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Programming IT Technology

Content Management Nightmares 280

bildstorm writes "I've recently been looking into content management systems for my company and have found that there are all kinds of systems out there. I've found that most Americans consider web content management to be the catch all for content management (like Interwoven). In Europe, I've noticed that what's referred to as digital asset management is what is usually meant by content management (like Artesia). Has anyone used any of these systems well? For more than just web content? Has anyone tried any open source systems and used them well? I know there is a conference in Zurich next month for open source content management, but I don't know much about the products."
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Content Management Nightmares

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  • Zopealicious (Score:4, Informative)

    by the_rev_matt ( 239420 ) <slashbot AT revmatt DOT com> on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:22PM (#3235073) Homepage
    I've been using Zope [zope.org] for about 3 years now (IIRC). In addition to web content, it also handles .doc, .pdf, and media files.
    Favorite things about Zope:
    • Everything is an object
    • Dublin core metadata
    • extremely granular security
    • 100% customizable w/Python/Perl/C
    • XML
    • XML-RPC
    • lots of great open source products [zope.org] (essentially plug-ins to the app server).

    • Re:Zopealicious (Score:3, Informative)

      by stephend ( 1735 )
      Zope isn't a content management system.
      • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:52PM (#3235340) Homepage
        Correct, Zope is more of an app server. CMF (Content Management Framework) is a plug-in for Zope. Considering it's all free for the taking, anyone interested in content management would be foolish to pass up the chance to evaluate the Zope + CMF option.
        • Quite true, though you can also roll your own content management (which is what I did before CMF 1.0 came out). Squishdot is another option, and there are products for a variety of portal-types and specific content management (MyMediaManager, KM NetNews, etc) within Zope as well.
        • That's pretty much the case for most general purpose CMS (rather than something site-type specific like Slashcode, PHPWebsite or whatever). Whether you're talking about Zope or Vignette, you're still essentially getting a high-level toolkit, with some nice APIs to handle stuff at the level of user authentication, workflow capability and so on.

          You're still going to have to put something on top to run your site, whether it's a higher-level still toolkit like CMF [zope.org] (Content Management Framework, note) for Zope, or Multisite Content Manager [vignette.com] (previously known as Enterprise Application Portal) for Vignette.

    • Everything is an object

      Wow, an OO webportal! I've been waiting for this.

      I've toyed with the idea of creating an open source J2EE webportaling/weblogger program. Does Python have the persistance caching and other advantages J2EE has?
      • Does Python have the persistance caching and other advantages J2EE has?

        Yes. Check out ZEO (used by zope). The Z in ZEO is a bit of a misnomer, since you can easily use ZEO with regular python code (separate from zope), and transparently get the persistence you're looking for.
        • Just to follow up to myself (before I get flamed). The transparency thing isn't exactly true. There are a few things you have to be careful of, namely modifying lists or dictionaries that are members of persistent objects without marking them as dirty (or you can just use PersistentLists or PersistentMappings instead). There are a few other minor issues with some special python methods and extension classes, but they are just that...minor. ZODB/ZEO is extremely transparent to use, and kicks some major ass.
      • Re:Zopealicious (Score:2, Informative)

        by ZeroHero0H ( 454423 )

        In Zope, objects that inherit from the Persistent class are automatically persisted; you dont have to do anything magic yourself (unless you want to have objects that can sort of 'auto-upgrade' themselves when new software installed -- there are hooks for that. Just about every Zope object inherits from the Persistent class.

        In addition, Zope is transactional; so if two threads both attempt to update the same persistent object, one thread will be aborted and automatically retried if the object doesn't support a conflict-resolution protocol. Smart objects like web counters can implement that protocol, because the important information is "plus one" rather than any specific value. The ability to do an automatic rollback and retry takes a lot of the headaches out of trying to do transactional programming yourself. The transaction awareness extends to RDBMS adapters, so any participating RDBMS is also rolled back or commited as appropriate.

        Zope has a fairly extensive caching mechanism to help cache both objects, and rendered content. In a large volume site, you still want squid out front though, because squid is a much more efficient page caching engine.

        I can't speak for the various other offerings out there; other than I advise strongly against drinking the kool-aid.

    • ActiveWeb (Score:3, Informative)

      by zpengo ( 99887 )
      ActiveWeb [activeweb.mis.de], a German company, has a great content management system that covers digital assets as well as content management. Its granular workflow and security features allow you to fully customize who sees what, and templates, preferences, and other features let you dynamically change how they see it. A great product for the money.
    • I came into it a few months ago knowing nothing about programming. With very little time, I was able to put together some impressive demos.

      Zope seems like the real deal when it comes to Open Source companies. They release for free and then do commercial add-on and support. Cool stuff.

      Zope has two sites: Zope.com [zope.com] and Zope.org [zope.org]. Send your developers to Zope.org and your boss to Zope.com.

      .org is their community development site (which also runs on Zope). It is a very active very homey collaborative environment.

      .com is the suit-friendly corporate face of Zope. This is where you send your boss to assure him that you can get commercial support / training. Zope certification will begin soon. This is one of the few certification programs that I'm ever likely to even consider.

