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What is a CMS?

What is a CMS? provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by James Williamson as part of the… Show More

CMS Fundamentals

with James Williamson

Video: What is a CMS?

What is a CMS? provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by James Williamson as part of the CMS Fundamentals
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  1. 2m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. What CMS means for this course
      1m 44s
  2. 22m 52s
    1. What is a CMS?
      2m 47s
    2. The evolution of CMSs
      4m 4s
    3. CMS types
      6m 7s
    4. Basic CMS capabilities
      5m 4s
    5. When is a CMS right for you?
      4m 50s
  3. 1h 23m
    1. Comparing CMSs
      4m 28s
    2. Core features to research
      4m 41s
    3. Commonly overlooked issues
      4m 12s
    4. Properly assessing needs
      4m 39s
    5. Knowing when to seek assistance
      4m 15s
    6. Choosing a CMS for designers
      4m 45s
    7. Choosing a CMS for organizations
      4m 12s
    8. The pros and cons of hosted solutions
      2m 58s
    9. Hosted solution examples
      5m 51s
    10. The pros and cons of open source solutions
      4m 36s
    11. Open source CMS examples
      7m 6s
    12. Proprietary CMSs
      7m 48s
    13. A closer look at Drupal
      5m 7s
    14. A closer look at Joomla!
      4m 0s
    15. A closer look at WordPress
      5m 33s
    16. Resources for comparing CMSs
      9m 2s
  4. 43m 58s
    1. What is an open source CMS?
      3m 4s
    2. What is a LAMP stack?
      2m 53s
    3. What are WebDAV and FTP?
      2m 39s
    4. What is MySQL?
      2m 24s
    5. WYSIWYG editors
      3m 56s
    6. Understanding users, groups, and permissions
      4m 12s
    7. What is metadata?
      5m 19s
    8. Understanding taxonomy
      3m 35s
    9. What is version control?
      4m 23s
    10. What are themes and templates?
      3m 30s
    11. What is SEO?
      4m 42s
    12. What are web analytics?
      3m 21s
  5. 36m 31s
    1. Content management as a process
      4m 38s
    2. Properly defining roles
      5m 3s
    3. Planning a content strategy
      4m 1s
    4. The importance of taxonomy
      5m 7s
    5. Controlling content lifecycle
      6m 22s
    6. Challenges for CMS migrations
      3m 45s
    7. Steps for migrating content
      4m 16s
    8. Avoiding distractions
      3m 19s
  6. 2m 24s
    1. Additional resources
      2m 24s

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What is a CMS?
Video Duration: 2m 47s 3h 11m Beginner


What is a CMS? provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by James Williamson as part of the CMS Fundamentals

View Course Description

In CMS Fundamentals, James Williamson defines content management systems (CMSs) and explains their role in web site development. The course demonstrates the different CMS solutions available today, including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla; reviews CMS terminology and best practices; and shows how to develop a content management strategy. Guidelines are also included for evaluating a potential CMS, whether hosted or self-hosted, open source or proprietary, and choosing a CMS based on a specific need or focus.

Topics include:
  • Defining and understanding a CMS
  • Understanding taxonomy
  • Assessing an organization or company's needs
  • Comparing content management systems
  • Planning a content strategy
  • Controlling content lifecycle
  • Migrating between CMSs
  • Understanding users, groups, and permissions
  • Using web analytics

What is a CMS?

So what exactly is a content management system? Well, in terms of web-based content management, it's usually defined as server-side software that is designed to simplify the creation and maintenance of sites. It does this by managing online content, generating web pages, and allowing users to upload and change content without requiring technical expertise. To help illustrate this, let's examine the basic functionality of most CMSs. We'll start with the content itself. Content is typically stored in some type of database.

This allows it to be reused, repurposed, and published wherever needed. The CMS typically has an administration area that allows you to input, upload, or edit your content as needed. In most content management systems, this admin area is accessible through any browser, meaning that instead of having to install client software, you can work on your site anywhere that you have an Internet connection. Now if all that CMS did was to collect content and store it in a database, it wouldn't be that useful. It's what a CMS could do with that content that makes it really valuable.

A CMS will use its internal framework to build a site around your content. This is typically done by creating pages by adding content to a series of templates based on the site's specific needs. Of course, there's a great deal of variation in how different CMSs handle this step. Many of them have pre-built templates that you can use right out of the box, whereas others require you to design much, if not all, of the page structure yourself. Most offer varying degrees of control, allowing you to use pre-built templates and themes if you would like, or allowing you to make your own if you so desire.

It's worth mentioning here that the CMS will also handle adding site navigation and may even be capable of automating the process of building complex internal applications like blogs and message boards. As you can imagine, there's a lot to gain from this approach. Organizing content, building databases, and managing that content are all handled automatically. CMSs also allow experienced designers to dramatically speed up the time required to develop sites. Designers can build complex sites in a fraction of the time it would normally take them, and even allow them to build sites with advanced functionality that might be beyond their normal capabilities.

Another advantage to using CMS is the ability it gives non-technical people to create or update content. This means a designer can use a CMS to build the site and then train the client to maintain and update that site on their own. That sounds great, doesn't it? Of course, a CMS is not right for every site or every situation. Later in this title, we'll focus on both the pros and the cons of content management systems and how to determine if they are the right tool for the job.

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