CMS (Content Management System) which makes the possibility of building powerful website for individuals, small companies and even for corporate. The Open Source CMSs has increased the popularity and acceptance of web portals and reached in the hands of a common man with very little knowledge on HTML.
In terms of web, it is a centralized web interface to manage, edit, and delete contents that are used for a website. The content includes html text, images, videos, audio, xml content, etc. Access to the centralized system will be authenticated and different levels of authentication for managing the content can also be provided.
Choosing the best CMS system! A question which is inevitable in a customer’s or developer’s mind while planning to start a website. Choosing from a whole lot of CMS system could be a herculean task. Hence please do find below an earnest effort from us in trying to give you an idea on some of the available CMS systems.
In this discussion, I have included only the popular open source CMS which are based on PHP scripting language. There are many other free open source CMS available out there. We can rate a CMS based on its popularity, multi-site implementation, multilingual, privilege management, functionality extension, etc. Below are my findings on the very popular open source (free and paid) CMS tools.
The name Drupal was adopted from the Dutch word ‘druppel’, or water droplet, and was named accidentally by Dutch creator Dries Buytaert when he misspelled the Dutch word for village ‘dorp’ while checking a domain name which was started in 2003. Ever since Drupal’ launch and developed into one of the most complex open-source content management systems (CMS). The famous sites that developed in Drupal are The Economist, Examiner.com, The White House, Popular Science, Harvard, MIT, Ubuntu, Sony Music and many more. Drupal now displays contents in 182 languages in 228 countries.
Drupal offers great site building tool with templates. By using the different and attractive template the user can make the website layout very appealing. The pre-defined configuration feature of Drupal CMS will enable the user to develop even a complicated website easily and rapidly. By using drupal, users can create the contents like polls, videos, management, blogs, revision controls, podcasts and videos very easily. Advanced administration control allows the users to create user groups and permissions; so that the contents can be managed with group permission levels. Also the contents can be organized with much ease. As the program is open source, users can create their own plug-in. More than 7000 plug-ins can boost the users to make the site more efficient.
Websites made in Drupal CMS are relatively heavy and take more time to load. The larger breadth of tools in Drupal CMS makes the website heavy. The websites made in Drupal CMS can never open with a slow internet connection. Drupal is a relatively new system and is not backwards compatible with other software; so if you have other content, systems and programs in place then you might have to become accustomed to Drupal that was not in the system earlier. Drupal CMS is much user friendly as compared to the other open source content management systems. It incorporates high learning curves and one need to learn a few basic things about the platform and its features before using it.
Joomla is a fork of Mambo (which is another open source). The official release of first version of Joomla was on 2005 with version Joomla 1.0. The other popular vresions that followed till now are Joomla 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 2.5 and 3.0
Joomla claims that it has been downloaded 35 million times. This will give you a picture about its populaity in web community. Most small business sites are well suited with Joomla without bringing much change in the predefined parameters which comes with the bundle. They will have an active development community along with lot of webhost privide auto installers.
The framework used in Joomla is MVC (model-view-controller) pattern. Regarding the platform, they have now released an open source palform which consist of independent set of libraries which works independently without the aid of Joomla CMS. It can be used to build our own applications may be another open source system.
The great system can be extended to create any type of site through its plugin, component and modules. For exmaple, we can build a blog, shopping cart, forums, etc. Joomla has a very pleasing Admin Panel. It supports plug-ins for SEO friendly URLs, easy to install, and great developing community.
Joomla has got a greater learning curve. Extensions moving to be paid by the community. The template file which constitutes javscript and CSS files usually becomes heavy. If we need some customizations on the system, we need some knowldge on development side. The older versions like 1.5 had some security breaches which provide good oppurtunity for hackers to attack Joomla powered websites.
WordPress was started in 2003 by Matt Mullenweg with a single bit of code. WordPress is the most famous CMS system because of its easiness to be installed and maintained. Users with less knowledge in PHP, HTML can manipulate the contents and create the pages of the site. The famous sites that are using WordPress as the backbone are TIME, Mtv Newsroom, FORD, etc.
The main advantage of WordPress is that it is easy to use. All the contents, menus, etc can be managed from the back end. The community is huge compared to other CMS systems. Hence, the support of it is very high. They have recurrent updates and the new versions have been released frequently. So, the WordPress is very compactable with the latest trends in the web. And the updation of it is pretty easy and won’t affect the site, if too much of extra coding is not required in the core files. There are thousands of themes available for the WordPress and it includes paid themes as well. There is around 15 thousand plug-ins available for it. As the coding is quite easy, anybody can create the plug-ins.
WordPress is not a recommended CMS system for large number of pages and high database usage. As the WordPress updation is very frequent and when the plug-ins is used, it might cause bugs in the system. The plug-ins may not have the pace for updating in the version. It’s difficult to create the html design that meets the WordPress specifications.
It was initially developed by a Danish developer Kasper skarhoj from the scratch on 1997. He now no longer develops Typo3, and now it’s maintained by two teams, one for maintenance and other for development. The latest stable version available is typo 6.0.