      All in all, Zope is a really solid piece of software. The new CMF does a great job of separating roles. Don't forget to visit the Demos [zope.com] (very informative).

      Good luck with Zope. You will not ever regret using it.


      -Peter

  • by Big_Daddy_CBT ( 555808 ) <kris_rockwell AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk> on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:23PM (#3235074)
    Look at the AICC [aicc.org] website for information on this topic. I know that at the last meeting this was a big topic, and I believe that even Artesia was there. There is another firm that I am aware of that actually has a product that will convert Powerpoint and PDF files to the SWF format and catalog all of the contents into their management system. I don't want to say too much as I think it is still in beta and there is an NDA, blah, blah, blah.

    This is becoming a larger and larger issue among companies. I know of one company that is spending close to $3 Million US to get their content organized. In addition, I think there is also a movement to integrate Content Management Systems with Learning Management Systems. I guess this is a good idea.

    Kris

  • by DONGYRN ( 66909 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:23PM (#3235081) Homepage
    ...to set up and configure, especially (gack) on Windows, but once it is running it is an incredibly powerful tool. Currently running on Solaris, has Linux and HP-UX variant as well. Eminent customization and power comes with a price though. A very high one at that. Have looked at a promising app by eGrail that seemed to be competitive and at a fraction of the cost, but wasn't quite ready for prime-time (this was a year or so ago, things might have changed since...)
  • by michaeldouma ( 311409 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:24PM (#3235088) Homepage
    There are heaps of these bloated systems. For a while, Vignette's system [vignette.com] (formerly called Story Server) was a leader. Many outfits build their own, for example, based on Oracle. A colleague has recently installing Microsoft Content Management Server [microsoft.com] for a large government client, and he has been remarkably impressed.
    • Was: NCompass (Score:3, Informative)

      by Otis_INF ( 130595 )
      The MS CM version today is a souped up NCompass version, since MS bought NCompass and changed the name into MS Content Management Server. It's ok, but page-focussed (not good IMHO, since a page is a collection of data-elements that are VIEWED by the page but are not part of it), and quite expensive ($35,000.- per CPU)
    • by UNFAIRMAN ( 470301 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @01:04PM (#3235458)
      I am sitting in the back of an MS CMS training class as I write this. I've been taking notes on the issues, and here's what I've got so far:
      • Searching - You can't use the MS Indexing Service because everything is in a database, and SharePoint can't be used if you are using Exchange Enterprise. Therefore, there is no way to do a free-form search.
      • Licences - Their "Best Practices" shows a dev server, an authoring server, a QA server, and a series of production servers - at the low low price of $35K per processor.
      • Other Web-based Content - MS CMS is great for content, and not very good for everything else. Two memebers of the class have been struggling to get a couple of simple ASP pages to work within the CMS structure. Apparently each mage must be implemented as a "Template". What a pain.
      • Multiple Domains - CMS can only host one domain per box. If you want a second domain, get a second box.
      • More to come - ...and I've got another day to go!
      To be fair, there is plenty to recommend the tool - it will be great for technically challenged users who have knowledge that needs to be published. However, with the technical rough edges, I would wait for the next version.
  • by utunga ( 113450 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:26PM (#3235097) Homepage
    weeell.. the first thing you need to understand is that some of these content management systems are really toolkits, some are more out-of-the box experiences... its kinda a spectrum.

    my opinion - beware the hell of out of box stuff, (like red dot), you wanna budget about 50/50 buy vs build (or, better still save half your budget and use an open source system)

    the open source alternatives, arsdigita, midgard, Zope Content Framework, are really every bit as good as the mid range CMS systems, but if the bureacracy is gonna wanna spend 400,000 dollars on a CMS systems like Vignette (bleech!) then nobody's gonna stop them.

    <not a troll, no really>everybody, of course, is keeping a damn close eye on Microsoft, and their systyem is really shaping up, i gotta say, (if you like that sort of thing </not a troll>

    if you want more, good info, check out cmswatch.com [cmswatch.com] and *the*, definitive cms-list [camworld.com]

    • Having used Site Server 2.0, and the Rudimentary Content Management that sucked rocks in Site Server 3.0 I've gotta say Microsoft Sharepoint Portal Server (Site Server 4.0 essentially) Rocks.

      It's improved tremendously in this iteration, although there's still room for improvement. see http://www.zdnet.com/supercenter/stories/review/0, 12070,475696,00.html [zdnet.com]

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Sharepoint is a worthless piece of crap.
        1. Application critical information stored in Access (go have a look, it's amusing and terrifying)
        2. Easy to make work exactly the way MS wants it to work, an enormous pain in the rectum to make work in any other way (i.e., changing the template layouts, etc)
        3. Requisite office XP to really take advantage of the application

        All the packaged content management systems suck,t hough. After a certian point, it's easier just to pick some decent base libraries or app server platform and roll your own. It will do what you want, you can see your source code, and you might be able to make ungodly sums of money later reselling it (Vignette).
        • What you've said is grossly innacurate.

