25 July 2011

Content Management System

When the World Wide Web was born, creating even the simplest web page required learning the language of the Web: HTML. Since then, great strides in the power of web authoring software have been made with the availability of professional web editors such as Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft FrontPage. These types of editors have made the creation and maintenance of a web site much easier by providing a graphical user interface for web construction and minimizing the amount of HTML coding required by the webmaster.
Despite these advances, when a web site grows beyond a few simple pages, even these advanced editors begin to crack under the pressure. Maintaining a web feature as simple as a site map can quickly become a tedious affair, swallowing webmasters’ time and energy with every update. Other routine tasks, such as monitoring broken links, implementing a menu system, and adding a user forum, can make web site deployment a full-time job. Then there are broader challenges, such as ensuring that new content has a look and feel consistent with the rest of the site and providing web visitors a site search option.

To solve these problems, large media publishers (e.g., TIME and Newsweek) turned to a special type of software called a content management system (CMS). The CMS application not only automated site content management, but also allowed nontechnical writers and journalists to contribute articles directly into the system via a custom user interface. This type of interface required no knowledge of HTML or other technical skills, minimizing the potential for problems or inconsistencies to be introduced into the publishing process.

With the implementation of a CMS, most of the headaches of site management disappear. Features such as a site map and a site search will automatically update without the need for custom programming. Additional features such as forums, shopping carts, and picture galleries are either built in to the software or widely available as plug-ins. Allof this serves to minimize the amount of custom development (and the substantial number of bugs and security concerns that go with it) required for more traditional web site deployment.

For web designers, the core of CMS site presentation rests on visual templates that can be set for the entire site or even associated with individual pages. These templates determine the visual representation of content to the user. When a remote author adds a new article to a web site, for example, the item is instantly published with a standardized site template, ensuring that the entire site retains the same look and feel or theme.

For large corporations, CMS use grew dramatically in the 1990s. But with deployment costs running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, this technology remained out of reach of smaller organizations and individual users. Even if the cost wasn’t prohibitive, the professional systems generally had complicated “everything and the kitchen sink” management interfaces that would allow a large organization to maintain control over thousands of articles and hundreds of users. Simple maintenance required an expert’s knowledge of the CMS application.

Enter Joomla. Not only is Joomla free, but it also has one of the most easy-to-use interfaces of any CMS. Almost anyone can download, install, and have Joomla up and running on a web server in 20 minutes or less. When people in the technology community discuss the second generation of Internet-based services commonly referred to as Web 2.0, Joomla is one application that makes this new web world not only possible, but appealing as well.
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Content management system said...

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