Content Management System (CMS) Implementation, Maintenance

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

A content management system (CMS) is a software tool used to create, retrieve, update, and delete the content of a website. This content comes in the form of text, images, audio, video, and other documents. Typically, CMS are divided into two primary systems.

Content Management Application

First, the content management application enables content authors or managers to create, modify, or remove content from a website without having technical knowledge of editing websites. Users of this portion of the system typically do not have or need the expertise of creating Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Cascading Stylesheets (CSS), or JavaScript (JS). Instead, the application creates this data for them through the user interface.

Content Delivery Application

Second, the content delivery application constructs webpages from a combination of the stored content created by content authors or managers and system defined code to present a fully functional webpage. This portion of the application uses stored instructions to determine how to output the content. These stored instructions and user created content combine to produce compliant webpages of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript which is ready by end-user web browsers. The stored instructions for how to output content are often referred to as templates, themes, or skins.

Core Features and Functionality of CMS

Data Storage

CMS store content so that it can later be retrieved, either to simply read or write to. Most CMS store this content in a database.

Data Retrieval & Display

CMS retrieve information from their data storage and display it. Most CMS offer a way to customize the method in which the data is displayed to end users. This is done through the use of template systems which denote a particular layout, page structure, or branding for consistent portions of the webpage. The templates encapsulate areas in which content from the data storage will be displayed. In this way, most parts of the webpage will remain consistent for the user across all webpages.

Dynamic areas can not only display content appropriate to the webpage which has loaded, but can also provide contextual data. For example, the CMS may have stored a user preference on a last visit and therefore decide to display the Spanish translation version of the text instead of the stored English version. Additional contextual data may include highlighting the navigation relative to the current location within the website structure or displaying other content links that may be relevant to the currently requested content.

Content Creation & Editing

CMS provide system users, through the content management application, a way in which to update or create content. This interface requires special privileges accessed through a unique user account to use. This allows system users to select existing content and alter it or create entirely new content. Most often, CMS provides the user with an easy to use visual interface to display the content code and modify it. This interface, a What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG), displays content code similar to the way Microsft Word or a Rich Text Editor does. The visual interface allows a user to type in new content through a familiar interface, clicking buttons in order to modify content display like adding bold, italics, bullet lists, or links.

Uses of Content Management Systems

Organizations considering implementing content management systems will have many factors to consider. Having diverse content such as text, images, video, audio, and multiple image types will make implementing a content management system more difficult than simple text. In an era of mobile devices and rich content, organizations should attempt to overcome this challenge as users demand increasingly interactive and visual content. Organizations should also consider where their content will be displayed and who will enter the content, globally. Providing manual translations of content for users in different countries makes maintaining content, for each additional language, harder.

Content Management System (CMS) Implementation, Maintenance, and Extension Services

Our team uses Content Management Systems (CMS) as a base for nearly all of our web projects. These systems enable general site users and maintainers to contribute content, edit existing content, and manage content with basic tools. We utilize MySQL, an open source database software, to store our CMS information.

We primarily implement:

Is your organization still trying to grapple CMS and make a decision?

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We have also worked with SharePoint, Joomla!, ExpressionEngine, Moodle, SilverStripe, Simple CMS, and a handful of other less-known CMS on special occasions. Contacting us about your project's CMS is a wise decision, we can probably help!