A CMS is an essential tool if you want to open a site, without any particular knowledge of web programming. But CMS, there are more than a hundred: to find your way, here is a selection of the best of them.
Founder of the Zero Site at the age of 13, Mathieu Nebra has since transformed his passion into professional activity. He is now one of the two partners at the head of a 25-person company managing the Site du Zéro. He is the author of numerous online computer tutorials on www.siteduzero.com, as well as 6 books and eBooks derived from online tutorials. The Zero Site gathers 2 million unique visitors each month and federates more than 500,000 members.
I have to tell you something: we can be Web developer and love CMS ! I’m part of.
While at the very beginning of the Web it was imperative to do development to create a site, today there is a plethora of tools called CMS (Content Management System) that make your job easier and allow you to launch a site in just a few minutes. These tools are not the developer’s enemies, on the contrary, provided you choose the right one!
CMS allow create web pages and modify their content without technical knowledge. We download a ZIP file, send it by FTP to the server of its host and we just have to let ourselves be guided.
CMS are basically designed to help you build pages of content (with text, images and videos), which makes them particularly suitable for showcase site For example the presentation site of a company. CMS are more limited as soon as you want to add specific functionality to your site, but fortunately you can supplement them with extensions.
Important clarification: all CMS presented in this article are free and open-source ! They are all developed in HTML / CSS and PHP.
My favorite CMS
There are countless amounts of CMS, as evidenced by this list on Wikipedia. Which is better, you ask yourself? In fact, things are a little more complex than that: there is no CMS that suits everyone and that we can designate as being the “best”.
There are nevertheless three that I particularly like to use: Drupal, WordPress and Magento. They are all very good, each in their own field.
Very famous, it is installed and used easily. Drupal stands out for its rather oriented source code developers. If you plan to customize the way Drupal works, you will be happy to have used a code easy to modify and robust (the latest versions use the Symfony2 web framework appreciated by developers).
I like the extension possibilities it offers and the fact that it is based on the Symfony2 framework. For a site project that I will need to customize by modifying the PHP code, this is my CMS of choice.
Knowledge of HTML / CSS, PHP and Symfony2 will be very useful for you create your own extensions.
WordPress is a essential. 16% of websites in the world are running WordPress (!), Which is very significant. However, at its core, WordPress is not a CMS, but a blog engine, which allows you to publish news articles. If WordPress is fully capable of behaving today like a CMS, on the other hand, we always feel that it was rather a blog engine at the origin.
It is simple to use and followed by a very large active community, which provides an impressive amount of extensions to download.
When it comes to creating a very simple blog or small site, WordPress is quick to set up. It offers a lot of interesting extensions but I don’t like to modify its code myself, which I find less well designed for extensions than Drupal.
It is not a CMS stricto sensu: it is a e-commerce engine. It allows you to set up your online shopping website in a few clicks. Where a real classic CMS is simply used to display web pages with content, an e-commerce engine like Magento allows you to sell products online.
Magento takes care of everything: from the list of your products to that of your customers, through the payment and management of promotional offers.
You can download and use it for free, or pay to use a hosted solution with customer support.
Other famous CMS to try
Here are other CMS that deserve the detour. They are all equally famous, so it is recommended to know them a minimum!
It is one of the most famous CMS with Drupal and WordPress. Joomla is very simple to install and use. Its user community is dynamic, which is an important point to check when using an open source CMS.
Simple to install but more complex to use, eZ Publish has no shortage of attractions: it is extremely configurable and very completeHowever, it suffers from a lack of notoriety which means that it has a smaller community than previous CMS. We will rather reserve it for developers, who will appreciate that it is based on Symfony2 (yes, too!).
Download eZ Publish
SPIP is a French CMS, which certainly explains why it is so widespread in France, especially in administrations, universities and associations. Easy to install and quite easy to use in practice, however, it lacks notoriety and has a restricted extension ecosystem.
This is the oldest CMS of this list (launched in 1997!). He is always actively maintained, although losing speed compared to WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal. Typo3 is powerful and very modular, but remains reserved for advanced users and its configuration can be particularly complex.
Do not be impressed by the number of CMS on the market. Remember that it is impossible to know them all by heart and that none is unanimously accepted by the developers: everyone has their favorite CMS.
In any case, make sure that you use the tool that corresponds to your needs ! Do not take out heavy artillery to kill a fly: to make a simple presentation site, a CMS will always be faster and more efficient than a handmade development from A to Z !
Finally, in any case, I cannot recommend enough that you have at least some basics of HTML and CSS, and if possible knowledge of PHP. It always ends up serving!