What is a CMS?

  • Posted on: 24 June 2011
  • By: Julia

CMS - Content Management System

Here in 'web developer world' it can be easy to forget – useful acronyms for us can be just unhelpful jargon in the real world. So let's talk about what a CMS is and how they can help people in the real world.

CMS simply stands for Content Management System. So far so good, you may be saying, I knew that, but what exactly is a content management system and why do I need one? Well happily for all of us - you've probably used one already.  If you're viewing this as a page on our website; you are viewing content within a content management system.  When you fill in web forms, browse a news site, add a comment, update your facebook page - you're using, adding or changing content.  So far so clever - but the really clever bit is that you didn't need to know anything about HTML, or web development, or databases, or graphic design to do so.

Creates easy to edit web sites

So a Content Management System, is perhaps best described by what it allows you to do without knowing all the developer and database bits. It allows the entry and editing of content – text, video, audio, photos, graphics, documents, calendars, links to other content, pretty much anything that can be stored electronically, so you can collaboratively create, say a web site - without knowing how to create a web site. Even better, you can add and edit content as you wish, provide user forums, polls, web forms and comments sections without having to call in a web developer each time. A CMS makes creation and maintenance of your content as easy as filling out a simple form and clicking save (or possibly submit). The graphics, the layout, the menus/links, datestamps, authoring information etc are all created for you and put in the right place.  It should also let you search and find your content, rearrange it, perhaps have a permissions system deciding who can change and see what; essentially let you manage your content and share it with others.

And easy to manage web sites

The uses are self evident for creating and maintaining websites and intranets for example. Everything is suddenly more accessible, you can create, change, hide, reorganise and search your content. You can have many users in many different places also adding and editing content.  User management and workflow within the system means you can have one or several editors, an automated submission and publication system where publishing is as easy as checking a box - if you have the permissions to do so.  The data and the design/presentation are separated, so you can change the look without recreating the content.  Your site can grow more easily as new pages and menu items are created as you need them (ie. when you decide to add more content). 

So now you know what one is, and have decided you can't live without one, why not have a look at: 10 things we love about Drupal, a CMS that, with our help, can offer all of the above and more.

Obligatory links - hope they help ...

http://www.steptwo.com.au/papers/kmc_what/index.html - excellent article on both what a CMS is and what it has to offer businesses.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_content_management_system - M ou Mme Wikipedia

http://drupal.org/about - our heroes

Originally posted by the same author on cybersundae.com