Top 10 free and cheap CMS's update

It looks like I have to add a category for full CMS’s with a sufficient layer of abstraction to build sites other than a blog, wiki, or Slashdot clone. The three that have been mentioned in comments are:

EZPublish is a PHP/MySQL CMS that looks like it does all the right things, and you can get it as an abstract framework, or preconfigured for more structured sites. However, the one (undisputed) review that I have been able to find says that EZPublish is crufty and slow.

Bricolage is aparently the open-source evolution of Salon’s CMS, using Perl and MySQL. Personally, I’m leery of Perl, which I don’t know, and PostgreSQL, which I don’t use and can’t pronounce. But it looks like a mature and exciting alternative[too-short eWeek review].

Typo3 is abstract and uses PHP and MySQL. However, I’m having a really hard time understanding it by reading the site, which is badly organized and poorly documented. The site itself says it takes weeks to learn how to use Typo3.

If you’re looking for a CMS with a greater level of abstraction, you’re going to need to spend more time on your decision. I’d probably install both Bricolage and Typo3 and get to know them both.

8 thoughts on “Top 10 free and cheap CMS's update

  1. post-gress-cue-ell
    Perl can be pretty baroque, but it’s also pretty solid. Coding style makes a huge difference; look at popmail (a Perl-based spam filter) for a sample of exemplary Perl style.

  2. Bricolage would fall into your group with Slash and Scoop, as in addition to being written in perl it requires root access on the server(near certain – too lazy to check at the moment). And a fair bit of work to set up. Lots of perl modules and such. Not for the less tech-savvy.
    And as mentioned above, Postgres just did not get the headstart MySQL did, but has supported “enterprise” level features for quite a while that MySQL is just getting now (transactions, subselects, etc.) and is quite popular with more advanced developers (those not on Oracle or DB2, Sybase, etc.).

  3. This is ridiculous. Do you think anyone cares about all this technology? Do you think a smart person who has knowledge to publish wants to setup their own website and learn code and how to configure it and all that crap? No, they just want to publish and have people be happy reading their writings. Geek worship ended before the millenium. Focus on features of the system, not on the technology crap. We’re going to outsource the technical stuff to an expert in that domain, so we can focus on our core competency, WRITING!

  4. Great list! I have looked at all these CMS and have come up with the same feelings about them. Either they are too close to MovableType, or too dorky like TYPO3. I can just imagine telling a client who has only used word to log into TYPO3, it would be a total disaster.
    The one opensource CMS that hasn’t been mentioned, which I was very impressed with the design of, is JetBox . The tabbed interface is much subtler than Bricolage and the features seem in keeping with EzPublish. I checked out the demo at and was instantly impressed with the navigation. The template structure is confusing but I would imagine it could be cracked if given enough time.

Leave a Reply to Adrian Holovaty Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *