As the abundance of web page creation tools and web content management systems has increased in the past, it is important to thoroughly evaluate these tools to determine which might be most suitable for your web page creation needs.
A little over ten years ago, a text editor was the dominant tool used for composing web pages. However, today, an abundance of web page creation applications are available for developers. Ranging from What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) applications like Microsoft Word or Microsoft FrontPage to complex web content management systems like Drupal and Joomla, the field of web page creation offers an array of tools that can accomplish different goals. This guide focuses specifically on open source web content management systems and how they can be used to create websites. Choosing the appropriate tool that falls in line with the goals of the website is one of the most important initial tasks that is often overlooked or neglected when considering development. This resource guide will provide brief overview of content management systems.
What is so special about content management systems? When thinking about webpage creation, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) comes to mind. It is useful to be familiar with HTML, however, there are several content management systems that insulate the user from HTML, by automatically generating the code. Moreover, editing HTML directly with a text editor gives the developer granularity on one hand but requires considerable time, making updating several pages very tedious. Using pure HTML might be appropriate for a personal portfolio website that does not undergo frequent regular changes. When dealing with Websites that are frequently updated by more than one user, dynamic web pages generated by content management systems are often used. Dynamic web pages pull content from a database and display the content in form of an HTML page. By pulling the data from a database and using an HTML page to display it, the content of the website is dynamic. Changing the data directly in the database will change the displayed content on the website without having to edit each individual HTML page. Dynamic driven web pages bring with them many advantages. The information that is in the website is completely separated from its format by using dynamic websites driven by content management systems.
In the past content management systems have frightened many web developers away, with high learning curves and more importantly high price tags. Open source content management systems on the other hand are free to use and relatively easy to learn, placing dynamic database driven web sites in reach for personal use.
Introducing Open Source Web Content Management Systems
This article focuses on web content management systems. James Robertson defines and explains the essentials of web content management systems. “So, what is a content management system?” provides a high-level overview
of CMS capabilities.
This article covers the web site development efforts of Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, and explores the content management systems which enable owners of information to control content while university administrators control the look and format of the Web site.
Comparing Open Source Web Content Management Systems
Laura S. Quinn is the founder and director of Idealware, a reputable software company, and directs Idealware’s research providing detailed reports and articles about nonprofit software. Laura S. Quinn is a well known speaker and writer on nonprofit technology topics. This article thoroughly evaluates and compares three open source content management systems, their abilities and features. Furthermore, this article addresses the needs that are satisfied with a particular content management system, allowing the reader to evaluate his or her own needs and enabling an independent analysis of which content management system might be most suitable for the reader.
The CMS Matrix Website allows the visitor to choose and compare existing content management system’s features side by side using a matrix. This website if very useful to compare technical information, for example what type of database systems and web servers the content management system uses.
Developing Web Sites Using Open Source Content Mangement Systems
Beginning Joomla! is ideal for web developers considering an open source content management system to host their website.
Beginning Joomla! Guides the reader through the process of creating and designing templates, adding and managing content, adding web 2.0 features such as online polls, article commenting, user profile management, and forums. The book begins with the basics, how to use and install Joomla and covers e-commerce integration, search engine optimization, and explains how to extend Joomla! by creating custom plug-ins. Moreover, Beginning Joomla! Covers the newly released version of Joomla, 1.5.
Joomla! guides the reader through the various tasks required when creating, customizing, and maintaining a dynamic Joomla 1.5 web site. The book begins with the fundamental concepts and advantages of a Content Management System and then guides the reader through setting up a server environment, downloading and installing Joomla, adding and organizing content, using components, plug-ins, and administration. The end of the book covers more advanced topics, like CSS, search engine optimization (SEO), and template customization. It's an excellent guide to getting started with Joomla or for those users that want to improve their skills.
If Joomla sparked your interest, then you also need to know about Drupal. Like Joomla, Drupal is an open source content management system and currently competes with Joomla. Pro Drupal development, assumes that the reader is already familiar with how to install Drupal on their web server and provides everything else you needed to customize your Drupal driven website however you see fit. Pro Drupal Development, Second Edition deeply explores the internals of Drupal, by explaining how to take full advantage of its powerful architecture.
This book explains the techniques and technologies needed to build successful websites and online communities. Haney details the ins and outs of Drupal and lays out how to become a community-building expert and examine successful Drupal sites. Moreover this book teaches the processes of building and growing successful Drupal driven websites. This book is written for a professional, developer, designer, and decision maker interested in applying Drupal knowledge.
