Munch on the Interesting Bits of Content Management Systems (CMS)

Heard about content management systems, but don't know what they are? Read on to know about these systems and their typical features.
A content management system is used to manage the content of websites. It is a combination of a database, file system, and such other related 'modules' which are basically used to store, retrieve, and publish data on the Internet. The data thus stored includes the website content, image files, audio and video files, and so on, which can be stored, archived, and retrieved at any time.

The system is usually in the form of a web-based application, which can then be used to create and manage HTML content. This web application usually has a graphical user interface (GUI) to perform the related activities online. Thus, people who are content authors on these websites can easily upload their web content onto the website. They need not know the technical aspects of coding and programming needed for doing so. Thus, a web content management system has created a great advantage for technical website users and content authors.

Applications and Uses

Web content management systems are used on websites where a large amount of content is displayed. Examples are websites where online manuals and training materials are displayed, or websites where several thousands of web pages are to be displayed based on different categories, or even websites where different online training courses are made available.

These CMS applications also find their uses in large and small organizations, where data can be stored, retrieved, and archived via a computer network or via the Internet. A CMS application in an organization can be, and is, often used to simplify document workflow processes, where a document is uploaded and then moved around easily for approvals, additions, revisions, and notations. This facilitates document movement within the organization and creates a simplified process for management of data within a company's various employees.


Typically, a CMS has the following features:
  • Templates: There are HTML or XML templates which can be preloaded into a CMS and they are automatically applied to the content (both existing and new). This gives a consistent look and feel to the information presented in the website.
  • Content Editors: The graphical user interface (GUI) usually consists of a content editor. This is usually a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editing tool which enables users to customize the look and feel of the content being uploaded into the CMS.
  • Multiple Users: The content management system can support many users who can upload data. These users usually have a login and a password and can access their work area.
  • Restrictions: An administrator can configure how every user of the CMS can use the system. He can place restrictions on different users with regards to access. This ensures that sensitive data cannot be accessed by every user of the system.
  • Modules: Every CMS has different modules which support a variety of functions. For example, the look and feel of the website can be a plug-in module, or there may be a module to add a web-based forum onto the website. Different CMS packages come with a set of different modules and plug-ins.
  • Upgrades: Every CMS application has regular upgrades and updates which increase, add, or improve upon its functionality. These are often quite easy to install and can be easily incorporated without affecting the earlier data saved in the system.
Thus, it can be seen that a CMS has got various advantages, especially for website owners and users who want to participate in the creation of a dynamic web-based environment, which is prevalent today, and which is a main feature of what is being referred to nowadays as 'Web 2.0'.