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Drupal, Xaraya, or ?


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#1 Nadir

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 05:15 PM

Hi,

I just installed Drupal yesterday with a bit of hassles but it's up now. I needed a CMS to build a small news site. However, before I go further I've read that Drupal seems to be hard to customize or presents pretty basic templates. I don't want to use a template that everyone has, but be able to upload my own template.

I've read a lot of good comments about Xaraya regarding how easy it is to customize it with my own templates. Here you have Xaraya Vs Drupal and here Drupal vs Xaraya

Also it seems to be that Drupal is more for blogs, while I don't want my site to be a blog nor allow people to leave comments. It will be just an information site.
People who prefer Drupal say it has more modules than Xaraya and others, what does that mean concretely?

This is the features that I really need:

- Ability to allow multiple users
- Easy to upload images
- Easy to add links
- Maybe some videos
- Possibility to send a newsletter to people who would have chosen to receive one
- Maybe a print friendly feature to print my articles
- Easy to use, meaning I don't want to go through all kinf of codes to do a minor change.
- Use the CSS files that I want
- Good design and easy to customize

Also, you may ask why I didn't check out Mambo, I know Mambo, the first site that I worked on was on Mambo and I remember how hard it was to add categories, align images and the interface was ugly, maybe it has changed now but I still have bad memories :)

Thanks for your help, if you have a site on one of these CMS please be kind to point me to them so I can get an idea of what I can get.

Edited by Nadir, 07 January 2006 - 06:55 PM.


#2 AbleReach

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Posted 07 January 2006 - 11:59 PM

http://opensourcecms.com/
Ruud shared this link recently. It has reviews and ratings of many open source systems. Reviews are often thorough, even mentioning if something has a good support community.

I can't speak from personal experience. I am tiptoeing around the edges of this myself.


Elizabeth

#3 Nadir

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 12:20 AM

Yes I visited this site hundreds of times but how do you want to pick one amongst dozens of CMS!

So I used Google and also stuff that I have read on forums, visited sites, read more reviews and then came up with this list:

- Mambo/Joomla: hmm, like I said, I can still recall how bad it was to use this software, it was not very intuitive when I was using it and they was barely no support.

- Typo3: Look VERY hard to understand, they say it can take one month to learn it... I need my site now. I'll use that maybe later, it seems to have great features.

- Drupal: I read everywhere good comments about it, I installed it and I'm not very happy with it so far, I don't like their templates and I haven't looked on how to customize them so far, but it doesn't look easy. Also it looks more like a tool to build community stuff, that's not what I want. For blogs, I would use Wordpress or even Blogger, a blog doesn't need to have hundreds of features in my opinion. Also, their forum is not so good, I waited hours to get an answer to my questions. I had a error with the database stuff and I was not alone, many people had the same problem.

-Xaraya: That one look good to me too, I discovered it today, sites made with it look great, and they have a nice forum. It looks like that one is competing directly with Drupal. I'm gonna investigate that again and make a definitive choice.

Edited by Nadir, 08 January 2006 - 12:22 AM.


#4 Nadir

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 12:41 AM

What about this: let's say I build a website right now as if I was going to do everything manually. I create my menu with all the categories that I want.

Then can I integrate a CMS into my website so that me and my friends can write articles whenever we want, choose the category in which we want to publish them, and upload them with one single click. Note that this is going to be a news site.

I know that I could do that with php but I have almost zero knowledge of php, and I don't have the time to learn it right now.

I'm really a dummy when it comes to database, so I'm sure there is an answer to my question, so what could possibly suit my needs?

#5 roban

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 05:22 AM

Have you looked into PHPWebsite? I have 2 sites online with it and the support is very good http://www.phpwsforums.com/index.php

Look at these 2 site www.ehacc.org and www.eyeonthehamptons.net they are both PHPWebsite driven.

I also have 2 Joomla sites and 1 Joomla/Virtuemart site as well and I can tell you that CMS is like anything else, once you learn the in's and out's of a program it's all quite easy. The support is what makes the difference IMO.

#6 DianeV

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:23 AM

You might also look at WordPress. While it's blog software, it's easy enough to turn off the ability to leave comments (and remove the comment form). As well, it's reasonably easy to customize the look of the website by copying and editing one of the "themes" (a collection of pages and files that control how it looks).

WordPress 2.0 has just come out; however, you might want to look at the WordPress forums to see what issues people are having. They also have archives of earlier versions (which are dreadfully difficult to find, but I cleverly added the link to my developedtraffic blog so I could find it again). The last version prior to 2.0 is 1.5.2.

Just something to try. You might find it suitable for your needs; you might not.

#7 Nadir

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 12:00 PM

Wow PhpWebsite looks great! I wonder why I didn't find it on Google, I did searches for "CMS php" but didn't see it. Their control panel looks great, and easy to use.

