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phpCMS — about the technology of this website

A content management system allows the writing/editing, managing and outputting of information with the advantage (if implemented correctly) that content and layout are strictly separated. This makes it immaterial to the data as to how they are output (layout, publishing medium): The output can be controlled according to the requirements at the time of publication. For example, the web view and the print view of these pages (see the last link in the menu) are based on the same data set but present them differently. Also, due to the separation, a complete redesign of the website can be realised comparatively easily. In practice it is often more important, however, that the web pages can also be maintained by authors who have no idea of HTML and Co.: The information is entered into predefined fields — the content management system takes care of the rest.

In the mean time, an enormous number of content management systems has emerged — of differing quality. One can differentiate generally between two models :

  • Content management systems that have been developed specifically and almost exclusively for internet content
  • Content management systems that support a broader range of media (e.g. also print, CD ROM)

A good overview of content management systems can be found at (Link extern) (available in German only). This website for example has been created using the content management system (Link extern) phpCMS. phpCMS satisfies the following pre-conditions that were essential for us:

  • Open source, i.e. the source code is freely available
  • Flexible design
  • File based (no database required — with some internet service providers, hosting packages that support PHP only are much cheaper than the ones that also provide a database)
  • Complete export possible, so that even if the destination server does not support PHP, the website created with the content management system still can be installed
  • Comparatively short time from installation to production
  • Platform-independent (the content and layout control files can be edited with any editor software)

The greatest disadvantage: Only moderate documentation (and only available in German). Some problems can be solved by checking the discussion forum of phpCMS; for other problems you simply have to invest the time and try it out. This problem, however, only concerns the system integrator: The editors do not need the phpCMS documentation (they only need to know the few commands they may include in the body text, so that, for example, the bullet points of this page are located at the correct position within the text).


The Transcom website has been in existence since the second half of the 1990s. In the course of time, particularly in the area of Tips and Hints (fully available only in German) quite some content has been amassed there that has been coded in very "traditional" HTML, i.e. content and layout are directly interconnected. When, in the spring of 2004, the Transcom website underwent a redesign, the webpages about the company were created completely afresh, but the Tips and Hints were to be taken over with minimum effort. In general the HTML parts have therefore been simply copied into the new site structure; content and layout have not been separated. We have simply accepted the resulting layout inconsistency.

In the final analysis, however, even this inconsistency shows the flexibility of phpCMS: On the one hand, it allows the complete separation of content and layout; on the other, it is not disturbed by the HTML code, changes it only as far as this is allowed by the system integrator.


Information about phpCMS including the installation files can be found at (Link extern)

If you want to know what this webpage looks like to the editor, (Link intern) click here (opens a new browser window). All indicators in curly brackets ({PROJEKT}, {MENU}, {TITEL} etc.) mark fields that can be filled with content. The files have been mainly edited using WordPad. However, any other editor can be used. There is a web browser-based editor that is optionally available for the phpCMS content files.


» Transcom is an associated partner of media offices (