PHP-based CMS’

This is a quick overview of the different Content Management System’s (CMS) I’ve used and my thoughts on them.

I always choose a CMS based upon ease-of-use, personal feel and what I want to use it for.

  • WordPress (5/5)
    Although it isn’t isn’t an out-right CMS, it’s still one of the best CMS’ out there and sets the benchmark for blogging
  • Drupal (3/5)
    Everyone swears by this CMS. Even the Onion and major newspaper houses use this CMS. It’s said that even the New York Times uses Drupal (I still think they use DragonFly). Even though its a true CMS in the classical sense, I still find it very user-unfriendly. WYSIWYG is not installed by default and there is quite a learning curve. Assuming you can get over this, and the bad user back-end user interface it’s a good little CMS that has lots of potential
  • Expression Engine (3/5)
    Created by the same people who brought us the PHP4 MVC framework CodeIgniter this CMS packs a punch but has a very, very steep learning curve. Version 2.0 is built more on CodeIgniter and is a little more intuitative.
  • Website Baker (3/5)
    Website Baker is a simple straight forward CMS that is designed for very small websites only. Produces everything in valid XHTML/CSS and is very simple to learn, pick and play.
  • MODX (4/5)
    My personal favorite CMS, and winner of the most promising CMS award 2007. MODX is highly programmable but has a steep learning curve. Once you get your head around chunks, snippets, plugins and modules it becomes a very, very powerful CMS. The only problem I found with MODX is that it is very limited in how many pages you can create. On a plus side the CMS is AJAX/XHTML/CSS ready and has a fantastic array of plug-ins and a fantastic help forum, which is more than I can say about Drupal
  • Typo3 (3/5)
    Very large CMS library. Very large indeed. I’ve only ever used it once and overly wasn’t impressed by it.
  • Joomla/Mambo(2/5)
    I just don’t like Joomla. Yes it is a CMS, and yes you can make webpages, etc out of it. But why is it so bloated? Why is the backend overtly confusing?
  • Textpattern(2/5)
    I don’t get the fuss over Textpattern. Yes it has a good architecture, framework and is a good blogging tool, but comparing it to WordPress is like comparing Apples and Oranges. Textpattern has very few plugins/modules, etc for it, and although has a good foundation it has a long way to go for me. Still a lot of programmers, designers swear by TP. If you’re a programmer you’ll probably like Textpattern.
  • eZ publish (2/5)
    EZ Publish (or eZ publish) is one of the most bloated CMS’ I’ve ever seen. The download is huge and although you get bang for your buck. I still think using drupal, wordpress or MODX is more prefable than EZ Publish.

Other links;

What every CEO must know about their website

A quick run-down of questions to ask about your current new media marketing strategy;

What is the overall purpose and goal of the website? (ie: sell cars, sell products, get leads)?

How much traffic is the site getting per month, and has this increased/decreased since last month?
Where is the site ranked on specific key phrases (ie: used cars)?
How popular is the website? How many members do you have?
How long do people stay on the site?

What online/offline marketing, advertising or promotion is being done on the site?
How much is spent on PPC per month? How many leads does this generate?
Comparison between PPC and non-PPC marketing – how much traffic/leads are being generated? (IE: Is PPC working?)
What future promotion/marketing efforts are to be done?

How many leads are generated from the site?
How many of these leads are turned to sales?

How much spam does the site get, and what measures have been put in place to reduce this?

Is the website accessible? Does it conform to the latest DDA/Section 508 laws, if not – why not? How much will it cost to fix this? Is a complete site rewrite required?
Does the site have an accessibility statement?
Is the website usable, functional and easy-to-use, navigate and traverse?
It is reliable?
Is the site broken?
Are there any pages broken? (Check the error log)

It the site secure?

How is the site currently backed up (if at all)?

If the site is indeed broken, inaccessible, or is unreliable, you might want to actively think about switching provider, or building your own internal web team to handle all things ‘web’ — especially if the problems are very large.

Ultimately, a website is a marketing tool that can be optimised by your internal team, your current supplier; or by switching provider (think about freelancers too!).