          1. Information is stored in _Jet_. Jet is not access, it's also the current datastore for Exchange, which scales rather well if you hadn't noticed. (Site server 3.0 used Access and is a horse of an entirely different color and shape)

          2. Digital dashboard makes 80% of the interface easy to manage and change in a drag n drop fashion. The other 20% is XML/XSL exposed and rather easy to program for if you've got a microsoft background.

          3. Office XP makes for the BEST user experience, but Portal Server works okay with a web only submission method (IE or Netscape), and fairly well with 98/2000/XP with the portal server Client installed on it. You've just gotta behave well in a check-in/check-out document management system.

          Haveing 'picked base libraries' and built my own, this is MUCH better.
  • ..is implemented with a magic program called, "bash" and few of its friends.

    I can search by content (grep). I can search by date (find). I can filter to other types (sed). I can assign hiearchical meaning to records (mkdir).

    I can even assign meaning by fields with the '=' operator, source the file with '.' and deference environment varibles!

    Works great. I've implemented a change control system, a BBS (threads, fancy search engine, and all!), a user management system, a product management system and a bunch of other cool things with it.

    Right now most of those systems support formatted plain text and html as output. But I could add an XYZ module with almost no effort.

    So it's not secure. Nobody said anything about security.
    • The problem, of course, is that you can do all those things. In general, the point of installing content management is so you can continue doing important things instead of changing the order and size of the execs' photos on the "about our company" page.

      • I'd wind up doing those changes myself whether I had a fancy content management system or not. If I had gotten one, I would have had to learn how to use it effectively, which probably would have taken a lot more time than banging out a few shell scripts.

        But the BEST part: the execs understand that the CM is put together in shell, and that there is only so much it can do. (Well, that's what they think ;-). They're just happy because they got it for "free" (as in beer). So, it stops a WHOLE PILE of moronic requests, like...

        ..can you change the "alert" button to blue?
        ..can you write a cache of user data on the guy's harddrive?
        ..can't you just see if the guy's using netscape, and if he is, load the page in IE?
        ..can you change the brower's borders to match the site layout?
        ..can you make the confirm dialog box use Arial fonts?
        ..can you generate thumbnails for the mp3s?

        (etc, ad nauseum)
    • and add CVS to that and your running the show...
    • ..is implemented with a magic program called, "bash" and few of its friends.

      And how has your user community accepted this?
      How much was invested for training?
      How have you been finding it w.r.t. scalability and concurrent use?

      Just curious. Having worked for a now defunct Web-based CM product [netscape.com], CM acceptance is not dictated by programmers anymore ;-)

      [I hate everything, I just hate Linux less.]

      • > And how has your user community accepted this?

        Happily! Before, we didn't have any content. Well, just a billion emails going everywhere and nobody knew what was going on. Of course, there was no budget for a CM system, so I "invented" one in my spare time that was put together with incredible speed.

        > How much was invested for training?

        Zero. Everybody who uses it also happens to be a unix systems programmer.

        > How have you been finding it w.r.t. scalability and concurrent use?

        Concurrent use problems were solved by doing all writes with a 10-line C program which blocks until it acquires an exclusive lock on the file.

        ("echo | copylock filename" instead of "echo >> filename")

        Also, there are no "writes" to the data records, only appends. This happily also gets you a shell-parsable (while read line do eval blah done) revision model. Yay!

        Reads never seemed to be an issue.

        Scalability? Well, it scales big enough for what we do. A few hundred users, a little tiny overloaded linux box... It still works. If it ever stops working, then we'll "profile" the app (top) and move whatever pieces are sucking CPU into C.

        The UNIX filesystem, though, seems to be a decent way to store data.

  • CityDesk... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xtermz ( 234073 )
    ..I'll admit, I've never used it, but just from reading about it, and knowing who the main architect [joelonsoftware.com] is, it seems like a pretty decent product.

    Check it out here :CityDesk [fogcreek.com]
  • Interwoven TeamSite (Score:5, Informative)

    by ari{Dal} ( 68669 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:30PM (#3235139)
    is what we use here. And I'm actually the one in charge of it.
    A few things to make note of:

    1) it's a good product, AS LONG AS SOMEONE QUALIFIED INSTALLS IT. Our installation job was completely botched by the company that did it, and it ended up being practically unusable. We had to hire contractors to fix it. Whatever software you end up choosing, make sure someone certified by the company installs it. It's more expensive up front, but will save you endless hassles and cost much less in the long run. For god's sake whatever you do, don't assume it's just like installing any other software and any bonehead can do it. It's just too complex for that.

    2) For whoever will be managing the software: either hire someone certified by the company, or send the person who'll be managing it on as many training courses provided by the company as possible. The more they know, the better. For interwoven, a knowledge of PERL, XML, DTDs, and some sysadmin type capabilities are a must. Familiarity with JAVA is a definate asset.

    3) TeamSite is a great product for straight ahead, content management, but if you want any bulk functionality, you'll need to do extensive customization. It's meant for one-at-a-time changes. A good PERL programmer will save you a lot of headaches in this area.