Diane, I thought Wordpress was only for blogs, but I will check it out again. There is thousands of themes that I really like

Actually the most important function that I would like to have is to show the headlines of my posts on the homepage with an image maybe and then people can click and read them. I'd like it to have the same layout as a news site.

Edited by Nadir, 08 January 2006 - 12:00 PM.


#8 Nadir

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 12:25 PM

I'm installing Xaraya right now to see how it is, and so far so good: the installation is very easy, you just have to open a page to get started and then they tell you what's wrong (write permissions).
That's something that was not available in Drupal where I had errors with my databases and had a a hard time fixing the problem....
We'll see how it goes.

#9 cre8pc

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 01:32 PM

Nadir, if you haven't seen this yet, it may be helpful. In fact, what you are doing reminds me of his series of articles. You could do the same from your experience!

Professional Blog Software Reviews - Introduction

Chris Garrett does a series of reviews on all kinds of software. There may something in there that helps you.

#10 randfish

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 01:37 PM

I was gonna post the same link, Kim. :)

Nadir - please do report back with your experiences. I'd be interested to hear your opinion on the various software packages.

#11 Adrian

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 02:10 PM

I think Drupal can do most of what you're after Nadir.
I use it at www.sportinwellington.co.uk, and www.threadwatch.org and www.performancing.com use it (it's because I realised Nick was using Drupal at Threadwatch that I looked more closely at ti for the sportin wellington site).

I wouldn't say it's more for blogs, more community news in a way. Individual users can have blogs as well, but that's an option. I believe comments are optional as well.
Each 'story' can have attachments, so that could be images or video files, though you may need to do some tweaking and work out how best it could be used. One thing I've not found particularly easy, is to enable non-web people to add images to their posts, other than as attachments. It may just require more looking over the installable modules though.

I don't think it's TOO difficult to edit the look and feel of it. Clearly Nick's designs for threadwatch and performancing are pretty specific, while for the sportinwellington site, I actually just tweaked one of the default styles. it may take a bit of working out, but you'd have the same with something liek wordpress and presumably pretty much any CMS.

I'm not sure whether it can do the newsletter thing, or whether there is a plugin for it, but other than that, I think it is certainly worth looking at.

I certainly see it as more of a community web site tool than as a blog tool.

#12 Nadir

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 02:21 PM

Thanks Kim. But what I am really looking for is not a blog software . Even if a news site can be built in blog format, that's not what I'm looking for. A blog looks too personal to the public, I don't want to build that kind of atmosphere.

Since the news site is going to look a bit controversial to some, I don't want people to leave their comments either for or against my posts, I just want my site to be objective, dedicated to everyone, not just to a community. I want to build a news site to inform them and be kind of authoritative in this sector as I'm going to provide unique information, and then if they want, they can contact me through email.

I've seen Drupal for example, installed it, run it, and it seems more like a community blog, with people who can register to post stuff etc. Also, their themes are pretty basic and it seems hard (maybe impossible?) to customize it the way I want.

Rand, I just installed Xaraya, and it looks good, I like the fact that is totally CSS driven. I haven't set up my site yet but I'm going to do that right now and keep you posted.

Edited by Nadir, 08 January 2006 - 02:21 PM.


#13 Nadir

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 02:25 PM

I certainly see it as more of a community web site tool than as a blog tool.


Oops, I was just explaining that I didn't want a community web site while replying to Kim :)

#14 cre8pc

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 03:46 PM

Nadir, I did think about that (Chris's series on blog software) but he covered so many that I wasn't sure if there were any with options that would work for you.

This is a great thread and your search is likely like a common one!

#15 Adrian

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 05:20 PM

Oops, I was just explaining that I didn't want a community web site while replying to Kim


Hehe, fair enough. I think that's the kind of area Drupal is more aimed at, so might be less suitable.

I take it you really just want something that a selected group of people can post news to, and everyone else just reads? Other than the 'editors', no one else really joins the site?

Drupal can probably still do that (just don't let people register for example), though it moving away from what it's designed for I think.

#16 Nadir

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 05:28 PM

Yes exactly, that's why I want. I was looking for a CMS because I want to make it easier for my friends to post their stories on the site.
For example, I was looking for something where anyone will have his own login, then on his control panel, he will see all the articles posted by other members, each post would say who posted it, when etc.

#17 DianeV

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Posted 08 January 2006 - 05:58 PM

Nadir, bear in mind that, with any of these types of software, how it looks can be modified, so I'm thinking that how it looks is up to how you design it -- just the same as any website (or shopping cart) can look corporate, personal, etc. It's all a matter of template design.

As well, you can remove the ability to post comments (not have the comments box at all). I've done that on one WordPress blog. The "latest news on home page" is a basic blog function.

That said, my understanding is that Drupal (however difficult to install and implement) has far more than just the blog functionality -- from what I gathered of Nick's statements, Drupal also has shopping cart and forums functionality (though those may be add-on modules, or not). If I were to want to implement a "news" site (with or without comments) that also had a shopping cart and/or forums, I'd be looking into Drupal.

