Enterprise Web Content Management Smack Down

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This week it seems Im finding a lot of links related to head to head vendor competitions, tournaments, and now in your face smackdowns:

It all started when CMS Watch’s Kas Thomas posted his “reality checklist” for CMS vendors. Each vendor should ask themselves 15 tough questions about their product. Now one particular vendor Day has put down the challenge to all other CMS vendors, the CMS Vendor meme, to answer the questions from the check list. Surprisingly, this challenge elicited a wave of responses from Day’s competitors; among them Alfresco,  Jahia, Nuxeo, Knowledgetree, and even the incumbents such as Vignette, Autonomy Interwoven and others. Most of them were done tongue-in-cheek, with some good natured competitive trash talking thrown in for good measure. They are interesting in that they provides a nice peek into the cultures and attitudes of the vendors and how they assess their own product.

Blogger Julian Wraith posts a scoreboard in his blog. As of the time of this posting, the results are (remember most of the vendors rated themselves on the vendor evaluation checklist posed by Kaz Thomas):

  1. 43/45 – Jahia
  2. 43/45 – Hippo CMS
  3. 42/45 – Magnolia
  4. 42/45 – EPiServer
  5. 42/45 – GX *
  6. 42/45 – Midgard
  7. 42/45 – Nuxeo **
  8. 41/45 – infopark
  9. 41/45 – KnowledgeTree
  10. 40.5/45 – Enano
  11. 40/45 – Day
  12. 40/45 – Alfresco
  13. 40/45 – GX
  14. 40/45 – CoreMedia
  15. 40/45 – Sitecore
  16. 40/45 – Alterian
  17. 40/45 – OpenText
  18. 40/45 – Ez Systems
  19. 38/45 – dotCMS
  20. 37/45 – Vignette
  21. 37/45 – Autonomy Interwoven
  22. 36/45 – Escenic
  • bold scores are where the vendor did not score themselves but it was subsequentally worked out by Jon Marks
  • * Score adjusted to reflect original scoring system
  • ** Vendor does not seem to be able to add up

Here is the full text of the checklist:

Trends: A reality checklist for vendors

Web CMS vendors live at an interesting intersection between the new and the old: They live with one foot firmly planted in the enterprise-software world (a world of servers and routers and black console screens with flashing cursors), and the other foot planted on the Flashy, fast-shifting ground of the Internet.The two worlds are diverging rapidly. Traditional enterprise software development (the kind associated with “programming in the large”) tends to be slow, costly, inflexible. Solution sales, marketing, and support tend to be correspondingly process-heavy and inertia-laden. The Web, on the other hand, is agile, fun, and friction-free. It has changed the way people look at computing. It has changed expectations (and conversations) around marketing, pricing, maintenance, support, and just about every other aspect of the enterprise-software experience.

And yet somehow, software vendors who should know better (again: vendors in the Web CMS space) are sometimes failing to perceive how profoundly things have changed in the past year or so.

As a public service, then, I propose the following “reality-check checklist” for Web CMS vendors (and other enterprise software vendors) who intend to stay afloat — if not prosper — in 2009 and beyond. Violate these rules at your own risk.:


1. Our software comes with an installer program.

2. Installing or uninstalling our software does not require a reboot of your machine.

3. You can choose your locale and language at install time, and never have to see English again after that.

4. Eval versions of the latest edition(s) of our software are always available for download from the company website.

5. Our WCM software comes with a fully templated “sample web site” and sample workflows, which work out-of-the-box.

6. We ship a tutorial.

7. You can raise a support issue via a button, link, or menu command in our administrative interface.

8. All help files and documentation for the product are laid down as part of the install.

9. We run our entire company website using the latest version of our own WCM products.

10. Our salespeople understand how our products work.

11. Our software does what we say it does.

12. We don’t charge extra for our SDK.

13. Our licensing model is simple enough for a 5-year-old to understand.

14. We have one price sheet for all customers.

15. Our top executives are on Skype, Twitter, or some similar channel, and: Feel free to contact them directly at any time.

