Several years ago I decided to take a look at the popular web-based content management systems available, choose two of them and focus my website development efforts around them.
It was time. I had been a strong proponent of Adobe Contribute for years as it made managing websites for non-HTML savvy folks very, very easy. But I saw value in web-based products versus buying an app that needed to be installed on a computer.
Truthfully, my review was not scientific, but the biggest factors in my assessment were:
- Aesthetics of the product’s website and admin,
- The commitment of the teams responsible for updating and upgrading the product,
- The apparent size of the product’s developer base,
- Availability of documentation,
- The price, and
- How quickly I felt comfortable creating a site using the product.
WordPress was an instant winner. The price tag was right, the commitment of not only its creator but also of the core team made was evident and documentation abounds. Also, the admin area for entering and managing content was—and remains—beautiful. It was a natural choice.
At the same time, I kept hearing of this product called ExpressionEngine. I didn’t know much about it, except that it was used by some high-traffic, high-profile websites. And that impressed me. The product was in transition moving from a very solid version one-dot-something to version two. They had a beta of version two available, so I downloaded it, found a book about it and got busy. Out of the box, EE is powerful and incredibly customizable. I was initially a bit overwhelmed by the granularity of the settings, options and capabilities, but I was impressed by a clean admin interface, a very strong and responsive support forum and the commitment of the community behind the product.
So there were my two winners: WordPress and ExpressionEngine.
The Ones Who Didn’t Win
It’s unfair to call Drupal and Joomla! “losers” because they didn’t lose. To say they “lost” implies that the products did not meet any of my very non-scientific criteria. They both do have strong developer bases and committed teams to improving and updating the products. Documentation abounds and they’re both free. And they each have an incredible global installed base.
But I just did not feel comfortable using them. And that’s the non-scientific part of it, really.
Why brettro.com is WordPress
Shortly after choosing both WordPress and ExpressionEngine, I had a major project where EE was the perfect choice. I still manage that website today, use EE daily and absolutely love it. (I wish I could tell you what that website is, but I am ethically bound not to.)
Because I was already using EE on a daily basis, I felt that I needed to use WordPress on a website that I would also manage daily so that I would become equally as familiar with it. And so I chose WordPress to be the CMS as I began to redo brettro.com.
So there it is. My reasons for choosing and using the web-based content management systems I do.
What CMS’s do you use? And why?