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!