    4) $$$$$. Any good content management software is going to cost you through the nose in training, installation, and the software itself. Expect it, deal with it. Make sure the marketing pinheads know it.

    5) Get the tech support, you'll need it.

    6) TRAINING TRAINING AND MORE TRAINING. Make sure the editors take at least a basic training course in using the TS GUI, or your manager will spend 95% of his/her time fielding calls from frustrated content editors who don't understand what a DCR (Data Content Record) is, and don't know how to unlock a file.

    7) Last, and most importantly, install it on solaris. Do not, under any circumstances, install it on WINNT. Gah.

    There are a lot of good resources out there for TS. It's a popular product, and I'm on a few mailing lists that are quite helpful.

    If you have any questions about TS, you can email me privately and I'll do my best to answer them.
    • Any good content management software is going to cost you through the nose in training, installation, and the software itself. Expect it, deal with it.

      I've looked at teamsite and some other products like it. Personally I think that "good content management software" should, well, make it easy to manage content. In other words, it should not cost you through the nose in training, or preferably in installation and upkeep.

      When content management systems cost so much and require so much training, it might just be better to develop clear, simple methodologies and rules about how to do things, and train your staff in those. Just keeping a well thought-out directory structure and rules about files names and where to put stuff can go a hell of a long way easing "content management".

      And for those that respond, "That's ok for a small amount of content, but what about millions of files?" Well, simple procedures and rules can scale up. After all, with just an hour of training, anyone can find a book in an old fashioned library and know where to put it back again - even a massive library with millions of books. The trouble is these days we expect an 'automatic' solution to everything, when very well thought out, simple processes and a bit of care and attention will do a better job and not "cost you through the nose in training, installation, and the software itself".

      Just ask a librarian.
      • by ari{Dal} ( 68669 )
        Personally I think that "good content management software" should, well, make it easy to manage content. In other words, it should not cost you through the nose in training, or preferably in installation and upkeep.


        While minimal training is fine for the lowest level of users (the TS gui is pretty slick for those who are simple authors...), its when you actually have to get into the guts of the program that the training becomes essential.

        Creating templates for the users is one thing that I had to learn on my own, and would have been a lot easier for all concerned had i some training.

        On a higher level, you have the internal management of TS itself. It's a beast. Anyone who's thrown into taking care of it without any training.. well, I feel sorry for them. And those are the courses that cost in the range of 2k US each plus travel and hotel.

        TS itself is composed of many pieces: There's TS for simple content, Templating for creating templates (of course), DataDeploy for deploying to databases or XML files, OpenDeploy for deploying static content, and a myriad of other interrelating products that are difficult to figure out on your own. I know this intimately because this is exactly what I had to do. For the first three months, I was nearly in tears with frustration.

        Now that i've had some experience dealing with it, and have even installed it a few times just for kicks, I can comfortably say that I have a handle on it and that if it breaks, I can quickly find the problem. But it took me a LONG time to get here (almost a year now), even with a good knowledge of PERL and familiarity with unix environments, and the help of a great (and tolerant) sysadmin. If i'd had the complete training package, things would have gone much more smoothly.

        Any content management software is fairly complex in nature, but one with as much flexibility and as many componants as TS is on a level all its own. That's not to say it's bad... I can look back on my experiences now and say it was a good thing and I wouldn't take it back. But I'd think good and hard before placing anyone else in my position.
    • 1) it's a good product, AS LONG AS SOMEONE QUALIFIED INSTALLS IT. Our installation job was completely botched by the company that did it, and it ended up being practically unusable. We had to hire contractors to fix it. Whatever software you end up choosing, make sure someone certified by the company installs it. It's more expensive up front, but will save you endless hassles and cost much less in the long run. For god's sake whatever you do, don't assume it's just like installing any other software and any bonehead can do it. It's just too complex for that.

      I agree 100%. Installation and (especially configuration) isn't as easy as opening a GUI and fiddling with options. You have about 20 different config files, all in different formats (some are basically Perl include files, others are LISP like, yet others are XML, and more in a Windows .INI style). If you haven't had the training (I was on the "4.5 partner boot camp" with when I was working for my previous company about a year and a half ago) and the training material you're stuffed. There's no way you can learn this from the documentation.

      The more they know, the better. For interwoven, a knowledge of PERL, XML, DTDs, and some sysadmin type capabilities are a must. Familiarity with JAVA is a definate asset.

      Yep, definitely. TS's main language is iwperl, a slightly modified version of Perl. All your scripts use this to produce pages from your DCR's. The templates are a weird mix of HTML, XML and Perl.

      3) TeamSite is a great product for straight ahead, content management, but if you want any bulk functionality, you'll need to do extensive customization. It's meant for one-at-a-time changes. A good PERL programmer will save you a lot of headaches in this area.

      This is my main beef with the product (apart from the price). In fact, this applies to all the big CMS systems (Vignette, Broadvision). Considering the amount you pay, TeamSite really does stuff all.

      Whack CVS, a Perl templating toolkit, a few scripts to allow users to enter data, PostgreSQL and rsync, and you have a cheaper version of TeamSite that's probably easier to support and customise to your specific needs.

