Choosing the right CMS

13 October 2011 by Aniket Joshi 2 comments

There are lots of blogs on making comparisons about the best CMS(Content Management System) those are been available in the market and they seem to miss the important reasons why someone might choose one CMS over other.This Blog does not intend on making such comparisons, but aims on providing certain reasons that would help you to choose the CMS software that best suits your need.As the options for content management systems are huge, it’s always better to narrow down search with the business requirements you have.With the choice ranging from free to open source or opting for propriety or commercial CMS the range is tremendous.
Below is the list of some CMS

WordPress

WordPress – For a small with no design or development resources and just want to distribute content wordpress seems to be a great choice.Its a great choice if you want to do a social network integration or for publishing linear content and with a newest technology integrations.With other platforms wordpress has the easy maintenance, installation and gives a simple content management and gives a far easier functionality addition.With WordPress run some of the largest blogs and maybe company would make it general use CMS.This is supported by the developer community.option to pay for support is also available.

Programming Language – PHP and Mysql.

Support for multiple language – Although WordPress displays in U.S. English by default, the software has the built-in capability to be used in any language. The WordPress community has already translated WordPress into many languages, and there are Themes, translation files, and support available in many other languages.

SEO – Especially from a marketing and business perspective, the SEO friendliness of WordPress is a big plus. Its URLs are made by the administrator/content writer.Gives a out of box capability to have an upper hand in being found in the search engines.

Pricing – Free

Extensibility – Has the widest range of plugins that extends the functionality and features that one can imagine.Extending standard functionality requires custom modules and some times difficult to add lots of dynamic content to pages.

Some WordPress plugins –

  • SEO
  • Sitemap Generator
  • Ad Networks

URL: http://wordpress.com

SUPPORT FORUM: http://en.forums.wordpress.com

Drupal

Drupal provides some sophisticated and incredible features and functionality with some good developer community.With the base offerings of limited UGC options drupal provides some great private|public memberships integration.it suffers a problem with user experience for the content manager.With a clunky and inconsistent Interfaces that continue in the development and the design portions of the process also.the modules in drupal widely use different syntaxes to implement and output a messy html which would be very hard to customize without editing the module code itself, which gives a module which cannot be easily upgraded.For achieving a great control on functionality and output, the big enterprise sites are not depending on the modules that are been produced by the community.With lots of inconsistencies and output ugliness Drupal still have one of the big developer base.To setup and run a complex site using the available themes and modules is easy but the problem arises when design and functionality have to be fine tuned.

Programming Language – PHP and Mysql.

Support for multiple language – The content can be translated to two or more languages and the visitor can be able to choose any of them.When enabled, the Locale core module allows you to present your Drupal site in a language other than the default English. You can use it to set up a multilingual web site or to replace the elements of the interface text with text which has been customized for your site.

Content Management – It allows unlimited category levels, tagging and categorization. You can also create multiple types of content, each with different features.

Advanced url control – Drupal gives you precise control over URL structure. Each item of content in Drupal (called a node) can be given a custom URL (called a URL alias).

Custom Content Types and Views — You can use the Content Construction Kit (CCK) and Views Modules to create new content types and create advanced custom views for them without writing any code.

SEO – The out-of-the-box URLs work well and can be improved with one easy addon: Pathauto. The code is generally lightweight and well-optimised.

Multisites Management – Yes, provides a multisites management out of the box.

Extensibility – Support lot of modules or plugins to alter and extend Drupal’s core capabilities and add new features or customize Drupal’s behavior and appearance.Also one install can give you multiple sites (i.e., subdomains) so there’s an impressive extensibility surrounding it.

Pricing – Free

URL: http://drupal.org

SUPPORT FORUM: http://drupal.org/forum

ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine has also come a long way.With a slightly more sophisticated system for the UGC expressionengine also gives a better Private| Public membership management.This also provides with a high support and upgradation for the Addons.How the Html is rendered is never been dictated by the addons which gives a lot more flexibility with the output because of which lot of enterprise sites use off the shelf addons for achieving the advanced functionality. This comes with a excellent content management interface which is evolving fast.Its one of the best feature is that it gives you some good sophisticated input methods for a different variety of data types and also gives you a good level of control over the input screens presentation.It doesn’t have a very good implementation of the LDAP authentication as there are some of the enterprise level features that havn’t matured compared to other CMS.There is a liking for expressionengine by designers who want line by line control and also want to be very controlling of there HTML.Thats the reason why you won’t find a lot of predesigned templates here and you have to develop your own designs for the templates.The forum support is maturing slowly in comparison to the system and its better using a third party solution for this.Support staff is really quick with the responses on your questions.

Programming Language – PHP and Mysql.

Supports multiple languages. With the following advantages

    • No PHP needed
    • No need to keep track of which segment holds the language variable
    • Elegant URL structure

Easily Extensible – With PHP knowledge you can fairly easily jump in and extend ExpressionEngine through extensions, plugins and modules. In the new version of EE all add-ons will be written using the PHP framework codeigniter.

