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core features of cms products

Another section titled What's important in a CMS, covers segment defining features and how to decide which products match your needs. This thankfully brief section is about the general features that define in a basic way, what it means to be a Web Content Management System. And the core features are ...

Production of web pages
By definition, a web content management system is about editing, producing and deploying web pages.

Systematisation of web pages
Turning website management and production into a systematic activity that delivers efficiency.

Simplification of website production activities
One of the critical ideas is that a CMS should internalise at least some of the technical, design or communication complexity of producing a website. Some still expect technical or design skill, the better ones make all aspects simpler.

User management
A CMS should manage who does what. Who can see the site, who can edit it, who can publish it and who can administer it.

Web based editing
The editor of some CMS are not web based. This is somewhat of an anathema, really you should be able to use a web browser to edit your site. The best systems do not depend on specific browsers or platforms for you to be able to edit your site(s).

Database storage
The content and delivery of your web pages does not need to be from a database, in fact static (non-database delivered) pages have some inherent advantages (such as speed). However at some level your content should reside in a database to enable it to be managed, retrieved, manipulated, archived and integrated.

Consistency and compatibility
Especially for systems deploying public pages, the results should appear consistently across different platforms and browsers. This compatibility and standards compliance is a benefit that should come from systematisation.

Split editing environment
Most contemporary content management systems keep the 'live' content separated from the 'draft' or 'editable' content. This ensures site visitors are uninterrupted and provides the flexibility for dividing editing from publishing rights, improving data integrity and delivering 'undo' capabilities.

Intuitive and simple to learn interfaces
Few people want to spend much time learning a piece of software. Most of the benefit of a CMS is lost if it is as difficult to use as learning how to build a website using code or design tools. Look for something that works the way you would want it to.

Scalability and extensibility
Can the tool grow as you do, both in size and in capabilities.

Support and information
Can you get the information and assistance that you need from the vendor(s) of the content management system.

Speed and efficiency
Does the content management system make the site editing and deployment faster and more efficient than other alternatives.