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Content Management Systems

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by Tony Hardy, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    Am I right in thinking that things like Drupal, Cargo, Wordpress etc all count as CMS?
    What are they used for? Is it for clients that want to be able to update their site 2 or 3 times a week without having to sift through tons and tons of code?
    Also, how do you go about implementing a CMS in a non-template based design, eg a design from scratch?
  2. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    Yes to all of those (except I have heard some purists refer to Drupal as a website development framework, ooh la la).

    They are used for more than just client updates, they allow you to have functionality on a website by installing a plug-in, that previously you'd have coded from scratch. Database driven content allows things such as site search to be viable. They also offer a way to manage your content in a sensible way. Unlike some static sites with pages all over the place and no real clear structure.

    As for the last question I am going to recommend ModX CMS again. By far the most non-templatey of the CMS I have tried. No being tied to a convoluted templating system, you create your own.
  3. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    So are they only really massively handy if the site is huge with pages and files all over the place?
    When you see people selling a CMS website, it could simply be a website knocked up on Wordpress etc?

    Do you use them often?
  4. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    I'd say the main use of them is for customers to do their own updates. Fresh content is king (in many ways) and customers should have the ability to add a news item, blog post or details of their latest products without coming back to us every time.

    It could indeed be a Wordpress based site that designers are selling.

    We use them all the time. In fact I can safely say I have done one 'static' website this year so far. I try and sell the benefits of a CMS every time.
  5. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    I knew you were gonna say that lol.
    I have no idea how to integrate a CMS into a custom built site, is it a fairly simple procedure?
  6. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    Depends which one you go for. That's a fairly broad question!
  7. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    Well let's say I go for ModX.
    I have a design that I want to intergrate a CMS into so the users can publish say a blog, without touching the code.
    Does it just link in the same way a stylesheet does?
  8. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    No, not really. You need to get your head round a CMS and what it is and can do. These are some great beginner tutorials; MODx Revolution for Complete Beginners Part 1 – Introduction | The Coding Pad to start with.
  9. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    Yeah I've just been having a bit of an explore around that site.
    Looks like a very powerful tool. Think it may take some learning.
  10. daytona

    daytona Member

    I spent a week on work experience helping set up an e-commerce site using Drupal and was pretty impressed with how simple and flexible it was.

    sorry to jump in but i saw cms in the thread title and wanted to say "I've done that" :pPP

    but yeah as corrosive rightly says it's the purpose of the site that determines the cms (or so i understand) but after using drupal for a week, i can see it's advantages.
  11. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    Absolutely, it is the Mutts Nutts and I challenge anyone to find a website function that doesn't already have a Drupal plug in developed for it!

    It's a bit 'sledgehammer to crack a nut' for small websites and you need to have plenty of PHP processing power available (I'd say min of 128MB).

    I have built sites with it for experimentation and (yeah I know) fun but as soon as I got them online they started to demand more than my hosting at the time would give!
  12. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    So you use a different CMS for different solutions?
    That tutorial guide was really helpful Corrosive, when I finally buy my hosting I'm going to have to install it just to say I can :)
    I'm guessing then you just give the admin link to the client who can add blog posts etc?
  13. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member


    Yeah, her tuts on ModX are very good indeed. You can develop your own style from that basis.

    Yep. Don't forget you can have different admin levels so you can have a main account where HTML & CSS are editable and then a customer account where just resources/pages are editable. Just think through what is best for each client.
  14. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot.
    I'm guessing there advantages to Drupal, Cargo, Wordpress etc over ModX?
    Have you ever made a WP template from scratch?
  15. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, and vice-versa. ModX has advantages over the others.

    Web design is like anything else. It is your job as a pro to advise on the best platform for the needs of the customer and use of the website. If you create a piece of graphic design then it serves a purpose. For instance, a flyer that needs to stand out amongst many other flyers will have different design considerations to a flyer that will be given to someone on an individual basis.

    That is why it is good to have a grasp of a few different platforms and technologies, or at least what they are capable of, so you make the right choice for development. It is also vitally important to ask the right questions both at the start of and during the development process.

    Yes, hated every minute of it.
  16. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    I 'inherited' a Drupal site that the client wanted to move and either the previous people didn't package it properly or .... anyway it was a complete nightmare to get on the new hosting. Luckily the orginal developer was around to help (a Drupal expert) and it took him 5 or 6 hours to sort out.

    Drupal is powerful - but if you only need your client to change the news page (for example) then there is a programme/site called 'Cushy CMS' (try googling it) that might be of interest.
  17. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    Can you style Cushy without buying the pro account? It says on the features list you can't...but is that just without using the code?
  18. JohnRoss

    JohnRoss Member

    a) Worth doing, though, and the second time round it's a lot easier.
    b) Most people don't template from scratch, even when they should, they take someone else's template and adapt it.
    c) It is also perfectly legitimate, even for a designer, to "resell" a commercial design, and there are some damn good ones around for WP.
    d) I'm making these points in an attempt to steer Tony towards WP as a starting point for getting into CMSs.
    e) WP is a a blogging app (more than a CMS properly speaking), and clients more or less understand that, whereas 'CMS' is often Greek to them. And say "development environment" and their eyes will just glaze over.
    f) When you're starting along this road, a "community" of users is really helpful - when you run up against an obstacle, the chances are someone else has already asked around and the answers are likely to be easyish to find, and if they aren't you can always ask someone. WP probably has the largest user community of all.
    g) When you've got the hang of WP, Joomla (for example, to name a popular, easy-to-use CMS with a large community) will be easier. And after that, maybe Drupal (which as you (Corrosive) have pointed out, is more like a full-scale development environment).
    g) I don't know MODx, it looks interesting and I've just downloaded it to play around with, but it's very new, i.e., a smallish community. And it says specifically to designers "If you can create a site mockup in HTML, CSS and JS, you're almost there to a fully-managed custom website, without having to know any PHP." Which is fine, but if your JS is really that good and you aren't just copying and pasting, you won't find a bit of PHP or MySQL hard to learn, so why not?
    h) Cushy CMS is also new to me, but looks as if it has a number of drawbacks. For one thing, it is hosted, and in Australia, at that, not a good option for a UK client (Google is said to give preference to results on servers geographically closer to the user). You (Tony) could always try the free version just to see, but I think your time would be better spent otherwise.
    i) Katedesign is quite right, though, if all you need is for your client to be able to change the news page, you don't need anything especially high-powered, and Drupal would be overkill. Which brings me back to WP.
  19. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    And average clients won't need more than to edit a news page or a blog really, so Wordpress would be the ideal format, and, I've already used it a fair bit, so I don't take that much convincing :)

    Like you said JohnRoss, the support for WP is pretty good too. I was just thinking of digging a bit into other options so I don't come unstuck if anybody asks for something different :)

    I'm going to take a bit of a look into ModX later, quite liking the look of that.

    So a full list of widely used platforms;
  20. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    There won't be a second time, trust me.

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