The typo3 team claims that it has over 500,000 installations world-wide and the version widely used by most of typo3 users is Typo 4.0. Even though it’s popular alongside joomla, drupal, wordpress its greatest market share is found in Europe especially in German speaking countries.
The framework used from typo3 4.X and its branches is Typo3 Flow which is an application framework that works independently from Typo3.
The modularity that typo3 provides is awesome so that reusability is great. It has thousands of extensions available which helps to extend our site to any form. The authentication for the system can be provided to any level, more than you expect from a CMS. Its version maintenance is awesome, so that we can go back to any version or undo changes. It has got higher flexibility in page structure. Content types are really helpful while adding different content to pages.
First of all its learning curve, it is not for beginners or for any advanced programmers. From the installation steps itself we should start learning. Since it provides large expandability, more server requirements and parameters are needed. As there are more German users, the support will be more in German than in English. It is very difficult to crack down for developers.
Expression Engine is the one which has been built on the top of lovely php framework codeigniter. It is a product of EllisLab, Inc. It was actually a variation of pmachine, weblog software. Its first release was on 2004, and its first stable version was 2.0 and now reaches up to 2.5.3 stable.
It is the flagship project of Elis Lab and thousands of sites are built on top of Expression Engine.When we look at the user base, it is clear that many professional users have been involved. They have a very active community forum, where we get a better helping hand.
Another product from Elis Lab is built on Codeigniter framework. Codeigniter is a loosely coupled MVC pattern structure with prebuilt libraries.
First of all it’s an authorative system. Its security breach is very less when compared with other CMS. It provides a good support from the development team and also from large skilled community. Ease of use is also very high, where administrators can come and manage the contents without prior knowledge in php or any other scripting language. Very good documentations are developed from the development team.
First disadvantage of it is that it is not free. While most the other CMS will provide the same functionality free, and we have to make payment. It is less SEO friendly. Sometimes it will support, but at times it does not meet as expected, even though it is a paid one.
Its development was started on 2003 as a rapid design approach for ad council’s official site. Since then regular version updates is happening and now the latest stable version is 22.214.171.124 has been released on 2012. One of its outstanding feature is context-editing (edit website directly on the page).
The system has a highest growth rate when compared with other CMS. According to the 2010 report, it is placed in the 7th position. It was sourcefoges “Project of the Month” on 2008 and it is in 6th position for brand familiarity on 2010. It has been built on a Model-View-Controller architecture.
It is quiet flexible, easy to update and is suitable for no-programmers. When it is in edit mode, we can edit it from the live page itself, so what you see is what you get. It has already been built in themes or can be customized and its functionality varies according to the user requirements. They have hosting plans also i.e., you will have a supporting platform when you go with their plans.
It was built up as a commercial product and only recently they made it free. So the developing community and supporting community is light when compared with other CMS. Addons are pricy. There is more room for documentation.
The SilverStripe software is developed by SilverStripe Limited, a website development company founded in 2000. In 2007, it was released publically as free open source software. And after that, it seems to be improving rapidly and releasing new versions. The silverstripe is easy to integrate with other software applications like ecommerce applications. Silverstripe is used as the framework for a lot of small sites like time2.co.uk, clydequaywharf.co.nz, gdc.govt.nz etc.
Silverstripe supports responsive design with latest HTML technologies. Sites using silverstripe can be extended with the help of other software applications like Magento. It has easy drag and drop tree based navigation system and has a good interface for SEO management. We can also use multiple templates per page in this.
One of the main disadvantages is the availability of very less information on this online. There is also lack of documentation on it and has got only limited plug-ins and themes available compared to other CMS systems. It is not compactable for complicated and highly customized sites.
Contao formerly known as typolight was started on 2004. It is best suited for small and medium websites with easy templating and user management. Glauxsoft, Shnit International Shortfilm festival, Kobler & Partner are some the sites that uses Contao as the base framework. The updations are frequent and the latest version can be updated with a single button click.
This is clearly more design oriented than functionality. It is very easy to edit the layout and styles and can easily make it very different and attractive. The framework is also very well setup. Contao gives you more control and provides you with a clean html thus making your work more effective.
Contao has been built in a designer’s point of view and hence it does not support much for developers in updating the code and adding additional modules. One of the main disadvantages is the availability of very less information on this online. There is also lack of documentation on it and it has only limited plug-ins and themes available compared to other CMS systems. It is not compactable for complicated and highly customized sites.
As a conclusion , if you are looking for a personal website, with lots of SEO friendliness and ease of manage You can definitely go with WordPress . But if you are looking for a portal with more interaction from client side authentication and levels of users with ecommerce feature. You can either go with Drupal or Joomla. Joomla can be operated without a proper training. But for Drupal you may need a bit more training. But it has an edge on permission management than Joomla with stronger architecture. Please assure that you have very good server environment. In case if you are looking for multiple websites hosted on single installation within a corporate that too with a dedicated and well-trained administrator. Each website will have different levels of staffs, and then definitely you can go with typo3. At the same time, Typo3 is suited only for long term maintenance project.