      4) $$$$$. Any good content management software is going to cost you through the nose in training, installation, and the software itself. Expect it, deal with it. Make sure the marketing pinheads know it.

      It's a hell of a lot of $$$'s. A typical install can run into the millions. You have to pay per user ($5000 for an editor/administrator, $1200 for a data entry monkey, IIRC. Aussie prices I think). I'm not sure of the price of Open/DataDeploy, and the base server is about $300k. Of course, it's all negotiable. If you're a "preferred customer", it'll probably be cheaper.

      There are a lot of good resources out there for TS. It's a popular product, and I'm on a few mailing lists that are quite helpful.

      That must have chamged considerably since I looked at it about a year and a half ago. It wasn't terribly popular, and there were no resources apart from Interwoven sites.
  • we just use CVS to manage everything. It may not have the scope of some of the larger systems but we all know how to use it (and there are purty web frontends ;))
  • beware of interwoven (Score:1, Interesting)

    by nuhonda ( 256188 )
    after spending close to $150,000 on an interwoven set up, we finally gave up the ghost and ripped it out last month.

    it has got to be one of the worst, most tempermental services i've ever used.

    the breaking point was after asking the IW consultant "how do we make and manage templates?" and having him reply:
    "you can't. you have to call us."

    we're now back (and quite happy) using out custom setup based on VSS, ASP, SQL Server and FTP via PERL Scripts.
  • I have been using Incyte [udpviper.com] for project management, seems to work pretty good.. and of course, it is open source.
  • Building a content management system in Lotus Domino is not too complicated a task for the average notes developer... Depends on what you're looking for...Workflow type stuff - domino is perfect for that...example - my company's web site is hosted on domino, any changes someone makes to it must be approved my several people and then the site is updated...
  • For small companies/small needs (not a lot of servers/content) I use simple Lotus Notes applications. For larger needs, I step up to Domino.Doc.

    Security, multi-platform support, workflow, automatic versioning, support for any number of content types, it's all in there.

    I looked at some other web content management systems, but the prices for Interwoven and similar were 6 figures or more. On a smaller scale, I was pretty impressed with RedDot [reddotsolutions.com], but still reverted back to Lotus Notes for product maturity and cost considerations.
    • For small companies/small needs (not a lot of servers/content) I use simple Lotus Notes applications. For larger needs, I step up to Domino.Doc.
      Agreed, but don't you know it is a violation of the Slashdot Code of Posting to suggest that Lotus Notes might be a viable solution to anything ;-) [Novell products too!].

      sPh

  • If someone says CA's CCC/Harvest in front of you, RUN, don't walk RUN!!!!!

  • Why dont you try the POSTNUKE system? http://www.postnuke.com Postnuke is GPL and very mature. It's PHP and SQL (lot of sql kinds)
    • Agreed... PostNuke is a very nice CMS and is maturing rapidly. Its definetely a case of successful open source development, which is in stark contrast to PHPNuke, from which is was forked.
    • Stick with the PHPNuke forks, especially PostNuke, as the original is terrible - major lack of security, code uncleanliness (and hence a lack of extensibility), etc. Just ask Wayne Hunt (wayne at amiga dot org) his views on it - he had his site hacked over and over again while he used Nuke.

      The PostNuke [postnuke.com] folks have been doing a great job of clearing up the code itself, a much better job than the phpWebSite guys at Appalacian State.
    • Ok, so I got postnuke and installed it, but I don't see the content management features. One of two reasons for this: 1) I'm not too bright and just don't see what I'm looking for 2) My definition of content management is different from yours.

      We're looking for a simple tool to share primarily MS Office documents. No real revision control necessary, just a web front end to a central repository for documents with the ability to show other users when someone has a document checked out for editing.

      Maybe it's available in a module?

      .
  • by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:35PM (#3235184)
    Back in 1994 I worked on a very large document management project. We surveyed 15 products then in the market. The project didn't go through for other reasons, but I thought at the time several of the products (particularly SoftSolutions) were pretty close to what was needed to sort out the chaotic nightmare of subdirectories and files scattered across dozens of file servers (Novell at that time - at least with Netware you had some access control and mapping functions you could use effectively - oops, wrong rant).

    Fast forward to 2002. Most of the document managment vendors from 1996 are gone. Now we have "content management", which seems fine as far as it goes but also seems (IMHO) to make the basic assumption that everything is, or will soon be, a web page. Management of plain old documents on plain old file servers (SANs now I guess) has been forgotten.

    Hello! Not everything is content! Not everything will eventually become a web page!! Would the "content management" vendors please remember plain old business documents?

    Thanks.

    sPh

    • Documentum has long been the leader in large scale "document management" and they are still around. They are probably overkill for small or medium sized businesses though.
    • From what I can see, many people need to be reminded it's not all HTML content, too! A particular example I can think of is telnetting- if you have employees RPGing online through IRC, or flash files from various sites. Some people I know who attempt content filtering do it only on http bound traffic!! Almost any of us /.ers could so easily find ways around this stuff.

