The "right" CMS for this task?

I have a friend who has an enormous amount of documents stored on Scribd. Scribd, as we all know, sucks the light fantastic. He wants to move them to a standalone, dedicated site that he can maintain, in a file structure that will have over 360 subdirectories (!). He has no, and I mean no, knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP, JS, or anything fun (otherwise I’d just tell him to go with Wordpress). I offered to take his site requirements and put them to the forum. What would you guys suggest?

Here’s what he wants the CMS to feature (I’m quoting him directly in the list items):

  • search function
  • section where files are organized by subject (tags could govern what appears here). This page could also have a special side section listing featured docs- of special significance
  • section where files are organized according to the folder structure – 360+ subfolders; in each subfolder it could expand (show/hide) to show a list of links (1-50 links) to the actual documents, but hopefully there could be a short space for a title/description w/ each link
  • tagging/tag cloud- ability to do this in batches/mass apply tags, as stuff is uploaded, rather than one by one
  • rss-type feed for updates/articles
  • contact form/about/FAQ
  • open-source

I can help him design and implement a front end, unless it involves a lot of PHP and JS, but I’m not available to do this for him, nor do I have the knowledge it requires. In essence, he needs a fairly powerful CMS for someone who neither knows anything about Web coding nor wants to learn. Any suggestions?

Not sure what you mean here:

We have a wide variety of Open source CMS on offer to you.

Careful about coming across as self-promotional.

I missed the last two comments. :stuck_out_tongue: Kohoutek, I’m wondering if Typo3 might not be a good solution for another site’s problems. I’m going to do some investigation on it. Thanks for the recommendation!

The guys have decided to go with open-source Magnolia, which they’ve been told is very good at handling large amounts of documents. Anyone know anything about it?

Joomla would be quite suitable for this one. It has all the features that you require, plus it’s quite easy to use since you don’t need to have programming knowledge for it.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I’ve worked with Joomla and Wordpress before, and they are by no means novice-friendly. Ralph, I can’t speak for EE, as I’ve never used it, though I’ve heard wonderful things about it. Don’t know about ModX. Aren’t there “CMS programs for knuckleheads” that can store and access docs in a multi-level file structure using a Web interface? That’s really all this guy needs.

(Side note: someone, not me, may have volunteered to set this guy up with a MediaWiki installation. He might just do that. It may not be an ideal solution, but if he can make it work, more power to him!)

I, too, would have recommended ExpressionEngine, but the folder part has made me not decide for it. With EE you can organize stuff in every which way you want, but for someone who prefers to have a “visible” folder structure and wanting to see their data in a “tree” format, I’d actually suggest other CMSes that feature it by default.

MODx has been mentioned and does exactly what your friend is looking for. [URL=“”]Drupal has the same functionality out of the box, and so does [URL=“”] typo3, which is probably the most complex (and enterprise) Opensource solutions of them all, but it also allows for great customization of the author areas. Finally, [URL=“”]phpWCMS is probably the simplest of them all and provides a very intelligent folder architecture that fits the bill well. Problem is, the best support is in German. There’s an English support forum for it as well and I’d stress that there’s little you would need support for, but there you go, might be a deal breaker.

Sounds like a nice job for Expressionengine, and you wouldn’t need to touch one bit of php :slight_smile:

I suppose it depends on whether you’re talking about where the physical files are stored, or URL’s and the visible navigation structure that visitors see. I worked a Intranet site once that had over 4000 PDF files that had to be organised in a similar manner to the OP’s request, the whole “folder structure” ran on weblog entries with liberal use of {segments} to help filter various file variations.

Just a thought :slight_smile:

I would suggest Wordpress. With a few modifications you could easily do all of those features.

Selecting a CMS is about selecting the right tool for the job.
We have a wide variety of Open source CMS on offer to you. Each have their own features and suitability.

Suitable for typical business websites.

WordPress was originally created as a weblog or blog platform. But now the reality is that
the WordPress CMS product is powerful and flexible enough to be used as a more typical web
CMS (and increasingly is so used).

Suitable for medium/large business

  1. Joomla – popular, award-winning CMS that will help you build powerful online applications.
    2, Drupal – equipped with a powerful blend of features, rich set of modules, very popular.
  2. Typo3 – flexible and extensible CMS with an accomplished set of ready-made interfaces, functions and modules.

Suitable for large organisation

  1. XOOPS – extensible, easy to use; ideal tool for developing small to large dynamic community websites, blogs, portals and much more
  2. SiteFrame™ – lightweight content-management system designed for the rapid deployment of community-based websites.

Apart from the open-source bit, I would recommend ExpressionEngine (my CMS of choice). It’s perfect for this job. You don’t need to think in terms of sub folders either, as this happens of itself.

An open-source alternative to EE is MODx. Or if you are brave, you could dip into Drupal. You could probably even handle this with easily with WordPress, truth be told.

Another vote for ExpressionEngine here.

Yes, Typo3 is a heavy beast with a pretty high learning curve, so unless there’s good reason to use it, I’d go with something lighter.

I’ve tried Magnolia many moons ago. Didn’t like it. That’s not to say it isn’t good. Actually, I can’t remember why I didn’t like it.