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  1. #1
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    Page Design - to CMS or Not to CMS

    Good afternoon-

    I am diving head first into a new project. I don't have any experience developing webpages (I can go as far as installing Joomla / various open source forums with XAMPP... so I can at least get things up and running on both the localhost and webhost).

    However, I am not sure if I should do a CMS based website or if another route would be more appropriate. Here is my laundry list of wants:

    1) Front Web page (member login / registration / news / feature topics - this sounds like CMS to me!)

    2) Calendar of events (editable) for group flyins or activities (I assume there is a decent module for this)

    3) Tabbed or linked pages to

    -Bios of club members (based from the mySQL database?) This one is where I begin to get lost on what the CMS will do for me. If I want to have a page available only to members which show Bios information (with image etc) - can this be done with CMS and a bit of PHP / MySQL? I would like it to be automated when a user logs on but not sure if possible)

    4) Forum (phpBB or SMF or mybb)

    5) Live Group Chat. The 10 IM chat windows as done now, stinks and is clunky. Are there modules for this too?

    6) Stats of pilot time logged (integration of phpVMS or similar?) I have an application that is fully php and independent but I am not sure how I would integrate this into a CMS. Would it link to a fully separate page like a Forum or should every thing be embedded into the CMS in some shape or form?

    7) A google map showing a data feed from a specific source. Could this be integrated in to the front page of the CMS?



    I am in the process of checking out wordpress also but I am overwhelmed by questions along the way...

    I am open to starting with a template and modifying from there. Is this the suggested route for a newbie? I will continue to read all the great tutorials on this site in the meantime!

    Thanks

    Benjamin.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I had the same problem some time back, Joomla is the best CMS for this type of stuff, all though very buggy in areas, a lot of learning I have found.

    ...If I want to have a page available only to members which show Bios information (with image etc) - can this be done with CMS and a bit of PHP / MySQL? I would like it to be automated when a user logs on but not sure if possible)
    With Joomla you can set up access privileges to certain members, so only who you specified can see that content when their logged in, loads of free modules to take care of the calenders etc. very powerful piece of kit, just a steep learning curve to get everything to work correctly, especially if you don't want tables in your templates (look up template overrides).

    CMS
    The more you learn.... the more you learn there is more to learn.

  3. #3
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    Well, i am usually facing that dilemma: either to choose a CMS and have a pain searching for all needed modules and plugins, then even more pain with installing them, solving compatibility/version bugs, etc.. or to write it all by myself.

    In your case, i would recommend the first way. After you get some skills in programming and web page development, i would try to move towards the second one.

    Of course, for some things like forums i would install a ready-made one instead of programming it.
    A huge list of resources for designers and content producers
    to buy, sell or share stock photo images and other content.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, the first option sounds like my first choice. I have gone so far as to post this on freelance type service sites since I see I don't really have time to fully learn how to do all of this.

    The fees were too high for me.. so I am back to templates + plugins.

    Benjamin.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard
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    If I was you, just carry on learning Joomla, once you've mastered the basics you'll be able to setup CMS sites very easily, Joomla does most of the work for you.

    check out the joomla documentation http://docs.joomla.org/Main_Page

    hope this helps
    The more you learn.... the more you learn there is more to learn.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict jemple's Avatar
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    I agree, it sounds like Jooma lis the best thing to use - although it can be a real pain!