      All I gotta say is thank God for AFS permissions when it comes to content management- a few netgroups and decently thought out tree makes things SO much easier to manage. :)
    • Note that a lot of the document management vendors are still around, they've simply morphed into "content management" vendors (Documentum, for example).
  • phpnuke. then theres oma - for media management ( realvideo, mp3, realaudio ). zope i heard is also nice, but i dont trust it under heavy load.
    there are loads of php/mysql related content management systems out there just look at freshmeat.
    one thing about PHPNuke - it's not really GPL, but you get the "source" with the download. one guy is the author of it and he's happy if you buy something for his amazon.com wishlist. You can customize it to pull of a site where your users can post articles, post comments as well as a site, where your staff posts articles, and users cant login / post comments. there are loads of "plugins" for it - galleries, and what else you can think of.
    just remeber to get this guy some cash if you use it commercially.
  • by Otis_INF ( 130595 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:38PM (#3235209) Homepage
    Most people have a problem defining 'content', or even 'information'. When I see an organisation struggling with their enormous pile of word documents full of sometimes vital information, I know there is something basicly wrong: the start of the storage of a bit of information (or better: a bit of data which can be interpret as 'information') is wrong in a lot of organisations, therefor the usability of this information is limited at best: to use it in expert systems, in general documents for print, in websites and f.e. in general database applications, it has to be extracted from the worddocument by external tools, which is not that easy in most situations.

    Some organisations try to use a 'content management system' (CMS) to transfer their pile of worddocs into data inside the CMS, which is then usable as 'content' for websites. However, this process is difficult and error-prone, and the end-result is not what most people want to have but another collided form of the data which was once stored into a huge pile of worddocs.

    Here in Europe you have a lot of different CMS's. Some large ones try to grab a lot of external data and 'publish' that on websites, mostly by offering worddoc/office document importers, others are build around 'data' and stick viewers on pieces of data, which can then be used in websites or anywhere else. How I see it is that there should be a general base of data-elements which make up the core base of data-elements for an organisation, which is used in all kinds of systems that use that data, including viewer applications for websites. My CMS (CESys) does this, also others like the Open Source CMS MMBase follow this approach. I think that's the way to go: it forces organisations to think about HOW to store data and how which data is used, instead of keeping organisations at the level of "when you want to store information, open word and start typing". Because: webpublishing is just connecting a viewer and a piece of data to get viewed by that viewer and with the proper storage of data it's an easy job to do.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm posting this anonymously because of the usual reasons related to my employment ...

    Another company which delivers a content mangement solution which integrates nicely into a web publishing and management environment is Blue Martini Software [bluemartini.com]. I've used their system on a few projects and it does a good job of managing content and pushing out new 'releases' when you have something new to publish. BMS currently drives some rather high-traffic websites, which if nothing else, proves their scalability.

    Yes, BMS in commercial software, but quite good at what it does; it also includes a sophisticated API and a (supposedly, haven't worked with it) quite good Data Mining tool, all of which is nicely integrated ...
  • by PinglePongle ( 8734 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:41PM (#3235237) Homepage
    Content Management Systems are golf-course-ware. It gets sold to senior executives by smooth-talking sales executives who claim their products solve every conceivable business problem, is a doddle to install, standards compliant, holographic user interfaces, everything.

    The reality is that this is an inherently complex field, which requires a huge amount of business-thinking before the technical solution even becomes relevant - how do you want to manage your content ? Do you have a requirement for workflow-style solutions ? Is revision control important ? Do you need collaborative features allowing several people to work on a document at the same time ? Do you have a knowledge management infrastructure so you can re-use an accepted taxonomy ? What are your security requirements ? Where does your content reside - is it largely "document" based, or is it mainly database-driven ? How technically sophisticated are your content generators ?

    Only after you have worked out what you want to do with your precious content should you consider what the technology can do for you - I suggest using any one of the myriad requirements gathering techniques used in software engineering and specify your "ideal" content management system, then drawing up a list of candidate technologies.

    If you start with "what can the technology do for me", you almost certainly will end up spending a lot of time and effort (and money !) and getting very little in return....

  • A while back, our company was looking into getting some content management software as well. This stuff (Hummingbird) [hummingbird.com] looked really cool, but our small (less than 50 people) company couldn't validate the tens of thousands of dollars we'd have to spend to get it, not to mention the several thousand per year fee to continue using it.
    You really have to ask yourself what you want. These software packages are REALLY expensive--sometimes more expensive than the annual salary for a new-grad CompSci major. Do you need all the features of a full-blown content management system, or do need something that someone at your company could dedicate some time to and write?
  • by Paul Lamere ( 21149 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:42PM (#3235250) Homepage Journal
    by getting my work done on time (which means I should probably read slashdot less).
  • InStranet (Score:2, Interesting)

    by clobdell ( 569311 )
    There's a great new product on the market by a company called InStranet (www.instranet.com) that uses an interesting approach to organizing the content; instead of securing the objects in a hierarchical fashion using ACLs, etc., they employ a multi-dimensional framework to organize and secure the content. It uses the same technology as a lot of business intelligence applications on the market and is far more robust than Interwoven or any of the other behemoths on the market. Something to keep in mind is that a lot of products like Interwoven et al. utilize a proprietary repository for storing the information. So, you can only access your content through their application. InStranet uses Oracle or DB2 so you have greater flexibility in customizing your app. Much better choice if you don't want to get locked into one company's app.
  • For newspaper / magazine / journal / news sites, consider PROPS [sourceforge.net]. PHP/MySQL/GPL.
  • As we're all experts here, I should point out that content management seems to be just a new buzzword for boring old configuration management with bells and whistles on.

