The ISA-Bus

One blog to bind them all.

CMS Blues

Last summer, I systematically researched CMSes. It was a very frustrating experience. The most irritating thing is that none of the developers seem capable of describing the features of their product in simple, understandable terms to help you make an informed decision. Instead you get marketing buzzwords like “powerful”, “versatile”, “rich flexibility” and whatnot. And that goes for the free ones too!

To explain what I mean let me describe in simple, understandable terms the features of one of the very few CMSes I have personal experience with, MediaWiki:

  • Main elements are pages (articles) and categories.
  • For editing pages, a special, very simple markup is used. Line breaks are preserved.
  • The title of a page is its internal ID. Enclosing a word or phrase in double brackets will link to a page with this title, if it exists. If it does not exist, it will link to an editor where you can create it.
  • You add a page to a category simply by putting a link to it, which will be displayed in the footer. The category list is updated automatically.
  • You can put categories into categories.
  • The category page can be edited, everything that can go on a page can go here as well. This content is displayed above the automatically generated list.
  • You can upload files, they automatically get a description page that can be edited.
  • You can create templates, which can easily be inserted into any page.
  • Main drawback is a high server load, especially with images, and a rather bland, cluttered layout with few interesting themes.

That shouldn’t be to difficult, now, should it? But try finding a similar description for Joomla, Drupal, Typo3, or whatever. You won’t.

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