One of the best things to hit 2006 was the release of WordPress 2.0. Word Press was already a good blogger; maybe the best available. But the 2.0 release has made it even better. So good, in fact, that Yahoo! is now offering it as part of some of their hosting packages.
So what is so great about the new version? For starters, they restructured the admin console so it is cleaner, works better, and even looks better. A nice subtle use of fade effects around status messages so you are sure to notice the information confirming any updates you made.
There are a lot of blogging systems out there. Both open-source and hosted. And many of the hosted solutions are, in fact, pretty good and free. What you lose with a hosted solution is the ability to control your plugins and make modifications. So while this may be fine for normal blogging, if you want to use a blog system as a content system you probably want to install it on a server and have complete control.
All that being said, WordPress 1.5 is probably the best combination of features, ease of use, and good looks out there. The installation is one screen. Just upload the files, rig a database, hit the install.php URL and you’re basically done. There are dozens of great looking skins and just as many plugins. Everything from shopping carts to hit counting is available.
Mambo is not really a new CMS. It has been around a while. It’s earlier incarnation was pretty dreadful, though. These earlier versions were slow, poorly organized, and seemed to do more to obscure your content than help publish it. But the latest releases are nothing short of incredible. (Note that this site
is was built with Mambo 4.5.2).
The basic content metaphor is one of publish/unpublish. This means that any element of the site, from a calendar component to a news bulletin, can be shown or hidden. Publishing of content items can also be pre-programmed to happen at a later date, as well as pre-programmed to expire at a later date. This is very handy for many business and eCommerce applications. Content editing can be done via straight HTML editing, or using one of several available WYSIWYG editors which are integrated into the system via the “Mambot” interface. While obviously not as robust as using Front Page or DreamWeaver, given that almost all of the style aspects of a page are taken care of by the template system, these are more than adequite for the job.