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Five Questions with John Crain concerning CMS

Author: JLB

Published On: November 5, 2008

1. What is a CMS?
A Content Management System, is, in its simplest form, software used to simplify the process of storing and editing information found on a website.

2. How do some CMS work (from a programming point of view)?
In a CMS, a database is created to house user-defined information and various scripts are used to pass information to and from the database. The user is usually presented with some sort of graphical user interface (GUI) that contains any number of controls.  Good examples of this are the WordPress, Textpattern and ExpressionEngine blogging tools.  Pages can be created and filled with content by a user with little or no programming experience.

3. What are advantages to a site with a CMS?
Perhaps the greatest advantage of a CMS is the ability for a user to edit information quickly and easily.  This allows users with no programming background to create or change content without the need of hiring a developer to do so for each instance.  It can also streamline the process of making a large site.  While a 5-page website could easily be completely coded by hand, a 1,000-page website might need a CMS to dynamically create the elements of all the pages that are similar.

4. What are disadvantages to a site with a CMS?
While content management systems are oftentimes a godsend, they definitely do have their disadvantages.  A typical, packaged content management system will limit the amount of control an author has over his/her website.  While not always true, it can also be more difficult to optimize specific pages for search engines.

What? No fifth question!?
Sorry guys, not this month.

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