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What is an open source CMS?

What is an open source CMS? provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by James Williamson a… Show More

CMS Fundamentals

with James Williamson

Video: What is an open source CMS?

What is an open source 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 an open source CMS?
Video duration: 3m 4s 3h 11m Beginner


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


What is an open source CMS?

In this chapter, I am going to discuss many of the terms and concepts that you'll come in contact with while researching or working with content management systems. Being familiar with these terms will make it easier to compare CMSs and give you a greater understanding of how they work. I want to start with a term that you here a lot as you'll be working with content management systems, 'open source'. Open-source CMSs are often listed as a separate category and even have entire web sites dedicated to the latest open-source CMS news and reviews.

So what exactly makes a CMS open source? To understand that, let's take a moment to go back and revisit the evolution of CMSs that we discussed earlier. In the mid to late '90s, an explosion a proprietary content management systems joined the market. A proprietary CMS is one that's developed by a single corporation and then licensed to clients that wish to use it. In many cases, the CMS would be customized specifically for that client and their workflow. As you can imagine, this type of service was not cheap.

At that time CMSs were seen as a powerful solution that was restricted to organizations with larger budgets. Now that's where open-source software comes in. While the term 'open source' gets thrown around a lot, there really is an organization, the Open Source Initiative, that is dedicated to promoting and codifying what open source means. Basically, open-source software is software that is released with licenses that allows the software to be distributed for free and without any royalty fees. Open-source software really began to take hold of the web with the release of PHP in the mid-90s.

Finally, a free general-purpose scripting language was available for web development. This dramatically lowered the cost of hosting dynamic web sites and set the stage for an explosion open-source web applications. It's only natural then the developers would soon turn their attention to content management systems. This democratized the world of web-based content management and made it a lot easier for individuals and smaller organizations to bring content management to their sites. It's no accident that Drupal, Joomla! and WordPress, all free open-source content management systems, are the three most popular CMSs on the market today.

So, does that mean that open-source CMSs are really free? Yes and no. If you're technically savvy, you can download the CMS for free, install it on your server, and begin using it to set up your site without spending a dime. Even better, many hosting companies offer a one-click install that will install the CMS on your server for you, freeing you from having to do that on your own. However, open-source software isn't without its drawbacks. As a general rule, a community of volunteer programmers develops open-source software. That means that updates are frequent, interfaces aren't always user friendly, and documentation can occasionally be hard to come by.

If you use open-source software, you should be prepared to either put in the time yourself to learn how it works or pay for a resource on staff or an outside consultant to make sure your install is handled properly. You'll also need to keep up with its development, so you can be aware of any major revisions and how they might affect your site.

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