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Basic Questions

[eluser]Grant Holmes[/eluser]
Hi gang. Totally new to CI. I found out about it on the PHPFreaks forum. I've searched a bit and read a bit, but would appreciate some direct answers if available.

I've tested two "BIG" CMS packages. They are both so bloated that I can't figure out why somebody thinks they are "simple to use". I'm used to creating my own sites, but now have several clients that "want to edit their own content" and I want something I can learn within this century.

1- I want to be able to have several designs of my own originality (design a new layout, or easily convert an existing site, even).

Within a site, I may want several "templates" (read: different designs)
2- I want a log-in page where the client brings up a page, can only see the (let's say text and maybe image) content, but no part of the rest of the page and edit the text.

3- When they save the file, it updates a MySQL DB, and the page, when refreshed shows that content.

4- The client could create a new page, choose which nav menu to have it show up in and then do the same as 2&3;above.

5- I could have a javascript menu that is fed from the MySQL DB.
6- Use basic PHP things like includes and populate certain pages from MySQL tables .
7- Use CSS across the site.

I have more, but these are the basics. Am in the right place to start? Can all this be done somewhat easily? From what I've read, I think so, but I need to know.

And if I totally missed these answers somewhere, please point me in the right direction.

Thanks all.

Hi Grant, welcome to the forums!

Right off the bat I'll say that I think what you're looking for is Expression Engine - it's made by the same guys who built CodeIgniter and is a brilliant publishing platform.

The reason I recommend it over CodeIgniter is that CI is an application framework. So you "could" do everything you need it to, but you would need to do quite a bit more coding work to get that functionality. CI is a great resource for developers wanting to build the next great Web 2 app, or even a CMS - but it's not actually a CMS.

I hope this helps.

[eluser]Grant Holmes[/eluser]
Thanks for the reply. I'll look over the Expression Engine. Please tell me its a lot "lighter" than CMS's like Joomla?!

The other issue is cost. I was really hoping for something free!! (sheepish grin)

Lol... I think you'll find that anything is lighter than Joomla! Tongue But, more important than weight is the ease of use. The company I work for has built about 100 Joomla! websites and the issues we have always come down to usability. If our clients can't use the CMS, then it kind of defeats the point of having a CMS in the first place.

As for price, $250 isn't really that big a deal when you're building commercial websites (IMHO). Just pass the cost on to the client.

And for the time you would save 'stuffing round' in Joomla! the $250 extra would be well worth it Smile

We left Joomla! for the same reason - too confusing for clients to update, given it's quite powerful but not suitable for 95% of our clients.

[eluser]Grant Holmes[/eluser]
Good points gang. Any suggestion on free CMS, regardless? I promise to look into Expression Engine.

Is it easy to use an existing design and all my original criteria?

I'm not an EE user, but, I do seem to recall there is a free version of EE. It's called core or something like that.

I'm probably wildly off base on that, but, figure if I'm right, it might meet your criteria Grant.

Yes, there is a free "Core" edition, but it's not licensed for commercial projects. You could definitely download that to do an evaluation though.

[eluser]Rick Jolly[/eluser]
IMO, when it comes to displaying content, there are 2 CMS categories: manager based and template based.

Drupal and Joomla are manager based. You control how the content is displayed from the web manager interface. These systems are inherently complex and ultimately not very flexible in how content is displayed.

EE is a template centric sort of CMS. You control the display of content by putting the logic directly in the templates. These template based CMSs allow for total flexibility and much less complexity. CMS Made Simple and Modx are two other open source template centric CMSs.

[eluser]Grant Holmes[/eluser]
Thanks to all for your answers.

As an aside to this, but related to some other issues I have to solve... Any opinions on Free or low cost social network software? Best/easiest to use/etc?

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