Clients are definitely becoming more sophisticated. Three years ago every initial client meetings started with an explanation and demo of a content management system — “So,… I can change this at our office, then ?“. Now they more often arrive with a feature list in hand asking if our CMS has ‘friendly URLs’, ‘plugin gateways’ and ‘infinite subcategories’. This is a good thing in general.
I think this has been one of the great side-effects of the ‘rise of blogging’. Although most of these clients aren’t running their own blog, most seem to have a friend or colleague who is, or, at least, have placed comments on other people’s blogs. Essentially the whole process has helped to create the new concept for them that websites aren’t static bill posters, but live, editable spaces that reflect whatever’s going on in their life/business/world.
So, if you’re a small team/sole developer looking to offer your clients a customized CMS, where do you start? — even if you limited your list to only open source PHP/MySQL products, you might still be looking at hundreds.
CMS Matrix is a nice place to start narrowing your list. Although it has been around for a long time now, I’m always surprised at how few developers have used it. The site contains information on over four hundred commerical grade systems (419 at last count) and allows you to perform feature comparisons between any number of them. It will even let you generate a short list of candidates by searching on specific server requirements, operating environment, features, commercial licencing agreements, and latest update.
A great service and very worthwhile bookmark if you’re considering a fresh look at CMS offereings.