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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict Romuba's Avatar
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    Question Which CMS should I learn to use?

    I am sure that this question has been asked before but I searched and didn't find it.

    I would like to learn to use (so that I can offer it to my clients) one of the CMS packages. I have had brief looks at Wordpress, Joomla and Mambo. I have been told that the best I could get to grips with (by two different folk) is Drupal and Modx.

    My problem is that I don't want to spend hours and hours wading through all the options, having to learn each one, only to find that I might have actually missed the real best on offer.

    I am not looking for it essentially to build a website with as I prefer to do that myself, but more and more I am being asked by clients if they can update their own info. So the CMS would probably have to be able to integrate with my built website.
    Ross Bartholomew
    Web Designer/Developer
    BartWebSites
    E-mail: ross@bartwebsites.com

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot mondala's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    Here are some good recent threads and from last year.

    Starting with CMS
    CMS recommendations
    Suggest Easy CMS for school reunion site?
    The best CMS for community driven sites?

    There are many CMS applications to choose from and they all have their pros and cons... drupal, modx, joomla, vivvo, phpfox, phpcow, interspire articlelive, expression engine, subdreamer, typo3, wordpress, are some of the popular choices but it really depends on your needs,,, what you need most and which CMS best fits those requirements. Typically you have no choice but to wade through all the options for hours.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict Romuba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mondala View Post
    Hi there,

    Here are some good recent threads and from last year.
    Thank you very much for the links and they are very interesting. Just that on the one thread I was starting to get the impression that it was a serious toss-up between Drupal and Modx with Joomla biting at the heels, and then on the next the emphasis was on Tikiwiki and Xoop. So I am serious confused as the latter two I have never heard of until this thread.

    I feel like there are now so many to choose from and so little time - as each will take a significant number of hours to research. I will keep looking though.
    Ross Bartholomew
    Web Designer/Developer
    BartWebSites
    E-mail: ross@bartwebsites.com

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Romuba View Post
    Thank you very much for the links and they are very interesting. Just that on the one thread I was starting to get the impression that it was a serious toss-up between Drupal and Modx with Joomla biting at the heels, and then on the next the emphasis was on Tikiwiki and Xoop. So I am serious confused as the latter two I have never heard of until this thread.

    I feel like there are now so many to choose from and so little time - as each will take a significant number of hours to research. I will keep looking though.
    I chose Joomla over Drupal. I tried them both.

    After learning to use Joomla, I feel that I need something with a little more featured. I was hoping to do something like a newspaper website. You know how they have articles which can be precisely placed. You can't do that easily in Joomla.

    Otherwise, Joomla is nice.

  5. #5
    WordPress Freelancer banago's Avatar
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    You should learn to use WordPress. It is a perfect platform. And once you need something else to add to it, just make a search in the plugin directory or in google and you will be very glad. You won'n regret it.

    Good Luck!
    WPlancer.Com - PHP & WordPress Developer
    ProverbHunter - English Proverbs Explained

  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict Romuba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banago View Post
    You should learn to use WordPress. It is a perfect platform.
    Thanks banago but I have read many folk saying that Wordpress is in reality blogging software with some extra features but not true CMS. I have had a brief look at Wordpress and I would tend to agree with those sentements, unless you have more knowledge regarding current developments.
    Ross Bartholomew
    Web Designer/Developer
    BartWebSites
    E-mail: ross@bartwebsites.com

  7. #7
    WordPress Freelancer banago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Romuba View Post
    ... I would tend to agree with those sentements, unless you have more knowledge regarding current developments.
    Let's say, I have more knowledge of what WordPress can do. How do you think WordPress will not fulfill you requirements?
    WPlancer.Com - PHP & WordPress Developer
    ProverbHunter - English Proverbs Explained

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Quote Originally Posted by banago View Post
    You should learn to use WordPress. It is a perfect platform. And once you need something else to add to it, just make a search in the plugin directory or in google and you will be very glad. You won'n regret it.

    Good Luck!
    I was going to post almost exactly the same thing, but use the word Joomla instead of WordPress. WordPress to me is really good blogging software, but it's not a CMS. Joomla does have a few bad points, but it's the best CMS I have used and my focus is the same as Romuba's : I want something that is good and I can offer to my clients ... Joomla 1.5 is awesome for that.

