Podcast 24: Selecting a content management system

Paul Boag

With almost all clients wanting to have at least some control over their websites, the choice of content management system has become a key component in a successful website project plan.

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This week Paul and Marcus are joined by fellow Headscape employees, Mark Crawley and Chris Scott in the new Headscape office!

Boagworld news

This week Paul rants about a new web design podcast while praising another that has been nice enough to massage his already over-inflated ego.

Talking of over inflated ego’s, Paul wants to remind everybody about the Geek Dinner being thrown in his honour (well that’s how he likes to think of it) this coming Thursday. Paul and Marcus can’t wait to meet all four of their regular listeners in person as well as making a load of new geek friends who have never heard of this podcast!

Techno buster: Server side and Client side

Why is it that all web developers like to speak their own special language? This week Paul and Mark unpack the differences between server side and client side by trying to explain the roles and limitations of both in plain English.

Main feature: Selecting a content management system

Paul kicks off by discussing the four types of content management systems:

  • Editing of static HTML websites using tools such as Dreamweaver and Contribute
  • Editing of specific site sections like news and events
  • Editing of entire site content including site architecture
  • Enterprise level content management with workflow and permissions

The discussion then expanded to look at the pros and cons of bespoke content management systems vs. off the shelf products. Finally we ended by looking at what factors should influence your decision when choosing a CMS.

Factors included:

  • The flexibility to control site design
  • The hosting requirements of the CMS
  • The functionality offered by the system
  • The expandability of the CMS
  • The learning curved required to implement and use the CMS
  • Your budget
  • The systems support for accessibility and web standards
  • The quality of the WYSIWYG editor

Related article: Designing for your CMS

Open Source CMS
This great site allows you to view demos of every open source CMS imaginable as well as providing user ratings and an extensive forum. As the name suggests this is a great place to start when looking for an open source CMS.

CMS Matrix
This site allows you to compare several content management systems based on a variety of criteria including security, flexibility and support. This is an excellent site if you are trying to narrow your field of options.

Xstandard is truly a top of the line WYSIWYG editor. It produces valid, accessible code as well as allowing designers to limit the control content editors have over the appearance of a site. We have covered this editor before but it’s so good it deserves a second mention!

Your thoughts

We have received loads of email relating to content management systems already and so we know this is a big area of interest for our listeners. Share your thoughts and experience of using content management systems by posting a comment here.