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Top Five Things To Know When Choosing An Open Source Content Management System (CMS)

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by Pooja Gupta
November 05, 2008

Pooja Gupta

Pooja Gupta is a Co-Founder of FDSC, a software development company in India specializing in custom software development, web based content management systems among other development services. Pooja provides the necessary direction in building Project Scope, Business Analysis, Customer Relationships, Software Architecture and Design Improvements and creating and implementing several training programs.

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  1. Evaluate a CMS for the suitability for your industry and your requirements?
    • Joomla CMS with Mosets – Real estate
    • Moodle – Content management system for managing and editing courses for education and e-learning.
    • iSocial - CMS for social networking. It allows you to create your own Friendster and Orkut like sites.
    • OneCMS – content management system targeted towards gaming.
  2. There are a lot of ready off the shelf CMSs available for specific needs like

    Search the web for the one suitable for your requirements. You can use most of the generic ones like Joomla, Drupal etc to construct web sites for varied purposes.

  3. Are hosting services available for the chosen CMS?
    • Price
    • Ease of installation
    • Support
    • Up time
    • Process of applying updates / upgrades to the CMS.
  4. Evaluate the hosting options available for the chosen CMS on the following aspects

  5. What is the learning curve required to get used to working with the CMS?

    • WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) kind of user interface.
    • Easy administration. You should easily be able to Upload and Modify pages / content / images.
    • Forums and support groups for the CMS.
    • Free templates and paid design services.
    • Free and commercial Plug In's, Add Ons, Components.
    • Availability of programmers to help you with customizations, Add On's .
  6. The more user-friendly the CMS is the faster you will learn to use it. Hence the CMS should at least have the following so that you can get your site up and running quickly.

  7. How long has the CMS been in existence?
  8. If the content management system (CMS) has been recently released chances are that it might take a little while to stabilize and get people to use it. The longer a CMS has been around it would be more stable and it would have a larger customer and support base. This will make it easier for you to get to know what people feel about the CMS and get feedback and support.

    Another thing to look at is the frequency of the updates and / or upgrades for the CMS. This would give you an idea how active the community for the CMS is.

  9. What Technology is the CMS based on?
  10. Even with open source there are a lot of technologies available like PHP, Perl, Java, Python and many more. You need to see if the technology is suitable for you based on the hosting options, developer availability, and technology stability.

    Basically answers to questions 2, 3 and 4 will help you with answering this question.

Following are some of the CMSs which are the finalists for the 2008 Open Source CMS Award Overall Winner

A wealth of information on various open source content management systems is available at OpensourceCMS. The opensourceCMS site has categorized the CMSs according to the suitability for various segments like e-learning, Portals, blogs etc.

I have personally used comparison matrix available at CMS Matrix to identify the most suitable CMS for the Client based on specific requirement criteria.

Now, that you have identified a CMS most suitable for your needs…….Go for it!



Submit Your Articles or Press ReleaseAdd comment (Comments: 2)  

Title: CMS language is important too

November 9, 2008
Comment by Kenny

Thanks for the article, however one does need to distinguish between serious open source CMS portals which are mostly written in java and Perl and this PHP mania...

Drupal is great so is WordPress, however I prefer using a pure CMS Perl portal as WebAPP CMS from: http://www.web-app.net

1.) Security
2.) Stability
3.) Stability
4.) Flexibility
5.) And few others too.

Title: don't agree with the last two

November 6, 2008
Comment by Frederik Teerlinck

I don't agree with the last two. It is not really important how old the CMS is. An older CMS can have a smaller community and be less stable then a more recent one. It would have been better to say that the size of the user community is important. That's what really matters, not the age of the CMS.

I also don't think it's important on which technology it is based. In most cases, a user of a CMS won't see much from the technology it is based upon. That's exactly one of the purposes of a CMS: you don't have to know much about the technology to create a powerfull website. Other things like how secure it is, are there a lot of free templates or themes available, are there extensions or plugins available for what you need, etc. are much more important then the technology it is based upon.

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