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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist OwainGDWilliams's Avatar
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    Create your own or use prebuilt CMS?

    I have a new project where someone wants to be able to control their own content on their website i.e. create new pages and upload photos but they have no HTML experience.

    Would you build your own CMS or use something already availabel and just build a template for the site?

    Its going to be a very simple site with nothing fancy.

    O.
    Failure happens, its what you learn from it that is important!

  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    why in the world would you want to build your own thing? especially if it is going to be a simple site. if it's really simple, use wordpress...a little more complicated, use expression engine...need lots of membership functions, use joomla.

  3. #3
    Internet Toughguy Kevin Boss's Avatar
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    Yeah, no need to reinvent the wheel.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Evangelist OwainGDWilliams's Avatar
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    So do companies who create CMS websites use Wordpress, Joomla and other pre-built CMS?
    Can you create a website which doesnt look like a template in Joomla and word press? To be honest I havent really looked in to the off the shelf CMS solutions but I expected them to be limited to the look and feel of the site. i.e. if you designed a site yourself, trying to make it work with a pre-built CMS could be difficult.

    O.
    Failure happens, its what you learn from it that is important!

  5. #5
    Function Curry'er JimmyP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OwainGDWilliams View Post
    i.e. if you designed a site yourself, trying to make it work with a pre-built CMS could be difficult.
    Once you know how it's done it becomes quite quick and easy.

    I would recommend Wordpress. Although it is primarily a blog platform it works VERY effectively as a CMS plus you can integrate ANY design with it.

    It will take a while to learn how it works but once you have the basics sorted out it's fairly simple to create a CMS with your design. Read this if you're interested.
    James Padolsey
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I'm with the others here - why reinvent the wheel when there are already so many good (and mostly free) options out there for you?

    I'd start with wordpress, get a beautiful, free theme from http://www.seobilgi.com/ and then change the graphics, css to create a unique look all your own.

    My last site using WP and tweaking a template took all of about an hour and it looks nothing like the original template.

    Steve

  7. #7
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    joomla is probably the least flexible of the three that i mentioned, but you can still customize it quite a bit.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Evangelist OwainGDWilliams's Avatar
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    Ok so just now I have my website which I update via ftp but the site has news sections, reviews section (where I would like people to be able to submit their own reviews with photos), a Simple Machines Forum and a gallery. What would be the best of the options above to use as a CMS backend for the site?

    O.
    Failure happens, its what you learn from it that is important!

  9. #9
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    wordpress wouldn't allow you to have lots of people as "authors." expression engine will, not sure about joomla, but it probably will. ee has a forum module too.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    wordpress wouldn't allow you to have lots of people as "authors." expression engine will, not sure about joomla, but it probably will. ee has a forum module too.

    ee is highly extensible. i've got one installation of it running 5 domains. four of them are just content sites, one of them is a newspaper site, and one of the content sites has a movie rental library section that is totally managed by ee. it's really pretty slick.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Evangelist OwainGDWilliams's Avatar
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    Thanks, I really want to keep my current forum as it is so if I can hook in to the user database for the author that would be great.

    Its one of those things that I should have really thought about when I first started the site but I never expected it to grow as big as it has

    So, really Im looking for a CMS which will use the current members database but allow me to control the look and feel over everything. Does this exist? Even if it means I need to pay for it or is this one of those cases where I might need to "reinvent the wheel" so the CMS meets my needs?

    O.
    Failure happens, its what you learn from it that is important!

  12. #12
    SitePoint Evangelist OwainGDWilliams's Avatar
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    I think I am going to give TinyPortal a go since its built for a SMF community site.

    Thanks,
    O.
    Failure happens, its what you learn from it that is important!

  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot tjyobazee's Avatar
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    Good luck O. But if I am faced with a similar problem, I'd rather look into looking for an off the shelf CMS.

    But if clients are picky, I'd create a very simple one for them. I guess it all depends on who it is we will deal with.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Evangelist OwainGDWilliams's Avatar
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    Cheers, I havent had a chance to look any further in to this yet. In some ways I think I might make one myself just so I can improve my PHP skills and also I can then customise it 100% and know what I am doing rather than modding something hoping it works. On the other hand, I might fight with a prebuilt CMS and see how I get on with that as well

    O.
    Failure happens, its what you learn from it that is important!

  15. #15
    I Never Give Up roosevelt's Avatar
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    If the requirements are not that intense then go with pre-built cms. And if you must start from scratch then I assume you are after some of solution which is not available already in some other CMS.

  16. #16
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    I wrote a CMS back in 2001 which all my customers liked but I got tired of supporting it. Since then I've created about 200 sites using Joomla v1.0.x as a custom package I created. It requires strong PHP and CSS skills to modify but I think it's possible to get just about any functionality and look that you can want. Version 1.5x is a disappointment so I won't be using Joomla anymore.

    The engineer in me (not the business owner) wanted a CMS in Zend Framework and Smarty so I'm writing that now. It's still in it infancy. I'm working out the ACL operation this week. Still needs AJAX and an administration interface.

    Cool thing about it is Joomla/Mambo templates can be dropped right in by just replacing the Joomla content tags with Smarty ones and it's true MVC so all the display decisions are made in the template, not in the core code. That just means any other tag based display engine can be used.

    So, if you're thinking about writing your own CMS you're probably doing it for other reasons than the most efficient business reasons. Do your homework to understand how your future clients like to work, how they think and what features "turn them on". Most of my clients were authors and illustrators so they loved the idea of a Portfolio of Works, Blog, marketing tips and promotion services. Oh and a Guestbook. Basic stuff. What knowing this did for me was I could focus my energies on the services that got the most bang for the buck and clients end up loving you. I hope that helps. GL
    I study speed waiting. I can wait an entire hour in 10 minutes.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Addict JNKlein's Avatar
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    It's also easier to outsource changes you need made to a CMS like Wordpress or Joomla than it is to maintain your own. There are hundreds, if not thousands of coders available right now.

    I rolled out my own CMS in 2004 and I still regret it. It had custom functionality that wasn't available in any solution then, but now it's... as you would have guessed... about 4 years behind the curve for the client using it.
    I write about making and promoting websites
    worth caring about at my web strategy blog.

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  18. #18
    SitePoint Addict
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    Deja Vu.
    I study speed waiting. I can wait an entire hour in 10 minutes.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Member
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    There is no reason to create your own when there are so many affordable solutions. Building a CMS is not the easiest thing. Also I think you mean a web editor not so much a CMS as CMS usually means a multi user permission based solution. If you just want clients to be able to add and edit pages etc then a web builder / editor will do.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Member
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    I've always followed the philosophy that if there isn't a tool out there that does what you need, make your own. So, if you don't think an existing resource will fit your needs, then attempt your own. And, especially if you're already working with a database of members (I think this was mentioned) then it would be rather difficult to import them to a new CMS that creates it's own databases to use. But, if this isn't the case, and there aren't any members already that you need to worry about, then a free CMS would probably be best.

  21. #21
    WordPress Freelancer banago's Avatar
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    Use one prebuilt and use WordPress
    WPlancer.Com - PHP & WordPress Developer
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  22. #22
    SitePoint Guru rageh's Avatar
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    Before you start, ask yourself "why re-invent the wheels?" I know others before me said that too. It is relevant. You really need to find a reasonably good answer to that question before you take the plunge. The chances are that you don't need to code new CMS.

    Building a secure large-scale CMS that rivals Drupal, MODX or Expression Engine from ground up is incredibly demanding if not daunting. It is not for the faint-hearted, that is for sure. But for a simple site, you don't need to code your own CMS. You can use the currently available CMSs with success.
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