Content Management System: To be or not to be?

Do I want a Content Management System (CMS) for my web site?

  • My web site is small.
  • It is not dynamic or interactive (and that’s how I want it to be at this moment. I do not want “dynamic spoon” or “interactive pants”).
  • It is authored only by me, no cooperation expected in the future neither.

So I probably do not need any CMS. But on the other hand,

  • I’m regularly catching myself that I’m not putting a new article because I’m fed up with copy-pasting of HTML
  • sometimes I end up in poor places which do not have any putty/scp, so I just can’t do the update until I come home
  • I have some articles in more than one language, and this is something which is pain in the neck to maintain
  • I like my pages to be valid HTML, and this is an additional thing to watch when writing in the text editor.

But the most important of all: with static site written in the text editor, I have full control over my data. I can always do a full backup from my host (in fact I store an up-to-date copy locally). I can move all my site to another host at any moment in minimal time. Sure, backup of MySQL database + CMS system is also possible, but I’m afraid I’ll not do it regularly, and I imagine that moving to another host may turn out to be a very frustrating experience.

I’ve put to MediaWiki two of my pages which are kind of more dynamic than others: bicycling bookmarks and list of cafeterias around Helsinki. So far these are not pages which I necessarily want to be able to read 10 years later, so the portability here is not a keystone. Now I’m in musings, do I want to move more of my content to some CMS. And to which one? OpenSourceCMS lists tens if not hundreds different CMSes. The leading ones seem to be MediaWiki, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Read comparisons: Joomla vs. Drupal, more Joomla vs. Drupal, WordPress vs. Drupal, Joomla/Drupal/Plone.

The main question to me is, to repeat it, the portability. How easy is it to backup some CMS site, and how easy is it to restore it in completely different environment?

3 thoughts on “Content Management System: To be or not to be?

  1. With given set of requirements joomla, drupal or wordpress would be an overkill. Using one of the existing blogging services would be an option, but then you loose control over your data (and there are sad examples of blogging services loosing all your data).

    It looks to me that a compromise solution here would be a very light-weight CMS system that can even be developed by yourself. E.g. one of my colleagues has done just that:

    Check e.g. “Creating a weblog in 15 minutes” on

    • RubyOnRails is really good, and even if it’s reinventing the wheel to make a own CMS it’s a great experience and you get it “just the way” you want it as well.

      Warmly recommend RubyOnRails!

  2. Thanks Ivan, I am really impressed with the RubyOnRails example!

    And I completely agree that Drupal and friends are overkill for my modest purpose. On the other hand, I did not feel enough enthusiastic to reinvent the wheel (or to build my custom wheel)… before I watched this video 🙂 well, maybe I give it a try sometime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *