Content Management System Comparison Report


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Content Management System Comparison Report

  1. 1. May 18, 2010 Prepared for: PAWS Animal Shelter Prepared by: Team Heartbreaker Kay Miller, Dolores Alexander, Sally MacNicholas, Suzie Rose Submitted by Suzie Rose CMS Development Tool Proposal
  2. 2. May 18, 2010 Introduction As an active and dynamic animal shelter in the community, we know how important it is for you to keep your information organized and current. With a well-oiled system to manage your files, you’re free to give the best care possible to the pets you house and the best customer service to future pet parents. We've prepared a consultation presentation that will compare and contrast two Content Management Systems (CMS), Joomla and Plone. We've reviewed dozens of CMSs to find the best options for you and your organization's needs. Based upon your organization's request for proposal, we'll present the following attributes for each CMS: • Cost and Hosting o The ability to be hosted with a variety of host providers • Ease of Installation • Ease of Use • Need for Technical Support • Multiple Content Creators and Security • Training, Instruction, and Assessment o The ability to deliver assessment and receive and store data o Overall effectiveness as a training platform • User Feedback o The ability to receive user feedback • Consistency o The ability to maintain a consistent look throughout the site Cost and Hosting As a non-profit organization, it's vital to reduce costs at every opportunity. Information management is no exception. Although you have the option of hiring consultants, trainers, or selecting a costly host, you’re able to use either CMS without these expenses. Both Plone and Joomla are free open source systems. That means accessing, downloading, and registering for both products is absolutely free. They are considered ‘open source’ because their source code is made freely available to anyone who wishes to use it. You can change their code any way you like.
  3. 3. May 18, 2010 However, you may need to take other costs into consideration. For each system, you will need to select hosting which varies depending on which hosting company you select. Of course, if you have your own server, you can host either system there. Both Plone and Joomla have a large community of users at all levels of technical expertise. If you need support in building your website, you will be able to find it in the online community at However, you do have the option of investing in training for your staff, which could be an additional expense for either system. You can also hire a consultant to develop the site so you only have to address content maintenance issues. Ease of Installation With the constant hustle and bustle of visitors and volunteers frequenting your animal shelter, ease of use is a must! A CMS that is easy to use will save you time, and energy as you get your new system started and running. We know you can’t afford to loose valuable time trying to figure out and troubleshoot your new system – you need to use that time to match pets with new parents! Both Plone and Joomla are easy to install. To install Plone, you will download the Plone Installer (available for a variety of operating systems) and follow its prompts to complete the installation. To install Plone, first you will choose the components you want to be installed, then create an administrative account. Plone will give you a list of items to be installed on your computer, so take a moment to review it before beginning the installation. That is all there is to it. (Cooper, 2004) Browser installation is the easiest way to install Joomla. The system will take care of much of the work for you, starting with a pre-installation check for the required hardware and software settings. Once the system check is complete, you will be asked to accept the license, and from there the actual installation will begin. To install Joomla, you will need to know your Host Name, MySQL user name, password and table prefix. Then you will chose the name of your site, confirm the site URL and path and begin the installation. You will download a zip file to your system and then upload the files following on-screen prompts.(Webb, 2009) Ease of Use Once you have your CMS installed, you’re ready to manipulate the open source code we mentioned earlier. Another feature of open sourced systems is that anyone – even you – can develop their own code and share it with the entire CMS community! Neither CMS system is likely to meet your needs “out of the box.” Rather, you will need to add tools and extensions for inventory databases, assessment, contact forms and so on – many of which came from each CMS community. Both systems offer free add-ons; refer to the matrix included in this document for a sample of these services.
  4. 4. May 18, 2010 This is where some fundamental differences come into play. Although Plone is easy for your content administrators to use, it is a difficult system to learn because of its complex set of options and settings. Whereas, once you become familiar with Joomla’s terminology and structure, it’s comparatively straightforward to create effective websites. However, creating site structure and navigation isn’t as intuitive as it could be ( Between the two, Plone has a steeper learning curve (, 2009). Need for Technical Support System updates add features, address security issues, and fix bugs. Updates are vital components of presenting a successful website and managing your content effectively. When selecting a CMS, it’s important to consider the frequency and complexity of system updates. Although Plone is a complex system to upgrade, it doesn’t issue new upgrades often. Joomla has a simpler upgrade process, but also doesn’t issue new upgrades often. Support for all CMS systems is largely dependent upon the online community. In the past few years, consulting and development firms have also become options. Both systems have robust developer and user communities with free support available from community-centered and third party sources ( You will also have a large source of support from your local library or bookstore for either CMS. Multiple Content Creators and Security Your animal shelter demands a need to separate content to protect privacy and scheduling information. You may also want some of the animal’s information to be public and some to be private. To use one CMS to facilitate these multiple types on content and access levels, Plone and Joomla use systems that allow multiple content creators while you still have control over who sees what and who contributes to which area of your site! Plone supports multiple content creators. Users can establish "members," which are users with certain levels of permission to access information. Members have their own personal workspace folder under their name. You can also create groups, in which all members have the same level of permission as others in that group. The group would then get a workspace folder. The group essentially functions as a single member.
