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Open Source Content Management Software - Radiant Cms

Mar 15, 2008
When choosing the best content management system for your project, it is important to weigh both the technical and non-technical pros and cons. Both technical and non-technical reasons can ultimately affect the bottom line cost. Therefore, it is not recommended to simply choose a content management system based solely on technical language or feature set. In this article, we will take a look at an open source content management system called Radiant CMS.

Radiant is a Ruby on Rails based solution that works with a variety of databases. It has a few years of development and a couple noteworthy deployments. There are technical and non-technical reasons why Radiant CMS is a good choice for a content management system.
Technical Reasons to Choose Radiant CMS:

It's Ruby on Rails based which can speed development by taking advantage of the convention over configuration paradigm. In addition, the Radiant code base has excellent automated coverage in unit tests. This means the code is well tested and robust. Unit test code coverage can be one aspect to measure when considering open source content management systems. In fact, we could suggest the amount of code covered by automated unit and integration tests should be considered when choosing any open source library and/or framework. It is an easy indicator to measure and compare. But, that is an entirely different conversation.

Radiant CMS also has an excellent extension system. This allows customizations required by your project to be made. When choosing a content management system, the ability to add and maintain any customizations should be an important factor. This point should be considered not only from the beginning, but how your customizations will evolve as upgrades and enhancements occur within your chosen content management system. In other words, if the core CMS is modified to provide the custom functionality, how can upgrades or patches from the core CMS developers be applied to your modified version. Radiant's extension system provides this separation of concern.

The Radius tagging system of Radiant is fantastic for adding dynamic functionality. It is nice that tags can be added directly to page content rather than some kind of comment or special character sequence in order to indicate non-static content.

Non-Technical Reasons to Choose Radiant CMS:

Radiant has an elegant, intuitive administrative interface. It is not intimidating to the non-technical user. In fact, the design encourages people to embrace using the system, because they assume it is going to be easy to pick up and learn.

The lack of workflow functionality can be considered a feature in many cases. In competing CMS products, workflow can seem like an attractive feature at first, but is often hindrance to configure and work around for projects which require only a few administrators of content.

An additional, non-technical reason to choose Radiant CMS is cost. The project is open source and the community of ruby on rails developers and ruby on rails hosting providers is growing, so your cost risk of obtaining these resources is minimized.

Conclusion

From a technical perspective, the open source, Ruby on Rails based Radiant CMS makes an excellent choice. From a non-technical perspective, Radiant CMS makes an excellent choice as well. When combining both perspectives, we have had many positive project experiences and deployments using Radiant over the past year and a half.
About the Author
Vince India is a systems administrator with many years experience using open source CMS software like Radiant. ServiceCycle provides Radiant CMS hosting and customization
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