Open source CMSes prove well worth the price
We look at five free offerings boasting solid Web publishing features that challenge their commercial competitors
First I created sections, which represent an overall page. Similarly, I customized various individual modules, including RSS feeds, polls, contact lists, and mass mailings. Lastly, templates combine HTML and CSS to define the look of pages. After modifying the templates with built-in editors, I employed the Module Positions screen (that has 50 slots) to position objects until I had the look I wanted.
Additionally, the administration Web interface clearly lists all of your elements and when they were published, and provides access to other functions (such as user permissions, server, configuration, along with wizards to install new modules). Thus, I believe reasonably complex sites can be maintained by IT staff with modest training.
Yet I found a few places where I wondered what the developers were thinking. For example, your site's home page is managed from the Menu Manager, which is normally used to create menus that appear on the top and side of each page.
Supporting front-line users
For day-to-day tasks, Joomla is generally accessible. To mirror a typical enterprise workflow, I created roles for authors, editors, and publishers. Authors didn't have any trouble submitting content using a three-part Web form that has expected features to format text, insert links and images, and create tables; other parts of the forms let you define metadata and the time content should be published. Editors follow the same process to modify articles. Publishers may perform all the jobs done by the lower roles, in addition to pushing content to the live site.
There isn't any formal workflow or notifications in the basic system, but publishers can review a list of content and quickly see its state (such as unpublished). In addition, there's basic content control, such as check-in and check-out.
More sophisticated workflow was one of more than 1,000 extensions I spotted for Joomla -- with the majority available under GNU GPL or Creative Commons licenses. Hence, I think without much extra work or expense you can customize your installation for vertical markets or special needs.
Joomla developers quickly built on the legacy of Mambo, especially improving administration. What the basic system lacks in functionality can usually be fixed by installing a component. Version 1.5 (which was in Release Candidate 1 stage during testing) appears to address concerns about the complexity of the menu system while injecting more Web 2.0 functions (such as more design latitude in how pages appear).
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This CMS has outstanding multilingual content management (with localized workflow), a powerful page editor, and flexible navigation. Version 3.0 introduces an inline editor, link checking, a portlets engine (for including content from other Web sites), and versioning, supports the search engine Sitemap protocol and wiki markup, and has full-text indexing of Word and PDF documents.