Creating large integrated content management systems is a challenging task. With numerous home grown or old standalone systems in need of upgrading and expanding to keep up with the growing challenge of digital media, this book is written for the non-technical executive to comprehend the key concepts and issues. Magan Arthur details the technical process from a business perspective of expanding a system. Expanding a digital content management system addresses the entire implementation cycle and covers all aspects of an integrated content system.
“The Definitive Guide to Plone is the authoritative, unique guide to Plone, describing everything from installing Plone (on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux) to writing code for the system. The book - part of Apress's library of Python programming and content management tools, and written by one of Plone's core development team- emphasizes the customization of Plone, and shows how to fully-integrate Plone into an existing Web site and application. If you want to adopt Plone for some or all of its features, this is the book to pick up and learn by.”
“WordPress is an open-source personal publishing platform that is easy to use, flexible, and highly customizable. Although
used primarily for publishing blogs, WordPress can easily be used to create and maintain complete Web sites.
Taking the average blogger further than blogspot can, WordPress allows bloggers to create more complicated sites with their open-source technology, rather than blogger which is limited by HTML changes to their templates.
This easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide shows you how to install, use, and customize WordPress to get the most from the software. Includes tips that explain why certain techniques are better than others, how to watch for potential problems, and where readers can find more information.”
Shane Sponagle ambitiously dives in to detail in his tutorial, laying out the framework of MODx. The reader is introduced to the fundamental concepts used by MODx like chunks, document variables, and snippets. Moreover, this article explains how to migrate an existing website to the MODx platform from beginning to finish.
“Content management, blogs, and online forums are among the most significant online trends today, and Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress are three of the most popular open source applications facilitating these trends.
Drupal is a full content management system that allows you to create any type of website you desire, from an e-commerce to a community-based site. phpBB enables you to set up a bulletin board or forum. And WordPress is the software of choice for the exploding blog community. All three technologies are based on PHP and MySQL.
Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB, and Wordpress is authored by a team of experts. Robert T. Douglass recently created the Drupal-powered blog site NowPublic.com. Mike Little is a founder and contributing developer of the WordPress project. And Jared W. Smith has been a longtime support team member of phpBBHacks.com and has been building sites with phpBB since the first beta releases.”
Relevant Print Resources
Content Management Systems in Libraries
By Bradford Lee Eden
“Content Management Systems in Libraries: Case Studies brings together a number of case studies on current content management system (CMS) implementations, using both open-source and proprietary systems, and also reflects on the current state and future of CMS in libraries. There is presently no one source or research guide for CMS given that this area is in flux, yet this type of book is needed in the literature, as many libraries are just starting to implement CMS for their website, instructional content, or other institutional repository settings.” Find this book in a library near you.
Mambo: your visual blueprint for building and maintaining web sites with the Mambo Open Source CMS By Ric Shreves
Ric Shreves introduces the reader to the open source web content management system, Mambo. The book “takes a visual approach to professional-level computer topics” covering installation and configuration, creating templates, creating categories and sections, adding content, using modules, and adding additional features. Find this book in a library near you.
Building Websites with E107: A Step by Step Tutorial to Getting Your E107 Website Up and Running Fast, By Theodore Boomer
“This book is a fast paced tutorial to creating a website using e107. If you have never used e107, or even any web content management system before, then this book will walk you through each step in a friendly and accessible way. From installation, to initial set up and content entry and then on to customization for your own look and feel, this book will get you to a stable and working e107 based web site fast. You do not have to be an experienced web developer or designer to get a great looking site with a full set of functions using this book and e107. This book will guide you through every step. e107 is a PHP-based content management system that uses the popular open source MySQL database system for content storage. e107 is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License and is completely free, totally customizable and in constant development. It is an ideal tool for developing small to large dynamic community websites, intra company portals, corporate portals, weblogs and much more. It has a large, enthusiastic, and helpful community of users. If you want to create a powerful, fully-featured website in no time, this book is for you. This book will help you explore e107, putting you in the picture of what it offers, and how to go about building a site with the system. The book covers all the core features of e107, and it is thorough and incremental tutorial approach it gives you the understanding to experiment with advanced features and customization. This book is hands-on. As you work through the small business/e-commerce enabled example web site, you will learn how to install, upgrade, configure, and use the various basic features of the e107 Content Management System.The book contains a number of screen shots to reinforce that each step that you perform is correct. This book is primarily for entrepreneurs, small office/home office, small businesses and non-profit agencies who would like to have interactive, business and/or e-commerce web sites at a low cost without sacrificing power or usability. No knowledge of PHP programming, Apache, or MySQL is required.” Find this book in a library near you.