Open Source CMS Evaluation - Part III: Implementation
In my last post, I narrowed my open source CMS candidates down to Joomla and Drupal. I was hoping to have a choice made by Monday morning, implement the design in the morning, and populate the content in the afternoon. Two days later and I'm now where I was hoping to be on Monday morning. I've spent the last two days implementing both Joomla and Drupal. Monday, I spent most of the day with
Joomla. While it was easy to apply my own theme, I became very discouraged when I discovered I didn't have full control over the HTML markup produced. All of the content I produced was wrapped with a <table> - and from what I could tell, it was impossible for me to change that w/o hacking Joomla's code.
Based on that discovery, as well as the overwhelming number of pro-Drupal comments I received, I moved on to implementing Drupal. Monday night and yesterday were spent with Drupal. It's been extremely frustrating, but mostly because of all the CSS I had to write. The major problem with Drupal is the admin interface uses the same template as the reader interface. I did find a nice way to use an existing theme for the admin, and our own for the reader - but decided not to use it because it would give content authors the wrong impression of what their stuff looks like.
The majority of the time I've spent with Drupal has been modifying templates and installing modules. For the most part, Drupal doesn't come with everything you might need. I found the CivicSpace download to be much more complete with modules I needed. In addition, it has an installer which makes things a bit easier to setup for a web designer. I'm currently using the Article module, which works quite well, but I wish I could create multiple blocks for different categories (taxomies). Instead, I had to hack up my own block using some SQL to select all the "news" content types (for a Recent News block).
My biggest problem with Drupal continues to be my lack of knowledge. Luckily, there's a plethora of information out there and a lot of people are using it. I've been able to use the Drupal Forums as well as Google to solve most of my issues. Now the hard part comes - I need to show it to the designer/marketing folks and teach them how to use it.
The brochure site in an hour tutorial was extremely helpful for me to get started with an About page, Contact Us page, and Press Releases. However, it says to use "books" to create pages, and I've seen others recommend "page" and "story". So which is the best one to use? Should I advocate using "page" for regular site pages, and then "story" for our articles and whitepapers? Or should we use "book page" for the main pages. I'd like to limit the number of choices if possible.
I think the major problem with using Drupal is going to be tweaking our template. Every time I see a new custom theme (like this one) I want to steal stuff. Right now, I'm using a design from oswd.org and much of the CSS from the spreadfirefox theme.
Conclusion: No CMS is perfect. You'll have to hack it on one way or another to make it fit your needs. Drupal seems to be used by many web designers w/ little to no programming skills. Most folks love it and I've received many, many positive comments about it. I've received hardly any positive comments about Joomla. Zope and Plone also seemed to inspire hatred among some users.
Lesson Learned: Listen to your readers. Other users' experience is one of the most valuable indicators of a good open source project.
with this link http://drupal.org/node/23730, check the first post (eloquent explanation on diff trappings of book vs. taxonom), then search for this long post by "Zach Harkey".
Good extra reading for taxonomy:
Good luck :)
Posted by td on September 28, 2005 at 01:56 PM MDT #
Roland, our "chief blogging officer", wrote the brochure site in an hour tutorial. Here are a few more thoughts that might be useful.
Pros of using book pages for static site pages:
Using page + menu on the fly would be the non-book way of doing this. Don't listen to the taxonomy dudes, they're crazy :P http://drupal.org/node/31828
I would use "story" for your articles/whitepapers. Use either a structured taxonomy or free tagging to organize them.
I actually just came across a use case for multiple instances of article, or rather using it for multiple vocabularies -- I've filed a feature request here: http://drupal.org/node/32513
Posted by Boris Mann on September 28, 2005 at 03:54 PM MDT #
Posted by PJ Hyett on September 28, 2005 at 10:49 PM MDT #
Posted by Aaron Longwell on September 28, 2005 at 11:19 PM MDT #
Posted by Jemma Dobson on September 29, 2005 at 12:07 AM MDT #
Matt is a leading J2EE guy simply because he <em>does</em> take the risk and actually brings a smart product to market. Being brave and/or crazy enough to do so is just as important as writing the code itself. Don't discount his contributions.
Posted by Geof Harries on September 29, 2005 at 10:24 AM MDT #
Posted by Mark Jones on September 29, 2005 at 12:06 PM MDT #
Posted by Vaneet on March 22, 2006 at 10:51 AM MST #
Posted by Gordon Tatler on May 13, 2006 at 02:28 PM MDT #
Daisy seems to have a different approach. Navigation is build apart from content structure (that's what they say)
On top of that, Daisy speaks about faceted navigation which is, trust me on that, something any CMS should provides. (Drupal sounds great at this too) I give it a try and tell...
Posted by Serge Libotte on May 17, 2006 at 03:04 AM MDT #
Posted by John Baxter on July 05, 2006 at 04:56 AM MDT #
I realized that you had done this investigation a while back.
But, looking at your site: http://www.virtuas.com/ Am I correct to deduce that you're actually using MeshCMS for the site? The signature at the bottom seems to be giving it away.
I like meshCMS, but it is on low scale of features! Is it a case of simpler is better? Tell us now how you like it? Have you done any customizations?
Posted by Stephan on July 25, 2006 at 02:18 PM MDT #
Posted by Matt Raible on July 25, 2006 at 10:12 PM MDT #
Posted by Zeeshan on August 08, 2006 at 01:16 PM MDT #
Posted by travis wu on February 19, 2007 at 05:34 PM MST #
But I am now looking for a site to run in a java web container or a J2EE framework. Its time to grow up.
Posted by LightScribe on June 21, 2007 at 09:49 PM MDT #