A Look At The Three Best CMS Today

Published: 15th April 2010
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The use of WCMS softwares or Web Content Management Systems have made it easier for many web designers and developers to make quick changes within their websites. However, the true advantage of using any WCMS softwares is that it provides a way for users with little knowledge of programming languages or markup languages to create and manage content with relative ease. Unlike Web-site builders, a WCMS allows non-technical users to make changes to a website with little training. A WCMS typically requires an experienced coder to set up and add features, but is primarily a Web-site maintenance tool for non-technical administrators.

In the past, WCMS were first introduced as commercial software products in the mid 1990s. However, in the mid 2000s, the web content management market grew as a wide collection of new providers emerged to to complement the traditional vendors. Some of these were the creation of open source WCMS softwares. Some of the best rated open source WCMS softwares include Joomla!, Drupal, and WordPress.

Joomla!
Joomla! is considered today as one of the best WCMS used in the market. Joomla! won the Packt Publishing Open Source Content Management System Award in both 2006 and 2007. By October, 2009, the 2009 Open Source CMS Market Share Report reached the conclusion that Joomla! is the web's most popular open source content management system.

According to several Web design Philippines enthusiasts and specialists, the conclusion was largely based on an extensive analysis of rate of adoption patterns and brand strength which was also backed by a survey of users, particularly those with little expertise in web design and development skills.

Brief History of Joomla!
Before it was known as Joomla!, it was popularly known in the market as Mambo. Joomla! came into being as the result of the fork of Mambo by the development team on August 17, 2005. At that time, the Mambo name was trademarked by Miro International Pvt Ltd, who formed a non-profit foundation with the stated purpose to fund the project and protect it from lawsuits. On September 1, 2005 the new name, "Joomla!", was announced, which is the English spelling of the Arabic word jumla meaning "all together" or "as a whole".

Popular Features
One of the most popular feature of Joomla! is that the package consists of many different parts, which allow modular extensions and integrations to be made easily. An example of such are extensions called "Plugins". Plugins work the same way as plugins in Mozilla Firefox, it extends the functionality of Joomla!, introducing other functions not included in the package. One popular example is the use of JoomSEF.

JoomSEF is a popular plugin for Joomla! used primarily for SEO purposes. According to SEO Philippines consultants, JoomSEF extends Joomla!'s functionalities by adding features made entirely for the use of SEO, such as providing wide range of editable meta tags for any URL in Joomla!, helps in handling 301 redirects, provides fully customizable URLs, as well as modularity which supports 3rd party modules.

Criticism of Joomla!
One main criticism of Joomla! is that each website requires a separate Joomla! installation. Another is that although Joomla! supports right-to-left languages, bi-directional templates are non-existent, other than those supplied with the Joomla! install. Third-party template developers universally work in hard-coded LTR or RTL, despite Joomla's comprehensive bi-directional support. Another is that components, Modules or Plugins that link to Joomla! are considered to be derived linking works by the project leadership and thus are required to conform also to the GPLv2 license in order to qualify for the official Joomla! extensions web page, which has caused controversy amongst some plugin vendors.

Drupal
Another very popular WCMS software used today is Drupal. Similar to Joomla!, Drupal is also known as a free and open source Content Management System. The software is also written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License. As of April 2009, over 70 well-known brand names and not-for-profit organizations use Drupal. Drupal has also won several Packt Open Source CMS Awards and three times (in a row) won the Webware 100.

Popular Functions
Similar to Joomla!, Drupal is also known for its features which can be optionally extended by third party contributions. Drupal core is designed to be modular with a system of hooks and callbacks, which are accessed internally via an API. This design allows third-party contributed (often abbreviated to "contrib") modules and themes to extend or override Drupal's default behaviors without changing Drupal core's code.

Drupal's modular design is set to isolate Drupal core's files from contributed module and themes. This increases the flexibility and security of Drupal which also allows Drupal administrators to cleanly upgrade to new releases of Drupal core without the risk of overwriting their site's customizations. However, to maintain this separation, Drupal administrators are instructed to avoid altering Drupal core's software.

Criticism
According to a performance test done in 2006 between Joomla! and Drupal, it demonstrated that Drupal's Web pages were delivered 44% slower compared with Joomla. To improve its performance, Drupal offers caching to store static pages, the use of which resulted in a 508% improvement.

Another criticism about Drupal is with its learning curve. Many users have indicated that Drupal has a fairly steep learning curve. Some aspects of Drupal's administration interface can be confusing and intimidating, particularly for new administrators.According to the Interaction Design and Information Architecture program at the University of Baltimore, Drupal lacks an intuitive, easy administration user interface.

WordPress
A popular WCMS commonly used for blogs, WordPress quickly became a popular for its basic use in content management. Powered by PHP and a MySQL data back-end, WordPress have set a record of 62.8 million website use in the US and 202 million websites worldwide in September of 2009. In 2007 WordPress won a Packt Open Source CMS Award.

Brief History
WordPress made its first appearance in 2003 as a joint effort between Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little to create a fork of b2. According to different Web design Philippines enthusiasts, the name WordPress was suggested by Christine Selleck, a friend of Mullenweg. By October, 2009, the 2009 Open Source CMS Market Share Report reached the conclusion that WordPress enjoys the greatest brand strength of any open source content management systems. And in 2009, Wordpress won the best Open Source CMS Award.

Features
WordPress is known for its templating system, which includes widgets that can be rearranged without editing PHP or HTML code, as well as themes that can be installed and switched between.
The PHP and HTML code in themes can also be edited for more advanced customizations.
WordPress also features integrated link management; a search engine-friendly, clean permalink structure; the ability to assign nested, multiple categories to articles; multiple author capability; and support for tagging of posts and articles.
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