How to Create a Content Management System

A Content Management System Overview
Need I received a question today which brought into focus the fact that until now, has steered clear of website design and production tutorials and articles. I feel that the time has come to address this vast topic (bit by bit), so to commit myself to the task ahead, here is a bite-sized answer to a common question:

When designing websites, (dreamweaver, fireworks I am now more frequently being asked by the client if they can change their own content and i am thinking well how can they do this unless they buy dreamweaver? But there has got to be a way and some information i am missing out on? Do you know how they would be able to do it?

There are two main solutions to creating your own content management system.

  1. Get your client to buy Adobe Contribute, not Dreamweaver. Contribute is Adobe's answer to content management for non-programmers. The full version is about $199. The way it works is (basically) that you create the site with Dreamweaver. You then connect to the site with Contribute and define which pages and elements should be editable by the client, and which should remain static. You create a key which your client enters into their copy of Contribute and they can then go ahead and edit their website.
  2. Create a content management system using PHP and MySQL. This is a more complicated solution, but certainly not beyond the ability of a graphic designer. I'm no programmer, but I've managed to create a number of content managed websites using a MySQL database and PHP scripting (most of which is either written directly by Dreamweaver or cut and pasted from numerous other sources online). This is a topic about which I'll be writing a step-by-step guide for the website - I've said it now, so I have to do it!

Another option would be to use an open source content management system such as Joomla or Drupal. Although you wouldn't have to worry about learning PHP for this, you would need to create a MySQL database, and you wouldn't have as much control over the look and feel of site as you would if you'd created it from scratch.

Alternatively, you could create the site template yourself and get a third party (such as to create and host a content management system for you.

More to follow in due course!

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