2010 redesign

The backend: How will we power our new website?

Posted in research by Owen on January 24, 2010

Now that we’ve started talking about what functions we need we can move on to discussing how to make this all happen. There are lots of Content Management Systems (CMS) out there, but rarely do you find one that at its core has all the things you need. Usually, you have to consider the extensibility of the CMS. By extensibility we mean, “how can we extend it by adding features to the core functionality?” Sometimes its easier to code it yourself, or use a helper library, also known as a framework.

Below I’ve linked to some popular CMSs and PHP frameworks that we will consider. Given what we’ve decided should be included on the front page, how should we proceed? Please do some research into these, including whether their core/extensions will allow us to do what we’ve planned. Also include some links to examples of sites coded in these CMSs/frameworks.

Here are some popular CMSs

And also some PHP frameworks that help with the construction of CMS

  • Codeigniter (I used this framework to construct Art Review, so much work would be done for us)
  • CakePHP
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4 Responses

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  1. callibeth said, on January 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    My current thoughts and opinions on the various CMS options:

    I’ve worked with WordPress. It’s very simple to use, and because it’s so popular there are tons of plug-ins and forums to get help. But there are limits to what it can do, and it’s not as secure as other alternatives. People argue all the time about whether it’s a full-fledged CMS or just blogging software. I think it’s blogging software that has been developed so thoroughly that it approaches being a CMS.

    Drupal is more robust than WordPress, and a full-blown CMS. It’s on par with Joomla and ModX. I haven’t tried Joomla, but I’ve never heard an evenhanded assessment of it — it’s either worshipped or reviled. I’m currently creating a blog on Drupal, for the experience. It seems to be clunkier than Codeigniter, but more user-friendly for the less experienced user. You do not have to be a coder to set up Drupal.

    I’ve explored CodeIgniter some. The video tutorials are helpful ( The M-V-C model was unfamiliar to me, but I like it a lot. It’s got a smaller footprint, is more flexible; the flip side is that it requires coding knowledge.

    Here’s a website that has collected and described many open-source CMS options:
    Open Blog and Tiny Pug were built on CodeIgniter.

    (I’ll post later about Drupal, in particular.)

  2. Lin said, on January 24, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I suggest using CodeIgniter or Drupal. I also hear that CakePHP is similar to CI but is less flexible with poorer performance. Here is my research… with some surprises!

    CodeIgniter EXTRA:
    Juice (Coming Soon) – open source social network platform built with CI; built-in tools for accessing API’s of many popular social network sites to pull in user content; images, profiles, blogs, etc; just no Mafia wars or FarmVille
    Agilan (In Development) – open source social networking tool using CI; originally conceived as a “facebook for small organizations”; code repository at Google Code

    CodeIgniter Example Sites:
    Wittygraphy – social network dedicated to caricaturists and caricature lovers; notable links: Caricature Page, User Portfolios, Pricing, Ecard
    Motortopia – motor enthusiast social networking site; notable links: User Page, Car Profile, Car Challenge, Club Profile, Business Group, Events

    Drupal Example Sites:
    Génération Palestine (French) – online community for a human rights organization with a social network in development; notable links: Calendar, News, Visitor Tour
    TakePart social action network – hub for users and social action partners to collaborate and pool resources to help the world; notable links: Community, User Profile, Group (Offline?) – social network for glass artists and glass art fans; extra info: Drupal Version 5, development time of 2 months, site created by the2ndday under Frabel Studio

    Elgg – open source social networking and social publishing platform; downloadable plugins/extensions in several categories

    Elgg Example Sites: – free online community for theatre people – free online community for classic car enthusiasts; notable links: Site Features

  3. Owen said, on January 24, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    For Drupal sites don’t forget:

    Can you guys work together to give us an overview of this research next week? Particularly Drupal vs. Codeigniter? I have a lot of code that will be useful for the CI route, though it was my first big CI site so it will need some love. I’m curious about Drupal, esp. with the new whitehouse website, but have no idea what it looks from a bird’s eye perspective (is that the colloquialism I’m looking for?).

  4. Brittany said, on January 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Here are some websites that favor and help you learn CodeIgniter:

    + Why I fell for CodeIgniterThe main points are that it’s PHP, easy to use, has an awesome user guide, and improves productivity.

    + Elliot Haughin’s blogHe loves CodeIgniter and offers libraries for Twitter, Flickr and Akismet among other things

    + Derek Allard’s blogHe’s the Technology Architect at Ellis Labs!

    + Useful websites and resources for learning CodeIgniterTutorial to note: CodeIgniter From Scratch: Day 1. This video tutorial goes all the way up to Day 6! This is great for those who need a visual take on how-tos for CodeIgniter.

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