Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm Back! TLA Tutorial: CMS

As many of you know, I've been a bit busy lately, finishing up a big project for Community Housing Network. CHN is a great group with which to work. As with most folks at charitable and non-profit organizations, they bring an excitement and passion to everything they do which is a breath of freash air in our sometimes cynical and business-as-usual world. In this case, we performed a massive overhaul on their website. Amongst other things, including a more intuitive look and feel, we added a content management system (CMS) to the site.

What's a CMS, you ask? Well, essentially it provides a framework full of tools and features which allows a website owner to update her own site more easily without having to know anything about HTML, how to upload files to their server, or how to create and maintain a search index for the site. There are a number of different packages out there, some commercial, some open source. The one I used was called "Drupal".

I know your eyes just glazed over, so let's just say that, once set up, it allows even the rankest beginner to have and maintain a website which has cool features such as searching, discussion forums, individual user logins, online glossaries of terms, and even advanced features such as online surveys -- all within a consistent look and feel. If this sounds intriguing to you, you might want to ask your current webmaster whether it is something to consider.

So, what features would you love to have on your website?

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