  5. 5. May 18, 2010 Plone has a security tab that allows you to control the level of access for users at each role. There are two categories of user roles: • Anonymous is automatically assigned to anyone who accesses the server • Authenticated refers to any user who has provided the appropriate credentials. Authenticated roles include: o Members are any users upon registration. A member can create content in their personal workspace and submit it for review, but cannot approve it for publication o Owners are creators of segments of content. Owners can edit or manipulate the content they own (there can be several owners assigned to different content) o Reviewers have the ability to promote or deny a request for publication of content o Managers are users with full control over the site Joomla also supports multiple content creators. In Joomla, there are seven user groups: • Registered • Author • Editor • Publisher • Manager • Administrator • Super Administrator There are also different access levels. Modules, articles, categories, sections and menu items can be published to one of these three levels: • Public (anyone can access) • Registered (anyone with a user account can access) • Special (only author, editor, publisher, manager, administrator or super administrator can access) Training, Instruction, and Assessment Plone has been used effectively for instruction. There are tools available for managing eLearning on Plone websites. Such tools can help you with: • Creation of a collaborative environment for learners and instructors • Creating ways to facilitate submission • Marking and release of results for online assessments • Management of courses Utah State University developed eduCommons using Plone. eduCommons is used for OpenCourseWare by Notre Dame University and Yale University and others. For the sort of training that the animal shelter will need to do, instructing volunteers and new pet owners, OpenCourseWare is far more than you need. However, it does illustrate the effectiveness of Plone as an instructional platform. (Lambert & Ray, 2007)
  6. 6. May 18, 2010 Joomla does not appear to be used as widely as Plone for education and training. That does not mean that it is ineffective, only that Plone is a more conventional choice for training. However, because so much of the functionality of an open source CMS comes from its community of user-developers, you may find the Plone community more helpful when it comes to training staff, volunteers and adoptees. Joomla also allows assessment tools to be added to your site, but as with Plone, you must either write the tools yourself to look to third-party products that fit your requirements. (The Learning Retention Company, for example, has created a Joomla LMS for eLearning which could then be customized to meet the needs of the shelter. ( User Feedback Plone allows you to receive user feedback. Its extensions allow you to receive feedback in a variety of formats: through comments on the page (which you can moderate if necessary), email and RSS subscriptions, polls, contact forms, and so on. Once again, you can create these or download pre-made extensions by other Plone users and adjust them to give you the exact characteristics you need. Joomla also allows you to receive user feedback. Free add-ons allow you to add review acceptance to existing articles and decide which categories you want to include in the review functionality. It is professionally designed and can be further customized by modifying the theme files. You have options for ratings, listing submissions, custom fields, editor reviews, and more. Consistency Plone gives you the ability to maintain a consistent look throughout the site. Plone uses templates that are the same on each page of the site. Updates that you might make to one page will be automatically updated on each page where that content occurs. If you change your template, the change will also be reflected on each page of the site, and all of your content will automatically adjust to the new layout, so you don't have to fix inconsistencies yourself. All extensions built specifically for Joomla are able to interact with each other because they use a common API – Application Programming Interface. Joomla comes with three basic templates to organize your site, but to make it stand out, it is a good idea to look for a template that has a distinctive look for the shelter. There are hundreds of pre- made templates available for download (most don't cost anything) or you can learn to build your own custom template. Changing templates is easy in Joomla - you just activate the new template and all of your content automatically formats to the new template. If you change a bit of information that affects all the pages on your site, you only need to make the change once, and Joomla will update all the pages where that information occurs, so you don't need to do it by hand on each page.
