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  1. #1
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    Should I use a CMS?

    Hello again all.

    Being new to the web development realm, I am still learning the best approach and best practices etc. So far I have developed soley in php and mysql on the back end and some javascript (a very little some) on the client side. I recently had a friend mention Joomla and that got me thinking about CMS's in general. Now my initial question is, should I use a CMS?

    What I dont know is where a CMS becomes necessary, where just developing in php/javascript with a CSS for style becomes outmoded. I have a slight aversion to using a CMS as it seems like cheating or something, like I am not a real developer if I am using that sort of thing and simply taking a template that someone else designed putting my words in it and throwing it on my server. But this may well show my ignorance as to what a CMS is used for, where it should be used and where it shouldnt etc. So I am looking for guidance and an education in the best way to approach web app development. Should I look at CMS's and if so Where should I start?

    From the bit of research I have done I am leaning toward Joomla as its free (I like the looks of what Expression Engine offers but its kinda pricey at the moment) and definitely robust as I will be creating more than simple blog type pages. I am working to create database driven dynamic pages with calender functionality, photo gallery functionality, blog functionality, forum functionality etc. With the possible expansion to user feedback and ratings on books, music etc. I have thought about alot of that at very high levels and had ideas about developing much of that, if even very simplisticly, with php and MySql and incorporating third party stuff like SMF or phpbb where applicable.

    I have looked here on the sitepoint forums and found alot of debate as to which CMS to use, which is a step ahead of where I am at currently. I did not find much in terms of the do's and dont's of using a CMS.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback, I am open to any and all comments.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Addict Newviewit's Avatar
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    yes definately use a CMS system if customers plan on updating information on the website by themselves... it is not worth the headaches of making your own system when a proven system is out there with tons of features built in.

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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntlarson View Post
    Now my initial question is, should I use a CMS?
    If the site is going to be updated on a regular basis then a CMS is the way to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by ntlarson View Post
    What I dont know is where a CMS becomes necessary, where just developing in php/javascript with a CSS for style becomes outmoded. ... Should I look at CMS's and if so Where should I start?
    Think of a CMS as a tool that makes maintenance and updating a whole lot easier than managing static pages. If the needs of the (and owner) justify using one then use one!

    Quote Originally Posted by ntlarson View Post
    From the bit of research I have done I am leaning toward Joomla as its free (I like the looks of what Expression Engine offers but its kinda pricey at the moment) and definitely robust as I will be creating more than simple blog type pages. I am working to create database driven dynamic pages with calender functionality, photo gallery functionality, blog functionality, forum functionality etc. With the possible expansion to user feedback and ratings on books, music etc. I have thought about alot of that at very high levels and had ideas about developing much of that, if even very simplisticly, with php and MySql and incorporating third party stuff like SMF or phpbb where applicable.
    First tip - never look at price unless you're on a very tight budget, always try to use the best software for the job in hand.

    "Free" software is all well and good but sometimes you can actually spend more hours trying to get it to work than you would by using a good paid solution, and in effect what you thought was "free" has it's price. Of course this doesn't always happen but it's something to be aware of.

    You mentioned Expression Engine and that's a good case in point. If you compare it to, say, Joomla, you'll find that EE can do just about everything in your list out of the box with no extra modules (apart from the EE plug and play forum). Joomla would probably require many extra modules for your example and then you have to get them all to play together (not always easy!). Either CMS will achieve what you want to do and both have a learning curve - probably the best advice is to download and test both (use the free EE core version) - only then will you know which you get on better with.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Blog: Wordpress.
    CMS: Joomla

    Both platforms support extensions/plugins that brings functionality to your website. There are also a great deal of free and cheap professional Joomla templates and Wordpress templates available.


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