CMS or Content Management System is a software system that is used for managing content on a website this content can be simple text, images or audio/video files depending upon your website.
Most of these programs are written in a manner that it makes it easy for a non-technical person to manage his/her website using just a web browser. Most of these content management systems are database driven and all the content is generated dynamically when a user visits the site.
The content management system is a software that is used strictly for web site management. A CMS is like a newspaper e.g. In a newspaper writers write articles and then editor goes through those articles and then schedules them to be published and then articles appear on the news paper on their schedule. CMS work exactly in same fashion.
Many companies are allowing their software to be used for free because of the Free Software Movement. This movement was created in 1983, allowing software to be given for free. This movement was created in part because people were purchasing a copy of the software and then they would sell it but by making it free, so no one could profit because everyone knew the software to be free.
There are so many different types of Content Management Systems that it can be very intimidating on which one you should choose. Just because they are free does not mean they are all great. Currently there are 51 free and open source software content management systems; 3 that cost under $ 5000.00, 3 that cost between $ 5000 and $ 15,000. There are 17 CMS software systems that cost over $ 15,000.
In this article we are going to cover five of the most popular PHP based content management systems that are more commonly downloaded than any other. We will go over the pros and cons of each and if you are having a hard time deciding which content management software to download, we hope that this can help you. If you are new to the world of CMS, here are a few terms that you should know. Throughout this article you will see the word PHP and MySQL, PHP is a reflective program language that was designed for dynamic web pages. This script is mainly used for the server side of websites. MySQL is called a multithreaded, multi user SQL database management according to the web dictionary. MySQL was introduced to webmasters everywhere in 1995 with the first Windows version coming on in Jan 1998.
Drupal has been in use as an open source content management system or CMS since 2001. The name comes from the English translation of the Dutch word druppel meaning drop like water drop. The program started out as a bulletin board before turning into CMS in 2001. This PHP programmed CMS has a back end interface that can show content that is created for consumption. This CMS started out slow but has gained a lot of users since 2006, and it continues to gain more and more momentum. Drupal has been downloaded millions of times and that number is increasing every second. Drupal is free to download and can be found on Drupal.org.
Drupal has many great features for webmasters. Programmers like the fact that the design of the CMS has the core of the program using important features located in the default configuration itself. Other program functions can be added to the core through module plugs and various themes. The Cores in Drupal has its own modules which allows the users to Post Comments, Vote in Polls, Post and View Personal Profiles, Post Revise and Categorize Content. One of most important feature offered by Drupal is functionality of search engine friendly urls present in the core system.
When you are planning your site use one of many different Themes that Drupal has to offer. You can pick and choose any theme for free. You can even download themes from their official site if you don’t see one you like with the CMS. The best part about Drupal is that if you have any problems installing or using any of the features, you can simply log onto their website and there you will find everything you need.
Like any great product there is bound to be negative comments. There are few criticisms about the features that Drupal has. Some users are concerned with the fact that Drupal can be very hard to install. Some claim that the program itself it a bit harder to learn than other programs. Drupal offers a great product and it does seem a little intimidating because there is so much to learn. Drupal has every feature you could want in a website CMS. The most important part about running a website is using CMS and if you have the cream of the crop then you have to expect to there to be a lot to learn.
The open source content management system e107. This program is great for a timely set up of a website or even for community portals. A portal when talking about the web means that the web gives personalized capabilities to the visitors of the site. These portals can give out applications and middleware and hardware and give services from many different places. The e107 0.70 was first released in January 2006, and then version e107 0.7.1 was released again in January. Then in February 2006 0.7.2, May 2006 saw 0.7.3, 0.7.4 and 0.7.5. November 2006 was 0.7.6, December 0.7.7 and the latest was February 2007 0.7.8.
This program was created to use PHP and a database through MySQL. The program does have support that holds many different languages and you can download it like Drupal. The name comes from the simple fact that the creator of e107, was working on his 7th project and just simply named it e107. Not many people know this but the code for e107 was borrowed from the code that was used on the LiteStep website. The e107 was recently nominated in 2006 as one of five finalists in the Packt Open Source Content Management System Award.
Some of the award nominated features the e107 has to offer users of content management software are that is has a high performance file based caching. It is a very easy to use program that allows you to create your own template. It has a legitimate XHTML 1.1 Output. It also has a very easy to use Admin system. That is one of the most common complaints of users of CMS that the admin system is too complicated to use and users get frustrated and then try to find something easier to use.
There is a lot of praise for the e107 and the features we just mentioned are just some of the great things about the program but there are some requirements that your system will need in order to work the e107 with their system. These are not criticisms of the system but it can only be used with MySQL of 3.22 version or newer and PHP version 4.3.0 or above.
It should be noted that the PHP should be set up with support for the MySQL in order to run the e107 without a hitch. The creator recommends that Apache be used for using the e107 but any server that can work with PHP or MySQL should be ok to use. So unless you have any of the following then the e107 will not work on your system.
The e107 CMS has its problems like other CMS software does but these concerns are being addressed and with every release there are more and more enhancements being made and more bug fixes. They are still a relatively new content management system. There are going to be glitches and there are going to be many versions of the main product. But that is what makes the product and the creator good. They address the customers concern and they take care of it by revamping the program. If you want to take a better look at the software and what the program can do in depth. Check out their official site, it is e107.org.
