content management systems

There are many CMS or Content Management Systems available today.  Choosing the appropriate system is the first step in developing not only a successful website, but a website that is easy to maintain and administrate.  A CMS allows the owner or administrator of a website to make day to day updates to content through a password protected admin portal, the content of which is organized and deployed dynamically once the initial site is developed.  The main benefit to this type of website is that the creation of content, i.e., new web pages, requires no scripting or coding knowledge.  

There are two main types of CMS, proprietary and open source.  The functionality of both is basically the same but there are a few significant differences:  

Proprietary CMS are commercially offered software systems, meaning the software itself is purchased and or licensed with an annual fee and the parent company owns and retains the rights to the core code of the system.  The benefits of a commercial system are one point of contact, dedicated support, and stability,  The downside is that custom functionality is costly and system updates (bug fixes, security updates) may not be as reactive to the volatile and ever changing web environment in which they’re deployed.   Two examples of proprietary CMS are Squarespace and Expression Engine.

Open Source CMS software is usually free under General Public License and is community developed, meaning developers around the world contribute to the core programming of the system itself.  Also, plugins and extensions to the system like event calendars or shopping carts are often free and available for use (though some commercial software is also available).  Developers have access to the core programming allowing extensive customization.  The drawbacks to Open Source systems can be stability issues and lack of organized support.  

From a budgetary and customization standpoint open source systems are extremely versatile and cost effective as well as appropriate for the majority of websites.  Of the hundreds of systems available, three which we prefer are WordPress, Magento, and Drupal.  All three systems are based on the PHP scripting language and require Linux servers and Apache software, all of which are open source projects.


WordPress Logo

WordPress started as just a blogging system, but has evolved to be used as full content management system and so much more through the thousands of plug-ins, widgets, and themes, WordPress is limited only by your imagination. WordPress was born out of a desire for an elegant, well-architectured personal publishing system built on PHP and MySQL and licensed under the GPLv2 (or later). It is the official successor of b2/cafelog. WordPress is fresh software, but its roots and development go back to 2001. It is a mature and stable product. We hope by focusing on user experience and web standards we can create a tool different from anything else out there.


Magento Logo

Magento is a feature-rich, professional open source eCommerce solution that offers merchants complete flexibility and control over the look, content, and functionality of their online store. Magento’s intuitive administration interface contains powerful marketing, search engine optimization and catalog-management tools to give merchants the power to create sites that are tailored to their unique business needs. Designed to be completely scalable and backed by an extensive support network, Magento offers companies the ultimate eCommerce solution.


Drupal Logo

Drupal is open source software maintained and developed by a community of 630,000+ users and developers. It’s distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (or “GPL”), which means anyone is free to download it and share it with others. This open development model means that people are constantly working to make sure Drupal is a cutting-edge platform that supports the latest technologies that the Web has to offer. The Drupal project’s principles encourage modularity, standards, collaboration, ease-of-use, and more.


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