Easy to deploy – With PHP and MySQL it easy to deploy and to test the server support we can use server wizard and install wizard to install expression engine.

Built-in Caching and Optimization – allows you to cache individual templates, queries and optimize the site down to to the EE tag level.

Pricing – The price is reasonable, although there are some hidden expenses for added features.

URL: http://expressionengine.com

SUPPORT FORUM: http://expressionengine.com/forums

Joomla

Joomla is best used by larger organizations or businesses, or by websites that are based upon a community environment. Essentially, if the website is bound to be popular and pull in some very heavy traffic, and needs room for growth, then Joomla is probably a good idea.

Programming Language – PHP, Supports Mysql.

Support for multiple language – It does not provide by default.Joomfish allows for sites in multiple languages but isn’t as powerful as the commercial Nooku.Joomla includes various language packs and translations for the user interface already. The combination of one specific language pack and the content in the same language allows you to build a website in any language you like.

Search Engine Optimization– Reasonable out of the box, but lacks the ability to really control URLs or metadata. Various SEO extensions are needed for those who really care about SEO.- the codebase layout is still steam age, on a mix of divs and tables, although luckily this does not have a severe impact on SEO.

Extensions – Joomla offers a whole range of extensions if you are looking for additional features for your website. Extensions may consist of components, modules, or plugins and consist of both free and paid options. Some common extensions include tools for building an online community, for adding a forum or chat facility, and eCommerce functions such as shopping carts and payment facilities.

High traffic, high page numbers and stability are important features that joomla manages and with load-balancing arrangements you can just keep scaling up.

Ecommerce support – Joomla’s ecommerce support is great in comparison with other cms’s because of excellent choice of ecommerce plugins including a full-on ecommerce CMS version, Virtuemart.

Templates – Templating may not seem important, until we install and maintain many different types of CMS. It becomes a major issue then. Joomla can’t be beaten as it probably has the best system in CMS, and also the most templates available – uncountable thousands of them.

Content Management – Follows only three levels of content – Section >> Category >> Content is available. That’s it. No cross-categorization and for flexibility we van use the Content Construction Kit extension.

Caching – Includes caching by default to improve site performance.

Multisites Management – its very weak with joomla. There are some multisite options but they’re either unstable or very expensive.

URL: http://www.joomla.org

SUPPORT FORUM: http://forum.joomla.org

Django

Django is beautiful and while it’s more of a framework- it has lots of CMS functionality. If you have an experienced team and you are planning on scaling the site to heavy traffic with highly unique functionality, Django can do whatever you envision. In the process it will be your teams responsibility to develop more of the functionality from scratch than the other CMS’s you list. Django has a sophisticated templating system that uses inheritance to save time in the template development process. Django, like Drupal and WordPress is free and supported by its community.

Automatic admin interfaces save the tedious work of creating interfaces for people to add and update content. Django does that automatically, and it’s production-ready.

Programming Language – Python, Supports – MySQL, PostgreSQL , Oracle Database,and Sqlite.

SEO – Django makes it easy to design human-readable, SEO-friendly URLs with maximum flexibility.

Seperates Code and design – Provides a powerful, designer-friendly template system allows us to separate design, content and Python code.

URL: https://www.django-cms.org

Alfresco

Programming Language – Java,Supports – MySQL, PostgreSQL (Community Edition), Oracle Database, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server. Doesn’t support Mysql.

Support for multiple language – Yes it supports multiple languages.

Extendability– Supports plugins to extend the functionality.

Security – Supports Pluggable authentication solution with NTLM, Ldap, Kerberos, Cas.

URL: http://www.alfresco.com

SUPPORT FORUM: https://forums.alfresco.com/en

Common for all above

Maintenance is the easiest for wordpress with its one-click updates but for others will require more than the one-click solution. Python can do some interesting auto-updating for Django, but it has tobe assessed against upon what is been needed. Installation complexity and tech maintenance depends on your total stack of the CMS core + theme(s) + plugins and their ability to fully integrate with platform features.

Search Engine Optimization is possible for all of the above but it also depends upon how your templates are coded, your content and the structure of the site as a whole.

Integrating 3rd party services – All of these can integrate with 3rd party services, without knowing specifics.

Reporting – the best solution for reporting considering all of these above cms’s would be using external analytics tools.

There are certain enterprise level CMS like Vignet or SiteCore those have a upper hand with there advanced marketing features that integrate the CRM solutions and can customize the content with respect to the sales goals and information.

Conclusion

Its important that the new system meets your current and projected needs and identifying your business goals and requirement forms the top most priority for the project to be successful.All of the above defined CMS are good with there strengths and weaknesses and there are lot more CMS available to us with different features and ideas in the market and it wont be right on our part to restrict ourselves to any one.

Aniket Joshi

Delivery Director, Thinker & Tinkerer at Idyllic.

Follow me on Twitter

2 thoughts on “Choosing the right CMS”

  1. That is reaally interesting, You’re a professional blogger.
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