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Content management solution for a small software site?

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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?


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!

Its too bad mine isn't ready for prime time.  Your needs are exactly why I created a CMS system...

Its too bad mine isn't ready for prime time.  Your needs are exactly why I created a CMS system...-Veign (February 16, 2007, 08:44 PM)
--- End quote ---

You may well be ready ahead of me :)

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...


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