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A Closer Look at PHPCow

PHPCow is one of the many open-source content management systems powered by the widely used PHP language. This particular CMS is geared more towards users who want to create online magazines, newspapers, and news portals.  PHPCow offers the promise of being able to design and manage your content-rich site in simple drag-and-drop fashion, requiring no experience in XML, CSS or PHP.

Key Features

PHPCow trumps the competition with a host of great features.  There is actually too much to cover, but are some of the features that stand out the most:

Template Manager – PHPCow gives users control over the look and feel of their site with a flexible template engine.  This is made possible by an intuitive Block Handling System that allows for deeper customization of the page layout.  While the template system lets you get very imaginative with your design, users also have the option to choose from a variety of free pre-designed templates.

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Article Management – Users can customize their articles with attachments, slide shows, images and much more.  PHPCow’s article management module includes a built-in WYSIWYG editor that enables simple editing on the fly.  If you can use simple word processing applications like Microsoft Word, then you can excel with this user-friendly HTML editor.  You have the luxury to filter content by author, article type, and category, along with powerful visualization features for rendering your filtered content.

Content Syndication – PHPCow offers a way to increase your readership and search engine rankings with efficient content syndication.  The software includes an RSS Generator for creating RSS and Atom Feeds, something that can be done with a few easy clicks of the mouse from the administrative control panel.  You also have the ability to import and export RSS feeds from other sites, indication that PHPCow covers just about every critical aspect of content syndication.

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Dynamic Menu Management – PHPCow allows users to customize dynamic menus, a feature that works hand in hand with its built-in category management module.  The system gives you complete authority over menu properties, letting you arrange horizontally or vertically, split menus, and even rebuild on the fly with a simple click.  PHPCow also allows you to create partial menus with different formats that can be displayed on individual pages opposed to the entire website.

PHPCow Requirements

For the most part, PHPCow has the same requirements of any PHP-based CMS.  It calls for an Apache web server, but can run on a Linux, Unix or Windows operating system.  The software also requires a MySQL 5.0 database.  Perhaps the most important requirements relate to the server configuration.  In order to get an optimal performance out of PHPCow, you will need a server equipped with the GDLibrary module and the latest version of the Zend Optimizer among other components.

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Conclusion

PHPCow offers an arsenal of great features.  Aside from what has been mentioned here, there is also a built-in voting system, archiving, search functionality and bread crumb navigation.  The software appears to live up to its claims of ease of use and seems a little more capable than many of its open-source competitors.  Keep in mind that PHPCow is a not a free CMS and that a license will cost you at least $100.

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