Free CMS Recommendation
April 1, 2004 7:38 AM   Subscribe

CMS Recommendation: I need to develop a web site for a client which will allow them to easily update the frontpage news items, and also add / edit product descriptions within a category-tree, as well as having other static content. While my background lies more in design than development, I have done some minor programming in actionscript, php, etc., and am looking at this as an opportunity to learn new skills.
What free (really free, no licensing, no nothing), basic-to-midlevel CMS would you recommend for an architect/web designer/nascent-developer to cut his teeth on?
posted by signal to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
posted by five fresh fish at 9:35 AM on April 1, 2004

textpattern ?
posted by specialk420 at 11:09 AM on April 1, 2004

if anyone has a links to the best off the shelf solution ($$$) i'd be interested in their opinions - (non-hosted standards based solutions preferred).
posted by specialk420 at 11:11 AM on April 1, 2004

This has been discussed here a lot--do a search on CMS. A good reference is open source CMS, though that focuses only on PHP/SQL systems, leaving out lotsa systems like MT, Plone, Bricolage...

FWIW, I've been pretty impressed by Drupal. It's counter-intuitive at first to set up, but it's quite elegant.
posted by adamrice at 11:26 AM on April 1, 2004

oops--that's open source CMS
posted by adamrice at 11:29 AM on April 1, 2004

Mambo Server is pretty easy to set up and manage.
posted by prolific at 11:45 AM on April 1, 2004

Movable Type or Pages, if they need something smaller.

I still think, that Movable Type is good to use for sites that don't need a CMS that micromanages every damn thing. I'm currently on the lookout for a good replacement, but nothing comes close. It's userfriendly and a little easier to customize. Shoot me an email (mkelley @ either .com or .net) and I can explain my employeer's site and give some pointers on how to make MT into a general CMS.

I think a lot of CMSs are overkill for what the accomplish. Mambo and Typo3 are good at what they do, but nothin' is easy for a general user.
posted by mkelley at 1:25 PM on April 1, 2004

For a site as small as the one you describe, there is something to be said for just doing it from scratch. Once you are relatively comfortable with PHP, you can knock out a simple set of tools for a site like this in a couple hours... with the advantge that they are specificly customized to your exact needs. You make a password protected directory, slap a few PHP files in there with forms that UPDATE/INSERT a couple database tables, and you're done.

The custom solution will also probably do a better job teaching you portable skills, as most of your time customizing a CMS system will be spent with their documentation, API, templates, etc.

I'm not suggesting re-inventing the wheel, but sometimes people overengineer this stuff.
posted by malphigian at 1:43 PM on April 1, 2004

Response by poster: malphigian: I was wondering whether or not I could roll my own. I shall ponder it.
mkelley, thanks, I might take you up on the offer.
posted by signal at 5:41 PM on April 1, 2004

These systems are usually best rolled individually... I've never found one that I was totally happy with as a standard solution.
posted by SpecialK at 7:41 PM on April 1, 2004

As far as open source CMS goes, Typo3 is pretty good (even after the steep learning curve).
posted by Gyan at 12:48 PM on April 2, 2004

It costs $99 but Macromedia Collaborate is dirt simple and after using it for a few months seems to be quite reliable.
posted by bz at 8:07 PM on April 4, 2004

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