1. CMS Poll Results

    Yesterday on Twitter I asked: 

    "CMS poll: Need a simple, designer oriented solution, multiple authors, pages & blog. What do you recommend? (will share results)"

    The poll yielded some interesting results. As you might expect, Wordpress came out on top as the most recommended solution. The next highest recommended CMS was Symphony CMS, which surprised me. I wonder if there is some cross-section of designers that fell in love with XSLT five years ago and have continued down the road in some parallel universe… After Wordpress and Symphony was Tumblr—which 52weeksofux.com is running on—which I thought would have seen a bit more support, but with the recent downtime, etc. I understand.

    The other CMS’s that were mentioned were: 

    • Expresion Engine
    • Textpattern
    • Harmony
    • Jekyll
    • Posterous
    • CMSMS

    So where does this leave me? Well, still searching thats where. I have used and built for Wordpress off and on since it began. I have to admit, I haven’t really touched in in well over a year, mostly because I found the structure (namely the big ol’ loop) not to my tastes and working with theming and managing myriads of plugins and… you get the idea. It’s not that I can’t work with Wordpress, I just don’t like to. However, I am hearing good things about v3, so maybe I do need to give it another look, but realistically, I probably wont.

    So what about Symphony? Well, I used it once around 2006 and while some of the features were compelling, I just can’t for the life of me understand why I want to be messing about with XSL and XSLT. However, the fact that a significant number of people suggested it, I may have to circle back and check it out. 

    Then there’s Tumblr. Tumblr is pretty awesome. The social/community aspect of it alone is an incredible incentive to use it. Themeing is pretty straight-forward and with the addition of custom pages, you can do a lot. And, yes, you can have multiple contributors but it’s not as simple as it could be. There are a number of things that you can’t do (as I learned with 52 Weeks of UX) and unfortunately for me, it just doesn’t quite do what I need it to do. Not to mention the whole downtime issue. 

    As for the remainder of the suggestions, here are my thoughts:

    • Expression Engine seemed like a lot of work to get set up and working (at least the last time I tried), Admin UI is kinda painful, but from what I hear extremely powerful and awesome once its all configured. 
    • Textpatttern was my CMS of choice when doing client work back in the day. Unfortunately, the community seemed to stall out and things weren’t moving forward and I have yet to go back and see if its still a worthy contender. I did love the templating system and there were a few plugins that really made it shine. 
    • Harmony is made by some really smart people and from what I can tell (see the videos, etc) it looks pretty amazing. For my needs, the pricing is the only thing that gives me pause. But its still a reasonable price for what they offer.
    • Jekyll is a simple, blog aware, static site generator. It’s hooked into Github and looks pretty extensible. Need to check if there is a way to do multiple authors if any of them don’t have Github accounts. 
    • Posterous uh, yeah. I don’t think so.
    • CMSMS is a bit too much for me from what I read and saw on the site. 

    I was surprised no one mentioned Perch, as I have heard many good things about it recently. 

    So all in all, I figured that WordPress would be the front-runner and I was just a little sad that there isn’t something else out there that really fits the bill. Yes, I know all of these probably *can* do what I need, it’s just that none of them do it without a decent investment (either upfront or in the long run). Perhaps something like Jekyll is really the right thing for me—version control built in, simple templating system, can handle traffic surges because it’s just html, etc.—but I think a little more investigation is in order on a few of these before I can render my final verdict. 

    Hit me up on Twitter or send an email if you have thoughts/suggestions! 


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