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The Ultimate Showdown of Open Source Web CMS

Drupal vs Joomla on wikistat
Image by bertboerland via Flickr

Im a bit behind on my blogging but thought to post this anyway even though it happened several weeks ago:

At the recent SXSW (or South by Southwest Conference), they recently held “the ultimate open source CMS showdown.” The format of the event was patterned after “Project Runway” and “The Iron Chef” reality shows where three teams of all-star Web developers were asked to build a Web site in each of their chosen platforms using a single design concept (in this case provided by the award winning Mark Boulton Design studios) and project specification (a fictional nonprofit). Participants came from the camps of three of the best known and most widely used open source CMS projects out there: Drupal, Joomla and WordPress.

The session included walkthroughs of all three sites and the teams were given time to present how they tackled development and execution of the projetct specs. At the end of the session, judges were asked to decide the best platform and best execution of the concept.

The results? Check it out here:

What’s New | The Ultimate Showdown of Content Management System Destiny

March 17, 2009, 4:45pm – New page outlining the competition, with links to the project spec, designs, and SXSW slides added.

March 17, 2009, 4:00pm – Another great article on the Showdown from CMS Wire.

March 16, 2009, 11:59pm – Great article about the SXSW Showdown on CMS Critic.

March 16, 2009, 2:00pm – It’s been just over an hour since the conclusion of the Ultimate Showdown of Content Management System Destiny panel at SXSW Interactive, and already the Internets are abuzz speculating about who “won” the competition between Drupal, Joomla!, and WordPress. We had an overflow audience for the session, and at the end when it came to asking the audience to pick a winner, an amazing thing happened: they refused to decide, saying they wanted to learn more about all three projects before rendering a verdict.

You can find the contest details, the participants and mechanics here. An analysis of the results can be found here.

The respective entries of the differemt teams can be viewed online at the following URLs:

You be the judge!

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Is Drupal the Linux of the Web Content Management World?

The guys over at Lullabot just posted a series of FREE videos from their Do it with Drupal conference late part of last year where they redo 37Signal’s Basecamp in Drupal. Last time they did a Flickr clone in Drupal and also did a Twitter-like microblogging website in Drupal.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Drupal is slowly going beyond just being an open source web CMS and is becoming a web application platform in its own right. It works great as malleable, customizable, collaborative/social networking application platform for the web. Core members want Drupal to be a de facto platform for the Internet–just as Apache and Linux are now. Not bad for a completely community-supported project.

Recently Drupal project author Dries Butaert started a company called Acquia to provide commercial support for the project. A channel program for ISVs and Integrators has also been launched middle of last year. Its interesting to see what the future will bring for Drupal. Can Drupal become the next Linux and will Acquia be the next Red Hat of the web content management world?

25 Concrete5 Powered Sites

C5mix has compiled a list of 25 Concrete5-powered websites, including the project I’ve been working on with Concrete5. Check it out here.


Trying out concrete5

Im having a go at a new open source content management system called concrete5. I ported our company website from our old homegrown CMS to this new platform as the old one was getting to be a pain to manage and update.

Was pleasantly surprised at how relatively easy it was. I’ll have you know that I am not a neophyte when it comes to dynamic content management systems. I’ve practically installed and tried out most of the popular ones, and have put into production for some clients most of them. The list of platforms I have worked with include PHP-Nuke, PostNuke, WordPress, Mambo, Joomla, Alfresco, Nuxeo, Magnolia, DotNetNuke, and Drupal.

While some are standouts in terms of specific capabilities and features, none have met my personal need for something quick and simple enough to setup and migrate my old website to. None except for concrete5.

Concrete5 is unique in that the CMS flows or wraps nicely around your design. Other CMS usually force the developer to adjust to the structure and design of the application. It has really clean code, a consistent API for common functions, and neatly separates presentation from logic adopting an extensible MVC (ala Cake or Code Igniter) architecture. It has a slick and fast interface using a lot of AJAX effects (via jQuery).

Its really stable, having been around for many years, in its previous incarnation being a proprietary CMS for a web design studio. They just recently released it as open source–breaking away from most projects in that they use the really permissive MIT License (instead of the viral GPL).

Some neat features I found to be really fun:

  • In-Context, WYSIWYG Editing
  • Granular Access Control
  • Users & Groups. Community on your site is built right in.
  • Customizable Metadata for both Pages and Users.
  • Extensible features such as galleries, blocks, login pages, forms, etc.

The port took about 2 days, with the rest of the content another 5 days (probably less if I did it full time). The project I am working on is now featured in concrete5’s Showcase section.

Hope to contribute back to the project some of the modifications I did such as a Suckerfish style nav, custom blocks, and possibly work on new themes.