Content Management Systems (CMS)

 

Most webmasters begin to code by editing HTML, either using a text editor or a WYSIWIG editor like FrontPage or Dreamweaver. Sooner or later, though, they are likely to encounter a situation that this "manual" approach doesn't fit. One common situation is that a site has become large and it's becoming more time consuming to maintain the site and add new content. Another common situation is that non-technical people need to add or modify site content on an ongoing basis.

The solution for these problems is to use a content management system (CMS). At a very basic level, CMS software lets a user type in content in a form and then publish this content to the website, automatically integrating it into the site's navigation and linkage.

More sophisticated content management systems can handle large sites with many different areas. Templates can be designed for different appearance, and content authors can be assigned various permission levels (create, edit, approve, publish, etc.) in individual parts of the site. A particularly useful resource for comparing CMS software is CMSMatrix.

CMS technology has the advantage of separating the content from the presentation (in most cases, text, headings, etc. are stored in a database), which is the general direction of future web development.

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