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enormous site, $0 budget

By bloomed ·
I'm working on a plan to rebuild a fairly huge university website. There's all kinds of background on this in my blog, but basically it's a mess and there's no budget. I was thinking of reverting to the old server side includes method of content management, but I've been reading that .NET has some pretty useful tools built in for managing the look and feel outside of content.

Frankly, I've never had time to dig into .NET and these people want immediate results, but I'd like to move forward in a manner that makes sense for future development.

Can anyone recommend a course of action? Is there a free-ish CMS out there that will let me manager user permissions at the page level and all the other things that come with a multi-user content management environment? Is .NET the way to go (and can you recommend the best books to get me moving fast)? Can I manage the asp includes required to format and navigate the whole site without going completely insane?

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by gorgon007 In reply to enormous site, $0 budget

Theres plenty of open source implementations of cms's, most of them in php. A good spot to start at is it has a list and reviews of most of the good ones. My personal favourite is Mambo you can manage user permissions at the page level, theres a very large community who develop extra modules for mambo. One of the cool things about mambo is that all the look and feel is all in css, so u can download pre-made templates and just install them without coding at all. If you have $0 budget I definitly would look at a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache,MySql,PHP) you also run it on windows if u want. There should be enough there to get you started. Good Luck

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by bloomed In reply to Mambo

I've heard unkind things about Mambo, and I'm not sure I want to put my neck on the line for a system that's so hotly debated.

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depends on your definition of "CMS"

by WearsManyHats In reply to ehhh

When you say "content management system" what exactly are the types of things you need to manage?

There are some opensource document systems that manage things like pdf's and then there is your Web content management system. For the latter you might try ExpressionEngine at or the opensourceCMS site mentioned earlier.

Server side includes would be a bear to manage, if you ask me. I think it is pretty much an antiquated notion of how to manage a live website.

I think using an application server like IBM's WebSphere, Apple's WebObjects, or something similar would allow for Java development if that's your cup o tea.

ASP has a drawback in that your asp code goes out to the browser and can be viewed by the user. Things like PHP send only the html/css/javascript needed to make an html webpage to the browser, none of the internal coding.

.Net is not really free if you decide to buy Microsoft's Visual Studio .Net

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by Stephen.Abram In reply to depends on your definitio ...

Asp.Net does not send the code back. Asp might, I have not really worked with it. .Net is free if you work with the Web Express. Microsoft's Content Management server works pretty well. But it is not cheap.

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ASP code is NOT sent to the browser

by bschaettle In reply to depends on your definitio ...

RE: "ASP has a drawback in that your asp code goes out to the browser and can be viewed by the user."

I have to disagree. I've worked with ASP for many years, and the server-side code on Active Server Pages definitely does NOT go to the browser, and the user cannot view the "internal" coding. ASP sends only the html/css/javascript that the browser uses.

That said, however, I have to admit that ASP.NET (as opposed to ASP "Classic") does add a lot of behind-the-scenes overhead to the HTML that it sends to the browser, which can slow response times.

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What are you tring to accomplish?

by kevinrinehart64 In reply to enormous site, $0 budget

I can't help but think that you might want to re-consider the task assigned to you.

First, I believe that if you are required to accomplish this task with a budget of $0 then there must not be much of a desire to really get it accomplished.

Second, if you are trying to earn points by getting in there and working all of this out you may be setting a dangerous precedent. If you do it with no budget now they may very well expect you to continue to be a miracle worker in the future which undermines your future projects.

Third, if you are doing this to be a volunteer/nice guy then by all means I wish you the best of luck. There are plenty of people willing to share their knowledge and experiences to help guide your way. As the previous posts indicate make sure to research your choice carefully before commiting to a solution. Once you start down a road of peril there may not be an easy way back to where you started.

Best of Luck,

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