What opensource CMS would you recommend for ease of use, robustness, and customizability?
January 30, 2004 5:45 AM   Subscribe

Some of the answers I got to this post made me think about developing cheap, easy-to-use interactive Intranets for various corporate clients (a la this), based on opensource CMS and/or blogware, thus eliminating licensing fees and saving a bundle on programming costs / time. I am looking for advice on what application to use. [more inside]

I am not a programmer but rather an enlightened web designer (and an architect in my previous life), and have played around with Blosxom and Mambo, both of which I like. I am aware of MT and Plone, but have no experience with either.
My question is: what open source content manager would you reccomend which meets:
a) Easy to install, maintain and use (and by easy I mean easy for me and my clients, not for a programmer with 15 years experience in the field).
b) Easy to cutomize look and feel
c) Robustness, active dev community.
Note: "free" is a huge issue, and a main selling point for the clients.
posted by signal to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
oh, and d) Localization, localization, localization, as I'm in Chile and would need to be able to set everything up in spanish.
posted by signal at 6:04 AM on January 30, 2004

With most CMSs, you need to install some files, edit a password file, set up a SQL database, and run a set-up script. If you are comfortable with this stuff, it should take you about one hour (though there may be some special considerations relating to file paths on your host that require some trial and error). Then you can dive into the CMS' own interface to start configuring. Most of them come with a default configuration (consisting of plugins or modules, templates, styles, etc) that is a tolerable "vanilla" but you will probably want to tweak--and tweaking is an ongoing process that never ends.

If you haven't already, check out Open Source CMS, which lets you try out a bunch of different CMSs (but by no means all of them).

I played around with Plone briefly and was terribly confused. I use MT for my own site, and like it. It offers extremely fine-grained control over everything, but there are some things it just isn't meant to do. I've played around with Drupal and like it as well, but for different things. For example, MT is really more of a personal tool--it doesn't have strong features for administering large numbers of users. Drupal (and most CMSs) have stronger multi-user features. They don't make it as easy to exert fine-grained control, but they do make it easy to add new features by dropping in a module and clicking a button.

Drupal and MT (and probably most other CMSs) both have localization modules for the admin interface (and in Drupal, you can create a new one within the app itself), and of course you can create content in whatever language you want.
posted by adamrice at 7:43 AM on January 30, 2004

i think wordpress.org is looking interesting. dangerousmeta just installed it and likes it.
posted by specialk420 at 8:22 AM on January 30, 2004

D. Keith Robinson at Asterisk recently tweaked Movable Type for use on an Intranet. He's posted a few details and would likely provide more information upon request.

Keep in mind that this would certainly be commercial use in which case MT is not free (I think it's $150).
posted by cedar at 8:34 AM on January 30, 2004

I like pMachine and found it pretty easy to set up (if you're familiar with the things mentioned in adamrice's post, above). It's free for non-commercial but $125 for commercial. The support there is top-notch. I think it meets most of your requirements but check out the site for details or send them an email. They're very quick to respond.
posted by dobbs at 9:50 AM on January 30, 2004

I'm a bit MovableType fan. The main advantage of MT over some of the other tools is its tremendous flexibility. You can make it do just about anything you need it to do.
posted by oissubke at 11:47 AM on January 30, 2004

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