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Wandering the CMS jungle

  • Thursday, May 08 2003 @ 06:30 pm EDT
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Geeklog Hi Geeks;

I am sufficiently impressed with GL to pause my journey through the CMS evaluation jungle, and offer some comments. As someone looking for my first CMS, and being a developer of PC software, I thought perhaps my observations and suggestions could be helpful to your admirable efforts. I have read countless comments and reviews, and sampled just about everything "out there."

* Be one of the few to provide a clear link to an admin demo. It's what most of us shoppers want to see FIRST. I know there is one on OpenSourceCMS.com, but they are often a few versions behind. As a shopper, I expect a vendor to show me what I expect to find on their main site, quickly and easily. I still can't find yours. No one wants to download and install, just to test drive. * I hope i don't offend anyone, but as I am also a designer (of products, graphics and software), I feel qualified to say that your choice of the xsilver theme is a serious mistake. The dark gray, overly boxy theme is very off-putting, and gives the entire product a rather gloomy and depressed aura. (Others have mentioned this in some of your comments). I would not ignore this. I visited twice before, and both times, I left immediately, feeling that the visual sensibility was so dated and depressing, that it simply must reflect on the product itself. Your Blue theme is more pleasing and inviting (and far more likely to appeal to "average" tastes). Even if it doesn't, it isn't likely to turn them off. I realize developers have a fondness for utilitarian look and feel, but your users are often looking for ways to dress up their content--easily. I think it would serve you well to even but a Theme changer right on the home page.

* For some reason, like most CMS products, you have some aversion to providing a page to extoll your features and benefits. It's the first thing I look for on any product site. Direct me to what i should see, and why, and I will follow you anywhere. Simply adding an "About" section would remedy this. I'm sure you have plenty of copy lying about which you could toss in the section.

* The Links module seems sorely deficient (or at least what is visible). No ratings, ranking, comments, icons, or other bells and whistles of a good links module. Granted, this is something key that I am looking for, but I have noticed in my travels, that many others are too.

* Find some way to show diverity of content. I realize that articles are your primary form of content, but any site today needs more than articles. Not sure if you have file management or image galleries, but they would be nice to see on the main menu, if you do.

* A WYSIWYG editor (or efforts to add one) is really becoming a standard in most CMS systems out there. HTMLarea seems to be a popular choice. I would add this early on. It makes your look oh so au currant :)

I hope these remarks are helpful. I really do think you have a fine product here. I still plan to "look under the hood" with my system engineer, but my current sense is that we may find more core functions that we need elsewhere, at least for our professional project. For my personal blog, I am very much considering GL.

I wish you well with it.