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Content Management Systems abbreviated to CMS are database driven, dynamic methods of adding, updating and deleting content from a website. The purpose of this article is to impart information about how CMSs have progressed over the years from what used to be pretty buggy backend liabilities to very useful additions to a website which produce very clean code. When I say buggy I mean that you code that they would produce was not up to web standards in terms of clean HTML and CSS code. A lot of the code produced would not have passed a Web Code Validator. But modern CMSs mostly produce excellent code that most web developers would be proud to call their own. This is the thing – a web developer produces a website, adds a CMS, hands the website over to their client who starts to add content. The CMS, however, messes the code up because it is based upon a Graphical User Interface (GUI) which isn’t really interfacing that well. This, at least, was how the early CMSs worked. The modern CMSs are much better, almost perfect in fact.
A distinct advantage of using a CMS is that content is much easier to add. New pages can be added much more easily. But, in terms of business, how does the typical usage of CMSs fair with developers and clients. Well, the premise is that business owners can pay a one-off fee to have a CMS added to their website instead of having to bother their web developers with making simple changes or complex ones. In turn, web developers’ time is freed up to work on other projects but they don’t get the same money from their clients over time like they would if they were charging hourly for changes. But in reality customers forget how to update the CMS and end up having to contact their web developer anyway. So web developers must charge for retraining to make this profitable or they will, in fact, be working for nothing. The best use of a CMS is for small, frequent changes because the client can retain the training to the point where it almost becomes tacit knowledge (automatic or instinctive). A common solution to the problem of actual CMS usage is to ask how frequently and what types of changes a given client will need to make and then offer a CMS from there. Finding out about customer’s needs is paramount in fulfilling their actual needs.
So modern CMSs have vastly improved over their early counterparts but how they are used and sold is still something that can be difficult to predict. As a web developer, you’re never quite sure when you’ll receive that call from a client saying “How do I do this change again?”