Zikula Introduction and Resources

Building web applications is a complex, time consuming process, so developers use frameworks to do it better and faster. Zikula is an example of an open source content management system (CMS) and PHP application framework. In the competitive web development marketplace, Zikula represents a unique alternative to more commonly used content management tools.

Content management systems make it possible for users to easily manage website material. Instead of building individual, static pages, a CMS stores information in a database, facilitating dynamic Web content. The simplified process enables users with limited experience to successfully manipulate content, adding, removing, and editing posts and pages. Zikula furnishes an intuitive framework for managing and delivering these updates to personal and professional websites.

Frameworks reuse generic components and modules, trimming redundant tasks from each subsequent build. Zikula is one of many such structures, aimed at small to enterprise businesses and personal users, in particular. The framework incorporates useful features out of the box, saving developers from coding them individually. Zikula's flexible CMS solution is compatible with common database platforms and its architecture accommodates custom add-ons.

Zikula History

Zikula has origins in the PostNuke project, which was launched in 2001 and officially closed in 2008. The flexible CMS essentially replaces PostNuke, which promised impressive, dynamic websites, easily administered by webmasters through a web browser — even with limited HTML experience. The platform was promoted as ideal for personal blogs, large members-only communities and other types of sites. Users were encouraged to expand PostNuke's functionality by installing modules, blocks and themes.

Zikula borrows from the original PostNuke framework, but relies on an entirely new structure. The framework's name references two Zulu words, translating to fast and easy — Zikula's key attributes. Since replacing PostNuke in 2008, the Zikula project has operated on a development schedule marked by frequent releases. The current download, available at zikula.org, is for version 1.4.2.

Benefits and Advantages

Eliminating time and effort spent building generic features gives developers greater flexibility to focus on advanced aspects of each project. Zikula 1.4 uses Symfony Full Stack as its foundation, building upon the strengths of one of the leading web application frameworks for PHP development. According to the makers of Symfony, an effective framework consists of two essential parts:

  • Toolbox: comprised of premade, readily integrated software components;
  • Methodology: assembly guide for building applications.

Working within this structure, web developers sidestep repetitive coding, using Zikula and Symfony to add value to web applications.

The Zikula framework toolkit is free to download and use, under general licensing. In addition to included modules, third-party developers actively build extensions, expanding functionality. It uses a database, compatible with popular platforms like MySQL and Oracle Database. Some of the benefits of building with the Zikula framework include:

  • Ease of use: a short learning curve and low configuration requirements quickly get users off the ground;
  • Agility: Zikula is agile and intuitive in action;
  • Flexible architecture: the framework is expandable and scalable, making sites stable and easy to maintain.

Zikula 1.4 incorporates Bootstrap, one of the most popular frameworks used for developing mobile-first Web projects. Font Awesome 4 is also on board, supplying Zikula users access to a noteworthy font and CSS toolkit.

Resources

Programming standards continually evolve, so instructional resources are vital. In addition to timely updates and information found on zikula.org, Zikula tutorials and other resources keep developers and casual programmers informed about the software's latest versions and add-ons.

Online Resources

Tutorials, online communities, and testimonials from webmasters and developers furnish vital insight into modern programming solutions. Forums and communities draw from users' actual experiences, so participating can shorten the learning curve and ensure excellent results — even for first-time users. The following resources are currently available for those with questions about Zikula.

Softaculous demo: this demo page, powered by Zikula, highlights a few of the framework's key attributes. These include being:

  • Safe and secure;
  • Suitable for high traffic sites;
  • Customizable;
  • Displayable properly across all browsers;
  • Including a support community made up of developers and webmasters.

Siteground tutorial: promising you'll be able to set-up and maintain a Zikula site in only minutes; this tutorial shares the basics of the portal application. Among other information, the manual includes:

  • Installing Zikula;
  • Manipulating themes;
  • Creating menus;
  • Installing modules.

Zikula-discussions: Google groups hosts forums for exchanging information about Zikula. Everything from basic questions about the CMS to advice about reconfiguration is found here.

Zikula review: CMS Critic takes a look at an early version of the content management system formerly known as PostNuke. The step-by-step guide traces a typical installation, including selecting themes and navigating the admin panel.

Dizcus forum: Zikula's website hosts an active forum, broken down into subcategories for developers and others seeking up-to-date information about the product. Installation, modules, themes, templating and admin concerns are all addressed by contributors eager to share their experience with Zikula.

Post Nuke: a predecessor to Zikula, sharing some design features with the updated version of the CMS software. Its architecture has changed almost entirely, but Zikula's lineage will be forever tied to earlier versions of the content management system.

Conclusion

Zikula is an adaptable resource for developers. Using as array of modules and plug-ins, functionality can be expanded in several directions — increasing its appeal for personal and commercial site management. Zikula's development team promotes the forward-thinking technology behind their open-source CMS, offering ongoing support through an active community forum. Like the Zikula download, participating in the community forum is free. An extension library hosted by Zikula enables users to post useful add-ons for public use.

Though several familiar frameworks dominate the industry, less-used platforms like Zikula furnish refreshing alternatives for developers. The Zikula faithful point to the simplicity of the content management system and PHP application framework. Ongoing development continues to refine the framework's user appeal, promising to cover the needs of diverse enterprises. Large ecommerce sites, personal blogs, and community portals are only a few of the applications relying on Zikula, which continues to prove itself against competing alternatives.


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