Recently someone asked whether they should learn Dreamweaver OR whether should they jump into a CMS like Joomla or WordPress.
What is a CMS?
CMS is short for Content Management System, and are web based programs that you upload to the server and they provide word-processor like capabilities to your website – and much, much more.
To make an analogy: you can think of a CMS as being a restaurant buffet, where you have many prepared dishes to choose from, that you can use to create your meal. Where Dreamweaver is like an electric appliance, that helps you create a meal from scratch.
I was recently asked a question about the future of web design:
I have a short general query about the Future of Web Design: do you think that we are going towards a trend where, particularly with the use of Web environments like WordPress or Joomla, programming skills will be more and more oriented towards updating and customising plugins?
I have been a long time believer in this strategy of using a CMS as the basis of almost all your web design projects. I wrote about this back in 2010, talking about the ‘WordPress Web Designer‘.
I use WordPress for my web sites, but Drupal and Joomla can do a great job too. You just have to figure out which one suits you best.
For a more detailed discussion, watch my video below:
I occasionally use email questions sent to me as the basis for a quick article; this time around I had a question about Drupal:
Just enjoyed your website introduction video. I am a senior but am still a regular producer of ads books and booklets for my church, having been a printer all my life. A member has set up a Drupal site – I have been asked to ‘smarten it up’ – I am new to it but I don’t see to prospect of arriving at a graphically attractive site from that program. I think I would be better suggesting we start afresh and build our own site.
A gravatar, or globally recognized avatar, is quite simply an avatar image that follows you from weblog to weblog appearing beside your name when you comment on gravatar enabled sites. Avatars help identify your posts on web forums, so why not on weblogs?
From a community members point of view, whatâ€™s cool about gravatars is that you donâ€™t have to upload your avatar image on every blog, forum or community that you are a member of. And from the community ownerâ€™s point of view, you can now add a little pizazz to your blog or forum with your members gravatars.
What is the difference between a CMS (content management system) and a Wiki?
In a nutshell:
Both are web based applications/software designed to allow many people to contribute content (typically articles … but podcast and videos are becoming more common) to a website.
I would say the basic difference is that a CMS (Ex: Drupal) is a closed system where only certain people can add or edit content to the website/cms.
On the other hand, a wiki is an open system where anyone can edit and add content. The idea behind a wiki is that the masses will eventually correct any false information – with the help of editors.
I’m no wiki expert, but I see wiki’s being more suitable to general encyclopedic information. If you need a tighter structure and control over what is being posted on your site, I would be leaning towards a CMS rather than a WIKI.
That said, I am sure that the differences between the two types of software has room for a lot of gray area – I’m sure some CMS software have WIKI like functionality and vice versa.
How about blogs?
Blogs are kinda like a CMS for one person. One other distinction would be that the blog traditionally is date driven – where newer articles are posted to the front page of the blog. As with the WIKI/CMS blurring of the lines, you see the same with blogs and CMS software.
For example: WordPress (a popular blog program) has CMS like features:
Multiple users can post articles.
You can have static non date affected pages. WordPress call these ‘pages’.
Beyond the CMS-like features built into the core WordPress package, WordPress has a huge number of plug-ins out there that extend it’s capability considerably … bringing it even closer inline with a true CMS.
Killersites.com was started by David Siegal (of ‘Creating Killer Web Sites’ fame) back around 1996. This was effectively the first version of the site.
In 2002-2003, I officially took over and started version 2 of killersites.com. It has gone through a lot of changes over the last 4-5 years that has resulted in a lot of web design related content … too much content to manage with html, php and jsp pages running all over the place!
… It is time for a major shift.
WordPress vs. Drupal and Killersites.com version 3: