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Thread: Best free CMS?

  1. #1
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops

    Best free CMS?

    So I installed Wordpress the other day (previously I've coded my sites in their entirety) .

    It's just not as flexible as I'd been lead to believe and getting it to do what I want is a little bit of a headache.

    So I'm looking for an alternative. In many ways the templating on Blogger is better but I want a system installed on my domain. The whole reason for this is so I can edit my site from anywhere in the world easily. Not everyone/everywhere has the FTP and code editors I need.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    Someone suggested I use SSH to update my HTML. I can't seem to find anything else out about it. Any ideas?

  3. #3
    Administrator
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    Seems confusing advice to me. SSH is an encrypted shell connection that can also support file transfers via a shell mode known as SFTP. Unless they were suggesting that the use of FTP is potentially insecure so you should switch to something with more protection I'm not sure what they were saying.

    (Although, of course, given the limited amount of available acronyms "SSH" may, in fact, be a wonderful CMS system).

    As to your original question, the only public one that I've had a lot of experience with is Joomla!. It's certainly flexible - loads of extensions are out there for it and if you're masochistic enough you can write your own. If you're only wanting to slightly spice-up your blog it might be more heavyweight than you're looking for.

  4. #4
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    I've been playing with Wordpress and it's not as flexible as I'd like. Not unless I write my own template anyway, and man is that a drag.

    What I want is a standard site, header (menu in/under the header), content, footer with an index/homepage.

    Then I need one page which has a sub-menu for flicking through some pages, though I don't actually need new pages because I'm using a form script for the navigation of this bit.

    I need another page with panels on it, a directory of sorts. Each panel links to an item page. Ideally I'd like to have comments possible on the item pages and for the directory to be searchable.

    It's pretty simple and at the moment I'm hand coding it, needing FTP, no comments, no searches. With blog software the comments and searches via page tagging would be possible. It's the layout that's the problem via Wordpress.

    Sitemap


    Home - links to:
    - Feature page - has other "pages" that are navigated to with form script changing style.display to block or none.
    - Directory page, panelled - links to item pages that I'd like to be able to add/alter
    - Contact page - natch


    That's it. So hard

  5. #5
    Well, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are the holy trinity of PHP CMSes, going from least-technical-least-powerful to most-technical-most-powerful in that order

    * WordPress - the easiest but, with so many plugins, also the most flexible. I do recommend it; look around for plugins or even custom theming if you need to extend its basic flexibility. You'd be amazed what can be done with a "blogging" platform
    * Joomla - have a client who was already set up with 1.5 and 1.7 and absolutely HATE IT. Imho it's structure has too much ambiguous distrinctions (modules vs. components vs. featues vs. themes vs... aww fuck it), sometimes very unintuitive interface, and quite buggy (I need to keep re-pasting pure HTML code into articles since the WYSIWYG editor keeps messing it up every time, sometimes objects wont appear even if they are set up properly etc.)
    * Drupal - requires A LOT of tinkering and digging / setting up, but once you get the grove of things you will be amazed how much you can accomplish without writing a single line of code. I create an FML/TextFromLastNight type website in just two days from scratch, based on exisitng modules alone.
    However, I hear performance isn't its forte, and bigger sites become a bit of a jumbled mess of 30+ modules. I am afraid of even updating a single one in case it breaks everything. Also backing/migrating the site is a bit of a pain with so many variables to keep track of.

    My 53 cents.

    EDIT: I just read your post SubjEff, and it looks like Drupal, with "Views", "Panels" and some custom-defined object types (for the items) would be perfect, and it comes with user-management and comments by default. You can integrate product ratings and social media pretty easily via additional modules as well. Like I said, it may seem steep at first if you never used it, but you can get it all up and running really fast WITHOUT any coding.

    Alternatively, you can hire a web developer to get it up and running, like myself
    Last edited by Yakoob; 5th Jul 2012 at 13:49.

  6. #6
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    Thanks Yakoob, I'll give Drupal a go.

    I'd hire a developer but truth is I code myself. I'm not anywhere near your level but I code enough for a simple site. HTML/JavaScript/CSS is my core, but I do a bit of PHP and SQL too.

