Why use Drupal or Wordpress ... and what is a CMS anyway?

In the beginning...

Back in the olden days it was like this ... The pages of a website were each individually crafted and stored on a web-server, somewhere in the internet, waiting for someone to surf them. These 'static html' pages contained the content (text & images), structure (menus, header etc.) and styling of a single web page and all the pages of a web-site could potentially be completely different from each other.

There were a number of disadvantages to this approach. For a start, maintaining a consistent look and feel across a single website depended on the the person producing them having an almost dysfunctional attention to detail. Implementing a change in a design rule, like changing the size of the text, would require changes to every single page (at least). Another drawback was that implementing a change in content (like updating a bit of copy) required programming skills.

As a result, if you wanted to maintain a decent website you had to be either

  • a geek
  • an organisation with enough cash to employ a geek or two

Content Management Systems (CMS)

So how did the wondrous powers of the Internet ever get to be harnessed by normal people? The answer arrived with the development of web publishing systems that combined an interface simple enough to be mastered by anyone who can type and click with a clever publishing framework that takes care of the layout, style, menus completely automagically.

To take a ubiquitous example, Facebook is a very clever CMS. The websites authors (that'll be you and me) just type in our updates and upload our pictures of each other falling over etc. The system then stores and reproduces the content in a consistent way.

Content Management Systems have come a long way since the early days and the Drupal and Wordpress systems are probably the best in their classes. They are both 'Open Source' meaning that they are developed not by one organisation but by many thousands of developers each contributing bits of code. They are very good at doing what they are supposed to and their excellence is highlighted by the millions of websites around the world which run on these systems.

To find out more about Wordpress visit Kick start you website with Wordpress

To find out more about Drupal visit Community & Commercial websites with Drupal