Nowadays new webmasters have many luxuries of free content management systems for putting their websites together. However, there are loads of them, each with their different pros and cons. I've tried a few of them, and even tried to write my own one! But what makes a good content management system, at least, what makes for a good one that costs you nothing to use?
When I started learning to code for the web, I had to create my websites from scratch, or I could use templates from Microsoft FrontPage or * shudders * Microsoft Word. There were options of using portals on forums to create websites, but they never really were brilliant websites unless you coded the life out of a template.
More recently the internet has come to life and there are plenty of options for web masters to create their sites. Some of the codes I have used are Joomla, WordPress and ModX CMS. I've added plugins and modifications to achieve what I wanted on my site. I've even gotten frustrated and tried to code my own CMS.
Anyway, that aside, which one should you use? Really it's personal choice, but here are a few pointers I learned …
- WordPress is the system to use if you want to use a blog. The impending release of Joomla 1.6 will better cater for blogging use (includes comments), but I still think WordPress is the software to use.
- ModX is probably the easiest to create templates for. You can assign templates to each page.
- All CMS systems have plenty of plugins to use
- I personally found the ModX CMS system the most complicated – a lot of it is done manually without fancy interfaces
- ModX is probably the easiest to get to grips with. You create a page, it appears on the menu list. WordPress would be close behind. Joomla takes a little more getting used to.
- Joomla contains the most "core" features. You can create polls, manage adverts, etc.
- The WordPress widgets system is similar to Joomla's module system. The limitations are imposed by your template
I had used Joomla prior to using WordPress. I am glad I have made the change, as WordPress has better suited my blogging requirements. The comments part of the site is particularly useful as you can interact with readers. I used ModX for a simple site with a handful of static pages, and it was well suited.
The Bottom Line
WordPress – For websites built around a blog
Joomla – For general websites with a bit of everything
ModX – For small sites generally made of static pages