Using and not using a Content Management System

The web is so much stuffed with CMSes these days, good CMSes and bad CMSes ,Open Source CMSes and not-open source CMSes. A normal computer user surfing general internet for news and stuffs is inadvertently clicking those CMS powered sites. CMSes mostly are purposed to build websites. With a lot of plug and play mechanisms ranging from functional plugins to design templates (installable and switchable), CMSes do make the web site development and “maintenance” quick and cheap(less expensive).

Here is a list of few CMS which seem to topp the chart these days.

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Dotnetnuke
  • Silverstripe
  • Orchard
  • Umbraco
  • SageFrame

If you want to build a website using an Open Source Content Management System, I m sure one of the aboves will serve your requirements. But before embarking upon using CMS for your website, there are a few issues to be clear about.

The first thing to think about is “the complexity of your web application”. A web site could be a simple web site with just general informative stuffs on it or it could be a heavy web application with a huge database and a complex business logic at the back end. Here, it is always crucial to calculate how effectively the CMS shall address these requirements.

Another point to consider is the “learning curve” of the CMS. Not every website shall fit in the mold that a CMS is made based on. Every CMS is always restricted by a certain set of standards which need to be learned and adapted to build sites in them. Some CMSes give us a hard time learning them because of their unconventional ways or ridiculously complex and lengthy steps to follow. In such cases we may even prefer building our site from scratch rather than using a CMS and wasting a lot of time learning and customizing it.

Before using a CMS we have to make sure it is well documented with all necessary user manuals and resources. So “availability of resources” is quite important because sometimes we might have to heavily rely on those. Also the extent to which the particular CMS has been buzzed in the community could be relevant. Hunt forums and community blogs to find if the CMS has been talked about else you might end up stuck unable to find any reference. Also the number of free modules/plugins or even templates released turns out to be quite important because since you are trying a free stuff you need to make sure you get all the resources “freely available”

When you are using a CMS or a framework, you may get befuddled or stuck about how to move on or may stumble upon a serious bug. Now this could be a deal breaker. Check to see if the support responds quick and nice else it might not be a good idea to continue using the CMS for serious business.

Not everyone would prefer changing along with the trend and not every CMS are flexible enough to include the latest advances in the web development. However when choosing a CMS at least consider if it is able to incorporate the new and most demanded trends. For example the templates it uses should have support for handheld devices or should be responsive.

Finally the aforementioned points are sort of non functional requirements to analyze. The most important thing is how appealing the CMS turns out on the grounds of performance, maintainibility and scalability. You might want to consider how much user friendly the user interface is, how easy and effective is the Content Management, how well does it suit for the SEO requirement, if it is well tested for huge traffic. Security is another important point to consider. Check to see how robust the framework is built and if is usable for some serious tasks.

Well, CMS definitely helps you speed up the web development and utlimately save time and money in the long run. Make sure it is easy to understand and customize, the support is responsive and effective and most importantly, it suits to your business requirements.

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