MODx – an elegant, easy open source CMS

I have been looking into several content management systems lately. It is bizarre that I have been developing and maintaining sites for a few years now but have only just got around to investigating applications that can help make that happen!

There are certainly a huge amount of open source content management systems out there. I found that the CMS Matrix was a great help in narrowing down my options. You can specify your requirements and it will return a list of applications that fit the bill. It lets you quickly compare all the suitable content management systems at a glance. Another life saver was Open Source CMS which lets you try out demo installations of a large number of content management systems which saves you the hassle of installing them all yourself.

On my travels I came across all sorts of content managers, ranging from extremely basic tools to the likes of Typo3. That seems to be the king of Open Source CMSs, but naturally its power and flexibility comes at a price: complexity! Their site is excellent though, and it is refreshing that they admit that if you don’t have at least a month to invest in learning the system, you should look elsewhere! I hope to delve into Typo3 a little deeper someday, to at least get an idea of what it is capable of. Then there were the popular portal friendly solutions like Joomla / Mambo and Drupal. These certainly seemed far quicker to get up and running with, but they did not seem to lend themselves to easy to the more corporate sites I was seeking to manage.

At last, I came across something special by chance. MODx is a PHP based CMS that was born out of another CMS called Etomite. It has not been around too long but already has a growing avid community following. I am particularly impressed by the following features:

  • Strong support for web standards
  • Facilitates creating search engine friendly websites
  • Back end navigation tree mirrors front end structure
  • Quick edit functionality enabling on the fly updating via browsing the front end
  • Clean CSS navigation menus embraced!

What I like most about MODx is that it is relatively easy to get up and running, yet it is an extremely flexible CMS that packs a lot of power into its small core. Unlike many content management systems, there is no such thing as a typical MODx site. It is just as suitable for a corporate site as for a blog. Its functionality is being extended all the time thanks to the ever growing collection of plugins developed by its loyal developer community. This expansion is facilitated by the clean, elegant approach that the development team took in designing the application. It really is a pleasure to work with.

It’s not perfect! It’s young and it’s open source, so it’s not fully there yet. Documentation is lacking fin placings, and some common functionality, notably e-commerce capabilities, is still in the works. Bugs are present, but it is amazing how quickly they are fixed. The developer community is very special. No matter how many questions you have, someone is always happy to help at the forum.

I’m delighted that I found this gem of a content management system and if you are looking for a CMS that is quick and easy to get up and running but won’t hold you back, give MODx a try!


  1. Great article, im a fan of Open Source CMS, i keep an eye on it. MODx went under my radar. Just went over to sus it out, logged in an all …appears most of it is based in French which makes it a bit crank.

    Does look like it has more bits and pieces than WordPress…but then again i dont speak French so cant be sure ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Did you just try the demo? It’s not a French CMS so maybe the demo is just messed up??? the development team is actually dotted all over the world – it’s a real melting pot!

  3. thanks for this page, i am just about to abAndon front-page and try go open source, TO BUILD A WEB WITH A SHOP, AHHHDDGGG, I AM A HORTICULTURLIST NOT A WEB DESIGNER. WOOPsss caps lock on again,,,,

  4. Nice to find somebody else in Ireland that thinks as highly as us about MODx. We have adopted it as our standard build framework for all web development projects.

    If anybody needs advice or assistance with developing MODx based web application, we’d be happy to discuss it with you.

  5. Hi Janine and co,
    Thanks for the great article and it really is great to see growing interest in MODx in Ireland. I work with Gerry (previous post) and if I may be so bold as to inform folk that Gerry has set-up a forum mainly dedicated to MODx and vTiger chat. It’s pretty quite over there right now so if anyone is interested in learning/ discussing MODx please drop by:

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