March 17th, 2009
I’ve worked with Joomla!, WordPress, Blogspot, Blogger, Zencart osCommerce, and custom CMS tools, and I must say that CMS Made Simple is by far my favorite. It just makes sense to me and I’m really surprised I don’t see it used more often.
Joomla! is definitely the star in the open-source CMS world, but frankly, I’m not a huge fan of it. Sections, categories, articles, etc when all I want to do is open the “About Us” page and edit its content is just not right. I don’t like that ALL of the website contents are listed as “articles.” What a strange and counterintuitive concept! This general organization principle drives me nuts and the additional confusion caused by the multiple menu managers and the way you have to upload new templates in a zipped directory with an xml file just make this system unwieldly to me.
CMS Made Simple on the other hand is… SIMPLE! CMSMS takes Joomla’s menu manager and article manager and combines them into one incredibly easy interface called Pages. Hey, an area called Pages where I go to edit pages, now that makes sense. In the Pages area you see a list of all of the pages on your site listed in the order they appear on your menu. You simply click a page title to edit the contents of that page directly rather than going and finding what articles are published on the page and then finding that article in the 75+ articles in the article manager. To reorder your menu, you don’t need a menu manager, you simply click up and down arrows to move the pages around and your menu is instantly updated. A new page will also be instantly added to your menu and the “parent” option makes it really easy to nest menu items. Editing templates thankfully involves no uploading of zip files and no xml configuration files, just HTML and CSS. Whew!!!
CMSMS also has a ton of additional features. I know that Joomla! does too, but I never got around to playing with them because the basics took too long to master. Great looking photo albums, easy to use blogs, public and private forums, newsletters, customizable web forms, and guestbooks all take less than an hour to install and configure. Amazing!
CMSMS does have its downfalls as it’s not really capable of a ton of end-user account management or social networking, but for the vast majority of personal and business sites I can’t imagine using anything else.