Silverfen Web Design

Content-management systems

The idea underpinning the internet is that the text on web sites should be relatively easy to write by hand with a good text editor — especially it the site has made good use of style sheets.

In practice, people often use a variety of programs to help in the editing of web sites. Examples include Seamonkey, CoffeeCup, Amaya and Dreamweaver. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, though it is hard to beat the flexibility of a good text editor.

Another solution is to use a Content anagement system, whcih is software that enables people to type onto web sites. Many of the social networking sites, such as facebook, show how this can work. In essence what this entails is using a database to hold the information which will appear on the site. What someone enters in a form on the web site goes into the database, and then is served up when people visit the site. This allows a variety of people to alter things on a web site without needing oto know about the technicalities of web design.

In the Silverfen portfolio, the Anglesey Arts Forum web site uses Drupal, and the new URC Retreat Group site will use Joomla. Other commonly-used content management systmes in clude Wordpress, ExpressionEngine, TextPattern and Silverstripe.

The big drawback of content management software is that there is some complex computing between the user and the web site. If something implemented with a content management system is to fit the client's needs, rather than the program's defaults, and if itis not to look like all the other sites built on the same software, then tailoring is needed. This typically means that there is a significant amount of computing to be done in along wht the web design work. The result is that web sites backed by content management software can end up being both more expensive and less focussed on th eclient's needs than those without, but they can also provide a solution which allows an organisation to alter the content of their web site quickly and easily with a minimum of staff training.

Silverfen has developed a system of enabling editable web content which provides an alternative to content management systems which is appropriate for some clients.