Content Management System for web/intranet

Alnisa Allgood alnisa at NONPROFIT-TECH.ORG
Mon Oct 15 09:51:58 EDT 2012

I vote for ExpressionEngine

I've yet to use a more flexible CMS, and that includes Drupal and
WordPress. You'll need a website developer/design to properly sketch out
and get the project up and running for you. While ExpressionEngine (EE) is
template driven (separated content from design), it was also designed more
so for developers, which means unlike Drupal and WordPress, there aren't a
lot of free standing templates for it. The reason is two-fold: (1) the
community prides itself on its design and development skills, and (2)
technically any design can be placed inside an EE CMS, so long as you have
access to the HTML, CSS, and other related files.

Content re-use, version control, relational data, distributed publishers,
workflow management, etc are all available and can be configured (another
reason to have a developer work with you is publishing permissions and
workflow management), version control, relations, and permissions are all
built-in, but the best combination of who has access to what, when, and who
get's notified of what when, generally requires some plotting out if the
structure is more complicated than group A can publish to section's A and
B. This is probably true of all complicated permission and workflow
structures, having someone help you plat out degrees and levels of access
is good practice, especially if you want to increase the number of people
who can directly publish content using the system (great for removing
content road blocks, where only 1 or 2 people can official publish to the

Polls, forums, feedback this would all be third-party add-ons. EE2 comes
with a forums module, but I know a number of developers who work
intensively with forums typically use a third party forum module. I believe
there are more than a few of them, but none of our clients use forums, so I
can't really discuss pros and cons of individual ones in-depth. But there
are polling modules, survey, analytics (though Google Analytics is
frequently used and then integrated into the system, other services and
systems can be used).

I'm not certain if you were primarily using ShadoCMS due to the translation
services offered by Stalker, but EE can handle multi-lingual sites very
well. The handling can simple or complicated depending on your needs. We
set-up a system for a few clients that is what we call just a step above
simple. They needed the ability to add translations of particular
publications, say an English, Spanish, Chinese and Korean version of the
same publication. Our goal was to just allow each version to be published,
related back to each other, and then when ever someone pulls the document,
it always links to the alternative languages.

That's not super complicated, but isn't as simple as pure one to one
translation, either. EE handled the situation very well, the complication
is more in the planning it out first, and making sure language handling is
added for end users in a very simple manner. Drupal and WordPress can also
handle multi-language requirements, as I said it's more about the
designer/developer than the system itself, though Drupal/WordPress do
present some complications for full on translations versus just partial
content translations.

Drupal/WordPress start free. ExpressionEngine starts $150 (there's a
freelancer's version that's cheaper, but I wouldn't recommend it for a
library usage). The $150 non-commercial license is probably best starting
point or the $300 commercial license. If you plan on a lot of e-commerce go
for the commercial license, but basic commerce stuff, accepting donations,
processing memberships, or selling things can be handled under either
license. The software is the same for both licenses, its more about intent.

Now that said third party add-ons can add more costs to basic
ownership/license. I believe most of the Drupal modules, I've heard of are
free; WordPress has free and paid module; as well as ExpressionEngine.

I tend to use a number of paid ExpressionEngine modules, developer
companies I like are Pixel & Tonic:, Solspace:, Exp-resso:, Andrew Weaver: ExpressionEngine provides a great deal of
flexibility for handling issues or needs internally. You can do custom
queries, add php directly to the template, create a plug-in, extension, or
module, etc. All these options are free. But sometime you want to think
about, will you need more functionality for that feature in the future and
do you want to be in-charged of doing it.

There are also a number of free modules and add-ons for EE, as well.

Cost wise, I'd probably say everything mentioned will be less expensive
than ShadoCMS, my memory could be wrong, but it use to start around
$3-$5,000. There are far more free to under $1,000 CMS solutions available
these days and many are very good. If you plan on getting or have already
have an in-house web developer, then going with Drupal or WordPress can be
a good option, but the cost of maintenance and management exist and can
require a full-time staff member for some organizations.

An internal web developer can learn EE just as well as WordPress or Drupal,
and EE generally require far less on-going maintenance and management
issues. If you're constantly modifying the structure, you want someone
around continuously, but for many of our clients, once the projects done,
it's done. We come around once a year, and offer to do a version update for
free. But security updates aren't nearly as much of an issue.

Alnisa Allgood
Executive Director
Nonprofit Tech
t. 608.241.3616
e. alnisa at


On Sun, Oct 14, 2012 at 6:24 PM, Anna Wheeler <awheeler at> wrote:

>  Hi
> Just a quick question. We are helping our institution  find a new Content
> Management System CMS to manage both their website and intranet. Currently
> they use Shado
> What CMS do you think are worth considering?
> They would like to use system for intranet and website
> and it will have ability to integrate discussion forums, polls, feedback
> forums - with voting eg like uservoice
> and it will have some kind of alerting or reporting system to remind us to
> update information and manage distributed publishers
> good analytics, reporting, content re-use, version control etc
> Any light shed would be appreciated
> many thanks
> Anna
>  Anna Wheeler, LLB, DipLibr
> Manager, Electronic Library Services
> Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
> email: awheeler at
> ph:    +64 9 8154321 ext 8601
> web:
>  twitter:
>  <>
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