What is the ideal CMS for a user-controlled directory?
April 18, 2009 11:28 PM   Subscribe

What is the ideal CMS for a user-controlled directory?

I want to create a directory of companies and their products. I would like for companies to be able to edit only their own entry through a minimal customized back-end. They would be editing their address, URL, phone number, etc.; and adding products to their entry as discrete items which can be called up separately in search results, perhaps also uploading the occasional PDF. The lighter the CMS the better, and it would ideally have some flexible queries built in so that I don't have to spend too much time wrestling with PHP, at which I'm a beginner (certainly don't know anything about how to get PHP to talk to databases). I'm not expecting much traffic, at least not for the first year of its operation.

I've used and customized WordPress to act as a small CMS before, but I doubt it's the best candidate in this case. The front-end is no problem, but WP's back-end is clunky and even if customized, I wouldn't know how to give users permission to edit their entry only. And I don't like the feeling of hacking things together which I get whenever I use WP for anything other than what it was meant to be, a blog.

I looked at Joomla, but it seems overblown for what I need and more difficult to customize. (I guess it might just be necessary for me to learn PHP?)

Textpattern is my leading candidate at the moment. It's light and using its js queries seems simple. But again, I'm not sure how easy it would be to customize the back-end and permissions. Is there any reason I shouldn't use Textpattern to handle thousands of entries?
posted by carnival of animals to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Check out expressionengine.
posted by travis08 at 12:49 AM on April 19, 2009

Definitely love ExpressionEngine
I think it is a decent solution for this because you can easily make authorization profiles that allows users to only update their own entries. However, you then have to asign every entry to an unique user, and that is quite a job. Especially when talking about thousands of entries...
To automatite this: there is a plugin to can push CSV data into Expression Engine so uploading the data is easy. There is also a user import utility that I never tried though. However, you still somehow have to link everything in Excel or the like, I think that is the thoughest part actually.
posted by IAr at 4:32 AM on April 19, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks! EE looks like the kind of thing I'm looking for, and it seems better suited permission-wise than Textpattern. Also very good to know I can upload content in CSVs, though I don't think I will have to create thousands of users at the outset -- hopefully that will build up over time.
posted by carnival of animals at 7:50 AM on April 19, 2009

Drupal can do this as well.

You would use the CCK module to create your content type, which means to create a page type with certain custom fields beyond Title and Body. The permissions are handled easily—you just say that for a certain kind of page, the owner can edit the page. No need to assign permissions on a page-by-page basis.

Importing data from CSVs can be done as well with the Node Import module.

Judging from the questions I see in the Drupal forums, most of the people who are using it today know little or no PHP. The back end has come a long way. It helps to know a tiny bit when you are customizing themes, but most of the other functionality you might want to add or enhance has already been developed by someone as a module.

And hey, it's free.
posted by bricoleur at 8:55 AM on April 19, 2009

Response by poster: (Also looking at MODx, which a friend pointed me to.)
posted by carnival of animals at 9:44 PM on April 23, 2009

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