CMS stands for Content Management System. As the abbreviation goes, it is a program that enables you, the end user to manage (publish, edit and modify) the content of a website. A CMS can be used for varied functionalities, one can run an e-Commerce store, manage a blog, maintain a forum and perform any no. of functions provided by the back-end of the CMS being used.
Some of the most famous content management systems are:-
What is a Framework?
A framework on the other hand is a pre-written library of code following a set of rules. From a web-development perspective, it is a defined library of functions written in network programming languages like PHP, Python, Ruby and Java. It enables developers to implement custom functionalities but requires an IT savvy team for maintenance. The end user of a framework based website needs to have a thorough understanding of the website functionalities.
Here’s a list of some well-known web development frameworks:-
Ruby on Rails (Ruby)
What is right for my requirement?
There is no set answer to what should be used. Both frameworks and CMSs can be used to implement a business requirement, however there are certain parameters which can be used to determine what works out best in a given scenario. Following is a criteria which may help, given the client requirement:-
Ready-to-use API libraries
Bug-fixing and Exceptions
Hard to spot
Easy to find & handle
Adherence to programming practices
Coding Standards & Quality
Hard to resolve
Easy to resolve
A CMS depending upon your choice may be free or chargeable. For example, HubSpot follows a subscription-based model offering packages that differ on the basis of usage and add-ons, whereas WordPress, Drupal and Joomla are offered as free to download CMS programs that can be later hosted on a server. At times even a free CMS can have associated costs in form of paid or premium plug-ins. WP-Rocket, a caching plugin which helps in reducing page load times, offers annual packages based on the level of usage. Likewise, Yoast SEO a cross-platform plug-in has a free as well as a premium version.
Other than this, additional costs include customization of the CMS as per your business requirement and future maintenance & additions.
Frameworks on the other hand are expensive to set up, but the cost of maintenance and future additions is relatively low. Just like a CMS, a framework may have paid packages/extensions/libraries. However, inclusion of paid components is very infrequent because of higher code flexibility. In case a feature is not available it can be developed separately and integrated with the overall framework. This may add up to the development cost, yet turn out to be beneficial in the long run.
Imagine a scenario where you already have a framework based web-app with extensive components and your digital team invites you for a meeting and demands a rich blog system integrated with the current web-app. Now here you have two alternatives:-
Develop a blog component from scratch using the framework’s libraries.
Integrate a CMS with the current web app.
Yes, you read it right! Frameworks can be integrated with a CMS. In fact Drupal, the CMS itself is based on the Symfony (PHP) framework. Likewise, it is possible to integrate WordPress with CakePHP.
Therefore, if either of the routes don’t work out for you, a synergy of frameworks and CMS is also an option providing the best of both worlds.
The prudent way is to determine variables such as nature of requirement, time-frame, cost etc. and then select one of the aforementioned approaches which fits best.