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Re: [vox] Web-based community software for churches?
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Re: [vox] Web-based community software for churches?

Hi Richard.  I think that was me.

We decided on Mambo, but it still hasn't been deployed for reasons I'm not
sure (I'm not working on that project anymore, now that I've moved down to
southern california.)  I know the project staff is working with the
system, though.

The main reason I suggested Mambo at the time to the church was because of
its multilingual capability (I go to a Korean-American church where some
use English primarily and some use Korean primarily) but for most
organizations it's not necessary as they stick with one language.  I saw a
couple other viable candidate CMSes that would have been better if it
weren't for the multilingual capability that I was looking for.

Mambo has a Source-forge like repository of add-ons which is great, but
some require patching up Mambo's sourcecode, which leads to difficulty
upgrading the core system later, and can conflict with other add-ons that
require patches.  I had to hand-patch quite a few things to make the
system work the way I wanted it to.

There are some really nice all-in-one packages with just a few necessary
add-ons, but I can't recall which ones were on my top list at the time.
Here's a website that really helped me narrow down the list, though:


Click on "search" on the page, and you can specify what you're looking for
in the CMS.

In general, I had easier time installing and testing out systems that were
PHP-based rather than PERL-based, even though some of the PERL-based
systems seemed to be more powerful than the PHP-based ones, mainly because
of PERL's slew of library dependencies that weren't pre-installed on the
server I was working on.  I could install a few libraries, but I quickly
ran out of disk quota installing all the dependencies.  So if that's a
factor, you probably want to look into PHP-based systems.

Also, I wanted upgradeability so I wanted to make as little custom changes
to the core code as possible, but some changes seemed inevitable for
security and customization to our needs, no matter what CMS I looked at.
I liked systems that had everything built-in (photo album, messaging,
forums, etc.) as opposed to the ones that tried to integrate larger
systems like phpBB and Gallery into itself, because the integration was
barely existent (you're lucky if you get a synchronized login, let alone
integrated profile data and messaging capability) and patches for security
holes found in the main branch took a while to be integrated, but you may
like having more capability offered by the integration of large separate
projects like phpBB and Gallery.  I also wanted something less like
Slashdot (which is geared towards news posting and commenting) but is more
like a regular-Joe website (with freedom to make pages that look like
anything you want it to, yet having plugins to create discussion boards
and photo section, too, where the webmaster wants to) manageable by a
group of low-tech webmasters, which there wasn't too many of, at least
with the language capability that I was looking for.  Things may have
changed by now.

Oh, yeah, the manageability by low-tech webmasters was a significant
factor.  Mambo is good at that, as long as the webmaster didn't install
add-ons that required code-patching.  There were a few other CMSes that
had pretty good admin interfaces, though probably none as good as Mambo.

Good luck!


On Fri, 8 Apr 2005, Richard Crawford wrote:

> Awhile ago, someone (I don't remember whom, but I think it was Micah) asked
> about web-based community software solutions that would be appropriate for a
> church.  Well, about six months ago our church set up a website,
> http://www.dixonumc.org, which for various reasons isn't working out anymore.
> I think the church is ready to consider a homegrown solution.
> So, whoever it was, what solution did you eventually come up with?  The main
> thing is that our church has a lot of older folks who, while very
> intelligent, are not very computer-savvy, so whatever I come up with has to
> be painfully simple to use.
> --
> Richard S. Crawford
> http://www.mossroot.com

Mark K. Kim
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