What is the ideal content management system for my needs?
January 29, 2010 11:26 AM   Subscribe

What content management system fits the needs of my website and can run on Microsoft IIS (web server) and Microsoft SQL server (database)? Full details of what I'm looking for inside.

I work for a large unit of a university and we're working on redesigning our website. Right now we have about 300 HTML pages and 300 documents (Word, PDF, etc) that are updated using Macromedia Contribute. Everything is static -- for example the news page is just a body of text that someone edits when there's something to add. The person who set up and maintained the site's backend no longer works here. I have some web experience -- I know HTML/CSS and I have custom-coded Wordpress themes -- so I've taken on researching a solution.

For most of the content, I think any CMS would probably work. We'll just want the ability to easily change or add text, occasionally add images, and upload documents.

For a few sections, though, we need dynamic content. One is a news section where we will add stories on a monthly basis. This is pretty straightforward, as it will just need Title, Author, Content, Date Posted, Categories. We'll probably also need some sort of events or calendar feature.

The trickiest section, though, is my primary focus. I essentially need a blog, but with a lot of custom metadata. It's for grant opportunities and we want to have separate fields for title, agency, deadline, contact information, URL, funding amount, and hierarchical categories. We could just post everything in one big text field, but I think it would be more efficient for data entry to have the fields separated out. I thought Wordpress would almost be an ideal solution to this particular problem, but I'm not sure how scalable it is for the whole website, I don't particularly like its custom fields implementation, and it turns out we can't even install it on our web server anyway.

We'll eventually hire someone to design/develop the site, but I thought it would be good to have an ideal system to work with and find someone who can develop for that.

So, taking the above into consideration, plus the caveat that it must run on Microsoft IIS (web server) and Microsoft SQL server (database), is there an ideal content management system?
posted by wsquared to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would think you'd want to go with Sharepoint. Almost all the components you describe are out-of-the-box (though you may find you want to buy components for more robust event/calendar functions), and I think you can deal with the customized metadata thing with content types.

Probably what you ultimately want is the pay version (MOSS), but you might start with free WSS 3.0 to get a feel for it. I strongly recommend sandboxing to get the hang of Sharepoint before you start architecting your real production solution.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:40 AM on January 29, 2010

Take a look at a WSS 3.0 solution if you're already married to IIS and SQL - it's included with any modern MS server OS. Sounds like you wouldn't need the more advanced features in MOSS (Exchange integration, multi-site look and feel bulk admin tools, etc.).

Or on preview, what Lyn Never said.
posted by benzenedream at 11:45 AM on January 29, 2010

There is also DotNetNuke.

It should support what you are looking for with some custom coding for those extra blog fields you need. I personally hate it as a development platform (about equally with MOSS), but it is fairly popular, so the plus side is that you should be able to find a ton of developers with the necessary experience.
posted by rocketpup at 12:15 PM on January 29, 2010

My favorite IIS/SQL-based CMS is Umbraco. It can also do what you need and do it a lot more elegantly and efficiently that DotNetNuke or MOSS but you won't have an easy time finding developers.
posted by rocketpup at 12:18 PM on January 29, 2010

We are about to deploy Telerik Sitefinity at our university. It's pretty easy to get going and customize, especially if you already have done .NET development.

There is a free version that displays a logo at the bottom of your site or a commercial version with an academic discount for about $899.
posted by barake at 12:23 PM on January 29, 2010

Response by poster: There doesn't seem to be much flexibility on the server issue. It's what our small IT staff knows and we don't have the resources to make any changes on that front. The different campus units are very compartmentalized when it comes to IT -- each has their own staff with completely different systems.
posted by wsquared at 12:52 PM on January 29, 2010

Dammit, Drupal runs just fine on IIS. I work as a web developer for a major university and all my friggin' sites run on a WIMP stack. And MySQL is free, so there's no excuse not to use it. You want Drupal, my friend.
posted by bricoleur at 2:10 PM on January 29, 2010

I just suggested Kentico in another thread. It is very customizable, but also comes with a lot of useful modules out of the box.
posted by matildaben at 4:15 PM on January 29, 2010

I can't speak to CMS's, but to the funding opps blog idea. If you're not already committed to doing this, I would caution against it. I have a very similar job to yours (funding librarian) and we're actually moving away from trying to cultivate a complete ongoing blog of funding opportunities in favor of sharing tagged/tracked opportunities in COS and embedding RSS feeds from various funders and other sources (grants.gov).

For an example of someone who does something like this, you can look at Duke's site.

PM me if you want more details.
posted by clerestory at 6:42 PM on January 29, 2010

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