Content management systems (CMS) are applications used to build websites and manage website content and layout centrally, also if there is a larger number of publishers and editors involved. Currently, there are hundreds of proprietary and open source CMS, based on several programming languages (though at the moment PHP-based CMS are leading).
Last Monday, Co-Working Space Nuremberg hosted a workshop dedicated to some well-known and also relatively new CMS (Joomla!, TYPO3, WordPress, as well as Contao and Refinery). The participants represented a mixture of web developers and CMS-users, such as online marketing agencies.
Several features essential for CMS systems were discussed:
- Usability features for web developers or web designers:
- individually expandable functionality of CMS, existence of a range of extensions: plug-ins, widgets, templates, templates…
- possibility to connect several domains in one CMS with a single log-in
- possibility for integration of several CMS within a structure of a single website
- flexibility and programming-friendliness of a system in order to create customized designs
- flexibility in creating customized or streamlined back-end interface
- support and forums for web developers
- suitability for complex websites with hundreds of pages
- Usability for editors and publishers (users)
- suitability of CMS for a variety of web functions (e.g. an online shop)
- open source availability of the CMS and the extensions
- traceability of the staging process and the workflow
- time-delayed publication
- possibility of editing content in the frontend
- preview features
- a developed user support system: “help” functions, documentation as well as forums and “community”
- multilingual possibilities of a CMS
- simple and clear depiction of the website structure in the backend
- simplicity in use, also for people without programming background
All in all, the choice of CMS depends both on the website purpose and the resources available. New CMS are constantly being developed (e.g. Refinery CMS was programmed with Ruby on Rails, and the first version was released in 2011).