Why small is the new big

In Seth Godin’s book, “Small is the new big“, Godin details why he believes that personal relationships still matter, that a one-to-one relationship is worth more than a big name brand with countless awards, sales people or account managers.

“Small means that the founder is involved in a far greater percentage of customer interactions. Small means the founder is close to the decisions that matter and can make them quickly.

Small is the new big because small gives you the flexibility to change your business model when your competition changes theirs.

Small means you can tell the truth on your blog.
Small means that you can answer e-mail from your customers.
Small means that you will outsource the boring, low-impact stuff like manufacturing and shipping and billing and packing to others while you keep all the power because you invent something that’s remarkable and tell your story to people who want to hear it.

A small law firm or accounting firm or ad agency is succeeding because they’re good, not because they’re big. So smart, small companies are happy to hire them.

A small restaurant has an owner who greets you by name.”

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Search engines. A video discussion.

Using search engines as a way of promoting/marketing your website is often clouded in confusion, such as terms as “black hat”, “white hat”, etc.

If you’re just getting started with a business, it can be very confusing, frustrating and just plain annoying.

Fortuently I’ve found an excellent video discussion I found on found on Guruonline which introduces you to the basic topics of search engines and it cuts through the hype of what SEO is all about, and is an excellent resource for those who are just starting out, or have a small business and just want clear-cut answers.

Video: Search Engines – How to improve your rankings get to the top! (

MODx Wins Most Promising Open Source CMS

MODx has won the Most Promising Open Source Content Management System in Packt’s Open Source CMS Awards 2007, coming out on top ahead of TYPOlight and dotCMS, who came equal second.

Some of the awards were;

Most Promising Open Source Content Management System:

  1. MODx
  2. TYPOlight, dotCMS

Best PHP Open Source Content Management System:

  1. Joomla!
  2. Drupal
  3. e107

Best Open Source Social Networking Content Management System:

  1. WordPress
  2. Drupal, Elgg

See the full list of winners on Packt’s website.

Torrent OiNK’s Takedown

Recently an IT consultant, Alan Ellis, 24, from Teeside, was arrested for running torrent-tracker website “OiNK”, and had his website closed down.

Alan was held on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and copyright infringement, and is now on police bail pending investigation, and has spoken out against his arrest, stating that he “has done nothing wrong”, citing that if his crime was to provided links for downloading illegal material, then Google should also be prosecuted for the very same crime.

Law enforcement agencies across the world have stepped up a gear on File-sharing P2P/Torrent websites, chasing down those who have illegally shared music, or breaking RIAA copyright.

However this recent arrest has made a lot of buzz on the social sites, and has raised questions yet again about the legitimacy of the claims of the record industry about the use of P2P/Torrent sites to distribute music.
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jQuery – A quick intro

Of all the AJAX frameworks out there currently, one that I’m really liking is jQuery.  It does pretty much what every other AJAX type framework out there does, but what I find really good about jQuery is that it tries to seperate JavaScript from your actual HTML.

I did try DOJO (which I think is backed by IBM), but found it too hard to understand. MooTools is very popular, and has a small footprint but I find their documentation lacks any real examples, or code that you can copy-paste or hack apart. MochiKit has a lot of buzz, but I find it does a very similar job to jQuery.

I find jQuery has a lot of examples, and there are already 2 books out there on this framework.

Although I’ve only been able to do small-scale examples of jQuery, I’m hoping to learn how to integrate jQuery with PHP/MySQL and deliver some of those really nice effects that you’ve seen everywhere else.


Top 100 design agencies

Let’s say you’ve just graduated, or you’re in the cross-roads of your career, or like me — just want something unique, different but fun and challenging?

Where do you go to find agencies to work for?

Well, the answer in the past was to look in Web design magazines, via online galleries – or the Yellow pages.

But fortuently there’s now a list of the top 100 agencies in the UK (although you probably already knew of its existance), so – have fun, do your research and with hope, join an agency that does the things you want to do.

Good luck,