  7. 7. May 18, 2010 Conclusion/Recommendations Both Plone and Joomla are open source software - meaning that they are free to download and non-proprietary, so you can make any changes to the software that you see fit. Although the software itself is free, you may want to take into consideration your own skill with the CMS you choose. Do you have someone on staff or a volunteer who is good with coding and scripting and can customize your site, or will you need to out source customization to a developer or consultant? Plone and Joomla will work for users of all levels "out of the box," but in order to accomplish specific tasks, such as keeping a database of animals and their health care records, you will either need to hire a developer or invest the time and effort necessary to learn how to customize your site on your own. Many, if not most host providers will host Plone and Joomla sites. Both CMSs are in widespread use. Both Plone and Joomla are difficult in this sense. They are both so flexible and so customizable that it is hard to tell you exactly what they do. Both will function “out of the box”, but both will also need some customization to get it to do the things that we have listed. For that you need people with the right skills. The answer to the question “does X do Y?” is yes, but you need to figure out how. Your need for technical support will depend largely on your technical skill. Both Joomla and Plone have large supportive communities of users and developers who are willing and even eager to help other users with troubleshooting. The difference between the two CMSs on this point is probably too small to be a deciding factor. So far, Plone and Joomla look pretty similar. Plone Joomla Cost Free to download and use, may require external consulting Free to download and use, may require external consulting Features and Flexibility Allows for a large number of add-ons Allows for a large number of add- ons Multiple Content Creators Supports multiple content creators Supports multiple content creators Training, Instruction and Assessment Effective for instruction, allows assessment tools Effective for instruction, allows assessment tools Consistency Templates ensure consistency on each page Templates ensure consistency on each page Installation Easy to install without technical expertise Easy to install without technical expertise
  8. 8. May 18, 2010 So how do you decide? To help you decide which CMS to choose, we have compiled a detailed matrix that displays the differences between Plone and Joomla on a number of features: System Requirements Joomla! 1.5.10 Plone 3.0 Application Server CGI Zope Approximate Cost Free Free Database MySQL Other License Open Source Open Source Operating System Platform Independent Platform Independent Programming Language PHP Python Shell Access No Yes Security Joomla! 1.5.10 Plone 3.0 Audit Trail No Yes Granular Privileges No Yes Kerberos Authentication No Free Add On Login History Yes Free Add On NIS Authentication No Free Add On NTLM Authentication No Free Add On Problem Notification No Free Add On Sandbox No Yes Session Management Yes Free Add On SMB Authentication No Free Add On SSL Logins Yes Free Add On SSL Pages Yes No Versioning Free Add On Yes Support Joomla! 1.5.10 Plone 3.0 Code Skeletons No Yes Public Mailing List No Yes Ease of Use Joomla! 1.5.10 Plone 3.0 Drag-N-Drop Content No Yes Spell Checker No Free Add On Style Wizard No Free Add On Subscriptions Costs Extra Yes Undo No Yes Zip Archives No Free Add On Performance Joomla! 1.5.10 Plone 3.0 Database Replication No Yes Static Content Export No Free Add On Management Joomla! 1.5.10 Plone 3.0 Advertising Management Yes Free Add On
  9. 9. May 18, 2010 Clipboard No Yes Content Staging No Free Add On Package Deployment No Yes Trash Yes Free Add On Web Statistics Yes Free Add On Web-based Translation Management Free Add On Yes Workflow Engine No Yes Interoperability Joomla! 1.5.10 Plone 3.0 iCal No Free Add On WAI Compliant No Yes WebDAV Support No Yes XHTML Compliant No Yes Flexibility Joomla! 1.5.10 Plone 3.0 Multi-lingual Content Free Add On Yes Multi-lingual Content Integration Free Add On Yes Multi-Site Deployment Free Add On Yes Built-in Applications Joomla! 1.5.10 Plone 3.0 Contact Management Yes Free Add On Database Reports Free Add On Yes Document Management Free Add On Yes Events Calendar Free Add On Yes Events Management Free Add On Yes FAQ Management Yes Free Add On File Distribution Free Add On Yes HTTP Proxy No Free Add On In/Out Board No Free Add On Mail Form Yes Free Add On My Page / Dashboard No Yes Photo Gallery Free Add On Yes Polls Yes Free Add On Site Map Free Add On Yes Time Tracking No Free Add On Web Services Front End Yes No Commerce Joomla! 1.5.10 Plone 3.0 Affiliate Tracking Free Add On No Wish Lists Free Add On No (Source: This chart allows you to see clearly many of the features that are available on each CMS. This is not an exhaustive list. The features that the two CMSs had in common have been omitted in order to see the distinctions more clearly.
  10. 10. May 18, 2010 Plone (the column on the right) offers many more features than Joomla. Many of the features that come pre-installed on Plone are available only as add-ons in Joomla, and many of Plone's features (either pre-installed or add-ons) are not available at all on Joomla, such as drag-and-drop, undo, spell check and problem notification. Based on this, we recommend that you choose Plone as the CMS for P.A.W.S. Animal Shelter website. Although we have no doubt that you would be happy with Joomla, as are thousands of other Joomla users worldwide, Plone's stock of features may prove useful in creating your website, and will give you greater flexibility to make your website what you want it to be. Sources: Cooper, C. (2004). Building Websites with Plone: An in-depth and comprehensive guide to the Plone content management system. Birmingham, UK: Packt Publishing. Glossary. (2010). Retrieved May 01, 2010 from Information Technology John Hopkins Institutions: idealware. (2009). Retrieved May 01, 2010 from Comparing Open Source Content Management Systems: idealware_comparing_os_cms_report.pdf. Lambert, B. & Ray. D. (2007). Plone in Education: A Case Study of the Use of Plone and Educational Content. Retrieved from: conference-2007/presentations/plone-in-education_-a-case-study-of-the-use-of-plone- and-educational-content-2014-site.pdf. Web, C. (2009). Beginning Joomla! Web Site Development. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing.