CMS stands for Content Management System and why that matters on the web…

It was not so long ago that when you wanted to create a website, you broke out your favorite web design application like Dreamweaver, and started crafting HTML pages, linking them all together to create a website.  As you could imagine, this was all very time consuming and you were inserting design elements, navigation and content into each page.  When you needed to make a content change, you had to edit that page directly and make sure you didn’t screw up the navigation or the design.  I am sure we have all seen those sites with shifts in design and position from page to page? It was a real pain in the ass.

Then it occurred to some smart folks…maybe if we separated the design, display and content into separate functions, we could have better control over the site…and thus was born CMS.  We will skip the history lesson from them till now, but what should should know is that in the open source market, there are two viable CMS platforms to consider, Joomla and Drupal.  You might ask me about WordPress, and it certainly has some merits, but it is neither mature or as feature rich as the other two…and is something completely different…but let us not get caught up in that discussion.

Of the two, Drupal has the largest install base and has been around for longer, which means it has lots and lots of folks who write all kinds of cool stuff for the site, which is a good thing.  Joomla on the other hand is newer, but also has a very large install base and one of the most active communities that create the cool stuff.  Many site developers prefer Drupal because it gives you more flexibility in content design throughout the entire platform, which is separate from site design and again separate from content management…are you confused yet?

Lets now focus on Joomla.  This site was developed using Joomla. I picked Joomla for one simple reason…it was simple to use. I uploaded the platform, ran through the install, and had a relatively function core site in less then 10 mins…pretty neat if you are used to days for HTML site creation, and much longer for Flash.  One of the nice things about Joomla is that ease of use.  You will sacrifice some flexibility, but what you give up is well worth the simplification and ease of use you get.  Joomla is very feature rich and there are tons of add-on’s that you can get for free, or for a fee, that can really spice up your site.  Since Joomla was a spin off of another CMS called Mambo, the core developers where able to take the best from what the learned and leave those things they found to be problematic from having legacy and organic growth to content with.  The Joomla site is well organized, clean and easy to navigate with lots of tutorials and how-to’s.

So now you ask me, how come your giving away the farm? Well it has always been my beliefe that it is better to teach someone how to fish, and so it goes with technology.  The more I can help people to better understand their options and how best to utilize technology to their advantage, the less time everyone collectively spends doing the same thing over and over.

BTW, I have a Drupal site that I am working on currently.  The plan is to have it mirror this site in content so that we can explore the capabilities of Drupal.  I hope to get WordPress up in the same fashion.  And you again might ask me why? Well sometimes I like to do things just to see if I can do them, but the more nefarious purpose is to have multiple sites with content developed in one location, but to show up as three seperate sites for search purposes without getting dinged by the search engines…we will see!