HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
The Rise of Content Management
Content management systems were invented to deal with the complexity and tedium of
managing large collections of HTML documents by hand. A content management system
is an application that manages website content in a form that's convenient for editing and
maintenance and publishes the content as HTML. Some content management systems
generate HTML programmatically on-the-fly, whereas others generate static files and
publish them. Most content management systems are web applications themselves. Users
enter and manage content via HTML forms, and the content management system takes
care of storing the content in a database of some kind. Generally, content management
systems provide some kind of facility for creating templates and then merge the content
entered by users with the templates to produce a finished website. When templates are
updated, all the pages that use those templates automatically have the changes applied to
Content management systems were initially deployed at the largest sites, such as online
news sites, online catalogs, and technical sites that published lots of data. These systems
were generally custom built and rather complicated. Content management eventually
became an industry unto itself, with many companies producing large, expensive systems
aimed at publishers, large corporate websites, and other customers who had lots of web
content and a few hundred thousand dollars to spend to deploy a system to manage that
At the same time, content management systems aimed at individuals also became
increasingly popular, except that they weren't called content management tools. Instead,
they were called weblogging (blogging) tools, wikis, photo galleries, and so on.
These days, most websites are built using content management systems of some kind,
and some of the largest and busiest websites utilize content management tools that were
originally aimed at individuals running small sites. For example, one of the busiest sites
on the Web,, is an encyclopedia written and edited by volunteers that was
built using a content management system called a wiki . Wikis started out as a way to
make it easy for individuals to quickly publish content on the Web without any knowl-
edge of HTML. Now you can download and use MediaWiki, the tool behind Wikipedia,
free of charge. You'll learn more about it later in this lesson.
Content Management in the Cloud
These days, many web publishers do not even host their own content management sys-
tems. They subscribe to applications provided by companies that specialize in managing
these sorts of applications. So, for example, instead of installing the WordPress blogging
tool, you can just sign up for an account at and set up your blog,
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