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Readers Respond: Issues with Installing a CMS

Responses: 22

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Did your company try to install a CMS and fail or have many problems? I worked at one company where it took us three tries before we could get a CMS installed on our website. Many of the problems were technical, but many were also personnel related. What problems did your company experience when installing a CMS? Share your problems

I don't recommend using CMS's

I use ModX exclusively when a customer wants a CMS. I know html,css,php and such. I don't recommend actually using them at all. Most are bloated and slow. Learning html css and some php would be about a hundred times better for everyone involved.
—Guest Matt M

Nothing to it.

I do a buisiness where all sites I create using Joomla exclusively. Church Sites that allow the owner to change the content are impossible to create from scratch, especially when you require the client to get his own web hosting. Joomla can also be run locally with many open source programs. You can transfer the site you build offline to live servers by intalling it online, and then uploading all files, and importing the sql file. But how else can you allow the client the ability to adjust and add conetent to their website, without you coding it each time yourself. That is expensive for the client, and a church website may want to change their content every week. The learning curve is not on the creation side, but on the client's end. I use instruction videos and large help files to help them accomplish this.
—Guest johnemurphy

Changed my mind a little

I have been one of the "resisting" ones and so commented earlier, stressing the importance of design as a staring point. I have since jumped on a steep curve out of curiosity and a client but just doing a Joomla site was not challenging enough - I had to start with designing my own templates using Artisteer (another learning curve). The results (I know they are not perfect and I have things to do like SEF URLs - fighting with the host provider) are OK www.adventurouscaravanhire.com.au and www.thegrc.com.au). BUT - I could not have done it without HTML/CSS coding knowledge. The problem with others offering cheap instant solutions remains.
—Guest bds2622

No Freedom

Plain and simple it takes away my freedom to design a site the way I see fit.
—Guest Diane

Designer view

I am not resisting CMS but found all the "big ones" all wanting: complicated installation, complicated use thereafter, you have a choice of templates and at the end, they look like dogs' dinner if created by a novice with no designer perspective or all the same - one can recognise a WordPress site immediately. Or end up with a massive site like 2000 pages with ea page an image no text with nothing to support SEO with the person wondering why one can't find it and why there is no shopping cart, can you convert it please? I am all for a DESIGN driven process where I design the site and I chose which tool to use to make it work and not the tool and somebody else's template dictating what I can do. People who believe that with no knowledge of anything can just use a CMS program to do a website, and do it for somebody else cheaply as a no-brainer, give the industry a bad reputation and undervalue the work of those who pride themselves on creating functional unique websites
—bds2622

CMS Analysis

I have been investigating CMS packages for a client that has a 7000+ page static site. When I first started this analysis, I was pretty certain they would need to migrate to a packaged CMS and I was focusing on Wordpress, Joomla!, and Drupal for open-source. I also looked into Sitefinity, Sharepoint, and Autonomy (aka TeamBuilder). After alot of research, I've changed my mind and am recommending this client build their own backend applications to update the content. Though they have alot of pages, only about 20 of them are being updated frequently and the manual CMS process they have now just isn't going to work in the future. BTW, I found a help doc for Joomla! that showed 19 steps to convert a static web page. Wow, multiply that by 7000!
—Guest Bill

A bit to learn but worth it

I use Joomla and Drupal for client web sites. I couldn't disagree more with Matt M's comment about not recommending using CMS. I find both performance and features are great (assuming you have a good service provider!) and I spend more time developing what the client wants rather than creating back office functionality or even having to forfeit client requirements. I'm a PHP developer but I've created many CMS sites without having to do any coding but knowing how to code is certainly a good step as it allows you to further customise functionality. Drupal looks very basic out-of-the-box but stick with it and get a theme going, then you find it is a fantastic CMS framework. You will find it is lacking until you install some modules; you _must_ install some modules to get those great features working!
—Guest Neil

