I’ve been looking for a content management system for a new community project I’m working on.
My requirements were simple. It had to be easy to set up and maintain. It had to be template-driven and the templates had to be editable by someone more proficient at HTML than Perl, PHP, or Python. It had to use either a weblog or Slashdot-style structure, but be flexible enough to accommodate changes in the structure and menus. I had to be able to use it on a virtual host where I didn’t have access to the http server. The software also needed to support registration and posting by users, without a lot of intervention from the administrator. It needed to be a finished product with good documentation and an active community of users. Finally, I had to be able to find the software, install it, create a prototype, and set up my site without using a lot of time.
Movable Type would have been ideal. It’s what I use for MediaSavvy and my family sites, but it doesn’t support user registration and posting.
I spent a lot of time examining open source CMS’s, but none seemed to be both broadly-supported and really simple. But it’s really hard to tell sometimes. There is still not enough information available on open source CMS’s.
I looked at wikis, but that was a frustrating experience. I never found one that was both easy to install and able to support more than minimal design improvements.
I looked at Scoop, which I liked a lot. I went so far as to get an account on a Scoop host, create a prototype site, and modify the templates to use CSS. But it didn’t work with my virtual host and required too much Perl to make the modifications I needed. It became clear I would need to hire a Perl wizard to maintain my site.
Postnuke looked great and has the best installer of any package I’ve used. But its formatting wasn’t flexible enough. That’s too bad, because it’s a great piece of software in many ways.
I installed pMachine this morning, and I think it’s what I’m looking for. It’s not open source, but at $45 for a noncommercial license it’s hard to beat. It’s as impressive as Movable Type in its power and ease of use. Plus, it has much better support for multiple authors.
One thought on “Choosing a CMS: so far, pMachine looks like the right tool for my project”
Just one suggestion to add, which isn’t really a suggestion since the software is not completely complete, rather a keep-your-eye-on notice about TextPattern by Dean Allen: http://www.textpattern.com/