Studying never ends

When you work in an industry like web design, you really have to work to stay on top of the latest trends and methodology. I can say that this isn’t always the case with me, but I do try to keep up with some of the larger, less radical trends. Right now we’re in the process of upgrading servers. This always gets drug out over longer periods of times than I truly want, but it happens. Things just take longer than expected and you deal with the consequences as they come.

As a result of the server upgrades that are underway, it means that I will be facing a rather larger website overhaul for one client. They are unaware of this change as of yet and since it impacts them only on appearance not on their bottom line, it shouldn’t matter too much. This, however, means that I have to buckle down and put a lot of research into some of the options available that will make managing this site easy and efficient.

I want it easy because I do not want to have to do all the work myself. I want to be able to do the conversion and hand the client a very simple step-by-step instruction manual on how to do all their own updates from here on out. That by itself would save me a huge amount of headache. Not that they are hard, just that they are randomly important. Instead of getting the information in a timely manner, I get them when it is “important to them” and they wanted them up immediately. As a one person operation, “immediately” for you and “immediately” for me have two very different definitions. If you want it up by a certain date, you had better give me at least 24-48 hours notice and tell me what deadline you’re facing. Your lack of planning is not my emergency.

So I am researching CMS (Content Management Systems). For those of you who do not know what a CMS is, it is the thing that makes many of your favorite sites work. Once the initial design and set-up are done, it helps ease and facilitate the consistent creation of content. It also makes the updated and editing of the content more efficient. There are so many CMS available for free and pay out there. I am looking at one particular listing of Open Source CMS that are available and there are currently under the PHP driven CMS category 117 options. Yes, I am going to be here for a while reading and studying the various features and whatnot.

Currently I am looking at: CMS Made Simple, Typo3, TypoLight, Tango, Frog, Wolf, and Concrete5. That is just the preliminary list as of right now. I have to narrow things down. I don’t have many specifications to meet, just that it needs to be able to handle videos, images, news articles, and have calendar features either built-in or via extensions. It also needs to have a customizable interface to some degree. Most importantly, however, is the ease of creating templates for the system.

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