When it Comes to Open CMS Solutions, Take a Test Drive First
Datamation is out with an extensive evaluation of which open source content management systems (CMS) really stand out, which is a topic near and dear to us here at OStatic. Our site runs on Drupal, which powers many sites around the web, but there are key differences between CMS offerings, and if you're looking for the right solution, we have some good resources for you.
The Datamation story provides a nice overview of the open CMS space, but here are some of out favorite ways to go about evaluating which is the right CMS for you.
Marking a true renaissance for tools that can help anyone run a top-notch website or manage content in the cloud, open source content management systems (CMS) 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.
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.
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.
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.