  9. #9
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    I can recommend ExpressionEngine. It's a full-blown CMS (superior in many ways to WordPress, Joomla and what-have-you). WordPress is great, Joomla (or Mambo), I'd not touch with a pitchfork. Drupal is also a good choice, TextPattern too. If you don't mind higher learning curves, ExpressionEngine (not OpenSource) is your best bet (in my opinion), followed by Drupal (also a higher learning curve). If you prefer more popular OpenSource solutions that are not as complex, but also not as powerful out-of-the-box, I would recommend WordPress and TextPattern.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    In all honesty once you've picked up the logic of how any one CMS works learning another does get easier. Certainly if you start offering XYZ CMS you'll eventually find it's not suitable for all types of site and you'd have to start looking again.

    Wordpress is something to start with and it's useful as a basic CMS for straightforward sites. If you want to extend it learning about how to unstall and use plugins will be useful.

    Once you're ready to get a bit more advanced pick one of the others like Drupal, MoveableType or Expression Engine.

    I think the best thing you can do is play with a few CMS's, you'll soon find the ones you feel comfortanle working with.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Addict Romuba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluedreamer View Post
    In all honesty once you've picked up the logic of how any one CMS works learning another does get easier.
    The more I think about it I am more convinced that you probably have hit the nail on the head. It will probably become a personal preference once one knows which one does what. In the end they will probably all be able to get a reasonable site up and running (Wordpress as well as the rest) but when one is looking for specific features then one might need to look at one or the other for that feature.

    Has enyone specifically worked with both Modx and Drupal to be able to give a reasonable comparison? Or do you know of where I could access such a comparison?
    Ross Bartholomew
    Web Designer/Developer
    BartWebSites
    E-mail: ross@bartwebsites.com

  12. #12
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    Hey Ross, what kind of websites are we talking about here? Hundreds or pages of content for huge companies, or 5 - 20 pages for your typical small business?

    I honestly haven't looked at Joomla in a while, but last time I tried to get into it I felt it offered way too many options and features for a smaller site, and I couldn't imagine letting a client use it to manage content without a lot of hand holding.

    I find Wordpress on the other hand to be much easier to use myself and to help noobs get used to, and since it can create both blog posts and static pages, I'm not sure why some people don't consider it a CMS.

    Also, look at the help available online for any CMS you're considering. I'm not sure about Joomla and the others, but I'd have no problem giving someone a link to the Wordpress Codex if they needed help because it's so well written if you ask me.

    Cheers,

    Steve

  13. #13
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    Howdy. I started by trying out Joomla, but a couple of days in found it seriously limited. I dont know how it is now, but I went over to Drupal, and yes, the learning curve is a bit steeper but I found I could get decent sites up and running within week or so - with no 'real' PHP knowledge.

    If you have any programming background then I think you'll gain much more from cutting to the chase and using Drupal and tweaking things you're not happy with in any particular module - even I have managed this! I think you might get frustrated with Joomla very quickly, and once up and running, drupal is equally easy to add content to for your clients.

    The available themes for Drupal 'out of the box' are less pretty than Joomla's on the whole, but it really is pretty easy to customise with a little CSS knowledge, and in any case, it's catching up in this respect I think.

    Drupal 6 (the most recent version) is much easier to get going with than previous versions, although not all the most popular modules (CCK and Views in particular) are quite ready for production use as far as i know - try this as a get to know you test, maybe use version 5.7 for a production site.

    All in all, Joomla good for very simple sites, but Drupal better if you need to bend it to your needs.

    Expression Engine may be worth a look too, gaining popularity in Uk i know, but the full version does cost £99 or similar.

    good luck!

  14. #14
    SitePoint Addict Romuba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravedesigns View Post
    Hey Ross, what kind of websites are we talking about here? Hundreds or pages of content for huge companies, or 5 - 20 pages for your typical small business?
    Good question. My immediate answer would be that they would be small sites of less than 20 pages, but I then realised that a number of my sites are many more than that and one has close on a hundred actual pages with hundreds more generated - not by me but by Calendar software.

    I would say that mostly it would be for the 20 pager type of sites so that the client can update info when it suits them. A number of folk are asking me to build their site but they want to be able to manage the content on some of the pages.

