A good CMS to create 'magazine' style pages?
March 3, 2011 4:40 AM   Subscribe

What is a good CMS to create innovative 'magazine' style pages with text and photos?

For a project, I'm looking for a content management system that will allow me to create pages of text and photos with a unique, fresh layout for each page, like a magazine.

I'm not looking to just position photos around text, like you can already do in Wordpress or Squarespace. I mean creating boxouts, columns of text with photos within the columns, text in sections, differently-sized photos positioned around the page, etc. Something like Blurb's BookSmart software or Indesign, but for web pages instead of paper ones.

Ideally the CMS would have built-in templates, produce clean code, drag and drop, requiring zero (or minimal) coding, and be a web service that doesn't require installation/upgrades. And, of course, as cheap as possible.

Any ideas, or am I dreaming?
posted by scrm to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Until I got to the 'zero (or minimal) coding... web service' bit, I had plenty of suggestions (involving stuff like, eg., jQuery Masonry).

I suspect that if you need a 'unique, fresh layout for each page', you're going to have to do it yourself to some extent. Wordpress provides the backend for this kind of thing with its Page Templates, or plugins that let you give individual posts a unique template, but the design bit is up to you...
posted by a little headband I put around my throat at 5:32 AM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are Wordpress templates designed specifically for online magazine applications that might get you close to what you want. Then you can tweak the templates, or pay somebody else to tweak for you.
posted by COD at 5:59 AM on March 3, 2011

You're dreaming, point blank. The best you could hope to do is build the pages in Photoshop or Indesign, export as JPGs and then upload them in a CMS. Simply put, the web does not have the tools to create the sophisticated layouts that print has had for years. You'll have to fake it, i.e. Photoshop or something.

If you could limit the project to one browser, you might be able to do it, but that would require heavy duty, out on the bleeding edge CSS coding.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:40 AM on March 3, 2011

If you go the Wordpress route, consider the Thesis theme, which I'm currently messing around with. It's got an incredible number of admin-based customization options, and you can use it to build just about anything.
posted by jbickers at 7:58 AM on March 3, 2011

dreaming. If something like that existed, most websites would already look like that. Still, Wordpress has a lot of what you need on the easy-to-use end but it'll end up looking like a WP site. We use a lot of ExpressionEngine and it makes it easy to create templates for each page but it involves at least a lot of html coding at the very least.
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:58 AM on March 3, 2011

For inspiration/a starting point, consider the minimalistic, sleek magazine-style templates at WPShower.
posted by prinado at 8:23 AM on March 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

prinado's got it - there's plenty of magazine-style templates out there, yours for a quick search. If you have the coding chops, use the templates as starting points; otherwise, accept the web for what it is: a mish-mash of screen sizes, browsers, OS's, and surprisingly unable to render even basic webpages the same way (anybody remember IE5 or IE6? Yikes.)
posted by chrisinseoul at 9:24 AM on March 3, 2011

I'd go with Percussion but couldn't ever get a price out of them for it - seriously, I would kill to use this for my CMS.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:16 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

The cat and mouse game of "not being able to get a price out of them" is such a lousy policy on their part (Percussion) that it casts doubts in my mind about ever trying to use their product. It's one of those products that could be $5,000, $50,000 or even $500,000 and having to spend a lot of time and effort to discover that it is waaay out of your budget is such a waste of time and effort.
posted by bz at 8:02 AM on April 22, 2011

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