The first thing is to get a test site up and running. The simplest way is to ask us to set up a free subdomain on our site, for you to use exclusively while evaluating TCMS. Just email us using the Contact us link and we'll send you the URL, login code and password. It'll take anything from a couple of hours to a day or two to set up, depending on time zones and how busy we are. There's no cost and no catches. Although the subdomain is publicly viewable, nobody else has access to it for editing except our administrators and you can keep it for as long as you need to properly evaluate TCMS.
As an example, click here to see a set of pages that was put together in about 4 hours by someone completely unfamiliar with the system, just using the built-in admin system, a free subdomain and this tutorial.
Before starting the tutorial itself here is a brief note about the TCMS system.
A web page can be visualised as a set of nested containers. For example, the page you are reading has the following structure:
Here the outer grey box is the main page content, in this case centered in the browser window. As far as TCMS is concerned this is a template that contains three other templates but has no actual textual content of its own. The yellow box at the top is the masthead template, which contains an image and some text. The green box on the left is the menu template, which doesn't have content in the normal sense as it's job is special. And the three rust-coloured boxes are the content for three different pages that can be selected from the menu, all sharing one content template.
In a typical website built using TCMS these templates are created by a PHP programmer (often using a design taken from a library of site designs), as a set of files designed to work together. Your job as editor is to add the page content, and if the programmer's job has been done properly you need to know nothing about PHP to do it. You will be working entirely with text and images.
Next: First time run