  7. #7
    Following this thread with some interest as I'd like to spruce up my own site (see profile if you care).

    The original was bashed together 7 odd years ago after reading a php-for-dummies book, and could do with modernising, especially the clunky cms behind the scenes. Not sure if it would be better for a revamp to again be hand-coded. Or if I should just junk it and grab a ready-made CMS off the shelf.

    Guess I'll see what wordpress can do, first, if that's the easiest.
    Last edited by Chimpy Chompy; 5th Jul 2012 at 20:40.

  8. #8
    Administrator
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    Wordpress will probably do what you need. Based on your current website you'll want to obviously tweak / change the current template but it's probably due a refresh anyway.

    Drupal... I couldn't quite come to terms with. It's definitely a great CMS but for serious work you seem to keep banging your head against a brick wall and needing yet another plugin. Modularity is great, but I kept feeling that anything I did introduced as many problems as it solved.

    I haven't tried the latest version but Joomla by comparison is horribly structured but if you can pare it down to your needs it actually works quite well. You don't have to put up with the default editors JCE, for example, is not perfect but it makes editing a lot easier.

    Given what you've said, I think you'll be best with wordpress and if you're happy with HTML / CSS / PHP as you say then generating a containing structure shouldn't be too tricky.

  9. #9
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    Well I'll be tinkering with Drupal so I'll let you know what I think compared to WP.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: On my bicycle \o/
    Drupal is a CMS construction kit - you get to build your own behind the scenes out of building blocks and then build your own database structures and eventually a shiny website. There are some advantages to that approach (especially if you're building a site for someone else and have specific criteria for the CMS that you need to meet), but if you want a fairly standard website in double quick time Drupal might be overkill and overly hard work. It's awesome. But it's also a lifestyle choice.

    Mostly though, I think the thing to do is pick one and stick at it. Wordpress is pretty much a easy to get going with blog template engine out the box, but can be pushed into all sorts of other things with a little effort.

    Possibly worth considering is Textpattern. It's showing it's age in terms how the behind the scenes screens look, but it's pretty flexible and has one great advantage over the big guns of the CMS world. It's not a magnet for comment spam - that means you can be super lovely to your readers and not make them take an eyetest exam every time they want to comment and also not have to spend your free time fending off crappy adverts for loans. That's a serious plus in my book.

    The disadvantage with TextPattern is that it's not used so much, so the skills you learn won't be as useful or transferable to other sites as they might be if you learned say Wordpress or Drupal.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Chimpy Chompy View Post
    Following this thread with some interest as I'd like to spruce up my own site (see profile if you care).

    The original was bashed together 7 odd years ago after reading a php-for-dummies book, and could do with modernising, especially the clunky cms behind the scenes. Not sure if it would be better for a revamp to again be hand-coded. Or if I should just junk it and grab a ready-made CMS off the shelf.
    Aye it does look dated, but by the structure, WordPress would suit your needs perfectly. You should be able to get it up yourself but, as, I mentioned I can set it up for ya if you'd like (I've worked and custom moded/themed WP for several clients). I might even throw in some TTLG-specific discount in there (30% off if your posts ever threw dethtoll in such nerdgrage he got banned : P )


    Quote Originally Posted by jay pettitt View Post
    Drupal is a CMS construction kit - you get to build your own behind the scenes out of building blocks and then build your own database structures and eventually a shiny website. There are some advantages to that approach (especially if you're building a site for someone else and have specific criteria for the CMS that you need to meet), but if you want a fairly standard website in double quick time Drupal might be overkill and overly hard work. It's awesome. But it's also a lifestyle choice.
    Yes yes and yes. But that's exactly what the OP hints at, with needing very specific panels and views and item listings and comments and... yea


    Quote Originally Posted by Al_B View Post
    Drupal... I couldn't quite come to terms with. It's definitely a great CMS but for serious work you seem to keep banging your head against a brick wall and needing yet another plugin. Modularity is great, but I kept feeling that anything I did introduced as many problems as it solved.
    Yep, that is my only concern, you can get amazing functionality out-of-the-box when you slap and configure together 30 different modules... but that also means having to keep track of 30 different modules, ensuring they are all configured properly AND cross-compatible. A single unchecked checkbox somewhere in not-always-intuitive menus and a 3rd party may gain full access to some small chunk of admin-only power :/

  12. #12
    I'd want to do it myself to feel like I'm accomplishing something vaguely techy, but thanks for the offer!

