What is a content management system (CMS)?

Content Management System (CMS)

Content Management System (CMS) is a piece of computer software that allows the user to publish, edit, maintain and modify content. Such a system of CMS will allow workflow to be managed, either through manual steps or an ‘automated cascade’. The first CMS was announced in the late 1990s and was designed to make the writing of versions of ‘code’ simpler and the make the process of website development far more flexible than it had been previously.

The main features

The core function of a Content Management System or CMS is to present information on a website or websites, with CMS features varying widely from system to system. Some Simpler CMS systems have only a handful of systems while other versions offer far more comples and powerful functions.

Most CMS include features such as;

· Web-based publishing

· Management of format

· Revision control

· Indexing

· A search facility

· Retrieval

A CMS is updated incrementally; in other words, a newer version of a CMS simply adds the new features to the current version hence updating from version 2.1 to 2.2, for example. A CMS can also be used as a central repository where documents, movies, photos, illustrations etc. are held as well as being used for storing, controlling, revising and publishing documentation.

There are various types of CMS systems available including

Component CMS – a system that specilaises in the creation of documents from component parts, in other words allowing the user to develop individual ‘units’ into a structure (similar to putting together a jigsaw)

Enterprise CMS – this type of system organises key documents and records that relate to the running of a commercial organisation. It provides a structure to the content, file formats, manages locations, streamlines the processes and provides optimisation of security, all essential, important functions for any business.

Web CMS – can be a stand along version or ‘bundled’ and is essentially used to create, manage, store and publish web content pages. Websites for various companies can hold massive and complex amounts of data including text, graphics, photos, video and audio. This type of content management system can catalogue and index this content, and provide the information requested by the end user in the format they request – for example in another language.

Content Management System (CMS)

Uses of CMS

· Data Management – the most fundamental of functions for managing data, as well as other forms of information. CMS plays a crucial role in the management of website content. The flexibility of a CMA allows the user to approve any new content before going live on the website, along with control of how long certain elements of the website remain live before being removed.

· Templates – by providing templates, a CMS allows the user to focus on content rather than design.

· Customisation – after posting the content, the pages can be customised to suit the preferences of the website visitor, another benefit os having a template design sparate from content.

· Syndication – a CMS provides the opportunity to share content of other related businesses or companies. For example, a health food website may choose to link with articles available on the web that relate to products they may sell.

· Digital Rights Management – this feature of CMS protects high quality material without the fear of the copyright being compromised. Content Management Systems allows businesses the flexibility to manage content on their website, effectively and efficiently.