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Saturday, August 21, 2010

A CMS is Not Out-of-the-box Software

This morning I was doing a "Saturday" clean out of some old files and came across this snippet from Namahn regarding Content Management Systems (CMS). I originally came across this around mid-2009:

"Moreover a CMS is almost never a piece of software that comes out-of-the-box. Rather it is a platform/framework for building a custom content application based on an organisation’s needs."

Only for the simplest websites, is a CMS going to work out of the box. I have yet to be involved in a CMS project where there's not some customization required.

"To define the architecture of a CMS and the features it has to offer, you need to figure out how corporate content is created, how it travels through its lifespan, and the uses to which it is put. And because corporate content is created, maintained and used by humans, it is mandatory to define the different interactions people have with documents."

Most of the open source CMS platforms don't address the life cycle of the content. They are good at publishing the content, but never the workflow. Really they should be called Website Publishing Systems (WPS), not Content Management Systems. It would be nice to see more work in this area in the open source realm.

The "white paper" is worth a read if you're trying to get beyond the basics of content management.

Developing Ruby on Rails applications and custom Content Management Systems in Montréal. Contact Firsthand.