What is HTML?

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, but still, what is it? HTML is the code you need to write a page of a website and is also the name of the type of file you keep the code in. For example, a Microsoft Word document file is a doc (or docx) file. That is the file extension. An HTML file's extension is HTML. Often the first page you make in a website is called "index.html".

Within the HTML file is HTML code which tells the web browser what to show. You can show text or images and now since HTML 5, videos; you can change the color; you can put the text or image or video in a certain place on the page and you can do a few other things but HTML by itself is somewhat limited. To do a lot of other things you need to use CSS, PHP, JavaScript and even more different coding that can do different things.

What is an HTML based website?

With an HTML based website, every page you see in your browser is an HTML file. This means that every page you want in your site has to be made one by one. And everything you want to see on every page has to be included every time. For example, menus or site headers which are generally on every page has to be written on every HTML file if you want to see it on that page.

The final drawback is that when you want to change something you have included in the HTML of every page, you generally have to change every file.

What is a CMS?

CMS stands for Content Management System and a CMS is a website built using PHP which is more dynamic that HTML. Rather than having a different file for every different page, a CMS uses a database.

All the text and information you want to show on any page of your website is stored in the database. One PHP file is used for every page and it gets the information for every different page from the database.

A PHP file can also use other PHP files. If you need a feature on just one page of your website, the main PHP file would get the feature PHP file only when it is needed and load it into the appropriate place. This is how Joomla works.

DreamWeaver vs Joomla - HTML vs CMS

Where DreamWeaver is an HTML website creator, Joomla is a CMS. While DreamWeaver has features that allow you to edit your HTML pages much more easily than writing them by hand, the fact is all of your content is stuck in HTML files and major changes to your site are not so easy.

When your content is kept in a database and only accessed on need via PHP files, your site is much easier to change and overhaul.

The benefit of Joomla over DreamWeaver is in the ability to add extra features to your site. In DreamWeaver you would be forced to search the web for raw code and put it into your site yourself. With Joomla, just search through the registered Joomla Extensions for pre-made extensions that can offer almost any extra feature you could want! A click of a button installs it and they are often customisable through the Joomla back end interface.

Having started with DreamWeaver and moved on to Joomla, I fully recommend Joomla even for beginners. Both have a learning curve but once you get the hang of Joomla, the advantages are huge.