Open Source Content Management and Site Analytics Solutions are Flourishing
Whether you want to run a top-notch website or a blog, or manage content in the cloud, open source content management systems (CMS) and analytics tools have come of age. 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.
In addition to your content management system, you'll want a good tool for doing analytics, such as tracking the number of page views for content you post. The good news is that free, sophisticated CMS systems have flourished on the open source scene, and you can also get very good open source analytics solutions. Here is how to proceed.
Choosing and Deploying Your CMS. 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.
Many of the most interesting CMS systems allow you to try them online before going all in. For example, you can find demos to try here, and here.
But the very best site for trying out the major CMS platforms, including cloud-based platforms, is 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.
Open Source Analytics. How do you track how many page views and site visitors you have once you've got content going up online? Piwik is open source web analytics software, and I've written before about it--highly recommended. When it comes to doing web analytics, it's beneficial to get as many views of your data as possible, so you can use Piwik in conjunction with a tool like Google Analytics or on its own.
Piwik's features are built inside plug-ins, and a community of developers contributes interesting plug-ins. It also has a very customizable interface where you can drag and drop site metrics widgets you would like to keep an eye on onto web pages. Check out the community this application has here, and you can post questions in forums.
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.
Finally, if you do happen to become focused on Drupal, we also have a getting started guide here.