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Need help picking a CMS


Which CMS for non-geeks?  

18 members have voted

  1. 1. Please consider news posting, adding downloads, and sending out newsletters

    • WebGUI
    • Exponent
    • Joomla!
    • e107
    • xoops
    • Typo3
    • Website Baker
    • PHP Fusion
    • Drupal
    • Other

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I host/manage web sites for several non-profit entities and would like to move them over to CMSs to make my life easier.

The problem is deciding which CMS to use. There are several that I like, and included in the poll, but I am not sure which ones "joe user" would be able to manage. By that I mean that I need a CMS which has simple management functions for posting news to the site, adding downloads, and sending out newsletters. I can handle the rest of the management, but complete newbs should be able to post news, add downloads, and send newsletters. I use e107 on one site and like it a lot, but the non-geeks are baffled by it.

So here is a rundown of my requirements:

  • Runs on LAMP
    • Not Java
    • Not .NET

    [*]Easy to post news

    [*]Easy to send newsletters (with file attachments)

    [*]Easy to add downloads (that will be used as the file attachments as well)

    [*]Able to integrate with at least one major forum (vB, IPB, SMF)

    [*]SSL-capable (logins and designated pages)

    [*]Open Source

Please vote and/or nominate another CMS that I didn't list. I just posted the main ones that I am aware of right now, and they don't all meet the requirements I have listed here.

Bonus points go to any CMS with robust administrator access and security features.





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Joomla is indeed very good. I am running it right now as the potential replacement for the existing site. But it is also the CMS the prompted me to pose this question. I am able to use Joomla fine...but I showed it to two non-geeks (normal people? hehe) and they hadn't a clue.

I haven't loaded Mambo but you are correct that Joomla is a derivative of it. They haven't been separate for very long yet (they are sill mostly compatible with plugins and database concerns) so I don't imagine it will have a much simpler interface.

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Hey Tain,

you're right, Joomla is the "new" Mambo if I should call it this way.

I've just installed it 2 days ago and testing it for my new frontpage. I must say that I'm impressed with Joomla possibilities. I'm just gonna add rights to my news reporters so they get familiar with the new interface.

Anyway, Joomla all the way :thumbup

You can check the page here

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You picked a very appealing theme, N1K. Do you plan to migrate over to Joomla or are you just playing around?

After some more testing with Joomla I still feel that it is too difficult for the average person to post news. I don't have a community of geeks who will be able to figure it out on their own like you do. My users are not computer-literate.

The WordPress interface is fairly dummy-proof but the rest of it just isn't robust enough to meet our requirements.

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I seriously plan to migrate from VN to Joomla but the biggest problem of all is to retain user accounts from IBP and to use one login for the Joomla and IPB.

Problem is also authentication or in other words 'salt'. Salting is a method of giving your password extra encryption, invision does it but joomla does not! both systems convert your password to an MD5 hex password based on a random number but invision takes it a step further and MD5's your MD5 password based on a value (the salt) so thus your password has been doulbed MD5'd.

So if you already have IPB forum with users and want to integrate those accounts to Joomla you'll have to use bbpixel integrator which costs 20$ :( Also if you have two DB's (one for forum and the other for Joomla ), you'll have to merge them into one DB.

I'll try this migration in an hour or two and I can post you results if you want.

I should get this:

-Powerful with all features of both Forum and Portal, bbpixel Plugin does not remove any function of them.

-Users just need to register thru Forum and still use the other part without having to register again or login twice.

- Their private information are saved on both Portal and Forum databases. They can change their information via Forum User Control Panel

-Easy to manage all users through Forum Admin Control Panel.

-Can uninstall one of them (Portal, Forum) and/or run them as independent systems.

As for the skin, I had to pay it 50$, but I feel no sorry, it's really great and professionaly made..;)

Wish me luck... :thumbup

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Difficult forum integration seems to be a recurring theme among most CMSs. Joomla supports a few and has its own simple one. I like that it supports SMF (via a bridge). We don't require a forum right now but i want to have that option available in the future.

There are a few extensions for Joomla that supposedly provide simplified content management but they don't do a good job.

