Project Manager at Invisible Site
14 January 2003 11:01am
If you're looking for a CMS for your organization, you might want to check out these resources for selecting a CMS.
1. Directory of CMS products: http://www.clueful.com.au/cgi-bin/cmsdirectory/browse/Products
2. CMS product matrix: http://www.d.umn.edu/~lcarlson/cms/matrix.html
3. The CMS watch top 40. Excellent reviews of the top CMS products: http://www.cmswatch.com/ContentManagement/Products/
4. Make a better CMS product decision with help from these resources (I wrote this article): http://www.techrepublic.com/article.jhtml?vf=ra&id=r00520020708goo01.htm&_requestid=90802
Hope this helps.
Director at Feels like mine
15 January 2003 14:11pm
You might also find it useful to read some of the discussions on http://www.cms-list.org/ - pretty active and informative
Also, I stumbled across this interesting article awhile back:
The gist is that custom built cms solutions are the way forward for most companies. Having spent years developing websites and intranets etc in a range of commercially available systems I'd be interested in hearing views on the commercial v bespoke debate. Big commercial systems can be overkill for a clients needs and besides they never seem to do everything they promise 'out of the box'. Every solution needs major adaptation to meet client requirments so are big cms systems only suitable for big clients? Should most others concentrate on building bespoke so that they can focus better on requirements and not try to utilise something that is supposed to be an 'encompass all' platform?
Lately I have been leaner towards the custom build argument though this can entail a massive job from the outset - obviously it's all very much client dependant though.
Any thoughts? Or maybe this has been discussed on e-consultancy somewhere before?
Director of User Experience at Isotoma
20 January 2003 18:50pm
Thanks for those links, Geoff! I've found that top 40 handy myself several times when encountering a name I haven't heard of before.
I'd also recommend the following site (no affiliation):
The three latest papers at
- Looking towards the future of content management
- Putting metadata to work
- Why every small website needs a CMS
are all well worth reading. I check their Column Two blog quite frequently:
I also second Bruce's recommendation of the cms-list. Some very smart people there.
CEO at Econsultancy
21 January 2003 13:06pm
2 others that might come in handy:
1. http://metatorial.com/Papers/papers.asp - lots of relevant papers etc. there (but no lists of vendors)
2. Phil Suh's presentation on "Choosing a Content Management Platform" which makes a good introductory guide.
21 January 2003 13:36pm
David Walker is always worth a read...
It is an interesting, and very topical, question that you raise on commercial vs. bespoke CMS. The usual arguments are true on whether to buy or build but it has been made an even harder decision because of the way the CMS market has evolved and is evolving. And, indeed, the longer term impact that Web Services, component code, open source and the like are having on all application deployment decisions, not just CMS.
In my experience, the following are certainly true:
- you shouldn't always believe what the analysts say. There often seems to be an over-emphasis on product 'features' as if they were all that mattered
- most important to the success of any CMS project are people and processes, not techology or the chosen CMS soluction, whether bought or built.
- 80% of the value in a typical bought CMS comes from 20% of what it can do. So Walker's comment that an in-house CMS could do "80 per cent of the job for 20 per cent of the money" is quite possible, even likely.
A few years ago the CMS market was clearer. You had the likes of Vignette, Interwoven, Broadvision, Documentum and ATG who serviced the big players for a big price - typically £500,000+. In fact, in the dot.com heyday they also serviced smaller players because those guys had the money at the time. There wasn't really a mid or lower-end of the market then. You built your own. Or you used basic tools like FrontPage or Dreamweaver.
Now, those bigger players continue to service the enterprise market and there are good arguments for big enterprises to buy rather than build. But it is the mid and lower end of the market where the decision is harder, I believe. There are now a whole range of solutions available from CMSs which agencies have productised from code they've created in the past, there are open source products, there are ASP solutions, there are new vendors. For some sites even blogging software will do the job.
Confronted with this array of offerings, I have to say that I tend to err in favour of building rather than borrowing/buying. At least I know what we're in for. Perhaps as the market settles and better supported, better known, more reliably funded vendors and solutions emerge, I'll be more inclined to buy again. However, the build work has become easier as there are plenty of good and experienced programmers around now with libraries of code to quickly put together a reliable system. Perhaps we will be patching together a solution from available web services?
Despite the minefield of vendor selection, I would still say that the most important thing is to effectively identify the needs and requirements (based on a business case) of any CMS solution. If you have that, it makes the selection process somewhat easier.
21 January 2003 20:23pm
Just as a p.s. an interesting article on this topic at http://www.fryolator.com/viewArticle.jsp?aid=11
21 January 2003 21:01pm
A couple more good ones:
1. http://wysiwyg.skybuilders.com/cms/Resources.html - good CMS "resource of resources" for vendors, articles, books etc.
2. http://www.bris.ac.uk/is/projects/cms/ttw/ttw.html - good if you're interested in "TTW WYSIWYG Editors" - that's TTW ("through the web" - it works within a browser) and WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get" - you don't see HTML).
3. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,488082,00.asp - useful PDF directory here giving a guide to the major content management providers at each price level.
22 January 2003 09:31am
>3. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,488082,00.asp -
>useful PDF directory here giving a guide to the major
>content management providers at each price level.
Interestingly, this list doesn't include the CMS used by a major client that I'm currently working with, even though it claims to be the "leading European provider of advanced XML-based enterprise content management software", and is certainly priced in that range. That doesn't surprise me, though, given the paucity of independent information I've been able to find about it on the web.
That's one thing about "enterprise" CMS vendors -- they are very cagey with information about themselves. That was the subject of a very interesting recent post by Joseph Martins on the CMS-list [Thu, 9 Jan 2003 07:44:13 -0500]. Some quotes (hopefully fair use):
"[...] you've probably noticed by now that most of the larger
CM vendors, namely Documentum, Stellent, Divine, Vignette, and Interwoven, aren't very hospitable to non-clients/non-partners when it comes to detailed information about their products.
"Sure they'll talk to you if they believe you're serious about buying a CMS, but what if you're in the early stages of your research, or developing your CM requirements, or you're writing a comparative analysis, article, or thesis on CM, or you simply need more detail than you know you're going to get from a sales presentation - what do you do? [...]
"What really helps is to read the actual installation, admin, and user documentation. [...]
"Unfortunately, many vendors, especially the larger vendors, like to guard their documentation behind login access to "customer support" sites - an unbelievably poor practice that continues to this day. "
Usefully, he provides URLs of where documentation of the above product lines can in fact be obtained -- not from the vendors! Let me know if anyone is interested in these; I wouldn't want publicising them to jeopardise their availability.
The post concludes,
"Never trust an organization that hides its end-user documentation behind a customer log-in. You may find out later that it wasn't worth the price of admission."
On a related note, another quote, from Net pundit Joe Clark:
"The larger CMSs are a kind of protection racket: You buy our system for six figures, and then you keep paying us every year to maintain your license, and also you'll have to hire a person trained in our ways to keep your system up and running. Fail to do any of that and your entire site crashes. It's extortion, really, and high-end CMSs are dogs in so many ways - they can't produce valid code, their URLs are appalling, and they are difficult to use. In essence, big CMSs are mainframe systems, with the same need for constant nursing and non-stop tending by codependent system administrators as those old mainframes. "
On the other end of the scale, my brother uses Plone on the open-source Zope platform, and is quite evangelical about its merits.
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