    You might therefore want to consider a configuration management system (CMS). Some of the CMS vendors relaunched their tools as content management systems during the dotcom bubble. You might want to look at them. Continuus (now Telelogic [telelogic.com]) did this, for example. And, of course, you could take the cheap and Open road and use CVS [cvshome.org]
    • As we're all experts here, I should point out that content management seems to be just a new buzzword for boring old configuration management with bells and whistles on.
      Sometimes it is used that way, but I would consider content managment (which seems linked to web site management) a subset of document management. Document management historically integrated storage, access control, and revision control for various types of documents ("objects" now I guess)

      sPh

  • Interesting Ask Slashdot: I'm going to be implementing a content management system pretty soon. While searching, I cam across Cofax [cofax.org]. The info blurb from their web site:
    Cofax is a powerful web based Content Management System used to edit and manage the Online Editions of 16+ Newspapers. It was developed as Open Source software. Majority of the code was written by Knight Ridder employees, with additional code contributed by others under an Open Source license.
    Cofax looks nice. It uses Java servlets, XML, and can use MySQL [smile.fr], which are all soft requirements. The nicest feature, courtesy of the servlet engine, is that you can plug it into an existing site without modifying URLs.

    But has anyone here used it? What's bad about it? What's good? What else is better?

    -B

    • I haven't used Cofax but I've studied it to an extent. We considered deploying it at one point, but opted instead to roll our own (linked in sig). While I of course can't resist plugging ours, I realize that not every one is looking for something written in PHP. So, you might find the list of other news site CMS's on this page [sourceforge.net] useful.

  • CityDesk (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dacmot ( 266348 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:56PM (#3235385)
    CityDesk [fogcreek.com] by our beloved Joel Spolsky seems like it may be powerful enough and quite easy to use (if it lives up to Joel's standards as he claims it does). I haven't tried it myself but you might want to look into it as it seems *much* cheaper than other content management software.

    • Given recent comments on here I'll bet Joel will appreciate a positive word or two!

      (My opinion? Some good points, some bad points. He's very much a shrink-wrap developer.)
    • Re:CityDesk (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have played around with it, and I think CityDesk is a worthwhile piece of software. There have been some recently minor fixes and it appears that it should be able to handle several hundred pages easily. Not sure I would use it for a large corporate web site, but it certainly isn't priced like a large CMS either.
    • I wouldn't use Citydesk for a major project requring an RDBMS, but for small websites it's the best. Most people using Frontpage or Fusion would be *much* happier with Citydesk.
  • One Issue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SomeOtherGuy ( 179082 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @12:56PM (#3235386) Journal
    I have seen with multiple content management applications is as follows:

    Most content managers create an AutoIndex feature that works similar "in theory" of a web search engine such as google. When adding static html files as objects into the system --- this works great because it is able to index the content of the HTML pages with pretty good "searchability" ... where it falls flat is when it comes to dynamic pages that rely on database queries and criteria for the content (.cfm, .php, .asp, etc.) At least on the "web side" of our content management process -- this is causing all sorts of issues when trying to add dynamic pages as objects into the various products. (We already have the source control issue handled with mks -- but since 90% of our pages are dynamic -- most of the benefits of traditional "content management" have yet to be realized in areas where the content gets created on the fly --- turns search engines to mush.)
  • Documentum has been doing content management before the web began. They provide Workflow/Lifecycle support, controlled document support(e-Signatures, SOPs, Change Request, Change notices), Web Publishing(take a document through a lifecycle until it reaches the published stage and then push it onto the web server), collaboration, digital asset management, portlets, and also syndication. It's pretty comprehensive if you can get everything working together correctly. A lot of the components are hobbled together, but at least it's a complete solution.
  • Web content management is one thing, but it doesn't go far enough for what I am working on. I have been looking into XML aware content management systems that chunk XML documents, and allow reuse of those chunks. For publishing to html, pdf, paper, and whatever might come out in the future. This is so documents created by multiple departments can be accessed by other departments, and reused by documentation groups for customer delivery. And, maintain consistency accross reused information.

    Some features I am looking for:
    1) XML based documentation.
    2) Multiple authoring tool compatibility.
    3) Standards compatibility
    4) Check-in/Check-out with release versioning a la CVS.

    One of the interesting points I have seen is that content management alone won't cut it. You have to have the leadership in the company to push through the cultural changes to get a real return on the investment. A big point of content management is to enable all groups in a company to share information and build on the knowledge of others. The term coined in the article I read is knowledge management. Contenet management is the tool to free up kowledge in the company from departmental web server and file servers and make it available to anyone who needs it.

