University Web Developers

University Web Developers

We are in a process of deciding which open source CMS (such as Drupal, Wordpress, and Joomla) to employ in our website development. I am wondering if anyone would like to share their experience and insights about these systems. Thanks in advance.

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We've gone with a combination of a couple systems. For our main web presence we are switching to Drupal after an exhaustive comparison of both it and Joomla. In the end Drupal simply had less limitations and, from a developer point of view, a better code base.

For secondary sights, including faculty, student groups, classes, and others we are using Wordpress MU for it's ease of use and easy maintainability.

Finally, for our intranet we are using MediaWiki.

Feel free to ask me if you have any more specific questions.
I'll second ALL of Chris Wiegman's comments. At SUNY Fredonia, we use MediaWiki, WordPress (plain WP, not MU, but that may change if we get a little more momentum with WP blogs) and Drupal 6.

We identified some attractive OSS WCM products with some research about priorities. PDF of our example sites and very generalized research into WCM strategy for highered is here:
We're using Joomla and WPMU extensively. Joomla 1.6 is imminent and will remove the known ACL and nested content category limitations. We've been using Joomla (and Mambo) since 2004 and my editors have been very happy with it.

As someone said on the UWeb list this week though, a successful CMS conversion/implementation involves not only choosing the right CMS but also proper planning!
For a full college site, I'd use dotCMS before any of those, as it scales way better, and I find it much easier to use. That's just my personal opinion though. But it will give you a lot more ability to scale up and evolve over time as opposed to the others.
I've looked into dotcms as well, however I've found the community to be rather lacking. Hopefully however that will change as the product continues to develop.
The product has a couple things against it in terms of open source development. First, being enterprise grade software, it hasn't gotten anywhere even remotely near the install base of simpler, PHP systems. The natural pool of users is simply smaller as a result. Secondly, being Java, the pool of available contributors is yet smaller, since Java is far less standard in the open source web application realm. You can run the system without knowing Java, but you can't really develop plugins or anything without it.

The basic result is that the capacity for market penetration is low. Anyone and their dog can install Wordpress on basic, $4.95/month hosting, which results in a MASSIVE user base. People with the horsepower to run software like dotCMS is a mere fraction of the size. Of course, that problem isn't specific to dotCMS, but rather unique to the enterprise CMS market in general. And keep in mind, dotCMS is the only CMS competing with the likes of Ektron, Open Text, OmniUpdate, et al that is open source.

All that said, this past year has been very good to the project. IRC always has people in it, the mailing list has exploded, and I have it from good sources that they are planning on integrating the forum and the mailing list into one tool so that the two different groups can more easily communicate together, regardless of the platform they prefer. Version 1.9 will be released soon, and marks probably the biggest upgrade in the project's history.

And, for what it's worth I'm working on a book that I hope to have ready in time to coincide with the 1.9 release on designing sites in dotCMS. My hopes is that with improved documentation such as that available, it will help the user base as well (documentation has always been a pretty weak point for them).
Do you have any idea how soon 1.9 will be released?
I don't expect it until probably January. JIRA notes a second maintenance patch (1.7b) before the next milestone release. That will probably come sometime this month. The trunk code is definitely not usable yet, but I did go ahead and do a brief preview of some of the 1.9 changes that were available:
Thank you very much everyone for your invaluable feedback. You were very helpful.
I'd like to revive this thread to find out if folks have made new, interesting discoveries in their journeys with Drupal and WordPress MU.

We're on the same journey, so I've posted project documents for our content management migration project ...

... criteria we're using for evaluation ...

... and a post of my recent observations.

Please forgive me for crossposting in the UWebD mailing list.

One other option for very large sites is Typo3 (PHP), though it has a large learning curve. It uses it's own template language called Typoscript, but once you get that under your hands, the rest is down hill. Very good for large sites with multiple content editors.
Thank you, Zac. I tried out Typo 3 and really appreciated everything it could do. The learning curve was, however, steep, especially having to train developers with an additional scripting language (PHP is preferred here).

I'd be interested is learning more from you and others about your experiences.



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