After my last two blogs about content management systems, it was time to try a couple of them out. I had never used a content management system or CMS for short, so here is my next adventure on the information highway. The two CMS’s that I tried were CMSimple and WebsiteBaker.
CMSimple vs. WebsiteBaker
I tried CMSimple first and there was a large leaning curve. I was not only learning CMSimple but CMS’s also.
Why CMSimple? First, because it is simple, fast, easy, doesn’t require a database (CMSimple is flat-file) and pretty flexible. It’s the perfect CMS to get started with. Also, CMSimple is the absolute easiest to install. Drag over the files, edit the config, and you are off to the races, according to Jonathan Ross in his lecture on Content Management Systems.
The second CMS that I tried was WebsiteBaker, a little more complicated, but still not too bad. WebsiteBaker is a database driven CMS, making it a little more difficult to install and tranfer from one system to another than a CMSimple flat-file system.
How would I rate them
As I said before CMSimple had a large learning curve for me because it was my first CMS, and I knew little about it before I started working with it. With a little help I was off and running.
Here are the basic steps to install and create a website in CMSimple:
- Download it
- Unzip it
- Put it on my server
- Run it
- Create a website.
Some of the things I liked about CMSimple were the content htm page, editing, and backups. The best part was the content htm page. This was one file were you could look at the html code for every page of your site and tweek it if you needed to.
Editing in CMSimple was easy. I did not have to leave CMSimple to edit the configuration, stylesheet, or template, just go to the settings page and choose what you wanted to edit. It was as easy as that.
In CMSimple the backup was automatic I did not have to think about it.
I was also on a Mac and there were no problems transferring files from one server to another, (MMAP to Xampp) to go back and forth to school, or system-to-system.
The worst part of CMSimple to me was lack of documentation and community support. Nothing’s more frustrating than trying to figure out how to do something, and not have references online that you can take advantage of. If there was community support it was in German or I could not find it. If there were tutorials I could not find them.
Another problem I found hard to understand at first was the creation of pages in CMSimple. Headings of H1 and H2 were used to create different pages and subpages on the CMSimple site.
There was also no way to give others permission to edit different pages or parts of pages.
Website Baker had a few more steps to the installation. Here are the basic steps to install and create a website in WebsiteBaker:
- Download it
- Unzip it
- Put it into your server
- Run it
- Create a database
- Enter required information
- Delete the install directory
- Create the website
One of the best parts was the documentation. WebsiteBaker had a lot of help guilds and knowledge base as well as a community forum to help if you needed it. There are a lot of different Modules and code snippets as well as different tools you can use with WebsiteBaker, making this a great CMS to grow a website with. A good place to go for some of these is WebsiteBaker Open Source Content Management site.
One of the worst things about WebsiteBaker for me was going back and forth from one server to another. It seemed like no matter what I did something never copied over completely. I am not really sure why.
You also need to make backups, either with the help of an administration tool called backup, or by going into the phpmyadmin on your server and making a back up of your database there.
To template a site, unlike CMSimple where you create an HTML document where you define what will appear on all pages and a content HTML that has all your code for the whole site, in WebsiteBaker there are 3 files necessary to for your template. They may have even more than 3.
- info.php – this is used to install the template
- index.php – this is for the template structure
- template.css – this is for the template layout/ appearance
A Look at the 2 CMS’s and Clients
I am no expert on CMS but I do think that there is a clear choose when it come to which CMS I would choose from these 2 CMS’s. I would choose WebsiteBaker over CMSimple because it is the only one of the two that allows you the ability to set up users and permissions to control access. This is invaluable to keep inexperienced clients from messing up their own site. This way they can contribute content and I can keep the code and database safe.
For me, I like WebsiteBaker for not only the documentation but also the expandability. I like WebsiteBaker because giving clients permission is important. I look forward to leaning more about CMS’s. As businesses and individuals become even more insistent on interactive site vs. static site the popularity of CMS will grow. I know that my knowledge of CMS’s must grow as well.
Do you have a favorite CMS?