Content management systems have all but replaced the former art of publishing static HTML pages. From letting clients edit and add content, to content like calendars and forums that defy the “page” convention, dynamic interactive websites keep visitors coming back. At some point your website goes beyond just a site filled with HTML pages and actually becomes a full-fledged web application.
From these features, we extract three stages of content management — simple content management, beyond the blog, and building your own web application.
We’ll cover some of the products and approaches appropriate for each stage — WordPress, MovableType, Expression Engine, Drupal, and Ruby on Rails will all be familiar terms when we’re done. As well, we’ll explore the following concepts:
- the challenges of designing for dynamic systems: the need to think about template and interaction design
- choosing open source: can you afford to choose an open platform?
- the wild world of plugins and modules: get new functionality “for free” and what that actually means
- frameworks vs. products: the build or buy decision