The web world is flooded with CMSes. Some tout their CMS as Web Development Framework. Some say it as Content Management Solution and nowadays i m hearing Content Management Framerowk. When we hear "Framework", it sort of sounds like more complex and sophisticated. Is there any specific difference between these two i.e. CMS and Web Development Framework? Or Is it that a Web Development Framework can be a CMS and vice versa?


3 Answers 3


The short answer is no.

A CMS or content management system is basically an application built ( maybe/most likely on top of a web application framework ) for the purpose of providing rich tools to maintain, organize and add content dynamically to a website. Good examples would be Drupal, Joomla, DotNetNuke etc.

A framework is different in that it is far more generic. It's almost like the saying "Every square is a rectangle but not every rectangle is a square" in that most commonly every CMS comes built on top of a popular or in-house framework making it useful to extend but it lacks the true genericism to actually make it a framework.

Take expression engine. Expression engine is built on top of CodeIgniter but adds far more libraries, helper and functionality mostly geared towards content management. It would be hard to do the extra work to dumb down expression engine to create a new product that isn't a CMS compared to just using CodeIgniter ( The framework ).


CMS and Web Frameworks are not the same thing however CMS is on top of the framework and can form a standard of its own as well as integrate to the framework. The important difference between the two can be in for example Drupal is CMS as CMF that can easily break if you install a badly coded module. Even getting to understand or work with a pre defined naming convention for example theming is a dirty job in cms. Leave it for quick information or marketing based website. You must know one theme and customize it to suit. However WF are more flixible and programmers oriented. Why will learn to hard code drupal api if you can do much cleaner output with the framework. You can define your own functions and you don't have to install a load of rubbish that you don't need. ref:cms-or-web-framework-when-to-use-which


There is lot of confusion out there and this was the main reason that I wrote the detailed article in my blog: A Framework or a CMS? What is better to choose?

In short, to answer your question the theory about the difference is this:

When we use the terminology “Framework” we are more often talking about Web application framework . A web application framework is simply based on coding. If you are a programmer or a web developer that loves coding you often choose a Web application framework for your projects.

A CMS is a Content management framework and it is based on the modules rather than code. Anyone can handle a CMS as it doesn’t require any coding knowledge. Of course programmers can also choose a CMS as they can do their job faster.

In fact, if you are a programmer and you are confused of what to choose really. Don't be! It always depends from the project and the requirements so there is not a straight answer to that.

So as a conclusion I have to say that it always depends of what you want to do and how much time you have to deal with it. I believe that every tool is build for a reason so as many tools you know (frameworks or CMS), so flexible you are as a professional developer. So it doesn’t worth it to be a CMS or a Framework fan. Just choose the best tool for you situation and that’s it!

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