Well, as we discussed, the list of free opensource content management systems (CMS) software is too extensive for anyone to evaluate in great detail.
I focussed my efforts on the five systems currently at the top of the running at packtpub’s competition.
- Drupal — (formerly Mambo) web reviews depict it as easy to use and considered good for community sites (what we are)
- e107 - seems less mature but promising
- Joomla! - looks good, web reviews consider it good, too.
- Plone - looks good, but can’t be installed with our current level of system access at igc, our current webhoster, so probably out. Bummer for me, because it’s based on Python, which I prefer.
- Xoops – looks good
There may be others worthy of greater consideration, and I am open to them.
Any of these CMS’s are worthy and probably would be ok. I am leaning towards Drupal right now. You can demo all of them for free at this free demo website.
You can google for things like xoops vs. drupal or e107 vs. joomla and spend the rest of your life evaluating these things.
Here’s what I see that makes me lean towards Drupal.
- There are a number of good reviews of it on the web by users who are happy and tried some of the others. You will find that everyone of these has its fans
- Like many of the others it has these features:
- mass email of users for email broadcasts, (in the optional advanced user module)
- blogs for every user,
- web page publishing via a web page interface,
- numerous color and layout themes that can be chosen or modified as one wishes, all of them offer a number out of the box, and have more that their developer community has developed.
- it is considered a good system for community websites
- it seems more simple to use with less training
- a Wordpress conversion module, which will allow us to preserve the current Mont. Co. blog stuff.
- There is also a book function that allows a group of people to put together a series of pages that are related, I imagine this could be used either for various committees or for different counties.
- Each of these has things like feed aggregators, and news headline systems and user membership capabilities
- These seem to be most mature systems with the most mature (large) user communities and developers creating addins and helping each other to make these things work, give each other support, etc.
I’m sure that any of these CMS’s will work, my other leaders were Joomla, and maybe xoops. Joomla seems less good for novice users (us). Drupal seems better for communities (us).
All of these systems have additional parts (modules) that other people can write and add to the overall system, for example
I strongly recommend you look at the free demo website above, and see for yourself what these things look like. They are all good enough. My vote goes to Drupal right now unless someone finds something that looks like a showstopper.
We will need to see what the best way to handle counties is, and subsidiary webpages. It seems like if we offered each county their section within the CMS, it would increase the overall coherence of the website, and would make it easier for each of the counties to maintain their stuff, plus they would be able to take advantage of the new features. The web server hardware will not really handle each county installing their own CMS, so it is best if we do this once in a shared fashion. Also, it means that the data will be shared and linked appropriately throughout the site.
Regardless of which CMS we choose, we should continue to discuss the overall structure and layout and goals of the website. Perhaps establish some thoughts on what homepages look like and how to structure the menus to bring people into the website. We can do it right here.
If the blog editing screen isn’t working for you, it is actually a function of your browser, not the blog…. You can flip back to the old style editor by unchecking the “Rich Visual Editor” checkbox in the user management screen. You have to do this yourself. You can flip it back if you want.