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Content Management Systems

Content Management Systems

A Content Management System (CMS) is a Web application that uses a database (usually MySQL) or other methods to create, edit, and store HTML content in a manageable way. Content is created and edited on the web in an administration portion of the web application (referred to as the Backend). The resulting content is then displayed to the viewers on the regular site (referred to as the Frontend).

Why should I use a CMS

There are several possible reasons for using a Content Management System, but the main reason for using a CMS is to make creating and editing of content simple and easy. Often developers forget that this is the main purpose of a CMS and in search of more and more functionality, they cripple themselves (or their customers).

Content doesn’t just include text however. Sometimes the content you need on a site is a contact form or user authentication system. The trick is to find the CMS that provides the functionality without sacrificing ease of use for yourself or, depending on the situation, your customer. A good CMS will allow you to spend more time focused on the design of the front-end then on implementing extensions or functionality.

What to Look for in a CMS

There are many things to look for in a content management system but here are a few of the more important ones:

  • Quick and easy installation
  • Simple administration interface
  • Quick and easy extension of CMS for extra functionality
  • Simple template manipulation
  • Helpful user community

Although this may seem counter intuitive, look for the CMS with the best design appeal for you. Having an appealing design is one of the best indicators that the interface will be user friendly, though always remember to do your research before investing your time and energy into any particular system.

WordPress

WordPress began as a simple blogging system but has grown into one of the most powerful CMS’s on the Internet. The administration interface which has become so easy to use for millions of bloggers translates over to extended versions of WordPress.

As developers have realized its potential to act as a user friendly CMS, many plugins and extensions have been produced. With the release of BuddyPress for WordPress MU, it matches most other open source systems available in functionality and far surpasses them in user friendliness.  WordPress