  7. #7
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    Go with a CMS, Joomla is great for all it allows you to do. If you don't go wtih a CMS now, expansion becomes difficult later on, especially if you're not a web design guru like me. I know this from experience and am currently redoing our 4 year old static html site into Joomla, and not looking back. Things like menu management become a breeze with a CMS, whereas with static, everything is templates in dreamweaver and is a royal pain. Want to hide something in a CMS? Just unpublish it and re publish it later. There's just far too many reasons, go with the Joomla CMS if you're not a guru. I have very limited knowledge of html and css. When I get stuck, I go on a site like Joomlancers and hire the help I need.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    If you want a CMS that will allow you to do most of this without the need for tons of addon modules checkout http://expressionengine.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    1) Front Web page (member login / registration / news / feature topics - this sounds like CMS to me!)
    All basic functions in EE

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    2) Calendar of events (editable) for group flyins or activities (I assume there is a decent module for this)
    Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    -Bios of club members (based from the mySQL database?) This one is where I begin to get lost on what the CMS will do for me. If I want to have a page available only to members which show Bios information (with image etc) - can this be done with CMS and a bit of PHP / MySQL? I would like it to be automated when a user logs on but not sure if possible)
    Yes, EE has a full member profiles, all customisable, searchable, you can event subdivide members into groups.

    If you wanted to go really advanced there's the excellent User module that lets you treat member data like putty

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    4) Forum (phpBB or SMF or mybb)
    One module needed, EE has a full Forum module, just plug in and go

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    5) Live Group Chat. The 10 IM chat windows as done now, stinks and is clunky. Are there modules for this too?
    There's no EE chat module but you could just plugin and 3rd party script or service

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    6) Stats of pilot time logged (integration of phpVMS or similar?) I have an application that is fully php and independent but I am not sure how I would integrate this into a CMS. Would it link to a fully separate page like a Forum or should every thing be embedded into the CMS in some shape or form?
    This is actually quite strightforward. You can let each pilot log their own data as EE content or run your PHP inside EE templates - your choice

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    7) A google map showing a data feed from a specific source. Could this be integrated in to the front page of the CMS?
    I suspect this would be achieved with XML/RSS data? If that's true you'd need the Googlemaps Javascript then add an EE tag to a template and you should be done

  9. #9
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    ExpressionEngine was recommended to me when I first started researching CMS but I didn't choose it because it wasn't user friendly to someone with little to no html and css knowledge. I'm sure a pro in those areas can make EE do whatever he/she wants though All depends on your level skill...

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast Ryo-ohki's Avatar
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    I think that if you are just starting out it is better to use a free cms such as drupal or joomla. Drupal isn't really for the faint of heart though. It doesn't look very pretty out of box like joomla does but I like its versatility.

  11. #11
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    I began developing my own CMS a few years ago. It's been a lot of work, but it's a great learning experience.

    However, I read an article here on SitePoint just a couple days ago that recommended CMS's for security reasons. That isn't a huge problem on my websites, as I have no features that allow visistors to interact with a database yet.

    However, if you want to allow visitors to register, then security will become a more important factor, and it can be a steep learning curve - you finish developing your CMS only to discover that you have to figure out a way to make it secure.

    So when I'm finally ready to enable visitor registration, I may have to switch to a CMS; either that or hire someone to help me with security.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard masm50's Avatar
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    ExpressionEngine is one very powerful option to try.

    I would personally take Drupal over Joomla anyday - it seems to be less buggy and more intuitive to use, but I know plenty of people swear by Joomla.

    I have used eZpublish for various projects in the past too. It is very powerful, but maybe a little hard to get your head around at first.

  13. #13
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    I think you should make a site. As much information your clients get, so successful your business will be. Joomla and other cms are not safe enough to my mind. Try to google "crack joomla" more, than 1 million results will be shown with instructions how to od it. Maybe it's better to buy something more reliable. But you should definitely use cms for your purpose

  14. #14
    SitePoint Zealot robinInTexas's Avatar
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    Whatever you choose, I would suggest building the membership around the forum software.

    I find it quite annoying when I have to log in multiple times at the same site.
    Robin
    Find out how to get More Money at this URL

  15. #15
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    joomla is good, but did you consider drupal? I think that drupal is better by far, the difference is that to learn drupal you have a steeper learning curve, but once learnt it will do wonders....