Another top five CMS program is called Joomla, Joomla! Is a free open source content management system like the e107 and Drupal. The CMS is written in PHP because of the publishing purpose for putting your content up on the web and it uses MySQL database. Joomla! Is the result of a fork. A fork in the world of CMS means that when a creator of a project takes a copy of a source code from one other piece of software and then uses it to develop from it separately so it does result in a definitive piece of software.
Joomla! is a very popular and is used on millions of websites from a simple blog to big corporate site. The package has various parts that are supposed to be as modular as it can be. It does allow extensions and integrations to be made in the core very easily. The extensions are called Plug ins, these Plug ins are background extensions that allow the program to accept new functions. The other great features that Joomla! has to offer are page caching, RSS Feeds, pages that can be printed. News Flashes, blogs, polls, website searches and different languages.
One of biggest plus point for Joomla is size of it’s community. You can find tons of free/commercial templates for Joomla giving unique look to your site. There are currently over 1800 3rd party extensions for Joomla both free and commercial.
In order for Joomla!, to be run successfully you will need to have the system requirements of the following PHP 4.2 x or above, MySQL 3.32 or above and Apache 1.3 or above. It is highly recommended that you make sure that you have MySQL, XML and Zlib functioning with your PHP in order to get the program to run. It is recommended that when you download Joomla! 1.0.13 that you upgrade because it is a security release. When you are running the upgrade, add extra security to your computer to ensure safety during the upgrade.
One common problem that Users have with Joomla is that it does not creat search engine friendly urls by default even though there are number of 3rd party extensions for it (Joomla 1.5 will fix this issue and have sef urls by default).
This CMS is also new, it has been around since 2005 but that really isn’t a long time. Though this software company has not been without the issues. We mentioned that this CMS was created as a result as a fork from Mambo when Mambo decided to split from Mambo Foundation and start Joomla.
XOOPS is a free content management system that is written in PHP in order to create a website. This program like the others uses architecture modular, which lets the users create their own sites easily. The user can also update and choose their own themes. This content management software won First Runner UP in the Source Forge.net Community Choice Awards in 2006. The name XOOPS is pronounced the way you see it. It stands for eXtensible Object Oriented Portal System. XOOPS began as a portal type of system but it is now emerging as a CMS. It is used to create a framework or any size website by the installation of modules. Some of the applications it has been used for are web logs or online journals. Or it can be used for news, forums and even downloads.
Some of the best features for this program are what they call a Community. The database uses MySQL which is used to store information for a website CMS. The Core features are usable by modules like permissions, blocks and even notifications. You can personalize and customize every aspect of your site using these themes. Along with the themes are templates that you can choose, these templates for XOOPS is called Smarty. You can also cache your content using this program.
Some issues that users are having with the XOOPS CMS are not that big of a deal. Some have commented that they had problems with the cross browser using internet explorer with the gallery module. Like any great product there is going to some issues. There is no such thing as a perfect program. But the great thing about XOOPS is that depending on what size the site is going to be and what the subject is, you can control the size of the content management system. If you want to take a closer look at their site log on to XOOPS.org.
TYPO3 like the others is a free open source content management system. This program is written in PHP and MySQL. It has evolved in to one of the 5 best CMS programs in the industry. Many people make the mistake of thinking that TYPO3 is associated with Typo. They are two different programs, Typo is an open source blogging engine. This CMS has two different methods of operation, the fronted which is used to show the site to the users and the backend which allows the writers and the admin to see the site. The great part about the backend is that you don’t need any programs or software, it is used by simply using the web browser.
TYPO3 does extend to their customers a very flexible and extendibility, it does have a ready to go set of interfaces and modules. There are close to 2000 extensions on the TYPO3 content management systems. Under their Public License, this software is available for download. You can get a copy of the CMS on their website called typo3.com or typo3.org.
TYPO3 is templates driven. These templates allow the admin to create any style of site they choose. You can use one of the templates already in place or if you want to get creative you can use the template and change the features like the color, size, logos and fonts to something that is more your style. These changes are made by something called Typoscript. This script is only good for creating the design if you need content or code changes made then you would have to go with the PHP to change that kind of information.
TYPO3 has an alternate template included in the software is called TemplaVoila. This version has graphics mapping tool for designing your own template or page module. The script also has the capabilities to create a flexible content with different elements and an API for other developers. API is an application-programming interface.
Content that is stored in two places, one table is called the pages and the second is called tt_content, the second holds the elements that are entered on a page. Each page of the site that you are creating has a one of a kind ID Key called a UID and it is connected to the home page so if someone wants to access the information found on this page from the home page then all the user has to do is click the link.
TYPO3 is very popular and works very well. There are some system requirements and they are, The Operating System is used on UNIX/Linux, Windows and MAC. The web server compatible is Apache or lls. TYPO3 supports MySQL, Oracle, MS SQL and others. These are some other issues that other users have found to be that there were problems changing some of the options in the configuration, which did not change the command line options. These issues are small and can be rectified by using the right system requirements.
These were our top 5 Content Management System. Most of these have vibrant communities with great third party support (both free and commercial) and each has some great points and features and none are without their problems. If you want to see a more up close look then log onto to their websites and see the screenshots and get a more in depth look, then feel free. When you are building a website you want the best that CMS Software has to offer. As long as you have the right systems requirements and the download was successful you will be soon be working with the best software CMS has to offer.