A Man, A Plan, an Easy-To-Use CMS.
July 10, 2005 9:21 PM   Subscribe

I've read all of the posts concerning selection and implementation of content management systems here on Ask Me, and found them quite helpful. Now I have a few clarifying questions. First, a little background...

I've recently moved out of the classroom and into a position as my school's IT Manager. Aside from the care and feeding of our computer systems, I have agreed to re-design and improve our school web site. One of my personal 'musts' for this re-design is the inclusion of an easy-to-use CMS that allows faculty and administration to feel comfortable contributing to the site. After reading the previous posts, I feel like I've narrowed things down to Movable Type (which I've used) and Drupal (which I haven't).

By way of skills, I'm good with HTML and CMS, an amateur with Javascript, and curious with everything else. As for requirements, I need standard blog stuff (things I can already do with MT), multiple authors, a password-protected area or two, the ability to upload files/attach them to posts, and an understandable web interface. I would also like to offer a forum or wiki for curriculum exchange.

Now here's the point - I can work in Movable Type without trouble, and believe it can do all the things I listed above, and quickly, but I don't want to limit my options later on. On the other side, I've read good things about Drupal, and would like to get into PHP and other languages, but don't want to find myself frustrated in the short term, nor do I want to miss my deadline (the end of August). So how easy would it be for me to get up to speed with Drupal? Is it more or less difficult than MT when it comes to adding functionality? How does its publishing face compare with MT? Is either more limiting than the other? How about the support communities? What else should I know about either that I might not already?

I suppose I'm headed towards Movable Type since I'm comfortable with it, but is there any realistic reason why I should pick the other? Please keep in mind that a large number of technophobes will have to publish with it, but I'll be the only one touching the back end. As always, thanks for your help!
posted by alas to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Check out Typo3. It has problems (it can be slow, and its sometimes a pita to configure) but it does everything you want and more very elegantly. I could be wrong, but the last time I looked at MT it didn't seem like it was a CMS, just a blog script.
posted by devilsbrigade at 10:25 PM on July 10, 2005

FWIW, I examined Drupal and Mambo and found the underlying publication metaphors too alien to suss. I gave up after setting up categories and finding that I was presented with the opportunity to weight each entry within each category.

Mind you, I spent nearly an hour on this, so perhaps actual effort might make a difference.
posted by mwhybark at 11:52 PM on July 10, 2005

Response by poster: I'll give it a closer look, devilsbrigade. Thanks.
posted by alas at 4:02 AM on July 11, 2005

Response by poster: Oh, sorry, is it as easy to understand as Movable Type, DB?
posted by alas at 4:11 AM on July 11, 2005

I haven't tried MT since 2.something and I hated it. I use Expression Engine and think it's great. They just added a forum module as well (separate cost). I didn't think MT did forums or wikis and a quick glance at their page doesn't mention them either. Is it a separate module from a different developer or am I missing something?

Incidentally, I've set up EE sites for people who were barely computer literate and they have no problems dealing with it. I did a site for a sort of gov't related organization (a labor federation) that is mostly made up of 50+ year olds who only use computers at work and only when they have to. I trained 6 of the 40 employees there on how to add/edit content to the site and use mailing lists. Training was a snap and took between 40-60 minutes per person (1 on 1). I've not had a single call for "tech support" since doing so in Feb and they add content almost daily.
posted by dobbs at 8:39 AM on July 11, 2005

Oh, and EE has a support "community", but they also have people at the company who do tech support. Requests made to their forum usually come within an hour or two (regardless of time of day posted, and I post a lot at 10, 11 at night). I've also had responses in as quick as 5 mins.

I do think their manual could be a little better written but that's the only complaint I have. Still, I find it pretty easy to build with it and it's a breeze on the front end. A dummy could use the front end.
posted by dobbs at 8:45 AM on July 11, 2005

If I were you, and I had an option to go with a technology I am familiar with that meets my requirements on a short deadline, I would go with that. It is very difficult to correctly estimate how much time it will take you to learn something new, not to mention the extra time it will take you to support the new technology once people start using it and start doing strange things to it. Your goal is to get an improved web site up and running in a short amount of time - it seems like your time is better off finding out what content will make the site useful and training people rather than playing with new software configuration (although maybe not as much fun!)

Learning PHP sounds like a good idea, but you might want to take smaller steps to get to that. I would recommend changing MT to use PHP as the default file extension and making sure that works with your web server. That way you can begin adding in PHP scripts to the MT site's templates if you want. It also means you are in good shape for trying out other PHP software once you already have the main site working.
posted by babar at 11:38 AM on July 11, 2005

no, Typo3 is nowhere near as easy to setup and understand as MT. It's a professional-grade CMS, not a blogger. Its worth it though.
posted by devilsbrigade at 2:05 PM on July 12, 2005

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