A client recently asked me what the big deal was about ModX, compared to other content management systems (CMSs) like Joomla, or custom solutions. Good question.
First of all, custom CMS solutions suck. They’re terrible. They suck because by definition they lock you into a custom solution, and quite probably lock you into working with the company who built it. Forever. Or, until you get so sick and tired of their crap that you have to find someone else to take the project and redo it from the ground up. And that costs money. If a web design company wants to build you a custom CMS, run!
Let’s talk about Open Source. Open Source is, in general, good. Why? Because there is probably a whole community of developers who know how to play with an Open Source CMS. You’re not locked into dealing with just one company. And in general, Open Source CMS frameworks allow a heckuva lot more customization than a proprietary system. Sometimes, they make adding features like an image gallery, wiki, etc are as simple as clicking a few buttons. You have to love that.
So, which Open Source CMS framework is best for you? Here’s most of ModX’s “competition”:
1) Joomla. There have a been a lot of cool sites built with Joomla, which originally came from a CMS called Mambo. It’s open source, so that’s cool. It has tons of plug-ins and it’s not terribly hard to customize it and add cool features. Where Joomla really bites is how difficult it can be to create pages that look the way you’d like them to look and which work differently than how Joomla thinks they should work. Plus, most of the time Joomla spits out code that’s ugly. I hate ugly code, and so do search engines.
2) Drupal. Drupal’s cool. We use it. It’s not as easy to admin or set up as ModX, though.
3) PHP Nuke. Sorry, I haven’t seen a pretty site made with this tool, so as a designer I have to pass.
Now, on to ModX. Why is it different? Why is it better? Simple: ModX makes it incredibly easy to build beautiful, standards-compliant, search engine friendly websites. ModX doesn’t try to box you into what someone else thinks your website should look or act like. Designers love ModX. Developers love ModX, too- and there’s plenty of third-party modules and plugins to play with, along with an easy to understand, robust architecture that lets you create your own custom features. The ModX developer community is very active, and very friendly.
What’s more, ModX is easy to administer. If you want to get fancy, you can even “skin” the admin site to make it look like anything you want. Adding and editing pages is super easy with ModX.