Resistance is futile

I couldn't resist, but seriously, this is about resistance and everyone is responding with developer take. The biggest resistance is enduser use. If they don't use it for whatever reason it won't work. You can say that is a management problem until the cows come home, and I've heard it before, but in some cases people just don't use it and it dies. And this goes for software developed, or off the shelf or custom, it is upto us as developers to make the end product intuitive, and then we have to sell it as a value to peers, management, and the end user. You must be able to step away from the end product and let it live on it's own as well...if you are in a constant state of development and bug fixing it will either die, or hurt your credibility - even if you know the fault of the problems does not lie with your code.
—Guest eCylk

CMS Made Simple

This is a fantastic open source cms-- simple to customize, VERY easy for clients to use, and great forum support. {JK added: Here's the URL: http://www.cmsmadesimple.org/ }
—Guest wolphgirl

My Custom CMS

All I can say is Joomla is complicated and takes time to grasp the functionalities. Oh and several of the features are not needed. Thats why I am building my own CMS. And its really going great. Its also more user friendly than Joomla. Its I think 50% complete and I used PHP, JQuery n some other cool stuffs.
—aminiasitk

PHP-Fusion

I tried several content management systems as a non-programmer and miserably failed to install most of them. Looking back, I know it was a CHMOD thing and some other small details. However, I did manage to install PHP-Fusion from my first attempt, which made me feel great I'm that stupid I cannot install a web platform. A year after that I started reading the code, trying to understand what's behind, so I can tune it up to my needs. It took me a month to add something new but it was my code. Today, reading other CMS' code I see a huge difference. PHP-Fusion's code is written very nice, being relatively easy to understand even if you don't have a rich programming background. One year later I had my own components written from scratch and now I am even able to create websites based on 5% of PHP-Fusion's capabilities - basically around it's core file and registration system. I can now build my own but it's unnecessary because the PHP-Fusion core is already secure. That's it! :) I'm happy.
—Guest kneekoo

a simple DIY CMS solution using PHP

Many website owners only need access to specific text areas of certain pages. One very easy way to offer this without a formal and involved installation and configuration of a CMS system is: Take the text areas of the pages and cut each out and paste them into a separate .txt file. Where you cut out that text put a PHP statement of include("pages_name_1.txt"); Simple so far. Next just create a change page, only available to those authorized, that has a select field to pick the txt file they want to edit, and a textbox box that will display that text so they can make changes and save it. You can jazz up this editing page with a preview link that will pop up a window with how the page will look if changes are saved. If you need to put the include statements in a non .php page just set .htm and .html pages to be parsed by PHP by adding a line to the .htaccess file that is in the same folder or parent as the web pages. (ADDTYPE application/x-httpd-php .phtml .phtml .php .txt .htm .html)
—bluewaterbob

Joomla vs Drupal vs Wordpress

I've found the newer versions of Joomla difficult to configure and lacking in good SEO compared to Drupal and WordPress. Wordpress used to be just a blogging CMS, but it is so popular that many free plugins are available that you unzip, upload the folder to the plugin folder and the site changes from a blogging centered site to a regular website. Add a plugin that will display a horizontal menu with drop downs when wanted, and one of the good SEO plugins, and a theme you like (or create your own) and you can quickly create a site that is easy for the company to maintain. Wordpress is also easy to install and some hosting companies will do it for you or have online apps that walk you right through the install.
—bluewaterbob

FrogCMS PixieCMS

You should check out these two. The admin interface is beautiful on both and they are super easy to learn. At the moment they are both targeted towards small to medium sites but they are growing and seem to have decent teams backing the project. Check em out.
—Guest Dallas Peters

Custom or open Source?

I have previously built custom cms' in php and have recently started experimenting with Wordpress and Joomla, although the easiest cms I have found for simple sites so far is cushycms (www.cushycms.com). This can be embedded into a site using a simple css class. Go to the site, set up some basic details, create editors and set their access. Jobs done. Well worth a look.
—SirThibault

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Issues with Installing a CMS

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