Posted: 11th Jan 2011
Looking for a good open source CMS for your latest project?
I thought I would do a few mini-reviews of the latest open source CMS that I've stumbled upon over the last year. They are all new (last couple of years), utilize modern technologies, are built upon solid frameworks and have pretty sweet UIs (user interface).
Things to look out for in a good open source CMS are:
- Good framework behind it, such as Rails or CodeIgniter
- Well supported and active community
- Permissive license, such as MIT, BSD or Apache 2.0.
- Easy to use and built with the end-user in mind (e.g. the client or designer)
- Good availability of modules
So let's get cracking!
PyroCMS is a PHP5 CMS built upon the CodeIgniter framework (version 2.0). It is easy to install and has a large community of developers already using it. It's considered the primary CMS for CodeIgniter developers and although new, has evolved massively in just the two years or so since its launch.
The beauty of Pyro is that it has a very permissive license and it's very easy to build upon. You can modify the existing codebase to suit your needs, re-brand it, and build your own modules on top fairly easily.
Pyro is well worth checking out if you are looking for a simple PHP based CMS that you can extend and tailor to your needs.
Locomotive is a very new addition to the open source CMS world. It's built upon the Rails framework (version 3) and has some promising new features. One of the best feature of Locomotive is the fact that it can be easily hosted 'in the cloud' using cloud based hosting platforms such as Heroku, Amazon S3 and MongoHQ. That means that you could get your websites/apps launched with super-ease and done in next to no time.
Other promising features that are noted on the website are Inline Editing which is a must for any modern CMS these days. Inline editing allows you to edit content while you browse the websites. Custom Content, such as being able to define the content as media types (e.g. video or images), blog posts, events etc, and the ability to host Multiple Sites off the same installation, which is also a must for any modern CMS (especially cloud based ones).
Fuel CMS is another CodeIgniter powered CMS (you'll soon see that I'm a big CI fan!) and is fairly new. Fuel boasts some great features such as Inline Editing, Simple Interface, User Permissions System, and a Page Import feature that lets you bring in your static websites. The community for Fuel is growing very quickly because of its very attractive feature set and because it's CodeIgniter powered developers can easily tap in to the resources provided there through Forums and documentation.
Fuel is well documented (following the footsteps of its framework) and covers basic things like getting a site up and running but also how to develop modules and extend the Core - all useful things for developers who want to get under the hood and build on top of what is there.
Halogy is designed specifically for designer/front-end developers who want a no-hassle CMS with modules that run 'out of the box'. It is also CodeIgniter powered and runs on PHP5 with MySQL. Until recently Halogy was a hosted only CMS, but now has an open source 'Core' version available for download.
Though Halogy is possibly less programmer-friendly than the previously mentioned content management systems, it does boast some great designer-friendly features such as inline page editing, website import, easy to use administration that clients will understand, and modules like E-Commerce, Forums and Blog that can be purchased from the shop and literally dropped in without any installation or configuration required.
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