CMS Made simple?!

Today I’ve spent most of my day researching a CMS. I am in desperate need of a good, stable and easy to use CMS for two applications; my office requires a website and my boss wants to update content, and I am planning a new site myself that will focus mainly on content, rather than 100% ecommerce.

So as I started searching this morning, I came across a blog post describing 13 CMS’s that I had not yet heard of. I cannot really pinpoint why out of all of them, I opened one window for Silverstripe CMS, and another leading me to the CMS Made Simple website. I ended up looking through CMS made simple, tried out the demo install, and noticed some interesting features. For some reason I didn’t go beyond the frontpage of Silverstripe, perhaps I will look into it some other day.

Previously I have used a few Opensource CMS’s both for my own projects as well as for customers. Working as a freelancer, I was asked to do a few Mambo templates. That is how I got a little familiar with that system. I didn’t like it that much because it had many limitations and whenever I would find a module I liked, it turned out development had stopped on it and no support was given. But just like CMS made simple it was also based on PHP and MySQL. Mambo’s limitations grew me accustomed to problems having group permissions for various users, as well as some templating limitations.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that CMS made simple had inbuilt functionality for some things that were very hard to do in Mambo; Group permissions seem to be easy at first sight. I have not fully tested this yet but I will definitely do it within the next week or so. Templates are easily selected and different pages can have different templates assigned to them. I could straight away think of various situations in which I needed exactly this functionality and in the end gave up on my ideas because it was simply too difficult to do.

I was also very pleased with the fact that the inbuilt SEO Friendly URLs in CMS made simple actually work on my web hosting. Something I was not able to do on my Zen Cart site for some reason; which actually made me suspect that maybe I have Windows hosting. Clearly this is not the case because I’ve managed it with this CMS. So I have to suspect that htaccess isnt fully supported on my hosting and because CMS Made Simple has an inbuilt way of rewriting URLs through PHP (don’t ask me how; I’m not that nerdy!) it just works out of the box. Great, just what I wanted!

From what I could tell at first sight, there are many third party modules available for CMS made simple. The website has quite a comprehensive list of them. And I could find a handful already which I have downloaded and kept; a Comments feature, RSS feed, Google sitemap module, Events module etc.

Another I downloaded was osCommerce for CMS made simple. It seemed promising and I was very keen on using it but it just didn’t work at all.. So far this was the only disappointment I faced. Sure, I plan on using this system on a mainly content based site, but I will still need some ecommerce functionality. There are some other shopping cart and product catalogue modules available, and I will test them soon, so my final verdict is still pending. However, at least for my office site, which does not need an online shop, I think I will go with this CMS.

My next step will be learning how to create my own templates. That should be fun…

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5 Comments »

  1. odzer Said:

    Interesting about what you mentioned about “friendly URLs”. When I installed wordpress for my blog at http://www.odzer.com one of the issues that many people faced was with easy URL’s in wordpress on windows hosting. I wonder if its something similar. In any case all CMS based systems including wordpress have indeed limitations and you must keep up with the latest version but I wonder how that affects SEO. I am looking forward to hearing about more of your experiences with various CMS’s.

  2. hedonist666 Said:

    Oh with some difficulty and jumping through hoops correcting buggy PHP code, I have managed to install another module that integrates osCommerce into CMS made simple. It seems to work, I just have not been able to make osCommerce show up on the front end yet. If I figure it out, this CMS will definitely get my approval; because the rest of it seems pretty well thought out. And osCommerce has enough add ons to keep most E-commerce requirements covered.

  3. […] CMS Made Simple?! – my first impressions of a free, open source PHP based CMS called “CMS Made Simple”. This post is in need of some updating, as between then and now I’ve actually built a website from scratch using it. And I would say quite successfully so. […]

  4. Zach Said:

    There’s a website with some free templates that ‘integrate’ CMS Made Simple and osCommerce together — the systems themselves aren’t integrated but the way they’re displayed in the site are.

    You can use CMSMS for your content and osCommerce for your store. Seems like it’s worth checking out.

    http://www.freeoscommerce.com

    • hedonist666 Said:

      Hi Zach, thanks for commenting. Although of course the most ideal thing would be if ecommerce functionality could work as a built in add on for CMS Made Simple, even if just to cut out the extra admin area you have to log into. But if anyone was serious about using CMSMS as well as osCommerce, that template could be a really big help. Thanks for sharing!


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