Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Content Management Systems
Posted:9/29/1999; 1:49:03 PM
Topic:Content Management Systems
Msg #:11617
Prev/Next:11616 / 11618

I've been compiling a list of all the various content management systems available, free or otherwise. I don't know a lot about most of these systems, but am starting to evaluate each of them for a variety of uses.

Here's a chart:

From my perspective there are two types of CMS for people to use. The first is primarily for daily news publishing, where the content is central to the web site and each piece of data is treated pretty much the same. Frontier started out as a system like this but has evolved into much more. Home-grown systems like Squishdot, Zope, and several other open source CMS have some promising features, mostly the concept of treating data in an object-oriented way.

The second type of CMS to consider is the type that is designed specifically for e-commerce, retail management, and tends to encompas more features that are usually found in large e-commerce sites. Examples are Broadvision, WebObjects, and Vignette Storyserver. Often these systems are built using antiquated ideas about how data can be stored and how pieces of data can relate to each other. This, of course, works directly against the idea of filtering data based on a user profile or recommendation system (personalization).

What I'm quickly discovering is that no one CMS even comes close to doing everything I need. Nor are any of the enterprise packages customizable enough to shoehorn into an existing e-commerce web site. You either have to start from scratch with their system and spend loads of money re-configuring everything, or you have to start from scratch and build your own CMS.

What's promising is systems like Zope that are pretty configurable, have a fairly large and friendly developer community and don;t mind if you borrow their features and concepts to roll your own CMS. In fact, it's probably a good idea to build your own CMS on top of such systems that are designed for scalability.

Unforunately, the very systems that most e-commerce sites are using (Broadvision, Vignette, etc.) are so proprietary that you cannot really build on top of them. You have to wait for their developers to integrate your wishes/features (and pay them lot$) or you go without, while your competitors who built their own CMS are passing you by. A huge problem for enterprise CMS companies.

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