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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast leafspirit's Avatar
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    Unhappy Confusion about CMS options

    Hi guys, hoping someone here can point me in the right direction. I've spent the past two days reading about and testing out CMS systems, and finally arrived at the conclusion I need some guidance.

    I have a little experience with web design, although mostly back in the late 90s/early 00s, but I'm only just starting to become familiar with recent web developments.

    I'm creating a site that will consist of 5 sections, only 3 of them being dynamic, and one of those being the home page, which I'd like to pull feeds from my articles section adn the blog section. I have a few requirements for a CMS, which are:

    • lightweight code
    • capability to do RSS
    • ability to select whether or not blog posts are shown on the homepage
    • capable of making fluid 3 column layout with header and footer
    • easy integration of social media
    • marked up to where I have full control over layout with my own stylesheeets
    • compatible with eventual inclusion of ecommerce/shopping cart


    I've tried WordPress, but I don't want to focus on blogging, so it seems a bad choice. I also delved into BarebonesCMS, and while I liked the functionality it did provide, it didn't have things I need, such as RSS.

    If anyone could just point me in the right direction, or even a couple of right directions, I'd much appreciate it. I'm willing to accept somewhat of a learning curve as long as I'm not trying to build my own wheel from scratch.

  2. #2
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Hi leafspirit. Welcome to the forums.

    There are lots of good CMSes out there that will do what you ask, and you'll find that anyone who replies will tend to recommend their favorite(s). In the end, you have to decide for yourself. My recommendation would be to check out ExpressionEngine. It's a beautiful, clean CMS that doesn't mess with your HTML and CSS at all, and has all the functions you need and a lot more. However, it has a price tag.

    A similar free option is MODx, which also is very clean in the way it handles your CSS and HTML.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast leafspirit's Avatar
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    Thanks for the welcome! I know people will recommend their favorites, but in a sense this is what I want to know, as an unfriendly CMS is not likely to be the favorite of anyone but a masochist.

    I'm creating this business out of my own pocket, so ExpressionEngine isn't viable for me until next month since I switched to working part-time to focus on building a passive income stream, and I'd like to have something running before then haha

    I will look into MODx, as this isn't the first place it's been recommended. Thank you very much for your reply!

  4. #4
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Cool. Let us know how you go.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast leafspirit's Avatar
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    Well, so far I managed to slug my way through the installation with minimal fuss, except that I uploaded the entire modx folder so I accidentally installed it into that folder instead of into public_html. Doing a fresh install the right way now and then I'll see how it works for me. I was pretty impressed with everything I read about it and it seems to have all the functionality I could want, I'm just not looking forward to the learning curve before I can have my site up and running hehe.

    Thanks again for the help. I decided to just embrace the motto "Done is better than perfect" and stick with MODx instead of wasting any more time looking around for another CMS. All time time I spend trying to get the backend perfect is time I'm not spending creating content, which means no value for my users, which means no money for me haha

  6. #6
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leafspirit View Post
    I decided to just embrace the motto "Done is better than perfect" and stick with MODx instead of wasting any more time looking around for another CMS...
    Sounds like a good strategy to me. Good luck with it.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Everything on that list can be achieved with Drupal with little programming depending on how particular you are by just moving things around in the GUI and installing some contributed modules. The only thing that will be painful is modifying the default HTML generated by contributed modules. Though I'm not really a fan of eCommerce packages out there for Drupal. if you use something like modx you will pretty much be building most things from scratch using a "template language". Unless there is a modx store and feed parser which I'm unaware.

    If you decide to checkout Drupal you will want the core Drupal 7 and these modules: views, panels, ctools. There are many many more available but those are the main ones that come to mind inline with what you want to achieve. Than you can try installing ubercart which is contributed module that provides an eCommerce solution for Drupal. I haven't taken a look at the Drupal 7 version if it is even finished but I wasn't really impressed by 6. There might be others but I haven't done any direct work with Drupal eCommerce just heard about around the water cooler.

    The learning curve for Drupal though is quite large… not for the faint of heart. once you understand it though and can accept its failures on behalf of its strengths it is a very powerful solution out of the box and magnificent with the right combination of contributed modules. That is before any programming on the developer/designers end either.

    Off Topic:


    I kinda sounds like a Drupal fanboy and for that I think I might slit my throat but I am not. Just have to work with it a lot at work and have come to embrace its many strengths over failures. I mainly deal with Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 is a much more powerful platform out of the box.
    The only code I hate more than my own is everyone else's.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Enthusiast leafspirit's Avatar
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    Too late haha!

    I'm actually kind of enjoying the flexibility of MODx. Yeah, I'm having to build everything from the ground up, but it's been relatively easy to learn so far, and I have almost absolute control over my markup, as well as being able to easily separate my content from my layout, while most of the bits I hate are handled in large part by modx. I think I can actually have my site complete and live in only 3-4 days with MODx. And since I've already gotten about 15% of the way in to creating my wheel, I don't want to switch and have to reinvent it.

    Thanks for the suggestion though! I'll try Drupal on my next site and see how it compares.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast leafspirit's Avatar
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    Ok, so I've spent a couple more days reading the documentation, trying things out, piecing it all together, and all I have to say is... wow!

    MODx goes far beyond what I expected out of a CMS. More of a CMF really. And it's amazingly powerful. While I'm not up to speed on the latest web developments yet, I am familiar with object-oriented programming, and MODx seems to have taken that concept and applied it to content management. The Manager is robust and easy-to-use, the documentation is excellent, and there's an extremely enthusiastic userbase who seem to have already thought of all the questions I managed to come up with so far and provide answers on the forums.

    I honestly don't think I'll ever have a need for another CMS or CMF again. I wouldn't bet money on it yet, as I still have yet to try implementing any kind of eCommerce or user account system, so I'll give an ongoing review later, but for anyone who's reading this thread later and wondering what CMF to use if they're new to the whole ballgame, I say take MODx for a spin!

  10. #10
    padawan silver trophybronze trophy markbrown4's Avatar
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    I remember doing a round up about a year ago of popular CMS's and was also really impressed with MODx.
    I still use Wordpress because of the community and familiarity but it was never designed and a CMS, always feels a little bit like putting a square peg in a round hole.

    Most CMS's you can coerce into doing what you want, MODx doesn't seem to need persuading and ExpressionEngine is also excellent

  11. #11
    SitePoint Enthusiast leafspirit's Avatar
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    I keep having ExpressionEngine recommended to me on other sites as well. It, Drupal, and Joomla are all on my list of products to try in the future, but I'm still kind of overwhelmed coming into this with very little experience in any of the latest technologies, so I'm gonna keep it rolling with MODx for a few more months until I have enough experience and enough revenue coming in to justify the expense.

  12. #12
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    The best answer is to keep testing and get valuable knowledge about a variety of CMS's.

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    ...
    In the end, you have to decide for yourself...
    Yes, nothing beats experience. What works for someone else, might leave you looking for something else.


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