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To CMS or not to CMS that is the question!

#11
The ComputerWorld article that Robbie linked to is pretty thorough. But might I point out to NEVER use ecommerce addons to CMS's unless it is only for a handful of things and you don't need much organization. They suck period.
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#12
For me, I'm just done with 3rd party extensions altogether... the problem with every CMS plugin you install is that you're trusting the developer of that plugin or module knew what they were doing. I'm done with making that assumption.
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#13
If I knew how to code I would just do it myself
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#14
* Garbee started with Drupal and is now moving onto a system where the backend is built, but the front-end is 100% custom.

It is great to try and find something where you admin area is done, but you have the freedom to make the front-end completely how you like it. Paying what we have for our system is not viable for most people, but it would be a good idea to look for something like that, where you just need to make certain calls for things to be pulled from the backend or the DB but the front-end is completely up to you as far as how things are rendered and displayed.

So far I have seen few CMS's that are easy to install, allow 100% control over the front-end (since things like Joomla and Drupal seem to require some specific functions in the front-end to work, but Robbie may know more about Joomla since he apparently devs for it a lot), and has a great admin interface... Oh and is free or paid with a small fee.
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#15
I am slowly trying to teach myself the basics of PHP so I can do basic coding but its hard to do since I learn best by watching people do it then reading how to do it then trying it myself (just the way I learn best maybe not for everyone)
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#16
ajamison, I tend to find that what you just described is a great way for beginners to learn most of the time. I find tutorials online, but tend to fallback to reading the manual to try and understand the point behind what is going on. ( http://www.php.net rules! ) I really like just seeing some basic source code and then asked to do something with it or find a flaw and repair it. But, I have always been that kind of learner. Cisco gave most students a fuss in school but since I knew how I learned I flew through everything with ease (Except subnetting, I had to have that explained in the true binary form before I understood that.)

Coding also tends to be a little more abstract when someone first starts I have found out. At first I could code for an hour, having no idea if things would work, then have to hack things to make the code work (my personal site is a testament to this.) Now that I understand more of the underlying code and how it works, I could code it out in about 20 minutes and know exactly how things will work since I can visualize it better. I think that is one reason Robbie is so great at it, he has done it so long he can see things in his head and just go for it. So it takes lots of time to get really good, especially with things as complicated as a CMS.

(I am still a beginner when it comes to PHP, but from other languages I have tried this is what I have observed.)
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#17
Joomla is actually very customizable; you just have to know enough PHP and HTML to build a site template. From there, it's up to you how it works, is laid out and functions.

The issue about security with any CMS as previously hinted is in the fact that many developers are clueless about security, and you're trusting them by adding their product to your site.

Example: I had a client a few years ago, on a CMS, who added a Component of a particular flash gallery so they could add photos to their site in a fancy slideshow. This components, while looking pretty on the front end, had a nasty issue: the upload form that the admin used to add photos was easily exploited. A bot could scan the site and find the component in use, then use that form's POST abilities to save files to the server. Why is that scary? The server is of course the same server of the main web site. So the bot that affected my particular client was able (and did) to overwrite all PHP files on the site with "You've been hacked" style messages. Luckily, I keep a backup of my clients' sites every hour... so we were able to have them back up and running instantly, removed that component and told them to be more careful.

Unless you learn to code things yourself, you simply have to be extremely selective about what components you choose to add to your site. Don't tinker on a live site. Setup a test site on a separate user (without file access to your real site) and do your testing there. Put it behind htpasswd so even if bots were to try and scan it, they couldn't. And then when you find components you want, add them to your main site after testing. But never forget, you're trusting that app's developer with all your data on the site.
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#18
A couple of things you might consider if you're going with a CMS: sometimes there are local user groups for CMS's. In Kitchener we have a Drupal User's Group that meets once a month. Some groups meet more often. Having local support can help a lot and the meetings sometimes introduce you to new features/modules/advancements of your CMS.

Some CMS's can do millions of hits / day without crashing, but it requires a dedicated server and some optimizations. Those using Drupal might want to check out 2bits.com which has a number of articles about various ways to optimize Drupal (some might work for other CMS's).

http://2bits.com/contents/articles

I agree with the others who suggest Joomla. I'm not sure how well it scales for situations like Robbie's (Drupal can do it with tuning), but I would expect that it should be able to handle heavy loads since MacDonalds, Ebay and a number of other popular sites use it in places.
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#19
I think we can all agree. CMS is great for alot of things, especially if it is custom. Now, lets get comparing thee CMSs to a Summers Day...
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