Re: Content management

Subject: Re: Content management
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2012 14:35:58 -0700

On 7/31/2012 1:20 PM, Chris Morton wrote:

Once again I've been asked to poll you to learn what easy-to-use CMS
product you're using. Drupal has been offered up before, but I understand
that there is a significant learning curve for that software. True? Other
ideas?

Drupal is very easy to use after several years of using it.

Specifically we're looking to manage a vast array of docs required for FDA
compliance.

CMS is a deceptively simple concept. You risk making mistakes if you choose a CMS based on your needs today and not on your potential for growth. I began with WordPress and then chose Drupal because I wanted control over my system and I wanted a system that can begin simple but have a robust growth potential. WordPress also begins simple, but some areas of control and robustness are limited in WordPress.

WordPress has a blog look and feel, but it can display different types of content in many different ways. The magazine for this list is built in WordPress.

http://techwhirl.com/

I built my animal law news site in Drupal. Most of the content comes from press releases, so I need more original content and some editing, but I have used various searches, views, and display tools to display the content in a variety of ways systematically.

http://petlawnews.com/

The top of the home page is a logo, login, search, and menus that are not fully configured. The second section contains three columns. The first column is a list of recent content headlines and teasers, the second column is a preview of a story and then headlines culled from promoted content and content I wrote, and the third column is an ad and a list of headlines of recently viewed content limited by content type. The third section is 12 Blocks (a Drupal module) that make use of various Drupal features. Most of the blocks are lists of headlines and are built with keyword searches, two are based on content type and source, and then there are two widgets.

My pages still need development. The story pages have some design (e.g., http://petlawnews.com/content/pgc-news-release-anyone-missing-wallaby) but the main section pages do not (e.g., http://petlawnews.com/content/news). I can design different pages for different content types, different Views (a Drupal module) of content, different users, and in just about any other way I can come up with to access content. I do not care for coming up with design layouts, so I pretty much let my system spit out content. I'm a builder; not a designer. Drupal is very flexible for people who know how to use it, but very frustrating for those who do not.

Building a site like this may be possible in WordPress, but I like that I can produce content in a variety of ways in Drupal. I originally built the second home page section with blocks in Drupal, but then abandoned those blocks for Panels (a Drupal module) that let me change the width and display of columns on the fly. Blocks are more rigid. The 12 blocks in the third home page section are still in blocks, but I may change that to Panels later. I am looking for a more automated process of building and enabling or disabling those blocks, hopefully with a combination of Views and Panels, rather than Blocks.

So, when searching for a CMS, it is important to keep in mind what you need now and what you may need in the future. You also need to know if the CMS you choose now can be ported to a different CMS later if what you choose now does not fit well with your future needs. Many popular CMSs can be ported back and forth with some effort.




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References:
Content management: From: Chris Morton

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