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Content management system

Web Design & Development Guide

Content management system

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A Content Management System (CMS) is a software system used for content management. Content management systems are deployed primarily for interactive use by a potentially large number of contributors. For example, the software for the website Wikipedia is based on a content management system.[1]

The content managed includes computer files, image media, audio files, electronic documents and web content. The idea behind a CMS is to make these files available inter-office, as well as over the web. A Content Management System would most often be used as archival as well. Many companies use a CMS to store files in a non-proprietary form. Companies use a CMS to share files with ease, as most systems use server based software, even further broadening file availability. As shown below, many Content Management Systems include a feature for Web Content, and some have a feature for a "workflow process."

"Work flow" is the idea of moving an electronic document along for either approval, or for adding content. Some Content Management Systems will easily facilitate this process with email notification, and automated routing. This is ideally a collaborative creation of documents. A CMS facilitates the organization, control, and publication of a large body of documents and other content, such as images and multimedia resources.

A web content management system is a content management system with additional features to ease the tasks required to publish web content to web sites.

Web content management systems are often used for storing, controlling, versioning, and publishing industry-specific documentation such as news articles, operators' manuals, technical manuals, sales guides, and marketing brochures. A content management system may support the following features:

  • Import and creation of documents and multimedia material
  • Identification of all key users and their content management roles
  • The ability to assign roles and responsibilities to different content categories or types.
  • Definition of the content workflow tasks, often coupled with event messaging so that content managers are alerted to changes in content.
  • The ability to track and manage multiple versions of a single instance of content.
  • The ability to publish the content to a repository to support access to the content. Increasingly, the repository is an inherent part of the system, and incorporates enterprise search and retrieval.
  • Some content management systems allow the textual aspect of content to be separated to some extent from formatting. For example the CMS may automatically set default color, fonts, or layout.

Content management systems take the following forms:

  • a web content management system is software for web site management - which is often what is implicitly meant by this term
  • the work of a newspaper editorial staff organization
  • a workflow for article publication
  • a document management system
  • a single source content management system - where content is stored in chunks within a relational database.[2]


The following terms are often used in relation to web content management systems but they may be neither standard nor universal:

A block is a link to a section of the web site. Blocks can usually be specified to appear on all pages of the site (for example in a lefthand navigation panel) or only on the home page.
A content module is a section of the web site, for example a collection of news articles, a FAQ section, etc. Some content management systems may also have other special types of modules, for example administration and system modules.
A theme specifies the cosmetic appearance of every page of the web site, controlling properties such as the colours and the fonts.
Module-based CMS
Most tasks in a document's life-cycle are served by CMS modules. Common modules are document creation/editing, transforming and publishing.
Document transformation language-based CMS
Another approach to CMS building with use of open standards. XSLT-based CMS compile ready documents from XML data and XSLT-template. XML Sapiens-based CMS compile a document from the stream of ‘pure’ data, design template and functionality template.
Web-based CMS
Another approach to CMS building uses databases such as PostgreSQL, MySQL or MS SQL, and scripting languages or tools such as ColdFusion, PHP, JSP or ASP to interact with the data to parse them into visual content. Data stored in a database are queried and compiled into html pages or other documents and transformed using cascading style sheets. These systems can include a number of other functions, such as discussion boards, blogs, or email newsletters.

See also


External links

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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