View Full Version : site development using a CMS

11-11-2009, 10:59 PM
I'm about to start a website redesign, and the client's friend has recommended that we use a CMS so that he can make edits to content in the future. I've never used a CMS and am wondering what people think of them. I'm not exactly an expert web designer, but I'm pretty good with HTML and CSS, and have some experience with javascript and PHP. The site is for a small business. It won't be too elaborate--mostly text, images, and a few videos.

Will using a CMS create restrictions on what I can and can't do in development? I've read a bunch of information on Squarespace, and they make it sound as though it's easy for developers to customize using style sheets, scripts, etc., but I'm a little skeptical. Also, will customizing code directly interfere with my client's ability to edit content through the CMS' UI? He isn't set on using a CMS at this point and I'm trying to decide whether or not to try to talk him out of it. Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks.

11-11-2009, 11:49 PM
I've tried using Joomla and found a pretty good tutorial online for it, but unless you are an expert in CSS and PHP it's pretty hard to do a custom site, or even to modify the Joomla templates.

I'm of the understanding that WordPress is a much easier system to modify, but can't speak from experience.

And yes, unless you are an expert in CSS and PHP, using a CMS will create restrictions. I've designed a couple custom CMS sites, but I worked with a PHP programmer who inserted his code into my page templages.

11-11-2009, 11:59 PM
ModX CMS is great once you get your head around how some of the snippets work.

For templates, allowing clients to edit pages etc it is exceptionally user friendly.

using the moduels like user management, blogging etc takes a bit of playing around but it does sort of "click" after a while.

you can easily get a site up and running that the client can edit in a couple of hours. templating system is great, the only CMS I prefer would be expression engine and thats commercial.


11-12-2009, 01:28 AM
And yes, unless you are an expert in CSS and PHP, using a CMS will create restrictions.

I'll assume this is just a poorly worded argument since any well-designed CMS won't create anything except opportunities. The only restrictions are the same that exist with any web-based system.

To the OP, your best bet is to download a couple of the freebies, play around with them, and then ask questions based upon your experience. Without any idea as to how they operate, most of your questions will be more answerable by wikipedia. But once you get acquainted with their operation, you'll be in a better position to know what to ask about.

I push Drupal (http://drupal.org), but it's such a robust system that it takes a while to fully understand. FYI, there's a Drupal distribution called Acquia (http://acquia.com/) that comes "pre-packaged" with a lot of modules. Joomla is a great end-user system. VIPStephan, one of the seniors here, recommends CMS Made Simple (http://www.cmsmadesimple.org/).

11-12-2009, 01:43 AM
I'll assume this is just a poorly worded argument since any well-designed CMS won't create anything except opportunities.
I just meant restrictions in design freedom if you are starting from scratch, if you don't know CSS and PHP and how to combine the two it's hard to design a custom site. That's all. And I'm just speaking from my own experience. :)

11-12-2009, 10:15 AM
Hi... I don't know if this helps, but I've been using WordPress as a CMS for the past 6 months and have found it really useful... It's pretty easy to customise the look and feel just using CSS and HTML and there are lots of templates you can use as a base. Of course knowing some PHP helps a bit if you want to really customise the site, but there is also a lot of support in their forums, so if you get stuck someone can usually give you a helping hand...

I am about to start playing with Joomla as well, so I don't have any experience of that, but I hear it's really easily customisable, but as people have already said, it might require that you have a bit of PHP knowledge.

Anyway... I hope that helps... I found it quite daunting to go from flat file HTML sites to using a CMS - it's a bit of a leap - but once you do, you'll never go back because the options that are then open to you are pretty much endless :)