Kicking the Tires on a CMS Solution? Start Here.
After years of development and competition, open source content management systems (CMS) have become very powerful tools for building, deploying and managing web sites, blogs and more. You're probably familiar with some of the big names in this arena, including Drupal (which Ostatic is based on) and Joomla. As we noted in this post, selecting a CMS to build around can be a complicated process, since the publishing tools provided are hardly the only issue.
The good news is that free, sophisticated guides for evaluating CMS systems have flourished, as well. Here, in this newly updated post, you'll find several good resources.
The first thing to pursue as you evaluate CMS systems to deploy, including the many free, good platforms, is an overview of what is available. CMSMatrix.org is a great site for plotting out side-by-side comparisons of what CMS systems have to offer. In fact, it lets you compare the features in over 1200 content management system products. Definitely take a look.
One thing to know up front is that you can try out the major CMS platforms, including cloud-based platforms at OpenSource CMS, a great site for gaining experience for free.
"OpenSourceCMS.com is a central resource for all things Open Source CMS and gives you the opportunity to 'try out' most of the best Open Source CMS tools in the world without marketing fluff and sales people," notes the site. You can find a huge array of open source CMS demos and portals to sample here.
There are many other demos, news feeds, and discussion forums related to free, open-source CMS platforms at OpenSourceCMS. Especially if you’re paying or considering paying for a proprietary solution, take some of the demos for a spin. OpenSource CMS lets you put on your site administrator gloves before you've committed to a full deployment around any given platform. And, doing a full deployment is a big deal.
Computerworld has also run interesting explorations of the advantages/disadvantages to open source CMS platforms. Get their discussion of Drupal and its modular advantages here. And there is an extensive deep dive into Joomla here.
If you do happen to become focused on Drupal, we also have a getting started guide here.