Content Management System

Criteria for a creating a solid content management system.

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I’ve been thinking about working on a Content Management System again. There are a lot of solutions out there, even free ones, but I’d like to develop something myself. I guess it’s the programmer in me. TechSoup talks about the requirements for a CMS:

  • The needs of your organization and Web site will largely determine what you want from a CMS however important features to consider include:
  • Web page templates (with the ability to update templates if needed): the templates should conform to current recognised standards for Web technologies and accessibility to ensure maximum compatibility across different browsers and platforms
  • Security and access rights for different types of user: e.g. only those with the correct authorization should be able to publish material to the live site once its content has been approved
  • Integration with existing systems: for example if you already have a suitable database could this be used? Do you need the CMS to convert your existing Word documents to HTML?
  • Non technical content creation and publishing: perhaps your content authors should not be required to use HTML or other technical knowledge to create Web pages
  • Facility to hold, edit and format text, and to link to and add other digital content such as images, audio and video to a Web page easily
  • Ability to record information about the content (metadata) such as author, when it was updated, when it needs to be reviewed, etc., and the means to report on this information
  • If the CMS is likely to have many simultaneous users, features such as record locking will be important to ensure that clashing changes are prevented
  • Ability to add, remove and archive content: a CMS could also offer the means to specify when a page should be put live on a site, and when it should be taken down (e.g. for press releases and news items)
  • Link management: so that when a new page is added or a page is deleted, links to or from other pages in the site are automatically created or removed. You may also require a facility to be notified automatically if there are any problems with links to external sites
  • Tools to allow the CMS administrators to create online surveys and polls and to easily collect, store and publish the results
  • Ability to run on your existing equipment