University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Does anyone know of a CMS that generates static web pages, as apposed to CMS apps that run as web apps and generate web pages real time? In our "shop," we cannot use PHP, ASP.NET, etc--only static web pages and images! (...and JavaScript, XML files, Flash, etc) So, for example, we would like to build a database (either within or external to the CMS) and then generate a bunch of static web pages whenever we update the content. Those web pages would then be placed on our web server. I've heard that Vignette and Nanoc can do this, but I'd like a more well rounded review of such tools, and I'd also like to know which of these types of tools are considered especially strong and well reviewed with a decent developer community.

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OU provides the modern method of XML and XSL (and an XSLT process) that completely separates the two (content from layout). CSS can and does work in conduction with this model. But to swap out a page or set of pages from one template type to another only requires selecting a replacement XSL (template layout) file and republishing the page (and does not have to affect all pages using a given template type. CSS does not have to be edited. Content does not have to be tweaked. For those who may have looked at OmniUpdate a year or more ago, and passed on it because they thought that OU did not provide for a truly modern web architecture methodology, may want to take a look again.
And OU does operate in the way you think a CMS should. OmniUpdate does completely keep content and design separate. When using XML and XSL, this is exactly how it is done. There is no layout markup in the XML. There is no content in the XSL. OmniUpdate offers two modalities.

OU supports both the 'traditional' XHTML and CSS model, where structure and content are minimized (with good CSS design), but not completely separate, and they now (for the past year or more), support the modern method of XML and XSL (and an XSLT process) that completely separates the two. CSS can and does work in conduction with this model. But to swap out a page or set of pages from one template type to another only requires selecting a replacement XSL (template layout) file and republishing the page. CSS does not have to be edited. Content does not have to be tweaked.

With the colleges we work with we are repurposing content all the time. We develop audience based websites that require different templates and complexities based upon the audience they are addressing (high school prospect, vs. working adult, vs. current student, etc.). There is content that is needed to be 'common' across 2 or more audiences, this content is created once and re-used where it is needed in the different sections of the website that may have completely different template and navigation structures.

The structure and content are kept completely separate on the OU staging server. Only when pages are published are the two joined to make a low impact, high performance serve-able page on the website. The web server does not need any heavyweight database application environment to serve the pages.
Is every reply on this site going to be a OU sales pitch? I will think twice about replying in the future if this is the case. All I know is I tried it in April, I called and spoke to representatives several times and it was my understanding that switching a template was NOT an easy task. Perhaps I asked the wrong question or the sales person misunderstood me. If it's possible to easily switch a template, fabulous, I apologize if I spoke out of turn. But again, from my perspective as someone who has used a CMS for over 5 years, and Dreamweaver for over 10, it was either not possible or not easy. Done, please stop try to sell me OU. Thanks
Luminis CMS from Sungard HE uses JSP-based templates to generate HTML, SHTML, PHP, ASP, or JSP static files. We use it at Ithaca College to generate PHP pages, but it's capable of generating static HTML, which sounds like what you would want. It's come a long way with the recent 3.3 release. It runs on top of Documentum, and uses Documentum's web publishing feature. It'd be possible to use SFTP or rsync if you'd rather.
I work with several content managers at our university, all with distributed management roles, and we use Adobe Contribute. It's great for smaller sites (and smaller groups of content managers), and requires very little training.

Not sure how this would work with larger sites and a database, though. But it does generate static pages.
I appreciate your pursuit of information relating to CMS products. As an OmniUpdate employee (V.P. of Sales), I want to express our apologies if we lead you to the wrong conclusion on OmniUpdate's templating engine. I feel compelled to set the record straight.

OmniUpdate does include a very powerful templating engine. OmniUpdate outputs static files (HTML, XHTML, PHP, CFM, JSP, etc.) and uses a standards-based approach: XML source and XSL templates for complete separation of content from design. With OmniUpdate, our customers can update a single XSL file, then republish the site with one click. OmniUpdate's built in XSLT transformation engine will then re-compile and re-output the entire site -- changing the entire look and feel of the site using the new template (no need to edit every page -- just one template file). Of course multiple XSL templates can be used for different designs within the same site and across multiple sites for the same client.

Additionally, OmniUpdate has a unique approach in that it allows administrators to pick and choose where/when they use a strict template design. Our clients can choose to avoid the need to migrate content for sections of their website that they consider "legacy" and sub-sites that should not be controlled by templates. In these areas of the site, a few simple page tags can be added with an automated process to allow these non-template controlled areas to be editable and managed through the same CMS. This offers our clients some important advantages over alternative approaches (especially clients with very large sites with mixed needs).”
Thanks for clearing that up. I think the confusion was due to the communication of the XML/XSL piece. So an XSL file update changes the way the XHTML is genereated from the database, and CSS file updates change the way CSS is applied to that XHTML. Got it. Now that I understand, I would be more interested in the product. Unfortunately, as we discussed, we have a *TINY* budget. The product is competitively priced, but we cannot even afford "competitively priced," or even "aggressively priced." But that's our problem.

Looks like Dreamweaver templates and Contribute for us! :-) ...already have Dreamweaver, Dreamweaver template engine does not require a server, aside from our static web content server that we publish to, and it affords us perfect control of our templates. ...just not the greatest for large websites with complicated "sub-templates."
Ingeniux has the option to output static files also.
You should also take a look at our solution, TERMINALFOUR Site Manager (www.terminalfour.com). We've done work with about 40 Universities and Colleges
I've also heard that Apache Lenya can output static files to a directory. I'm looking into that functionality myself at the moment. You still have a web interface, but the performance of static files.
We are migrating away from our homegrown CMS and using Movable Type as our CMS platform for both blogs and traditional websites. It has a number of publishing modes, but we tend to use "static publishing" which publishes static .html files to your server.
Rhythmyx, by Percussion, also generates static HTML files.

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