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Choosing an Open Source CMS: Beginner's Guide

Beginner's Guide
Nirav Mehta

Find the best CMS and start working with it to create web sites, blogs, communities, e-commerce sites, and intranets
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Book Details

ISBN 139781847196224
Paperback340 pages

About This Book

  • Understand different types of CMSs and select the one that best fits your needs
  • Install and customize a CMS with themes and plug-ins
  • Learn key concepts of Content Management Systems and how to systematically assess your requirements
  • Introduction to the major CMSs including Joomla!, Drupal, WordPress, Plone, Magento, Alfresco, and more
  • A hands-on, easy-to-read guide that gives you practical tips on hosting, project management, working with specialists and communities, and finding experts

Who This Book Is For

This book is written for anyone who wants to start a web site and is looking for a good CMS. It is best suited for people who are selecting a CMS for their sites and people who will manage a CMS. Knowledge of web basics is certainly helpful, but not needed.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Do I Even Want an Open Source CMS?
You need a CMS!
Which CMS?
What about you?
About this book
Let's get started!
Chapter 2: Evaluating Your Options
Genres of Content Management Systems
Different types, but strong overlap
Understanding CMS technologies
Summary
Chapter 3: Understanding your Requirements
Setting our expectations right
Time for action-setting your expectations for "The Yoga Site"
Measuring your site
Time for action-measuring the scale of your site
Working with others
Time for action-determining compliance and interoperability needs
Determining additional feature requirements
Time for action-choosing additional features
Summary
Chapter 4: Building the Site
Get hands-on experience with a CMS
Time for action-taking a test drive
Create navigation structure
Time for action-creating navigation structure
Understanding technical requirements
Time for action-understanding technical requirements
Installing a CMS
Time for action-install WordPress
Summary
Chapter 5: Content Editing and Management
Adding content to our site
Time for action-adding a page
Summary
Chapter 6: Templates and Plug-ins
Giving a professional look to our site
Time for action-finding a good template
Time for action-setting up a template
Enhancing functionality with plug-ins
Time for action-finding a photo gallery plug-in
Time for action-showing a photo gallery on our site
Summary
Chapter 7: Extending and Customizing
Customize a template
Time for action-replacing the default logo in our template
Time for action-advancing customization via CSS changes
Understanding the code architecture
Finding professional help
Summary
Chapter 8: Blog CMSs
The first question-do I need a self-hosted or service-based CMS?
Taking WordPress for a test drive
Time for action-managing content with WordPress
Extending WordPress
Time for action-customizing the design
Evaluating Movable Type
Time for action-managing content with Movable Type
Expressing opinions with ExpressionEngine
Time for action-managing content with ExpressionEngine
Searching for more alternatives
Additional help is also available
Summary
Chapter 9: Web CMSs
Do you want a CMS or a portal?
Time for action-managing content with CMS Made Simple
Time for action-exploring customization options
Diving into Drupal
Time for action-putting Drupal to the test
Is Joomla! the best choice?
SilverStripe—easy and extensive
ezPublish—enterprise CMS
Umbraco—rising high
DotNetNuke—the first you may notice
Plone—for Python lovers
dotCMS—enterprise and Java
Where to find more?
Summary
Chapter 10: CMS for e-commerce
Content or commerce?
Magento—open source e-commerce evolved
Time for action-adding products with Magento
VirtueMart—bringing e-commerce to Joomla!
Time for action-adding products and selling them
Freeway—e-commerce for products, events, services, and subscriptions
Time for action-selling weekly yoga class registrations
Other notable e-commerce CMSs
Summary
Chapter 11: Team Collaboration CMSs
Why a collaboration CMS?
Alfresco—an enterprise CMS
Time for action-planning the Yoga Site with Alfresco
Time for action-creating workflows and revisions with Alfresco
Finding alternatives to Alfresco
Summary
Chapter 12: Specialized CMSs
Wiki CMSs: The power of collective contribution
Time for action-creating events listing for the Yoga Site
Discussion forums: helping each other
Time for action-discussions on yoga products
Photo galleries: Sharing memories
Time for action-posting team photos online
Online learning: facilitating learning
Time for action-creating a yoga course
Other specialized CMSs
Summary
Chapter 13: Hosting your CMS-Powered Site
Do I need hosting?
Summary
Chapter 14: Getting Involved in the Community
Where to go for support
Searching for an answer
Keep this in mind—asking good questions
How can you contribute?
Summary
Chapter 15: Working with a Specialist
Basics of Software Project Management
Finding the right expert
Outsourcing requires different thinking
Tracking progress and controlling
Handling risks and conflicts
Succeed with your project—recommendations
Summary
Chapter 16: Packt Open Source CMS Awards
Why an award?
Award methodology
2008 award winners
Other finalists
Most valued professionals
Summary

What You Will Learn

  • Analyze your web site's CMS requirements, and identify the CMS options that best suit your needs
  • Explore the differences between the major CMSs, and understand which CMS option best fits your site
  • Assess your technical skill level and choose a CMS that combines ease of use with flexibility and power
  • Extensive discussion and quick start guides for several major CMSs: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, and more
  • Discover "speciality CMSs" for specific requirements: intranets, document sharing, community, e-commerce, blogging, and more.
  • Know how to choose the right developers and designers to customize the CMS to your requirements
  • Know what to do when your CMS plays up: troubleshoot, get help from the community, and make full use of the documentation
  • Make sure your web site gets the best hosting: find an ISP that can provide your CMS with the web hosting it needs, or learn about hosting the site on your own server
  • Investigate the plug-ins available for each CMS – plug-ins extend the power of a CMS, meaning that you can build features into your site that the CMS on its own might not provide

Section 1: Opening up to open source CMSs

Chapter 1: Do I even want an open source CMS? – When and how a content management system is useful. Why open source? Readymade or custom built?

Chapter 2: Exploring your options – Different CMS types, their purposes and different CMS technologies

Section 2: Thinking your choices through

Chapter 3: Understanding your site requirements – brainstorm and clarify your requirements, standard compliance, scale of the site, and key features

Chapter 4: Building the site – trying out CMSs, technical requirements, downloading and installation, configuration, creating navigation

Chapter 5: Content editing & maintaining the site – using WYSIWYG editors, adding pictures, publishing content, creating links

Chapter 6: Available plug-ins and templates – adding a photo gallery, customizing design via templates

Chapter 7: Extending and customizing – understand CMS's code quality, make code level changes to understand complexity

Section 3: CMSs by breed

Chapter 8: Blog CMSs – perform typical tasks with the top 3 blog choices, evaluate features

Chapter 9: Web CMSs – using top web CMSs, customizing them, and gaining key CMS skills

Chapter 10: E-Commerce CMSs – managing product/service-based e-commerce sites with CMSs; which would be best for you?

Chapter 11: Intranet/internal CMSs – internal sites for collaboration and communication, workflow, access privileges, and version tracking; Alfresco

Chapter 12: Specialized CMSs – CMSs that serve niches – e-learning, wiki, photo galleries, discussion forums and so on

Section 4: Open source CMS tips

Chapter 13: Hosting your CMS-powered site – selecting and working with a web host

Chapter 14: Working with CMS communities – asking questions, learning from documentation, and getting help

Chapter 15: Working with a specialist – finding experts, evaluating them, tips for project management, and outsourced teams

Chapter 16: Packt open source CMS award winners – Best CMSs voted by community and experts

In Detail

There are many powerful open source CMSs available to take the pain away from managing a web site. These systems are feature rich, often easy to use, and free. Unfortunately, there are so many choices it's tough to be sure you're choosing the right one. How can you be sure that you are selecting and working with the right tool?

This book will guide you through choosing the right CMS for your needs. You can be confident in your choice of CMS for the needs of your project. It will also help you make a start using the CMS, and give you a feel for what it's like to use it – even before you install it yourself.

Are you bewildered by the many open source CMSs available online? Open source CMSs are the best way to create and manage sophisticated web sites. You can create a site that precisely meets your business goals, and keep the site up to date easily because these systems give you full control over every aspect of your site. Because open source CMSs are free to download, you have a huge amount of choice between the various systems.

Yet there are many open source CMSs to choose from, each with unique strengths – and occasionally limitations too. Choosing between the bewildering number of options can be tough.

Making the wrong choice early on may lead to a lot of wasted work, because you'll have a half-finished site that doesn't meet your initial requirements – and needs to be restarted from scratch.

This book will show you how to avoid choosing the wrong CMS. It will guide you through assessing your site requirements, and then using that assessment to identify the CMS that will best fit your needs. It contains discussions of the major CMSs, and the issues that you should consider when choosing: their complexity to use, their features and the power they offer. It discusses technical considerations such as programming languages and compliance with best practice standards in a clear, friendly way that non-technical readers can understand.

The book also contains quick-start guides and examples for the most popular CMSs such as WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal, so that you can experiment with these CMSs, get a feel for how they work, and start using them to build your site.

After reading this book, you can be confident that your CMS choice will support your web site's needs because you have carefully assessed your requirements and explored the available options.

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