#18 DCrx

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 09:56 AM

how it looks is up to how you design it


Diane is quite right. Adaptive Path and BoxesandArrows, and other 'magazine type' publications are on Moveable Type. While mostly long-article format, MT has a different perception. Further, even 'community' packages like Drupal might need something like an LDAP foundation to provide real community support. Take it from someone who has hand-edited numerous Drupal articles which were first composed in Word, even the automated parts don't work quite as nicely as advertised.

As I understand it, Drupal and Adaptive Path may be working more closely, which makes Drupal's future more promising.

What many informal users are looking for is an online version of Frontpage, not a CMS. You're better off thinking of CMS packages like programming languages: Pretty good at getting you to "Hello World," but some work involved going further. Most people will find training, retraining (...for infrequent posters -- which nobody is in the beginning), and time and effort explaining various eccentricities is about the same as emailing plaintext or rich text to an agreed upon editor/poster who puts it online.

Unfortunately, time and effort calculations often get 'distorted' in proximity to technology.

Edited by DCrx, 09 January 2006 - 10:06 AM.


#19 manager

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 05:00 PM

Hello

There is one thing about most CMS software providers (opensource or commercial).
They all make “poetic” claims on their features lists. I always visit their support forums B4 even wasting my time evaluating. I look for problems experienced by people on a similar “server setup” as me. In addition I observe how fast user “help requests” are handled.

After spending a couple of boring afternoons installing and test driving some CMSs I concluded it would be less trouble to write one in php with mysql.

When you look for CMSs that offer tableless css layouts and xhtml strict compliant code, the list decreases to almost zero. With Drupal I believe it is “xhtml trans.” out of the box, but the user input is allowed to scupper the code validation. I visited one of the “Drupal” websites mentioned earlier in this post and observed that there where validation errors caused by duplicated css id selectors. agggh

* content management system - abbreviated plural CMSs :) ?

TreV

#20 Nadir

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 06:00 PM

You're damn right Manager, man, I can say that I noticed the illusion created by all the big CMS software.
I installed 2 CMS this weekend: one was Drupal, the other one was Xaraya. I decided to use these 2 ones after long hours trying to find the CMS that will suit my needs.

What I really need is a CMS, or call it automated software, magic tool or whatever...in short, something that will allow me to publish a newspaper website. The basic fucntions that I need are the same as most of the newspapers sites have: headlines on the home page with an image, newsletter fonction and maybe a forum. That's it. It should not be complicated to find something that does what I need.

So I used my google buddy and then looked for CMS. Like a simple user, I decided give a try to the most famous CMS, which means the ones that appeared most of the times on my searches.

Again, my main need was to be able to manage a newspaper website easily. So I tried to use the 2 CMS mentioned before as they claim to be good for...everything. Well, I thought, cool, I found the program that I need to run my news site...

This is where I was wrong. These CMS claim to be able to run everything, might be true, but you have to spend hours looking for the right module to install and know how to use it.

Both of the 2 cms looked good, Xaraya is really beaituful, it's fully CSS driven, but I realized that this is not what I need for my newspaper site. It's just too much for me, I don't need fancy stuff for now.

So I spent another couple of hours looking for the righ solution for me.

This is how I did and how I should have done to do my searches: i looked for "Newspaper cms" on Google and used this result from Slashdot

I will try the software they are talking about and gives you a feedback.

I already looked at:
- Cofax
- Spip (french software but provides multi language options)
and they look exactly like what I need :) they are expressly made for newspaper websites!

#21 DianeV

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 06:28 PM

> headlines on the home page with an image, newsletter fonction and maybe a forum

Interesting, Nadir. This is more than a simple blog format. Could you let us know how your testing goes?

#22 Nadir

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 06:52 PM

> headlines on the home page with an image, newsletter fonction and maybe a forum

Interesting, Nadir.  This is more than a simple blog format.  Could you let us know how your testing goes?

View Post



Yes, it is more than a blog, that's why I was kind of frustrated when everyone pointed me to blog software :) !

I will sure let you know how it goes and show you the final website.

#23 DianeV

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 06:54 PM

Yes, the blog format (current headlines on home page) was just the beginning of what you needed.

Where more is needed, one could piece things together, but that isn't always the best solution.

#24 Nadir

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Posted 04 February 2006 - 04:05 PM

Alright guys, I finally decided to use Wordpress for my small news site, I just don't have time to get into the the EZ publish manual or any other CMS I tried. For the newsletter function that I needed, I will have someone build a script for me.

Plus there is just too many functions in those CMS that I really don't need.

And the customization of the design seems much more easier with Wordpress.

Also to display images on the headlines such as the newspaper sites do, I think there are a few WP plugins out there to do that.



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