  16. #16
    SitePoint Zealot smadeira's Avatar
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    You may want to consider Drupal. It installs easily and has a ton of modules. I'm fairly new at it so I picked up a book along the way called "Using Drupal" by Byron, Berry and some others. It is an O'Reilly book. The book walks you through examples of building sites and what modules to use and the examples cover most of what you want to do.

    As you learn more you can customize and add new features not contained in their samples.
    Scott

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard ryanhellyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    I am in the process of checking out wordpress also but I am overwhelmed by questions along the way...
    WordPress can definitely do what you are asking to do ...



    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    1) Front Web page (member login / registration / news / feature topics - this sounds like CMS to me!)
    Yep, this is possible by default. You just need to add those features to your themes home page.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    2) Calendar of events (editable) for group flyins or activities (I assume there is a decent module for this)
    There's a few different WordPress plugins which can do this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    3) Tabbed or linked pages to

    -Bios of club members
    Yep, that's easy. If you want them only to be visible to logged in members then you would need to set that in the theme template.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    4) Forum (phpBB or SMF or mybb)
    If you don't mind having seperate logins then this is straightfoward as the two systems would be seperate, but if you want to use the same login then it gets a little more complicated. There are a couple of plugins/mods which allow phpBB to integrate with WordPress, but the ones for SMF don't seem to work very well. I don't know about myBB.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    5) Live Group Chat. The 10 IM chat windows as done now, stinks and is clunky. Are there modules for this too?
    Yep. There are lots of different ways of doing that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    6) Stats of pilot time logged (integration of phpVMS or similar?)
    I'm not sure what 'pilot time' is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bman2009 View Post
    7) A google map showing a data feed from a specific source. Could this be integrated in to the front page of the CMS?
    Yep, you just need to add the HTML for the map to a post or page and it will appear on that page.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I've created a forum using www.simplemachines.org and I was able to do everything you listed. To install the plugin is stupid simple. Even if you can program well, it will take a very very long time to make a working forum. Don't reinvent the wheel! Once you become more familiar with the forum software, you can create custom plugin as well and to share w/ the community. I'd say this is your best bet!

  19. #19
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    One note about the Wordpress solution; they have their own forum software too.

    http://bbpress.org

    Though I have not looked in a while, it did have integration with the authentication system in Wordpress.
    Apple Mac HQ - Apple/Mac News, Reviews, and More

  20. #20
    SitePoint Zealot QuickGold's Avatar
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    I love Drupal. Joomla is good, but I find Drupal to far superior in terms of what you can potentially do with it and I've found the addons for Drupal (called modules) to be FAR less buggy than Joomla's (especially when it comes to IE/FF compatibility).

  21. #21
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    It is the content on your site which is going to speak for you when you aren't there to speak whatever you offer. The content has to be managed in such way that it should attract the visitor who is coming for the first time on your site. It should force the visitor to come back again. I think The content management system would be the best to organize everything on your site that you need.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Guru silver trophy JamesColin's Avatar
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    If your site involves users, then go for drupal. Don't do it yourself except if you are good at securisation, because hackers will try to hack your site.
    Do you really need traffic? Where to? What for?
    If you really do need traffic then stop messing around!
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  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Wordpress is a good balance of light-weight, flexibility, and easy-to-use, so I use it for several projects.

    I'm also developing my own custom CMS too. I like the idea of knowing every nook and cranny of what I'm working with, and it'll make it that much easier to create additional features. Time consuming though...

  24. #24
    Non-Member Musicbox's Avatar
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    cms is easy to install and instructions with support is always provides, just download most popular cms and try it once

  25. #25
    SitePoint Evangelist artcoder's Avatar
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    Joomla seems like the right CMS for this type of project. But to theme Joomla with the right look and feel, you need to be comfortable building webpages from scratch as well as some familiarity with PHP. For all those advanced functionality, you need some experience finding, configuring, installing and working with Joomla plugins. And more than likely, your client will want some special functionality that is not found in any plugins and you will need to customize the PHP code of the more closely related plugin.


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