CMS - Open Source Tools

If you have not picked a content management system before and would like to streamline, update or improve your companies website, you've come to the right place.  The right place if you prefer live support and responsive support staff that are reachable by phone first if you need and prefer.

We work with all the popular CMS's such as Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, as well as Plone and a few other RoR (Ruby on Rails) versions of CMS tools as well.

Other open source solutions we provide involve projects built around OpenERP 7.0, vTiger, SugarCRM, Magento, PrestaShop, and ZenCart, to name a few.

We provide elegantly designed websites that excel in areas that fit the needs of your company.  Custom design from scratch or simply updating the aging functionality of an antiquated website is the work we love and thrive on.

Show us your site, and point us to sites that inspire the look you want to achieve, and within a few days we will both be off and running.  You can be as involved or hands off in the development process as you like.

  

Joomla, Drupal, Plone, WordPress & More ...CMS's galore! 

Joomla

Joomla is the new kid on the block having split from the Mambo project in 2005, it has fast become one of the best CMS tools available for balancing powerful plugin extension functionality with ease of use, for management of simple to very complex web development projects.

 

Drupal

Drupal is the programmers choice for PHP based CMS tools.  It's a bit tougher to learn then Joomla and WordPress, but those that understand it really can make this tool sing.

 

To Use Joomla or not 

 

If you want to create a website with a community or a network with a membership area, newsroom, forums, articles, input from external authors etc… then Joomla is a good choice because it is made to be flexible and functional.  Creating a menu system navigation structure is easy, once you understand how it works and it doesn’t require knowledge of html (but when using any CMS, HTML knowledge is valuable) . You can set articles to expire after a time, activate dates, authorname, breadcrumbs etc.. Thus, Joomla gives you a lot of power in your hands and that is noticeable in the admin section where there are so many options that you get dizzy the first time you go in. You really should get a good book on Joomla if you want to set it up fast. Otherwise you end up fiddling around and getting nowhere for days. A reasonably good starter is “Beginning Joomla” from Dan Rahmel. It guides you by the hand while customizing the site and setting up the naviagation structure.  There are other books, but I cannot recommend them since I didn’t read them.

Adapting the look is simple if you are happy with changing some colors and the logo. Beyond that, you will find that Joomla has a complicated structure and even seasoned web developers have to go through a learning curve before they master the layout system, and that approach is different depending on the layout template you chose.

If you do not want to get involved in the gritty work of stylesheets, you can buy professional layout templates for a reasonable price (between $35-$50) from JoomlaShack, for instance.  Or you could ask a developer to do it for you, but make sure they have references of Joomla sites or you might end up paying their learning curve and that is what you want to avoid.

 

 

Disadvantages of Joomla

A remaining problem is that the core system is very complex which demands a lot of resources from the server.  If the database is not tweaked for better performance and you add a couple of fancy external plugins, chances are that the site breaks down starting from 50,000 visitors a day or more.

If you are born to be very popular on the net, it is important to keep this in mind, therefore best involve a webdeveloper with experience in high traffic sites to tweak the system. 

in summary:

Joomla’s strenght is in simplified complexity.  Deep level navigation, sections in sections, categories etc… It has fixed pages and posts, posts Great for community sites, you can create a simple five page regular site with it but I would regard that as possible overkill, but the templates available can make functional improvements easier.  Joomla 3.0 has responsive design.

 

 

To WordPress or not to WordPress

WordPress is basically a very user friendly blog system but it can be used as a regular site which you can update without any knowledge of html (the same goes for Joomla). You can create pages and posts, and with plugins, you can add a lot of functionality included standard in Joomla, except that all code is web standard.  And because WordPress is web standard, Google really loves it.  So, from a marketing standpoint, WordPress is hard to resist.

The interface is easy to understand, you won’t need a book for it, although buying a “WordPress for Dummies” – book will save you some time if you have no experience with blog management at all. Adapting the look requires some knowledge of CSS, the style sheet language. Like with Joomla, if you select a template close to what you want, adapting the colors, logo etc.. is not that complicated but if you do not want to get involved with CSS, and you would like to re-arrange navigation elements as well, you might consider hiring a web developer. Since WordPress has a logical structure, it is easy for a developer to change things around, place ad banners etc…Again, give preference to a specialized developer used to work with WordPress.

