Best Content Management System (CMS)

by Will Johnson

(fHdc) Best Content Management System (CMS)


Written 2010 by Will Johnson for Fast Forward Technologies
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I am a member of the San Francisco PHP Meetup Group.  A few days ago, I posted a new message to their email list with the subject line "CMS which one", it generated several dozen replies.  In my email I stated that I had a new client who was looking for a way to maintain his own web site, so I wanted to know what recommendations the PHP users might have as to a Content Management System that is the easiest to learn and use.

I extract or abstract the responses:
  • Joomla is simpler than Drupal
  • Use concrete5 "I heard good things about concrete5 and have been trying it out. My friend who turned me on to it has moved exclusively to concrete from joomla and drupal as it is a bit easier to jump into for clients. He claims to have base html templates up and running in 10 minutes."
  • WordPress for a basic site, Drupal for advanced
  • "I don't think you can get any more user friendly than Apostrophe. Spend 5 min on the demo: apostrophenow"
  • Use Typo3 "...very robust and easy. Open source, but it feels very complete, like a commercial product." Another poster cites this and also its Introduction Package
  • WordPress
  • "WordPress always seemed the easiest for [non-technical clients] to work with.  If you are not needing some of the more robust features of CMS's like Drupal and Joomla..."
  • "wordpress with pods cms plug is simple and powerful.  biggest draw back is previewing. there is no real native solution for previewing complex sites."
  • "... WordPress gives you the most cut-n-paste, out of the box workability.... just-plain-understandable for beginner to intermediate users.... Drupal ... It's the programmer's tool... with flexibility to get anything done-- but it has a higher learning curve, and there are plenty of structural ways of hanging yourself"
  • "There is a strong Joomla Community that continues to grow in the Bay Area and Worldwide ... Joomla has the community you want, and if done correctly makes it easy for your client.... the pain will be in how it is developed not necessarily the CMS option you choose."
  • "... a great intro into drupal for novices."
  • "Joomla does have a few services for hosting, such as  .... Joomla is easier to learn and implement than Drupal and ... how easy it is to customize.... Wordpress may have won the CMS awards last month by Packt Publishing,  but even the WP developers responded by saying.... "be careful calling Wordpress a CMS...". It really is not a full CMS.
  • "The main positive [about WordPress] is that it has become a lot easier to use as a CMS since they added register_post_type, which is the equivalent of Drupal and other CMS' content creation facilities. The main drawback is that the code base is ugly as sin. The internals reveal a complete lack of logic/presentation separation. We're talking every PHP developer's nightmare: one-page-one-script, code that echoes HTML snippets in the middle of business logic, awkward globals for communicating state, and nearly naked SQL at times.  I am not sure, but I believe that Joomla is the most OOP-friendly of all the ones we're talking about here. I've been told it's similar to programming against Symfony.  As long as you stay at the theme/plugin development level things are adequate for lightweight CMS tasks. If you ever have to go below decks, it's a veritable house of cards."


My take-away from all this, is that a small client, who just wants a "web site" that they can maintain themselves, without a steep learning curve, but perhaps without as many "bells and whistles" should be fine using WordPress.  The next "step-up" might be to go to Joomla, and finally to Drupal, which sounds both more complex and harder to learn and use.