    What about sinking my teeth into Wordpress to start with, since a number of folk seem to imply that it is the easier of the good ones, then later to look at something like Modx (I am still awaiting some comments on this one), Drupal or Joomla?
    Ross Bartholomew
    Web Designer/Developer
    BartWebSites
    E-mail: ross@bartwebsites.com

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Romuba View Post
    What about sinking my teeth into Wordpress to start with, since a number of folk seem to imply that it is the easier of the good ones, then later to look at something like Modx (I am still awaiting some comments on this one), Drupal or Joomla?
    Yes I think that's a good start. Wordpress allows you do many things and you can play with the theming, design and even some PHP. The support forums are decent as well.

    Drupal is more of a "CMS" and is based on modules. You can get away without knowing much about programming by using the various modules the community has built to fit most of your needs. It's just when you need to go outside the box a bit is where it can get complicated and will require some programming ability. Either way, I would consider just playing around with them to get familiar with how things work and then you can focus on whichever suits your requirements.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Addict Romuba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrandonE View Post
    Drupal is more of a "CMS" and is based on modules. You can get away without knowing much about programming by using the various modules the community has built to fit most of your needs. It's just when you need to go outside the box a bit is where it can get complicated and will require some programming ability.
    Thanks - I think that I have it settled as to what to do. Very helpful.
    Ross Bartholomew
    Web Designer/Developer
    BartWebSites
    E-mail: ross@bartwebsites.com

  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast mediatech's Avatar
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    My personal choice is TYPO3 and the learning curve isn't as bad with decent documentation. The main reason I went with TYPO3, besides the template system, was because you can dumb down the administrative interface to a few options for non technical clients.

    On the other hand it did take me a while to master the basics. Once I did, I put together a preconfigured wireframe demo site for clients and developers to build on. I can shoot you a copy or give you access to the files if interested. I'd really be interested in some feedback on how to dumb down the system even more.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Addict Romuba's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the comments guys. Should I have added that I know very little about programming? I have found that to have to edit and change the code of things it rather tricky for me.
    Ross Bartholomew
    Web Designer/Developer
    BartWebSites
    E-mail: ross@bartwebsites.com

  19. #19
    SitePoint Enthusiast mediatech's Avatar
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    I have no programming skills outside of HTML, CSS and hacking my way through Typoscript which, simply is a configuration script. Once that's in place, all you need to focus on is content management and editing your HTML/CSS.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Guru rageh's Avatar
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    MODX all the way. Its flexibility is legendary. Drupal is also very good but the learning curve is much steeper.
    ------------------

  21. #21
    SitePoint Zealot trichnosis's Avatar
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    i think the easiest and strong cms on the world is Joomla

  22. #22
    SitePoint Addict Romuba's Avatar
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    I am still torn between Joomla, Drupal and MODx. I feel that I would rather go with MODx but don't know many people that know it. I will probably need to learn Drupal as I am busy with a site that had Drupal stuff. Joomla certainly seems the most popular one though.
    Ross Bartholomew
    Web Designer/Developer
    BartWebSites
    E-mail: ross@bartwebsites.com

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Romuba View Post
    I will probably need to learn Drupal as I am busy with a site that had Drupal stuff. Joomla certainly seems the most popular one though.
    I have both Drupal and Joomla installed on the shared web server I host my sites on. Drupal is definitely faster than Joomla.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Member classact's Avatar
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    I've tried Wordpress, Mambo, Joomla, Drupal and I prefer Joomla 1.0x for the easiest learning curve and being able to get a scalable website up in a matter of minutes. Adding content quickly and making use of it.

    Drupal was tough for me to get into and I am a programmer/designer.

  25. #25
    Resident Grump BillyParadise's Avatar
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    I know Joomla and Wordpress, and between them I can produce most of the sites my clients ask for. As you alluded to, Wordpress seems more "bloggy". I've used Joomla since before the Mambo/Joomla split, so I know it quite well. 90% of the sites I consult on end up using Joomla. I've just started using 1.5, and so far I like it. Took a bit to figure out where certain things got hidden though

    I suggest getting a hosting plan with someone who allows multiple sites and databases. Then make a test of every one you're interested in. Find one that's bloggy, find one that's more CMSy. Then you'll be able to offer your clients a choice of two.

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