December 01, 2004
Evaluating CMS

Content management systems are a necessary part of website development for most organizations. They provide a platform for consistent design, interactive tools and, as the name implies, managing content of the site. They make it easy for non-technical people to contribute to a website.

But for me, a semi-skilled web worker, choosing the right CMS is a challenge. CMS Matrix can help to narrow the field of options to just the CMS that have your required features, but a checklist isn’t enough to make a decision.

You really have to try them out.

I already have good knowledge of Xoops, PHPNuke and Movable Type. But none of these is right for the project I’m working on now, redeveloping the FCCJ website to make it easier for staff and club members to contribute to the site.

So I’ve been experimenting. Today I ruled out TYPO3. Although it was relatively easy to install and offered a good range of handy modules, the template system is horrid and the user interface for infrequent contributors is entirely too complex.

So now I’m playing with DruPal. Then I’ll try out Expression Engine & WebGUI. I may have a look at WordPress, too. In a few weeks’ time, I will have a good knowledge of quite a few of the free and low-cost CMSes.

And in the end, I have a feeling I’m going to cobble the site together with a bunch of mismatched pieces and a lot of SHTML.

Posted by kuri at December 01, 2004 09:41 PM


Raphael ( ), my French friend from Amsterdam you met last year at a meetup wrote a CMS that’s on SourceForge. It’s called Pointcomma ( ). Maybe it will fit your needs… I know that they ( ) just finished a small website for a Tennis Club ( ) using it, the requirements were very similar to yours. You might want to chek it out. Don’t hesitate to contact him.

Posted by: Paul on December 2, 2004 12:26 AM

Hey, have you look at Nucleus CMS @ ? or the feature rich spinoff Blog:CMS (

Posted by: Edmond Hui on December 2, 2004 03:10 AM

You might also look into Plone if you haven’t already -

I find it takes a little getting used to when setting it up for the first time…but it’s very fast, well organized, full featured, and extremely scalable. The more I use it the more addicted I get.

Posted by: Nathan on December 8, 2004 11:20 AM

I’ll second the Plone suggestion. I seem to remember some debates over the worthiness of Python with you and Tod, but Plone is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to completeness and ease of use for the end-user (there’s a bit of a steep curve for the admin, but it’s worth it). I’ve just set up a new website for our network and it’s been a revelation for some very un-techy people to feel empowered to update the site.

Posted by: Sean on December 12, 2004 10:03 AM

very cool, i have a big list of different CMS systems here

Posted by: mac on December 17, 2004 07:52 AM

Hmm… I didn’t see anyone throw out the name of the CMS that I use. I like it, I use it, it’s great! so check out if you’d like.

Posted by: Rick on December 17, 2004 11:32 AM

Jeffrey Veen has an excellent commentary on CMSs (open-source particularly, but also more generally) that covers some of the frustrations you have:

I’ve been working with one system he doesn’t mention, Sitellite ( Once you get it running, it’s actually very powerful and easy to use, but installation, configuration, and templating using it it require serious Linux/Unix geek qualifications, which is unfortunate. Especially since I don’t have those qualifications, and had to ask for a lot of help.

Posted by: Derek K. Miller on December 18, 2004 01:13 AM

I’ve used Drupal and WordPress. WordPress wins hands-down for ease of configuration. If you need something simple to use, simple to administer, and fairly simple to hack, go for WP. It supports multiple authors — either self-registered, or admin created. There are a couple of bugs in 1.2.1, though. 1.2.2 might have ironed them out.

Posted by: tiffany on December 22, 2004 12:10 AM


however REALLY take a look at MAMBO OPEN SOURCE….

I also like it alow

Posted by: 808blogger on December 23, 2004 06:50 PM

Check out mambo.. I’ve found it very easy to set up and configure and there are alot of 3rd party modules and plugins for it.

Posted by: V on December 24, 2004 04:44 AM
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