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What is an CMS Framework in simple words July 8, 2011

Posted by Tournas Dimitrios in Drupal 7.2, Joomla-1.6, Wordpress - 3.

WordPress  , Joomla and Drupal are CMS frameworks , based on the PHP scripting language . WordPress for example ,  consists of about 600 PHP scripts organized in folders . These scripts encapsulate all the control logic to create , modify and serve content . In CMS parlance , content can be , a username , password , headers , tags , a hyperlink , text of an article …. anything that construct a piece of information is evaluated as content . When you open a website in your browser , you see a single page filled with text and media ( graphics – photo’s , video and so on ) , actually this page is constructed from different pieces of content .On a traditional website , these contents are stored on static files ( if the content is text ) and folders (if the content is media ) .

A Content Management System is essentially a web based application which includes most hosting plans which lets you design, organize and manage your website easily. A CMS is a PHP application which lets you create and manage your website using an admin panel. While in a HTML website, you have to use programs such as FrontPage or Dreamweaver to edit the website.

Here comes the important part of the story . A CMS framework  ( WordPress , Joomla , Drupal …  ) stores any text content in a database ( only media content are stored in folders ) . Why  ??? should you ask . Well the answer is simple :  simplicity ,  extensibility and maintenance . Still confused ??
Let me tray a practical example …. A couple of writers decide to create a on-line news paper , they don’t have any knowledge of HTML , PHP , servers or web-technologies . They just want to :

  • write and publish their  articles (simplicity ) ,
  •  modify a lot of articles at once ( simplicity ) ,
  • over time un-publish temporarily or delete permanently   some articles ( maintenance ) ,
  • over time change the “look and feel ” or add more features on the site ( extensibility ) .

What should they do ??? . They hire an experienced web-developer to set- up a CMS framework and learn them how to  use that framework . Over time , the developer will handle issues like : updating , back-up the content and extending the functionality of the framework . The writers are only concerned with their articles and nothing to worry about technical aspects . Simple as that ……..

At the beginning of this article , I mentioned that WordPress consists of about 600 files . These files not only encapsulate the control-logic for handling the content  (reading or writing to a database ) , but also the ” look and feel ” and the layout of the displayed content . These files are named :  ” Templates ” .

Our virtual friends ( the writers ) , can easily log-in to the administration panel ( Dashboard ) and make slightly changes to the layout or the functionality of the website . For remarkable changes , they just have to install another Theme ( Template files ) . And that’s done with a few clicks without any  technical knowledge .


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