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25 June 2009 at 11:45pm Last edited: 25 June 2009 11:53pm
I'm working on a project for which a CMS is needed, and as I'm a CMS newbie I've been doing a lot of research around the web as to what to go for. My first idea was Joomla, but a lot of things I've read suggest that, though powerful, it's cumbersome to work with and has a steep learning curve. So I've been trying to find out about alternatives and have, I think, narrowed the list down to Silverstripe, Typolight, ModX and CMS Made Simple. Whatever I settle on, I want it to be useful for lots of sites, not just the immediate one in question (I've spent too much time in recent years learning things on a one-off basis, which isn't very cost-effective).
Now, the site I'm currently working on seems a fairly straightforward CMS-style proposition - not a huge number of pages but consistency required throughout, news items, etc., and a separate area which only certain members can see. I'm assuming this is all easily handled by Silverstripe? There are a couple of other areas which aren't (or don't seem to me to be) so obviously CMS-oriented, and I'd like to know how Silverstripe might handle them. Firstly, the site needs to have an associated set of forums. Now, I'm aware that Silverstripe has a forum module (unlike, for example, ModX), and this may be the way to go. It seems, though, that various other CMSes choose instead to integrate with separate forum applications, such as SMF, phpBB, etc., and my understanding is that this is what Silverstripe's own site does. I'd be interested to hear from anyone using Silverstripe who has provided forums as part of their Silverstripe-based site, by whatever means, preferably with some examples I can look at. Secondly, users need to be able to register to a couple of conferences via the site. Is there some kind of module for this, or is this something which would have to be developed by me? I'm not keen on getting too deep into PHP to begin with, as it's unfamiliar to me (although I've been developing Java web applications for a number of years so I'm no stranger to programming or the machinery of the web).
Although it's not required for this project, one coming up shortly will require blogging capability, so I'd like to know about adding blogging to a site. Is this something I'd use a blogging module for, or would I instead integrate something like Wordpress, in which case I'd be interested to hear what this would involve.
Any pointers would be most welcome, thanks!
26 June 2009 at 2:26am
I think it's a question of context.
I would not use SS in some cases while i would not use Joomla in other cases. It's all part of the analysis, the structure of the site, the frequency and number of articles. I feel SS has a great learning curve and is very manageable for a few articles only. If you get a site with thousands of articles, it would make the CMS have to handle so many nodes that i don't think it would be interresting in terms of management.
If your goal is to have 1 menu with a simple structure and powerful layout engine, SS is definitely the choice. For the forums, i can't be sure, but i think SS uses their own module, wouldn't make sense to publish a module and not use it anyway.
Finaly, the reason to choose SS over Joomla is for the extensibility features, do you need extra fields to declare your pages? Such as author, Number of times i went to new york, Weight of my dog, or price for my car... Then, SS is for you, Joomla is not recommended.
If you have a lot of documents and need a strong menu builder plus a large community of extensions, then Joomla would be for you more than SS is.
So like i said, it all depends on the job to do. For what you have told us, i think SS could be a good tool. but i can't be sure!
27 June 2009 at 4:17am
The site will have less than a hundred articles, so SS shouldn't struggle with that. When you refer to a 'powerful layout engine', what do you mean? If you mean that I can get great flexibility in how the page looks, without having to spend ages learning arcane tricks, then it does sound like SS is right for me.
The ridiculous thing is that if I'd just settled on one of my choices straight away without deliberating so long, I'd probably already be well up to speed with using it. I hope all my um-ing and ah-ing isn't wholly wasted time!
27 June 2009 at 5:33am
Indeed, if it's only a simple few documents architecture that is well splitted, then SS is great. I wouldn't want to use SS for some newspaper archive for example
27 June 2009 at 6:52am
For the immediate project, and for any others I can see coming up in the near future, I have no doubt that SS will cope perfectly well with the number of pages. My questions were more around functionality and ease of use. I get the impression that it is much quicker to develop sites in SS than it is in Joomla. Is this true, from anyone who's used both? Or is it only true of sites where you want something more than the basic functionality provided out of the box - SS makes it easier to add new functionality? In truth, I'm looking to learn the right tool to give me some kind of competitive advantage - the ability to produce sophisticated websites quicker than others locally are doing. I'm hoping SS might give me that.
27 June 2009 at 6:57am
There is only a right tool for the job and the target audience. I don't like the idea of setting up a Joomla for a company that produces milk bottles even though they'd have loads of articles. If the person going to administrate the site is a neophyte in computer, you're better off with SS and stripped out features so that your user gets only the minimum options.
I find Joomla overwhelming to operate and configure because of the number of options. They tried to put all of the options possible in a GUI. So that no one has the need to code anything. Instead you install a package and get functionality.
The reason to use Joomla over SS is simple, do you need a feature that is in one but not the other? Do you have a fragile user that doesn't understand the basic concept of moving a file? Do you have 1 million article to manage or only a few hundreds or even a low thousands of articles?
I wouldnt abandon Joomla or strictly work in SS... Drupal, Joomla, SS, they all exist for the same purpose, fill the gaps of another CMS... Just chose the right one for the job!
27 June 2009 at 10:19pm Last edited: 27 June 2009 10:20pm
I think Silver Stripe has a more simplified approach to CMS. Even tho Joomla engine might support more but I personally feel its headache to manage them.
SS on the other hand is more forgiving, I understand it lot more stable unless I playground with codes. As a designer I need not worry about too many things or even for developer its much easier code less do more.
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