  13. #13
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    Trying to install Drupal now.

    From the sounds of it it's what I'm after but we'll have to wait and see.

  14. #14
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    Well, this isn't going well. I can't get it installed. The instructions are, err, bollocks. WP was easy, this assumes far too much.

  15. #15
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    Tried a different way.

    Nope.


  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: On my bicycle \o/
    I was flustered with Drupal installs, until I got it right. And then it was like - oh is that it? Installing is definitely the easiest bit.

    SSH is your friend. Unpacking zip and tar archives is super speedy if you can do it direct from the server, but something like Filezilla will do if you prefer a graphical interface.

    Once you've unpacked and got everything where you want it, rumage around until you've found drupal's sites directory. Go there and once inside, make and name a folder for your website - ie mysite.com (so your new folder has the same name as the site's URL including the TLD)

    There's an existing default folder in the sites directory. Copy settings.php from it to your new directory.
    (-- edit -- I think I copy the sites/all/themes and sites/all/modules folders into sites/mysite.com when I do it too - thanks for reminding me AI-B - but might be redundant, see post below - should work either way)

    You're now ready to go...

    You'll need access to a mysql database and you need to point the destination for your URL (mysite.com) at the Drupal base directory (not your site directory, but the directory you installed Drupal into) from your webhost control panel.

    Point your browser to mysite.com and off you go.

    My earlier comment stands though. I think Drupal is massively overkill for what you want to do. That's not to say that you shouldn't or that I don't think learning Drupal will be worthwhile, especially if you can use what you learn in the future for other sites too - but it's not the path of least resistance for a single site.

    --edit--
    Depending on luck, your webhost and the server, you may have to fart around with the .htaccess file. Googling "name-of-webhost drupal .htaccess" should set you straight.
    Last edited by jay pettitt; 7th Jul 2012 at 10:06.

  17. #17
    Administrator
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    Quote Originally Posted by jay pettitt View Post
    There's an existing default folder in the sites directory. Copy settings.php from it to your new directory.
    Interesting - I've never had to do more than set up a database and user (with appropriate permissions as documented in the various INSTALL..txt files), make sure the web server points to the correct location and point a browser to the site.

    Subjective Effect: What step of the installation is failing?

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: On my bicycle \o/
    Quote Originally Posted by Al_B View Post
    Interesting - I've never had to do more than set up a database and user (with appropriate permissions as documented in the various INSTALL..txt files), make sure the web server points to the correct location and point a browser to the site.
    There are a couple of extra steps if you want to do a multi-site install (which is what I do) - I think I copy the sites/all/themes and sites/all/modules folders into sites/mysite.com when I do it too. It might be an extra step that you don't actually need for a single site or something. Or just completely redundant.

    It works though.

    Given that the extra steps needed for hosting multiple sites from a single install are so easy, I think I'd argue that you might as well, just in case you ever want to have more than one drupal website - even if you never actually get around to making use of it.
    Last edited by jay pettitt; 7th Jul 2012 at 10:02.

  19. #19
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Europops
    I've decided to just use Wordpress now. I think it'll do the job, it's just a shame it wont look exactly how I want it.

    Content is king though, so...

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Subjective Effect View Post
    Trying to install Drupal now.

    From the sounds of it it's what I'm after but we'll have to wait and see.
    Keep in mind the documentation is a bit of a clusterfuck (not as bad as Joomla's though), but once you get the hang of basic concepts and the design principles, it will become pretty easy and intuitive (small UI quirks aside). If you get stuck feel free to message/steam/skype me.

    I've decided to just use Wordpress now. I think it'll do the job, it's just a shame it wont look exactly how I want it.
    You said you do HtmL/CSS/JS so there is no reason it cant look the way you want it to; making WP themes is dead easy, and I actually hacked together some animated and interactive stuff for clients, all using standard WordPress features and admin backend.

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