an ordering system, as well as possibly a private "registered members" area. The best for this is one of the full blown "portal" system (eg drupal, xoops) or a website content management system (typo3, ezpublish). Of the blog tools I know, Expression engine is easy to get started with and could be cooerced to fit in the mode although making a "traditional" website with sections/single page documents and structured product sheets is a bit of a struggle with EE if you don't know it quite well already.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2007, 08:21:52 AM by iphigenie »

Jammo the OrganizedFellow

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Re: Content management solution for a small software site?
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2007, 10:49:14 PM »
My apologies to everyone for being crass the rude in regards to EE.
I hope no one was offended or put off by me. It is true that once a 'developer' finds his/her favorite application, toolset, method, etc. they stick by it.
Some might criticize someone for using Fireworks and not Photoshop for web graphics, or for using the default MS Notepad and not Dreamweaver or EditPlus or some other editor for web development.

Everyone is entitle to make their own choices. Modern technologies have granted us the free ability to source the best tools for our trade: Google, Usenet, community forums, P2P, IRC, etc.
So to the originating author of this thread (tranglos), hey buddy, I say just try some of the available choices on http://www.opensourcecms.com/
Or try installing XAMPP (http://www.apachefri...ds.org/en/xampp.html XAMPP is an easy to install Apache Distribution for Linux and Windows. The package includes the Apache web server, MySQL, SQLite, PHP, Perl, a FTP-Server ...) and do some off-line home testing.
I wish you well, and keep your questions coming.

:)

As for me ... one of my favorite ways of 'starting' a site, is to generate everything in regular XHTML + PHP + jQuery + CSS documents, following through with timely updates, etc etc. hand generating everything & when I understand where precisely the site is headed (usually a few months), then I determine which Blog system or CMS to use that I determine is the best fitting system.

CMS Made Simple http://www.cmsmadesimple.org/ and Website Baker http://start.website...en/introduction.html are my first choices simply cause they are SO easy to set up and use, PLUS so easy to train others to update their own content. :)
WordPress http://wordpress.org/ is my top choice for blogs cause there are SOO many template choices, and your blog can be made to do ALMOST anything with the countless plugins available.
ExpressionEngine http://www.pmachine.com/ee/ is my choice for my own personal projects and sites. I wouldn't choose EE for a client unless it couldn't be done by one of the models above. :)
As an aspiring web developer/designer, it is a constant struggle to cope with my ADHD + Hypomania/Bipolar Disorder.

The slow growth of my web dev projects is eclipsed by my patience, understanding and desire to learn AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE as I slowly progress.

X_____jamjammo_____