Over the past 12 years, I’ve basically hand coded all of my client sites and used php to build custom cms systems on a per client basis. I typically integrate a custom cms with dreamweaver templates in order for my clients to use Contribute, which is fantastic for end users of any skill to edit their site pages.
I’ve been looking at stock CMS systems (vs building my own with something like code igniter / modx looks good, but the documnetation is a little murky).
I took a long hard look at Drupal, but it seems to be a nightmare to configure and probably overkill for my usual clients such as small businesses, npo’s etc.
Yesterday, I jumped into Joomla, but after looking (for the 10^100 time) at other systems - Wordpress now looks interesting. Insertion of images, in Wordpress for example, seems much easier than using Joomla’s image manager (again thinking about my client - the end user)
My future projects using WP or Joomla, would for example, be a church site. Where most of the pages are static, however, there would be a calendar and maybe a section for “news” which would have pastor writeups. In all cases, expecially the home page, I would be styling the content on the static pages.
I guess my 4 main priorities are :
Ease of use for my client to publish articles, update a calendar, etc.
Ease of building custom templates/themes
Ease of coding plugin-s etc, using php.
Ease of integration of technology like jQuery, embedding flash (such as a video section of a news site)
Based on the above, I would love to hear any suggestions and get input from anyone experienced in the use of both WP and Joomla.
We had our own cross platform XML based CMS but about 5 years ago I was dragged kicking and screaming into a Drupal project… The resulting site was so successful and easy to maintain (by the client), I scrapped our in house CMS in favour of Drupal and so began my education. I tried Joomla too but I found its administration to be frustrating and Drupal has historically offered better performance in head to head performance shootouts.
Yes, the first couple of times you set up Drupal it seems complicated from the beginning but it isn’t once you know it and once you find helper modules that make it easier for you. Then you can create an install profile that loads up the basic site just the way you like it. Then the CMS becomes the foundation you build upon.
In Version 1, they had a free Core version. Unfortunately, with EE2, they don’t offer that any more. You can still use the old Core version, which is very similar in functionality to the new version, but is built differently (not on CodeIgniter).
I’ll mention Expressionengine again, just so ralph.m and kohoutek don’t feel lonely - it’s been my CMS of choice for several years, mainly because I got fed up with trying to bend some Opensource CMS’s to do straightforward things.
Another recent option is that you can offer a simple little CMS—MojoMotor—and upgrade it to EE when necessary. I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s a handy option.
Not totally sure what your requirements are here, but as long as you have multiple sites on the same server, you can run them all off one installation of EE, via the Multiple Site Manager (which is a separate license). It allows you to share stuff across sites. For example, Ellis labs (who make EE) have three sites, and you only need one login for the three sites.
Thanks for all the great advice. I finally spent a week working with Wordpress, figure it was the easiest. What an ugly mess when it comes to building templates or even child templating.
I finally dug into some books on Expressionengine, and going that route. Add some db fields to the back end, create your site the way you want, stick in some easy tags. Simple enough, yet, very powerful and along the lines of my development methodology.
Yeah, it costs, but, after evaluating EE, I can see my development times 4x+ faster. And did I mention that developing extensions looks like a walk in the park?
The other advantage, I can always build a static site for a client, then if they need added functionality such as a blog, etc., it can be very easy insert the necessary EE tags without chopping up my site into hard coded sections as in other CMS’
If you don’t mind shelling out a bit of $$$, I’d recommend give ExpressionEngine a look (build on CodeIgniter). Very nice, clean system to use, well supported and thorough docs. Seems to be easy to write plugins for (and there is a good market for these, too, if that’s your skill. )
I was in your boat about 2 years ago. I had developed custom solutions since the mid 90s but doing so seems both redundant and not always the best solution for my customers. As a result I’ve gone to a Drupal/Wordpress combination (yes, I evaluated Joomla, but it really doesn’t hold up in comparison).
Wordpress is great for more and more applications. I’ve done so many small sites on it I’ve actually started having full classes to train users on working with the backend.
Best advice, don’t be afraid to throw away the old code and learn the APIs inside and out before your start.
I always recommend the same CMSes because in recent times there haven’t been any high-performance CMSes with backend functionality and DB storage that that come close to these; ExpressionEngine (my favourite for its extreme flexibility and 100% control over markup), WordPress (also flexible, but not as sophisticated as EE), and TextPattern (damn fine, super clean and easy interface for clients).
If ease of use and ultra simple management is the most important factor for you, then you might be interested in some of the more modern, light CMSes
that are popping up everywhere these days. These are Content Management Systems that are designed to work without a backend, e.g. such as Unify or [URL=“http://mojomotor.com/”]MojoMotor. I like that they allow frontend editing and adding of content, but I’m not sure how I feel about the lack of a backend.
Does the average site need a backend at all? I’m unsure of it. If anything, I’m still a bit reluctant to go with flat file CMSes (though I must admit the Stacy App looks VERY appealing) or CMSes that are without an admin area.
PS: The CMS review sites are quite interesting as you can read up on features and overall experience:
If you are looking to do small business sites etc. Then use Joomla. It takes a little while to get used to it but there are so many addons - Components and it is easy to teach the client how to do simple editing adding images etc.
Lokk for lists of top ten components for Joomla and you will find them much easier and better than Wordpress to use and install/configure
Another thing to consider is if the client wants a blog on their site that actually looks like a blog. Joomla has a Wordpress plugin that you can use to get the full blog functionality (with comments etc) into a Joomla site. More over, having directed my wife to Wordpress while I was having a go at it about 12 months ago, she found it to be cumbersome and difficult to use but finds Joomla much easier in terms of interface. The last point staggers me because I personally found Joomla a massive learning curve, but then again, I’m coming at it from the development angle rather than a CMS client user angle.
In terms of the original post, I have built a site for Church in Somerville, Victoria using Joomla and it has a calendar (which I had to muck around with the CSS on to make it fit with the theme of the site). There are heaps of plugins available for you, but be careful because being third party, they can have security flaws. If you’re any good with PHP, jQuery/MooTools, XML etc, you’ll have no problem building templates. I just finished a book on it and was staggered at how easy it was. Having said that, I’ve built templates for Wordpress too and found them to be pretty easy overall as well.
Anyway, my preference is for Joomla, mainly because my clients find it easier to use and when 1.6 comes out (if it ever comes out… OMG!:x) it will change the face of subscription based sites due to the ease with which it sets up multi-level user accounts etc. Be warned though, it is a learning curve from the development aspect, but once you get it, it will be one of the easiest things you’ve ever done. At least that’s my experience.