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University Web Developers

We are currently using a homebrewed CMS right now (which I can't wait to get away from), and are starting to look into other options. However many of the popular CMSs out there aren't an option as I need to be able to connect to an SQL Server. Any suggestions?

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We have been using OU Campus from OmniUpdate since August 2008. OU Campus allows for the flexibility of coding in different web programming languages while querying database applications, since you publish out to your own servers. We write web site applications using Php and ColdFusion to interact with MySQL and Access databases on the back-end. So far, its been working very well for us. The full page html feature is very user friendly for web programmers and hand coders as well.
The benefits of using a PHP-based CMS is that it will run on Windows or Linux. This is my first foray into the collegiate CMS space, so I can only tell you my experience as a general web developer.

I think a lot of it depends on how technical your people are internally (and what their skills are as far as programming), how big your college is (ie, how scalable does the app need to be?), and what your budget is.

Your data being in a MS SQL server should not be a big deal...worst case scenario, you can export the data via XML and import it into just about anything.

Some freebies worth checking out: Drupal and Wordpress. I know, I know....the first response is that Wordpress is for blogs. But not no mo'. In fact, in March they are planning to launch their 3.0 version which will have support for custom page types built in. They know a large portion of their users don't blog...they use it as a CMS.

Drupal is nice because of the large number of extensions developed for it and because it has a much more flexible role-based model for user authentication.

My college is using OmniUpdate. I just started using it. So far, the interface for basic users is very simple, but there is definitely a learning curve to leverage the more powerful features.
We're using TERMINALFOUR Site Manager which definitely can run with an MS SQL Server database.

Features include:

* 100% Open Platform with cross platform support
* Operating Systems (Windows, Linux, Solaris)
* Databases (MS SQL, MySQL, Oracle, EnterpriseDB/Postgres)
* 100% functionality coverage via Web Services Interface & Java API
* Cross Browser Support including IE, Firefox and Safari
* Windows, Apple, Linux and Solaris Client Users
* Enterprise data integration including course information
* Portal independent. Integration points with uPortal, Oracle Portal, Sungard Luminis, Sharepoint, Blackboard and Angel
* Friendly URLs & Search Engine Support
* Scripting language independent with preview support for PHP, ASP.NET, JSP and Cold Fusion.
* Publish to multiple web servers regardless of location or architecture
* Importation tool from external databases and WCM systems including automated Serena Collage & Omni Update import tool
* Authentication independent including support for IIS, NTLM Apache, LDAP, Shibboleth and Webauth authentication and single sign-on support.
* Integrate with external systems via bulk load, publish time

T4 have offices in the UK, Ireland and the US.

There is very little that we've not been able to do with T4 Site Manager. It doesn't do blogging-style posts very well but then we use a blog for that. It will allow you to auto-archive new posts but you have to do this manually for each post by setting an expiry date and where to archive to.

Other features can be created by your Java developers and integrated into your system.
We are using EZPublish CMS.
We've been happy with it so far, but we had no CMS university-wide, so we really do love it.
Currently we are using Plone 2.1.1 (I think) but just started serious discussions about the switch to Plone 3 and what that will mean for the site.

We've been relatively happy with Plone as a CMS, even if it takes a while to wrap your mind around how it actually works. The challenge this time around will be trying to engage the rest of the campus in updating the website.
Yes, getting the real content experts (for your academic departments, that's the faculty, and for administrative divisions, that's usually middle managers) to be comfortable and actually enjoy building new content and updating old stuff is the real key. And you've got to have a CMS that lets them incorporates all the new bells and whistles of Web 2.0 apps, easily without creating pages that are impossibly complex, ugly and that ruin the brand identity of the institution. That's why we are migrating much of our site to a new CMS, ContentM HE, which somehow manages all of this magic. As I've alluded in an earlier blog entry, “Of CMS, Sleepless Nights, Nightingales & Avatars,"I believe this system represents a major paradigm shift in the way universities can manage their sites effectively and still give everyone real ownership and pride in their site.
We are also running Terminal Four's Site manager. I think Gareth plugged it rather well. It even plays nice with C# if you are a Windows and IIS place.
The right CMS for me might not be the right CMS for you.
For those who have not read this article yet...

These are results of a survey the website conducted on CMS's used within higher ed
Use use Drupal, which can connect to (in version 6) MySQL and PostgreSQL and very soon will be able to connect to any database back-end.

We like Drupal because it is open source, easily extensible, and has both a large community for support and a rich environment of companies which can provide support, migration help, design, and development on a continuing or ad-hoc basis - good for these tough budget times.
We have been using CMS systems for almost 11 years now and have done four full implementations. Each one helped us learn more and more about what we really needed and how to scope that for campus. We now are using OmniUpdate to maintain our 30,000+ page web system and integrate countless third party and home grown applications written in PHP and ColdFusion. We have really enjoyed this implementation and plan to be here for a while.

The key for us, and for most institutions, is that no matter what your CMS does, you need to make sure that you meet the needs of the content contributors using the system. Simple user interface with powerful features is the key. The other thing you need to consider is the vendor relationship...make sure that they listen to you about your needs and requests.

We have a process that we have followed and share with others in choosing a CMS for their institution. It seems to be helpful to most that take a look at it. Let me know if you would like to communicate further about this.



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