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To Build from Scratch or Not to Build from Scratch? That is the Question

If you’ve never heard about content management systems(CMS’s), this article is for you. If you think of content management systems as blogging environments, there’s much more to the story, so this article is for you, too.A content management system is a system that helps us manage content. [Well, that’s a pretty obvious definition, isn’t it?] Understanding the term content management system therefore requires understanding the term content. Content can be anything, including web applications, transaction processing, and dynamic operational data. Content is not merely blog posts, images, and videos. An entire, fully-functional website can be created within some CMS’s. We have conducted a comparison of Joomla and Drupal- currently the most popular CMS’s for creating websites.Organizations use CMS’s to let people produce and consume data without needing a computer science degree. A good CMS hides all the technical aspects (including programming languages) behind a user interface that requires very little technical skill. This is the first and greatest benefit of a CMS.When most people hear the term content management system, they immediately think of web content management systems (WCMS) like WordPress,  Joomla, and Drupal. This is the web-based face of the subject. However, enterprise content management, component content management, and other fields of study overlap or support WCMS, and should not be completely ignored. This article discusses WCMS only. Other types of CMS’s are set aside for another day.


Web content management systems (WCMS’s) provide a huge cost saving because the people creating the content require less technical skill. They can focus on content and format rather than programming languages and data structures.The more complex our needs, the harder it will be to find an appropriate CMS. If, however, we are able to adapt our needs to match the functionality provided by the tool, a CMS may be the best choice available for publishing content to the World-Wide Web. Many organizations (especially smaller ones) find that adapting isn’t as difficult as it sounds.Many people, like me, learn by playing. Maybe it’s time for you to install one of the WCMS’s and play with it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then surely hands-on playtime must be worth a million.

About Warren Gaebel

Warren wrote his first computer program in 1970 (yes, it was Fortran).  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo and his Bachelor of Computer Science degree at the University of Windsor.  After a few years at IBM, he worked on a Master of Mathematics (Computer Science) degree at the University of Waterloo.  He decided to stay home to take care of his newborn son rather than complete that degree.  That decision cost him his career, but he would gladly make the same decision again. Warren is now retired, but he finds it hard to do nothing, so he writes web performance articles for the Monitor.Us blog.  Life is good!