Expert Interview – Sam Sargent: Why use a Content Management System (CMS)? ModX vs Joomla
I sat down with Sam Sargent, one of our web site programmers and Help desk manager to talk shop about Content Management Systems.
1. What is the purpose of a Content Management System (CMS)?
To allow a non-technical person to update their website.
2. Therefore, what is the most important aspect of programming a CMS?
The most important aspect is ease of use for the person who is updating. This has to be kept in mind for all the functionality that is developed.
3. What are some of the common terms used in CMS development?
– Snippet: This is a front end function written in PHP (Hypertext Pre Processor – a type of programming language and clearly not a correct acronym! More information is available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PHP). EG: a snippet can be used to sort news items in a list by date or alphabetical order.
– Chunk: This is a piece of HTML code (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Html) that can be re-used across a website. EG: Headers and footers that are used across multiple pages of a website.
– Module: This is a back end function written in PHP. EG: Sam wrote ModXport which records all of the details from forms that have been submitted on a website and can then be downloaded by a client in case there is an issue with emails from the forms being lost.
– Templating system: This is essentially the page layout which can then have Chunks and Snippets added for functionality and design. You can have unlimited templates in the system.
4. What are the strengths of ModX as a CMS?
– Flexible for a developer
– to extend the functionality
– to customise
– to work with the snippets and modules
– Useability: Easy for the user to understand and learn the system and can be simplified by removing functionality that isn’t necessary
5. What are the strengths of Joomla as a CMS?
– Much bigger piece of software
– It has a bigger community of developers because it is a more established, older system
– An enormous amount of functionality has already been pre-built
– It has a great community building structure
Which CMS do you prefer?
How long would it take someone with a coding background to become proficient in Joomla or ModX?
Probably 1 – 2 months
What are 2 common problems when building a website in a CMS?
1. Adding completely custom functionality is always a challenge
2. Insufficient planning of functionality (whether it is completely customised or a tweak on existing)
How would you get around these to issues?
Plan! Working out exactly each of the steps that a user takes to go through the process is really important. Given time and resources, a paper prototype would be one of the best ways of ensuring you have planned the functionality appropriately.
How do you stay on top of these technologies?
There are a few options:
1. Community forums for development with both ModX and Joomla allows you to ask questions as well as contribute solutions and search through other people’s questions and issues.
2. Keep an eye on the functionality that has been developed by others, so then you’re not re-inventing the wheel!
3. ModX also has a developers’ wiki
Where would you go if you wanted to find out more about ModX or Joomla?
Easy – http://www.modxcms.com or http://www.joomla.org.
ModX or Joomla Content Management System Development Brisbane : If you would like a helping hand with your CMS development, please call Bluewire Media on 1300 258 394.