Beginner's Guide to Programming -

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What is a Content Management System?

Content Management Systems (CMS) are programs built to make building and managing web content easy. They are programs built to make it easier to create and manage web sites, as opposed to writing and changing the html and php code. CMS usually use a mySQP database on the back end to store the data (text, images, organizational information) that gets displayed on your website, and use the functions contained within the code to display that data in a way you would like. CMS have a back end administrator login and menu so the creator and designer can go in and both change the visual setup (often called “look and feel”) of the website as well as interfaces to add new content to the website.

CMS offer many advantages over creating a website from scratch. The menus and organization of your content, once initially designed, are handled by the CMS. In other words, when you add new content the CMS takes care of helping users get there – as opposed to changing your menu systems and internal links each time you add content to your website. Also, many of the design functions are handled in templates that allow you to just install and begin creating content, as opposed to spending a lot of time creating a look and formatting everything the way you would like.

Depending on the CMS you choose, there are usually plenty of templates out on the internet free to download that will allow you to get the type of look you are looking for. Two popular and easy to use CMS are WordPress and Joomla. WordPress is often referred to as blog software, but it has many CMS features as well and has a very easy and intuitive user interface. You can post material to your website and arrange it by topic, date, subtopics, etc. These can be changed after the initial setup, allowing you to change the design and flow of your site as it grows, or as your ideas for the site change. Joomla is a more in depth CMS (and is the one used to design this site). Joomla has many of the same features as WordPress, but has many more functions to add various modules that allow more functions to be built into the site. Things like user registration, poll taking, link structure, and new article appearance are all handled by Joomla – allowing you to focus on creating material for your site once you have Joomla set up to your satisfaction. Joomla is ultimately more complex and takes more time to learn than WordPress, but once you master the various “ins and outs” of Joomla you will find more robust capabilities.