For a new site, would you go with a CMS that does everything, but only marginally well, or multiple applications?
February 8, 2005 10:59 AM   Subscribe

PortalFilter: For a new website, would you go with a CMS that does everything, but only marginally well, or multiple applications (requiring multiple upgrades and patches)? [MI]

Past AskMe threads have been incredibly helpful in learning more about your preferences for various scripts, from bulletin boards to wikis to photo galleries. Thanks to those discussions, I learned a lot, and made good choices in improving several existing sites. Now I've got a new project in mind (now that blogging mommies are trendy, I figured daddies can't be too far behind), and I have the benefit of starting from scratch. Thing is, I don't know how to approach this.

I could go with a whole-site CMS that has modules and plug-ins to add whatever I like (past AskMe threads turned me onto Mambo and Drupal, for example). But none of them, by virtue of doing everything, seem to do any one thing really well (beyond whatever they did initially before feature bloat). My instinct is to instead run more popular scripts for each task - say, phpBB or miniBB, Gallery, MediaWiki, etc. On the other hand, having dealt with phpBB and Gallery exploits, comment spam, and dozens of other problems, I know it'll be a headache trying to keep several different packages current, versus just one whole-site manager.

I know many of you run portal-esque sites... do you hack Drupal or Mambo or PHP-Nuke to do what you want, or do you keep the things you like and make them play relatively well together?
posted by pzarquon to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've been drifting towards the separate application model. The full blown CMS's, in my expierience, tend to generate some pretty funky markup. The more they try to do, the stranger it gets. Templating can be a nightmare unless your willing to dive in and invest a great deal of time learning the intricacies of the system, details that will be entirely useless in any other environment.

On the other hand, separate application such as a combination of WordPress/PunBB/Some Wiki/Photostack all do one thing very well and are fairly simple to template. Often it's just a matter of swapping styles between the sites and wrapping them in a common container. Of course the downside is that user administration is split between them and I don't have the chops to get them all to share a common user database.

You might want to take a look at something like Blog:CMS which seems to combine several, otherwise freestanding, web applications into a unified whole.
posted by cedar at 12:39 PM on February 8, 2005

The bigger the app, the more you're going to yearn for it to be more flexible. As for the downsides to multiple apps, I don't see any need to keep everything up to date all the time.

There's more work making everything feel visually cohesive, but once it works, the ongoing upgrading only needs to take as much time as you're willing to devote to it.
posted by jragon at 2:37 PM on February 8, 2005

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