It is setup very quickly and you can be listed in Google within 2 days.  I haven’t seen any other system doing that so far. A normal site takes up to 2 months to get listed in Google, so this is something to take into account.  Anybody can learn enough in 2 hours to create content with WordPress right away, including using categories and sub pages.

WordPress can handle tons of visitors.  It will not break down easily.

Disadvantages of WordPress:

For instance, adding or removing post dates, need to be changed in design mode and it requires knowledge of WP scripting. The navigational structure is determined by the layout template you chose. Changing that structure again requires knowledge of the WP scripting language and CSS.  With Joomla, you do not run into this problem because menus are controlled via the control panel and attributes like dates, author name etc, can be turned on and off per article or for the whole site in one go. In that sense, Joomla is much more a content management system.

Also, changing the order of categories or pages is rather cumbersome in WordPress.  It involves having to go into all of the categories and change the order by hand. The WP developers are working on it to fix it, but when is unpredictable.

In short:

WordPress is simple, you can see it as a blog or as a regular website.  It has fixed pages, posts and categories.

Through the use of plugins you can extend its functionality and let it grow as big and complicated as you want.  However, not every plugin is easy to understand, so it might be a good idea to have a specialized web developer in case of emergencies.

 

  
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Joomla Highlights

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Other highlights:

JoomlaDrupal / WordPress /  Plone

 

Joomla and other content management tools compared.

.shadow css classJust add .shadow class to the image. Sed lacus risus, molestie eget fermentum in, vehicula ac est. Pellentesque vestibulum nunc nec quam fermentum at venenatis sapien consectetur. Nulla ut augue nec ligula ultricies pharetra ut nec dui. Etiam egestas facilisis volutpat. Quisque non fermentum nisl. Vivamus posuere laoreet augue, eget volutpat libero accumsan vitae. Aliquam ultrices, quam sed posuere pretium, sapien libero tempus mi, sed consequat erat leo et magna. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Curabitur at vestibulum libero. Phasellus nibh leo, pharetra vel dictum eu, faucibus in nibh.

.shadow css classAenean vulputate imperdiet arcu, eget tempus elit faucibus in. Suspendisse venenatis, justo ac faucibus imperdiet, neque dui suscipit ligula, ac condimentum dui neque et est. Duis sagittis rutrum erat sed aliquet. Ut eget purus et nunc iaculis congue eu eu nibh. Aliquam ac aliquet leo. Curabitur leo urna, vulputate id vulputate id, pulvinar et leo. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Quisque dapibus lectus eu lorem consectetur sed porttitor ipsum congue.

Etiam egestas facilisis volutpat. Quisque non fermentum nisl. Vivamus posuere laoreet augue, eget volutpat libero accumsan vitae. Aliquam ultrices, quam sed posuere pretium, sapien libero tempus mi, sed consequat erat leo et magna. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Curabitur at vestibulum libero. Phasellus nibh leo, pharetra vel dictum eu, faucibus in nibh.

 

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WARNING BOXES

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This is not a pro-contra review. In this article I try to give you some pointers to make it easy to chose between the two popular content management systems. The basic difference between WordPress and Joomla is that Joomla is a portal- or community type site while WordPress is a blog.  Both overlap each other in several areas and can be extended beyond their original purpose thanks to the use of plugins. You can find those plugins almost everywhere on the internet.  Both have a large user base with a lively community where tips and tricks are shared.  Both are free to use and many hosting providers have them as an option in their web tools section.  WP has a large community of volunteer developers, Joomla can count on many commercial add-ons by specialized professionals.

