by March 1, 2005 0 comments



Mambo is one of the most widely used open-source CMS (Content Management System). A CMS is a software that enables you to add and/or manipulate content of a website. Mambo has been designed, keeping non-technical novice users in mind. It has a very easy-to-use Web interface for publishing content online. Mambo can prove to be useful for small scale Netepreneurs and large-scale businesses alike. It can also be treated as a personal blog by individuals who always wanted to make their presence felt online by having a personal website.

The software is bundled with a fully functional website and has various components such as Community Forums, Media Galleries, Calendars and Skins which can be added on effortlessly. It’s released under GNU/GPL (General Public License); which in simpler words means it’s free to be used by anyone. In this article, we’ll talk about how to set up Mambo and how to use it. But before that, let’s look at some of the benefits this software offers.

The benefits
Mambo stands out as unique compared to other open-source Content Management Systems available such as PostNuke and PHP Nuke. While all others have websites that tend to look strikingly similar to each other, websites running Mambo look incommensurable. For one, Mambo enables a website to generate URLs that are search-engine friendly. For instance, while many CMS tend to use session, catalog, and component ids to make the URL fairly complex, Mambo uses relatively simpler URLs. This makes it easier for search engines to index the same. It also has the ability to create and maintain hierarchical user access groups. This allows the content to go through a series of hierarchical approvals as well. Web pages get cached, which decreases the page load time and enhances over all performance of the website.

Direct Hit!
Applies
to:
Everyone
USP: Devised keeping non-technical persons in the mind
Links:
http://mamboserver.com

Mambo also incorporates all other basic features such as multiple WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Editors, Statistics, Localization, Content Syndication and Polls, which can be brought into play using the included uncomplicated administration control panel.

Prerequisites
The good thing about Mambo is that it can be installed on a variety of platforms, including Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and Win NT/2000/XP. All you need is Apache, MySQL & PHP (4.1.2 and higher) running on these platforms. At the server end you need to have PHP compiled with support to MySQL and Zlib. We’ve thoroughly tested Mambo on Linux as well as Windows and found it very easy to set up and run on both. In this article, we’ve installed it on Win 2000 with the rest of the components we just mentioned.

Mambo installation
Download the latest stable version of Mambo Open Server from http://mamboserver.com/cat/Download_Mambo.
It’s only around 1.5 MB. After unzipping the downloaded file, upload it to the home directory of your website. Once this is done, you have to point your Web browser to the URL where you have uploaded these files. For instance, if you’ve created a directory called ‘mambo’ on your Web server with IP address 192.168.3.1, then use the URL ‘192.168.3.1/mambo’ to access it. From here, the Web-based step-by-step installer will do the rest of the installation. Firstly, the installer will conduct a pre-installation test which checks environment, files and directory permission settings. Then it proceeds to license agreement, which you have to accept to proceed. The next step involves MySQL data -base configuration, followed by assignment of the name for your website. Next is the confirmation of the site URL, absolute path and setting up of admin e-mail and password. You’ll now be prompted to delete the folder you just ran the installer from before running Mambo.

The administration page of Mambo, from where you can add users, create different sections for your content, and more

Usage
Mambo has a intuitive administration interface by which you can comfortably configure and manage the content of your website. The main page of the admin control panel has icons for components that you would use more often than not. On the same page you will find a top navigation toolbar which lets you manage all other components of your website.

The first thing to do to use Mambo is to have your users ready with their content. Users can either register on their own with the Mambo website, or the administrator can add them from the administration panel. The administrator can create different user groups to manage different types of content. All user management is done from the ‘Site’ menu on the administration panel and content management can be done from the ‘Content’ menu.

Home page of a deployed Mambo wesite

So go ahead and play around with Mambo and get a feel of it. We’ll be back next month to tell you how to roll out a real life content management project.

Binesh Kutty

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