A Content Management System (CMS) is a computer application made with the goal of managing and creating digital content. Typically, the program will be capable of supporting multiple users at once in a collaborative environment. As such, they are very popular and common programs used when businesses build an online presence.
The features offered by CMS applications can vary greatly depending on the creators; however, they typically offer web-based publishing, format management, version control, history editing, indexing, search, and retrieval.
A Web Content Management System (WCMS or WCM) is a CMS designed specifically around the management and creation of content for web pages and typically, most CMS applications are WCMSs as well. This content includes text, embedded graphics, photos, video, audio, maps, and program code. As such, these applications have two major components; the content management application (CMA) which is the front-end can be used by even a person with limited experience to add, modify, or remove content from the CMS, and the content delivery application (CDA) which does the back-end work by compiling information and updating the website.
Advantages, Disadvantages, and Common Features and Applications
One of the biggest reasons and uses of CMS tools is how efficient it is for businesses when streamlining the work process. When correctly used, a CMS application can increase work-flow tremendously as there is a reduced need to code everything from scratch. Along with this, because they can be set up in a collaborative environment, they also offer version control of all content created and permission management of all users on the application. On top of that, they also make it easy to create a unified theme and feeling across the website and eliminates the need for a webmaster to manage a website’s content as they are so easy to use.
All of that being said, they are not perfect. There is little to no functionality in CMS which involves the creation of some other functionality on the website such as a web application or layout. Another issue is the scope of most CMSs’ functionality and features as many of them focus on including as many features as possible; whether needed or not by a user. This then creates the need for some level of training or past experience within web development for users to correctly use them or customize them specifically for their needs. Drupal is a great example of this as it requires a programmer to setup and customizes a Drupal project due to its complex and bloated nature.
As mentioned before, the features one can get with CMSs varies depending on the brand or creator of that CMS. Some of these features include SEO-friendly URLs, which makes it easier for people to find your content; integrated and online help for using the application; modularity and extensibility which allows a deep level of customization; template support for changing designs; installation and upgrade wizards and integrated audit logs.
Some of the more popular CMS applications include Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla; however, Wordpress, in particular, is without a doubt the most popular with more than 59% of websites using known CMSs utilize it. This is because of the huge amount of customization it offers through use of its plugins and add-ons.