This topic is somewhat outside the scope of Miracle Tutorials, but the reason I thought it was important to publish is that it relates to the tutorials series Creating your own video channel by John, since we need to make a decision on a CMS system to work in that series.  So, here it is:

Rating 4/5 To Use Joomla or not

If you want to create a website with a community or a network with a membership area, newsroom, forums, articles, input from external authors etc… then Joomla is a good choice because it is made to be flexible and functional.  Creating a menu system navigation structure is easy, once you understand how it works and it doesn’t require knowledge of html (but when using any CMS, HTML knowledge is valuable) . You can set articles to expire after a time, activate dates, authorname, breadcrumbs etc.. Thus, Joomla gives you a lot of power in your hands and that is noticeable in the admin section where there are so many options that you get dizzy the first time you go in. You really should get a good book on Joomla if you want to set it up fast. Otherwise you end up fiddling around and getting nowhere for days. A reasonably good starter is “Beginning Joomla” from Dan Rahmel. It guides you by the hand while customizing the site and setting up the naviagation structure.  There are other books, but I cannot recommend them since I didn’t read them.

Adapting the look is simple if you are happy with changing some colors and the logo. Beyond that, you will find that Joomla has a complicated structure and even seasoned web developers have to go through a learning curve before they master the layout system, and that approach is different depending on the layout template you chose.

If you do not want to get involved in the gritty work of stylesheets, you can buy professional layout templates for a reasonable price (between $35-$50) from JoomlaShack, for instance.  Or you could ask a developer to do it for you, but make sure they have references of Joomla sites or you might end up paying their learning curve and that is what you want to avoid.

Disadvantages of Joomla

A remaining problem is that the core system is very complex which demands a lot of resources from the server.  If the database is not tweaked for better performance and you add a couple of fancy external plugins, chances are that the site breaks down starting from 50,000 visitors a day or more.

If you are born to be very popular on the net, it is important to keep this in mind, therefore best involve a webdeveloper with experience in high traffic sites to tweak the system.

In short:
Joomla’s strenght is in complexity.  Deep level navigation, sections in sections, categories etc… It has fixed pages and posts, posts Great for community sites, you can create a regular site with it but I would regard that as overkill.

Rating 4/5

To WordPress or not to WordPress

WordPress is basically a very user friendly blog system but it can be used as a regular site which you can update without any knowledge of html (the same goes for Joomla). You can create pages and posts, and with plugins, you can add a lot of functionality included standard in Joomla, except that all code is web standard.  And because WordPress is web standard, Google really loves it.  So, from a marketing standpoint, WordPress is hard to resist.

The interface is easy to understand, you won’t need a book for it, although buying a “WordPress for Dummies” – book will save you some time if you have no experience with blog management at all. Adapting the look requires some knowledge of CSS, the style sheet language. Like with Joomla, if you select a template close to what you want, adapting the colors, logo etc.. is not that complicated but if you do not want to get involved with CSS, and you would like to re-arrange navigation elements as well, you might consider hiring a web developer. Since WordPress has a logical structure, it is easy for a developer to change things around, place ad banners etc…Again, give preference to a specialized developer used to work with WordPress.

It is setup very quickly and you can be listed in Google within 2 days.  I haven’t seen any other system doing that so far. A normal site takes up to 2 months to get listed in Google, so this is something to take into account.  Anybody can learn enough in 2 hours to create content with WordPress right away, including using categories and sub pages.

WordPress can handle tons of visitors.  It will not break down easily.

Disadvantages of WordPress:
For instance, adding or removing post dates, need to be changed in design mode and it requires knowledge of WP scripting. The navigational structure is determined by the layout template you chose. Changing that structure again requires knowledge of the WP scripting language and CSS.  With Joomla, you do not run into this problem because menus are controlled via the control panel and attributes like dates, author name etc, can be turned on and off per article or for the whole site in one go. In that sense, Joomla is much more a content management system.

Also, changing the order of categories or pages is rather cumbersome in WordPress.  It involves having to go into all of the categories and change the order by hand. The WP developers are working on it to fix it, but when is unpredictable.

In short:
WordPress is simple, you can see it as a blog or as a regular website.  It has fixed pages, posts and categories.
Through the use of plugins you can extend its functionality and let it grow as big and complicated as you want.  However, not every plugin is easy to understand, so it might be a good idea to have a specialized web developer in case of emergencies.

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