I have heard all this talk about Xoops but after doing some research and digging around on their website... I STILL CAN'T FIGURE OUT EXACTLY WHAT XOOPS DOES!?!?! I've never dealt with a CMS before and I'm a little confused as to what a CMS really does for a webmaster. As a last attempt I thought I would ask here as I know there are a lot of knowledgeable devs here that can give me some insight on what exactly it is used for. Thanks a ton. Take care.
Xoops (and any CMS for that matter) makes deploying full featured websites a bit easier. Rahter than coding php and html by hand to get a lot of orginization on your website, a CMS has a lot of things pre-programmed into it. All you would need to do is decide on a layout. So for example if this was your screen:
<edit, spacing doesn't work on vB, I forgot, nevermind my lame picture>
You could lay out a simple website w/ blocks looking like the above or modify it to look as you want. CMSs also have a lot of plugins. So if you want to add a forum to it, it's generally pretty easy. Blogging usually is a plugin. Having a nifty/intuitive download section isn't out of the question and done via a plugin. Things like flash arcades or the ability to stream/host video within your site are there as well (take vB Radio as an example).
But in a nutshell, a CMS package is like a "website-in-a-box" that has all the components needed to run a feature and content rich website w/ minimal work on your end. You still need to lay things out, activate the individual modules you want to run and so on but 90% of the work has been done for you.
Xoops, Drupal, e107, Mambo/Joomla, Dragonfly and PostNuke are all examples of CMS packages. There are a lot more. Check out http://www.cmsmatrix.org for a descent list of both commercial and opensource CMS software. You can see who does what and compare packages side by side. There is also an opensourcecms.org website but a lot of software on there is beta or vaporware. Most CMS sites have a demo where you can play with the software.
edit: the "easiest" CMS out there for many is PHPNuke. I strongly advise against looking much further into it. It's full of security holes, is very bloated and unoptimized and while semi-user friendly, it's not in your best interest to run it. If you like PHPNuke, keep to the nuke-based fork projects like Dragonfly and PostNuke. Anything that integrates phpbb will have potential security issues as well so choose your forum software carefully. Try to stick to CMS packages that can integrate vBulletin (commercial software, what WHT runs) or Simple Machines (freeware vB clone).
I think that Xoops and other CMS's are exactly what the acronym means:
Content Management Systems
They allow a webmaster to easily update links and content, control members and subscriptions, etc. on their websites, but they are easy to use and a lot more user-friendly than hard code.
Please correct me if I am wrong.
EDIT: Post above wasn't there when I began writing this .