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Content Management Systems. What Your Mother Never Told You…. What is Static?. “Flat” page Same information to all users No use of server-side scripting or coding to display information (no bells and whistles) Stays constant text, images, and other items are in the HTML. .

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content management systems

Content Management Systems

What Your Mother Never Told You…

what is static
What is Static?
  • “Flat” page
  • Same information to all users
  • No use of server-side scripting or coding to display information (no bells and whistles)
  • Stays constant
    • text, images, and other items are in the HTML.
things people say about static sites
Things People Say About Static Sites
  • Advantages
    • Quick to develop
    • Cheaper to develop than CMS
    • Cheap to host (web.mit.edu is free)
  • Disadvantages
    • Requires HTML expertise to update site
    • Maintaining large numbers of static pages can be impractical
what is a cms
What is a CMS?
  • A web application designed to make it easy for non-technical users to add, edit and manage a website.
some cms brands
Some CMS Brands
  • Drupal
  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Expression Engine
  • Plone
things people say about cms sites
Things People Say About CMS Sites
  • Much more functional website
  • Much easier to update
  • Can allow staff or users to collaborate
  • Control access to data, based on user roles.
    • User roles define what information each user can view or edit
  • Can manage and control a large, dynamic collection of Web material
is it true
Is It True?
  • More functionality = more to maintain
  • Updates can be frustrating
  • Need to define a process before collaborating
  • Need to monitor your users
  • Need a good practice for organizing content
challenges1
Challenges
  • Slower to launch
    • What’s the site supposed to DO?
    • Who will design and build it
    • What if we add one more cool thing…
    • How the heck do we use this thing?
challenges2
Challenges
  • Can’t make changes easily to the design
    • Need to update templates
  • Templates may require some knowledge of PHP
    • Can become quite complex - cascading nature
challenges3
Challenges
  • More expensive to develop
    • Higher complexity
    • Hard to find good programmers
    • Different coding skill, not as easy to learn as HTML
challenges4
Challenges
  • Money, money, money. Can you pay for…
    • Design
    • Development
    • Training
    • Hosting
    • Server maintenance
    • Application Maintenance
    • Functionality upgrades
myth save money with open source
Myth: Save Money with Open Source
  • CMS Needs to be updated regularly
    • Drupal updates come out every few weeks, WordPress every few months
    • Most cases can’t do this in house
  • Test updates on separate server
    • Make sure plugins/modules still work
  • Re-launch the site
myth free modules save time and money
Myth: Free Modules Save Time and Money
  • Plugin/module updates are maintained by user community
    • Can’t count on a quick response for troubleshooting
    • Many times they are released with bugs
  • Need to be updated regularly
    • Will they still work on your site?
    • Who will do the update for you?
    • What if the update wrecks your site?
myth free modules save time and money1
Myth: Free Modules Save Time and Money
  • Drupal major versions not backwards compatible.
    • Modules developed for Drupal 6 will not work for Drupal 7 without recoding.
  • Security problems
    • Modules can compromise the site as easily as security problems in the core.
myth easy content updates
Myth: Easy Content Updates
  • WYSIWYG editors
    • Not reliable
    • Usually don’t have all the features you need
    • Need to have basic HTML/CSS skills
  • Structure of the page may not let you add what you want…
    • Not all the elements of the layout are easily changed without extra coding.
administration moderation
Administration & Moderation
  • Who is going to create users, maintain roles?
    • Full access to the CMS, can be daunting
  • Who will monitor user comments/posts?
    • What time commitment is involved?
    • Who has the right to change content?
training
Training
  • Who will train the site administrator
  • Who will train your editors?
  • Will the site’s admin interface be easy enough to use?
    • Display certain fields for certain users
security
Security
  • Do you need an intranet?
  • Do you need registered user only functions?
  • How will administrators/editor log in?
    • Touchstone – certificates, Kerberos, or CAMS account
    • Certificates – have to be installed on your machine
    • Username/Password – diluting the security of your kerb, limits the way you can restrict access to groups
security1
Security
  • Different levels of security?
    • Admin
    • Users
cms multisite environment
CMS: Multisite environment
  • How many sites are you going to need?
  • How will you update them all?
  • What if they use different plugins?
  • What if you don’t start with a multisite set up and want to add a new site?
hosting
Hosting
  • No IS&T-supported solution for hosting on Athena
    • Be prepared for hosting costs or
    • Student server down time or upgrades
  • Need a system administrator
    • Usually programmers don’t have this skill set
  • Need a safe hosting environment
    • Locked, power backup, HVAC
hosting1
Hosting
  • Security: Consider the software environment, such as shared hosting, where someone else might have access to your files
    • If files uploaded to the server need to be private, make sure the server has limited login access and that the CMS is configured correctly.
      • If your CMS is sharing server space with another application, you may not be able to control who else gets to log into your server.
hosting2
Hosting
  • Best practices: have three servers
    • Test Server
    • Staging Server
      • “Dress rehearsal” of deployment
      • Matches the production server
      • Tells you whether the world will come down crashing on you when you finally deploy
      • If you have several applications living on your production environment, you can test to see if there's any negative interaction between them
    • Production Server
cms backing up your data
CMS: Backing up your data
  • Some CMS don’t have auto-back up
    • Manually download the entire site
    • Need to know what you are looking for and how to FTP in
  • If hosted by IS&T, comes with TSM backup
permissions granularity
Permissions Granularity
  • Permission can be given to an editor to manage the updating of a single item of content on a single page of the site.
  • Permissions can range between single page and whole site access - and pretty much anything in between.
  • Very granular permissions mean's maintaining control over who is doing what on the site.
multiple editors
Multiple Editors
  • Many times numerous authors want to contribute to a site.
    • Administration panel can be configured to store multiple user roles and access
    • This facilitates the authors to just login and add their contents to the website.
global usage
Global Usage
  • Editors and authors can access a CMS site from any part of the world.
  • All they need to have is a computer and an internet connection.
variety of core modules
Variety of Core Modules
  • Wont suffer from upgrades to the core
  • Sample core modules include (differs per cms):
    • Webforms
    • Role and permissions management
    • Categorization and tagging content
    • SEO friendly urls
    • Search
    • Workflow
community support
Community Support
  • Forums
  • Chat
  • Meetups
  • Usergroups
thank you and say hi to your mother
Thank you (and say “Hi” to your mother)

Lisa Mayer

lisa@mit.edu

Myra Hope Eskridge

myrahope@mit.edu

Rebecca Asch

rsa@mit.edu

Yang Gu

asphodel@mit.edu

IS&T Departmental Consulting

and Application Development

DCAD