Monday, September 12, 2005

Website building

The number of posts has dropped off somewhat over the last couple of weeks, as I have been working on the Carey Family Conference website. It isn't finished yet, but it is substantially more finished than it has been up to now.

The requirements for the website were:
  • to have a forum

  • to have a photo gallery

  • to have user registration

  • to be able to display news and information

  • There were other "would likes", as well:
  • the ability to host and download files

  • some games

  • blog hosting

  • a list of links to websites

  • There are things called CMS's - I think it is short for "Content management systems" that provide some of this functionality - many of which are free or open-source. So I spent some time exploring these. The one that is running now, MKPortal, is the first one that a) met these requirements b) I managed to install and c) was comprehensible when I tried to do anything with it - and so it is my recommendation.

    Of the others:
  • mambo came close (it actually installed!) but the interface was so non-intuitive and the documentation so poor that I couldn't use it.

  • Two ASP.NET CMS's - DotNetNuke and Community Server looked really promising but I couldn't get the database access to work. I suspect that might have been a problem with the ISP I am using (ASP User incorrect access) but really without control of the server, these were just too much like hard work.

  • Several other PHP systems were pretty good, but just didn't do the job for one reason or another. I looked also at XOOPS and a couple of others. Here's a website that has information about lots of open source PHP CMS's - but it didn't have MKPortal.