Free or cheap CMS options?
March 5, 2004 1:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of establishing a new personal web site for the risque/opinionated stuff that I don't want on my family-oriented site. The thing is, I'm not convinced that MT and it's bloggerific ilk nor Nuke and it's bastard children can maintain the stylized newspaper/-zine site that I want to erect. What other styles of free or dirt-cheap CMS software are out there that I should consider for the new site?
posted by ringmaster to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Do you have an example of the kind of layout that you're after? I get the sense that any of the CMS systems out there can do it, albeit with heavy modification. I use Blosxom, think that it's very elegant, although I wouldn't recommend it unless you know Perl, but in any event I prefer it to MT. I keep hearing good things about TextPattern, keep meaning to take a look at it.
posted by brool at 1:09 PM on March 5, 2004

I'm using Movable Type as a standalone CMS for my work site and it's pretty flexible as well as a little easier to deal with strange servers. I also run Drumblog! with MT, so it's a little more flexible than a lot of people know.
posted by mkelley at 1:12 PM on March 5, 2004

Response by poster: Iwould like to launch completely new content in several channels on a regular schedule, say monthly or bi-weekly. A peek at these features would appear on the home page.

I imagine the home page being something like a Wired table of contents, with links to actual articles. Some things would change more frequently than others as part of regular columns, and an archive should be available.

My main issue with blogging tools like MT and friends is that they seem primarily chronologically oriented. Sure, you can set up categories and possibly display them as I've described, but most of what I've seen people do with MT is oriented toward plain old chronological blogging. I want content to sit for a while, then move off the home page, not simply scroll down when new things are added. I would like something that screams "Zine" when tearing off the shrinkwrap.
posted by ringmaster at 1:20 PM on March 5, 2004

I want content to sit for a while, then move off the home page, not simply scroll down when new things are added.

In MT, you can set how long items stay on the front page, from one day to pretty much the end of time. (Most MT sites post far faster than things can fall off the front page, hence the appearance of a standard Blogger-like scroll.) If you plan to post once or twice a month, you could easily set it up so items fall off the front page every 14 or 30 days.

Gapers' Block, The Morning News and many other webzine-type sites use MT in ways that differ pretty substantially from the run-o'-the-mill blog.
posted by me3dia at 1:46 PM on March 5, 2004

FWIW, I've used MT for some projects where chronology isn't an issue at all. The fact that you're already up to speed on it is a vote in its favor. Even if you needed to spread your project over a few separate blogs (my own blog page actually includes contents from three separate blogs in MT), you might be coming out ahead. If you haven't done so already, you might want to check out to see ways that you can extend MT.

However, if you need the ability to pin stories easily, MT isn't the right tool, and something like a "portal" CMS that gives you more control over story placement. Check out
posted by adamrice at 2:17 PM on March 5, 2004

I use and recommend pMachine Pro. You can run multiple blogs off of it (each with their own templates and preferences) and have those blogs appear on separate pages or all on the same page. You specify how long you want things to stay on the front page before automatically being archived and can sort in different ways. to try it out.
posted by dobbs at 2:37 PM on March 5, 2004

Bricolage is the open-source version of the CMS Salon uses, and is tailored for producing exactly the sort of site you describe. May be a bit of overkill for a personal site though, and I agree that it wouldn't take much tinkering with MT to get a similar effect.
posted by jjg at 12:51 AM on March 6, 2004

Not to focus too much on Movable Type, but our fearless leader has written something about using MT for more than a blog. If you do decide to go with MT, it could give you some ideas.
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posted by gen at 5:01 PM on March 6, 2004


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posted by Dreamghost at 8:03 PM on March 7, 2004

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