Web Design CMS

Level: Advanced
Prerequisite: COM2055: Web Design 2
Description: Students expand their skills from Web Design 2 by learning how to install and administer a content management system (CMS).

What is a CMS?

From Wikipedia:

A Content Management System (CMS) is a computer program that allows publishing, editing and modifying content on a web site as well as maintenance from a central interface.

From CMS Made Simple (who provide a free CMS):

A CMS is a web application you run on your web server to help facilitate creating a website. A good CMS should be flexible, unobtrusive and help you to make a great site. It should provide you with tools to help the layman keep track of content, while letting more experienced webmasters handle look and feel. It should also provide tools to make repetitive things less repetitive. Like, for example, News entries.

What do I need to Do?

Start by looking for a CMS that has all the features, and the look, that you want. A great resource is the Open Source CMS website. “Open Source” is a way of saying “free” when talking about computer programs, which is cool! Browse the categories of CMS on the top left menu

  1. All CMS Demos (284) <– Yes, there are over 284 CMS to choose from!
  2. CMS / Portals (162)    <– A Portal is a large site, with more than one section, perhaps run by a group of people.
  3. Lite (25)                          <– Lite CMS’s are smaller and simple, with less features and options than a portal.
  4. eCommerce (19)         <– A CMS meant to run a web storefront.
  5. Forums (19)                  <– Also known as discussion boards. Name a hobby, band or activity and there is a forum out there for it. Run your own!
  6. Blogs (14)                       <– A special kind of CMS, usually run by a single person posting their thoughts, images and links.
  7. Image Galleries (12)  <– A CMS for hosting images.
  8. Miscellaneous (11)
  9. Groupware (9)             <– A CMS with group collaboration features, usually meant for businesses and project management,
  10. e-Learning (7)             <– A CMS tailored for setting up and delivering online courses.
  11. Wiki (6)                           <– Setup your own Wiki! Often used by groups or companies for tech support knowledge.

You may choose any CMS you would like to try, but you will need to be able to find and follow the installation instructions.

Having used many CMS over the years, I would recommend the following as a starting point:

  • Portal – Joomla
  • Lite – Website Baker
  • eCommerce – Open Cart
  • Blog – WordPress
  • Image Gallery – Coppermine
  • e-Learning – Moodle
WORDPRESS Installation Example

Step 1: In order to install WordPress, you first need to download the package from wordpress.org (Not .COM!).

Step 2: Extract the files to your Home Drive.

Step 3: Copy the whole wordpress folder to your account on the FTP server, using the same Station number and password as for the HTML website.

Step 4: Use a browser to go to your website, but this time put /wordpress at the end of the address to access the WordPress installation. Like this:

You will need to know the following information on the database before proceeding.

  • Database name <— Same as your Station account
  • Database username <— Same as your Station account
  • Database password <— Same as your Station account
  • Database host <— Same IP address as the FTP
  • Table prefix <— Don’t Touch!

WordPress should now be installed. Once it is setup and working, you need to complete the following:

  1. Visit the WordPress Lessons pages. WordPress Articles for Beginners
  2. Decide on a purpose/topic for your site.
  3. Change the Theme to a new one with features you like.
  4. Update the theme’s settings. (Change colors and images from the defaults.)
  5. Make sure your menu is setup and any required widgets are in place.
  6. Compose at least 2 new Posts with one picture each. Delete the sample built in post.
  7. Create at least 3 pages for your site. Each page needs media (a picture or YouTube video will do.)
  8. Setup a contact form page.
  9. Your site needs to have at least 2 plugins installed and working. The default plugins don’t count.
  10. Setup your page so you can post to it remotely from a mobile device. (WordPress App in Google Play, Apple App Store.) Post an article with a photo from your device.
  11. Complete the Web Hosting Assignment.

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