Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Choosing a CMS ... Will Python make it

This post is not related to programming per se; feel free to skip it ...

"We" are in the process of revamping our web site, and use a CMS. We have just signed off on the first part of the project (new look and wireframe) and are looking at the second (and "final") stage. As we are too small to afford a commercial solution, we are looking at open source CMS. So far, the preferred choice of our director of technology is Alfresco. The choice recommended by our usual technology provider is Joomla! My favourite would likely be Plone - given it is written in Python ;-)

Normally, we would proceed with a public tender - but given that there are few local providers, we may just proceed with the same firm that provided services in phase one. However ... If some of you reading this have work experience in this area, and would be interested in such a project, have a look at our current web site, and give me an informal time/cost estimate of migrating this website to use a [Python based? ;-)] CMS. If we do proceed to tender, you would most likely be included in our list of firms contacted to submit an offer.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Plone4Universites site just launched to promote the use and collaboration of Plone in acedemia. There is some interesting reading the Case Studies section.

Filip said...

From my experiences with Joomla! I would recommend taking a very serious look at alternative solutions first. Plone would be a good choice, but there is also a new open source and Python-based Content Management System in development: nCMS.

nCMS 2.0 is a full rewrite of a legacy (proprietary) CMS written in PHP, but still in the early stages of development. However, like MySQL, nCMS is backed by a commercial company that offers support and development services related to the CMS.

thisfred said...

Have you heard of Silva? (Disclaimer: I work for Infrae, the company that built it.) It's another fully open source, zope based CMS, that is in use by a fair number of very large institutions. It has a different feature set than Plone, so it may or may not fit your needs better. One thing I find, having done development for both, is that doing a fully custom layout for your public layout is easier in Silva, but again, I'm hardly unbiased. ;) I'm sure you can google it up, but if you want to know more, send me a mail at eric at infrae and then com.

thisfred said...

Sorry, it's me again, I only now realize you work for a university. Silva was developed for the Erasmus university of Rotterdam, and is in use by a fair number of universities all around the world. If you go to the infrae website I think there are links to most of their sites. I really think Silva could be a good fit, since those universities are continually adding for features that appeal to academic users.

Ian Bicking said...

I only had a very short look at Drupal and Joomla, and Joomla looked pretty lame to me. If you are going for an open source PHP CMS, I'd really advise looking further than Joomla.

My personal strong preference in tools is that a CMS just manage content, which oddly seems to be rather secondary to a lot of content management systems. With 3.0 Plone seems to have gotten its act together, with versioning and locking, but those seemingly basic features came awfully late.

I'm guessing i18n is important to you, which is probably a big plus for any of the Zope CMS's.

André said...

@"thisfred": Thanks for the silva reference. It does look interesting. As an aside, I checked it on http://www.cmsmatrix.org/ : the comparison was done with an older version (1.5.8 and it would be interesting to see that updated. I took note of your email address for future reference.

@Ian: Yes, i18n is important to us. As far as looking "further than Joomla!", it is a bit easier said than done in the current context. The company we have been dealing with normally only works with large corporations and had suggested a commercial product whose annual licensing terms would have been equal to our entire annual communication and marketing budget. After we let them know that this was unacceptable (!), they are the one who are now suggesting Joomla! based, I believe, on having one or more of their employees having experience with it. Do you have any concrete suggestion as an alternative?

Note that we have absolutely no in-house experience with any such software, and will have to rely on a third party to migrate our existing (largely static) web site into one that has been adapted to use a CMS. In addition, many of our end users have very limited computer skills - so the CMS has to be extremely easy to use.

Lennart Regebro said...

I can't see anything on that site that requires any customization of Plone, except for the design of course. You can probably get a new Plone skin, much nicer than what you have now, designed and implemented in a couple of days. Then it's just a question of moving over the content.

Morrighu Tel Uvrith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dz0 said...

http://www.pagodacms.org/
based on TurboGears MCV framework

thk said...

take a look at this madpy.
fresh.

André said...

Thanks for the (latest) suggestion, but we have decided to go with Joomla! in spite of all the negative comments here. Some independent 3rd party review (and the availability of local developers!) have convinced our director of IT.

Stuart said...

If you are looking for a video or podcasting content management system I would take a look at the Media Core Content Management System.

It is written in Python (TurboGears) and has a lot of features for effectively managing video from a variety of sources such as YouTube, Vimeo, Google Video, or regular flash video.

You can also podcast through the application and it takes care of all the iTunes and RSS publication automatically.

You can check out the project over at http://getmediacore.com