Exploring Content Management Systems

Much like how the open source model to developing the LAMP stack of programming languages has grown to dominate the worldwide web development market, Content Management Systems which operate on an open source model seek to take over the web design space in the future. The LAMP stack of programming languages or rather programming tools and environments refers to Linux, Apache, MySql and PHP, just to provide some clarity on that matter.

Basically if you have a dynamic website such as one with a membership system or one which allows the owner of the content to update the website without having to contact their web designer, then chances are it runs on the LAMP stack.

The LAMP stack of web-specific programming environments has been further opened up to users who don’t know how to code in any of the web specific languages like HTML, JavaScript, PHP, MySql, etc. This has been achieved through what are referred to as Content Management Systems (CMS), the most popular and fastest-growing of which is WordPress.

WordPress does indeed make for the main subject of our CMS case study, simply because it seems to be leading the way as far as CMSs go.

The Open Source Model

As much as anything which is developed and distributed using the open source model is fundamentally free to use and modify, ultimately the developers of that system seek to make money out of it in some or other way. In the CMS space WordPress claims to power about 25% of the web, which means one out of four of all websites in existence today are running on WordPress.

Somewhere along the line between getting your WordPress website developed and having it published to the web you likely spent some money and this is where one realises that open source doesn’t necessarily mean free. You might have to pay a developer who specialises in the development of WordPress websites for instance, but what you may not know further is that support for such platforms usually costs money as well.

This is where the long-term strategy of open source projects gets revealed with regards to how the originators plan to make money. One day when all the world’s websites are powered by the WordPress platform and they decide it’s no longer free, they’ll be in a position to charge whatever they want.

That’s not likely to happen however since such projects are usually started and grown for different reasons than a desire to generate a profit. Besides, there will in a sense always be some web developers who see themselves as purists and so they prefer to hard-code the web applications they build from scratch.

Otherwise what Content Management Systems mean for the average internet user who doesn’t know anything about coding or programming is that you can buy a template, install it and then use a drag-and-drop feature to create your own professional website or blog. It’s a huge save in costs, although you’d naturally be limited in the functionality of your website or blog.