J. A. Russell
Villa Maria Estate
Scenic Hotel Group
Web Design Services
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In short, our view is; if you are a developer or employ in house developers who intend to get ‘under the bonnet’ to tinker and modify with the code, then open source will most likely be the best solution. A commercial system typically denies developer access to the code.
However, if you want marketing people, and other non-technical people to manage the site and you don’t want the added expense and time delays with developers being involved, then a turn-key commercial CMS such as Contegro will probably provide the best solution.
Still not sure? – the points below outline some other considerations that should help you decide which option might work best for you.
So, we’ve discussed quite a few reasons now regarding the conceptual choice for your CMS. Whatever your initial preferences might be, our suggestion is always to ask the various providers to demo their CMS platforms to you. As it’s you who will be managing your site ongoing, does it present well? Does it look easy enough for you to use? Does it have the flexibility you want? Does it contain work flow options? Our advice is to ask as many questions as you can at the demo, don’t just sit back and allow yourself to be taken through the standard demo routine. Asking questions outside of the norm will really reveal how flexible the system is.
please contact us if you want any further help.
3:28 p.m. Thursday, 4 November 2010
I've been aware of this debate for some time as we recently looked at CMS systems for our project. We chose to go with an open source solution based on cost and the concept of the open source community all out their contributing their ideas. However, not sure we necessarily made the right choice now - wish I'd read this a few months back!
3:29 p.m. Thursday, 4 November 2010
Interesting. I'm a big fan of open source, but have worked on others too. Open source is often quicker to setup where the featureset demands are less, which likely suits the small business market more. Open source websites using Drupal, Joomla and especially WordPress are easy to update and maintain, providing they've been well structured in the first place. They often are not well built, being a reflection of the individual developer, not so much a problem with the open source bit. It's often the little things about open source I love. e.g. The fact I can edit a WordPress or Joomla CMS site just using an iPhone app. Perhaps these features are not appropriate for big business sites, but for the little guy, on a limited budget, is superb. Commercial CMS systems do make more sense for major Corporates or companies where control of content, tight integration and interactivity with in-house systems, assets and expert support is needed. However I think the bigger question these days is not so much commercial vs open source but why CMS vs static html sites. We designers, as opposed to web developers, should be better informed on the merits of CMS. These design tools should only be used to help build a template/theme for a CMS site, be it commercial or open source. It's not only better for the client, but often a faster build time too once you go beyond 5-10 pages. (And could likely provide him/her a bigger margin). Like so much in software these days, each has its place... There's no one-size-fits-all.
2:47 p.m. Friday, 5 November 2010
Thanks for your feedback. Yes, I totally agree with you - there are certainly times when open source wins; it does have some distinct advantages. I don't think size necessarily has too much of a bearing on the CMS environment, more so the needs of that organisation, and the skill level of the people within it. As mentioned, a site requiring a high degree of customisation might not suit the more out of the box commercial system. Neither would a company with ready access to skilled programmers.
But for the organisations wanting to concentrate on their core activities, a fully supported, out of box solution, as is generally provided with a commercial system - like Contegro for example would almost certainly be the best fit.
Regarding static or CMS sites - although not everyone has a desire to regularly update their sites, having it built on a CMS means that whether they use it themselves or not, when they do want changes to be made, it is simple and quick for their website provider to do it for them, and therefore much cheaper. We now build all our sites on a CMS irrespective of whether the client initially requires it. For those that don't we simplyfy things by not giving them access. If they do, or decide at a later date they do, its simply a matter of giveing them access, and a little training and off they go.
9:25 a.m. Friday, 6 May 2011
It could be a nice post if the Author had been fair to both sides. The post typically favors commercial cms. I have been with open source cms for quite a long time and it seems most of the points the Author mentioned against open source, sorry to say, are not all that true. Spitting out the strength of one against the weakness of the other is really not a nice way to educate the public. For example, it is rather easy to find support for open source cms than commercial cms. I mean with the thousands of users and hundreds of developers who are freely available and glad to help out, how can such system have supporting as a limitation. There is no boundary to support in open source cms. It seems to me a debate for commercial cms.
11:52 a.m. Monday, 9 May 2011
Thanks for taking the time to comment on this article and I hope you don't mind me explaining our position on the area of support as its the area you particularly mention.
It's true, as an end user using a professional website company to build and support your site, you should be able to expect a high level of support from them whatever the platform type used in the build. However, it's the level of support that the website company itself receives that is often the issue.
Not all website companies have their own in house developers - many are more design focused than development. This applies particularly to branding specialists and advertising agencies, together with smaller website companies. Often such businesses will use open source because of the wide availability of the functionality they require. However, when they need support - perhaps because one module doesn't integrate seamlessly with another, or there are difficulties managing an upgrade, who do they turn to ? There is no supplier as such so they have to refer to the forums that you alluded to in your email.
Feedback we've had from many such companies is that this can be very frustrating. As is often the case in forums, different people have different opinions or methodology, and importantly few developers are trained at customer support. Forums are fine when all are at the same level - all technical geeks (no disrespect), but not for those that aren't.
On the opposite side of the fence, most commercial systems that we know of, especially Contegro, have in place designated support persons able to deal with both other website providers and end users. In addition, as a commercial systems business model is centered around successful use of its products it remains far more motivated to solve any problems than a community of developers who don't always have that same focus.
Thanks again Michael, nice to hear from you.
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