Sounds like you will have a nicely integrated and very convenient site. Why did you pay for the skin? I'm sure you are aware that there are tons of free ones. You really liked it that much more than the others? It is a very nice skin :)

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Sounds like you will have a nicely integrated and very convenient site. Why did you pay for the skin? I'm sure you are aware that there are tons of free ones. You really liked it that much more than the others? It is a very nice skin :)

Yup, this skin fits perfect with my forum skin color. :) New frontpage is almost complete, I'll change it soon. I'm really happy with the way frontpage and forum looks like now mate.. :thumbup

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It does go nicely with your forum, more so than the current default frontpage. How are you likeing the functionality of joomla?

I gave up on it. It just couldn't be dumbed down enough for grandma to post news. I am trying drupal now and it is dead easy for someone to post news if you take other permissions away. Now I need to see if it will do the other things that I need....

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I use Joomla for 2 of my other sites. Both have either phpbb or simple machine forum integrated using community builder and their associated bridge. Pretty easy to manage

But yes. the interface is a little silly for the novice user... However.. NOT giving them access to the admin backend but still giving them the ability to publish the content from the front end and using the module "My Content", people can easily write stuff for the site without seeing the backend. I use that on my http://www.lazynetworkadmin.com website for another guy I know to post stuff. It works great for what I am looking for.. and he never has to see the back side.

In my opinion it meets all your requirements if you use it as I mentioned above.. Other than that.. Drupal is probably the most robust in the simplest form.. For me though.. it wasnt very inviting..

From my experience in the Joomla/Mambo CMS's.. Most people moved away from Mambo and are now developing for Joomla.. yes most is still compatible until version 1.1 comes out. But development seems to be going further in joomla than mambo.. and the reason why all the developers up and left Mambo and made joomla was because Mambo was going to commercial parts of mambo and the developers wanted to keep it opensource.. so Best bet is sticking to Joomla

The other site I have it on is http://www.fusioncrew.org incase you wanted to see the other..

I can also tell you that while looking for the perfect CMS.. I downloaded and installed roughly 35 others including all you mentioned above and then some..

My rankings go



Zenphoto(photo album)





The only reason php nuke is up there is because they have a ton of plugins for it.

Edited by chilifrei64
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Sounds like we've both run through the same set of grueling trials. Thanks for your input on how to configure Joomla, but I've tried that and it still isn't intuitive enough for 'grandpa.' Alghough it is certainly possible that I haven't stripped it down as far as I need to...would you mind setting up a dummy account in the manner you described so I can check out how you do it? I promise to not post pictures of naughty things :P PM me if you are interested.

Have you looked at e107? It isn't as slickly presented as some of these others but it really appeals to my hacker side. If only they would support a decent forum...

Also check out Exponent CMS and WebGUI. They have "live" editing which is great for grandpa. But they are both lacking the code maturity and large user base of the big projects...for now.

I'm still hacking away at Drupal for now. The code architecture is great! Very extensible and well-written. Quality stuff all the way around. If I can get it to jump through a couple of more hoops, I'll be all set.

Thanks for your great input! :hello:

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Got it, thanks for the help. :hello:

The news posting page you have is similar to what I had setup but you do seem to have stripped out another element or two...can't put my finger on what the difference is.

But it is still too much. Ask yourself this: could both of someone's grandparents post news to that site with little to no help? It is too busy and confusing. This may sound silly but the users that I have actually do fit this description. They don't know how any of this stuff works and they don't care. They just want to be able to put the info out there with the least amount of hassle.

An incomplete rundown on the elements that would cause their eyes to glaze over:

Category drop-down menu

Two different "apply, save, cancel" areas

Title vs. Intro

The WYSIWYG editor (we all love it, but it confounds some people)

Have to scroll down two entire screens to see everything

The menu box at the bottom is absolutely cosmic

I had high hopes for two different Joomla extensions that supposedly dumbed all of this stuff down, but they just couldn't cut it.

The drupal interface, by default, has a title box, a text box, and Preview/Submit buttons. That's it. I really don't see how it can get much simpler than that so if people can't figure that out then I just can't help them :P The admin backend is a bit different from other systems but I, unlike my users, am capable of learning such things :whistle:

Thanks for going through the effort of helping me out with this. Hopefully people in similar situations to mine are able to find this thread and save themselves some time :thumbup (I am done with the temp account you setup)

I still haven't actually settled on drupal, but it is clearly the front-runner for meeting our particular requirements.

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  • 4 months later...

I didn't find Wordpress to be robust enough to scale with our future requirements. We are pretty happy with Drupal for now. It lacks a little configurability that I would like, and I've had to make changes to the code that will make upgrades more difficult. But I think it should scale very well for us.

Thanks for the input! :hello:

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