    Dastardly
  • by Aaron M. Renn ( 539 ) <arenn@urbanophile.com> on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @01:00PM (#3235426) Homepage
    Here is an overview of the various flavors of content management:

    1. Content Management. A generic term for managing various types of content. It includes a system for managing digital content files (and perhaps offline content as well) along with metadata that describes the content. Usually workflow and security are included.

    2. Document Management. Content management focused on text documents, office automation documents, and scanned images. These tend to be very workflow oriented.

    3. Web Content Management. Obviously web focused content management that is oriented towards the web publishing process. Includes some workflow and usually publishing templates and perhaps a mechanism for actually publishing the content to the web server.

    4. Digital Asset Management. Focused on being an archive or digital library that other systems such as web content management can draw on. The focus is on re-purposing of content. Often these system are rich media focused and include facilities for transcoding content from one format to another dynamically.

    Hope this helps.
  • Documentum FileNet OpenText Autonamy (sort of...) Intrinsic Interleaf

    Have to say I mostly agree with those who saying 'define content'. What is it that you want to manage, and on what sort of scale? Most of the products above will cost you an utter fortune.

    I've spent a while in this. In 1992 I was doing document image processing, in 1993 document processing with workflow, in 1995 working for a company called the Content Management Corporation (now bust, came this close to getting a deal to be distributed as an Oracle add-in when Oracle web cartridges were being pushed). On top of that, many of my friends worked in the same area. One in particular, who I won't name, has worked in technical pre-sales for a couple of the above products and so knows them well.

    Basically, you must define content. You must define what you want to do with content - workflow, revision management, or just a glorified file system? And do take advice of posters above - the world is not composed soley of web pages.

    Incidently, I've been given some mod points for this particular thread - a thread on a subject I've been dealing with for eight years. I'll do my best to give away a few intelligent points here and there...

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • by The Pim ( 140414 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @01:05PM (#3235460)
    You absolutely have to understand that "content management" is a buzzword. That doesn't mean that these packages aren't useful; it just means that you have to look very closely at what they do in order to make a rational selection.

    The best definition I can come up with is that a CMS is anything that offers, in some form, with a reasonable level of integration, several of: content (especially file and data record) control (revision control, access control, triggers, backup), content entry, searching, workflow, templating, deployment, delivery (including personalization), and commerce support. Each of these is a category (perhaps a buzzword) in itself, and you'll have to research what they are and how useful they are to you. While all the vendors will say their products do it all (or--the next version will do it all!), each is stronger in some of these areas, weaker in others. They also vary greatly in the amount of out-of-box functionality, versus how much you need to build, and they differ in ease of extension.

    Frankly, it's really hard to make a good decision about these products without putting a lot of time into evaluating them against your needs. If you don't have a good idea of what you want from a system, you'll probably end up buying a lot that never gets used (happens all the time!), and missing out on a lot that could have been useful. So I'd work at defining your needs (talk to everyone who will use the system to see what they think a CMS does), then ask specific questions of the vendors, and try to demo the systems before making a decision.

    Also, learn the lingo. You actually can get information out of the marketing material, once you learn the code.

    Good luck.

    • Following up to my own post...

      The other critical thing to be aware of is that, compared to, say, your text editor, these CMS's are not mature products. They're bulky, slow, confusing, buggy, hard to install and administer. They're full of rushed, ill-conceived features. They usually have twisted histories that zigged and zagged based on major customer needs, stategy changes, marketing and technology fads, and bolt-on integration of acquired or licensed products--and it shows in a big way. (Welcome to the world of enterprise software!)

      When they say "easy to install", they mean it takes one consultant one day--and that's probably for a minimal install that won't do anything useful! When they say "easy to use", they mean that after you have done the install and some initial integration work, and if you have a capable administrator keeping an eye on things, then the business user will be able to get his work done.

      Be assured: There will be days when these systems drive you insane. On the bright side: After you've made them work, you can become a highly-paid CMS consultant!

  • formerly known as many different things....it's on sourceforge. it is an industrial strength CMS open source project that (in many different implementations) runs the content management for some large scale sites.

    Postgres/Mason/mod_perl/lots of other stuff...check it out. the developers working on it know what they are doing. stable as all get-out and a pretty intuitive UI, in my opinion.
  • I have been involved in development in and around the Documentum 4i document management system.

    I would like to state that I do not have any relation with Documentum.

    According to an entire army of market researchers, among which Gartner, Seybold, etc, Documentum is the most important document management system on the market (Gartner: max. vision + max. ability to execute).

    In my opinion the product is architecturally flawed and has serious shortcomings in terms of documentation (to say the least).

    Architecturally flawed: the product still bears a legacy of client server, or better, outdated client application (i.e. Desktop client) and so-and-so server.
    The so-called e-Content Server is in fact a topping of any major RDBMS (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2) which turns that RDBMS into an object-oriented DB and inserts and manages the usual document mgmt stuff into the DB: versioning, document life cycles, workflows, etc. Nothing extraordinary and one might ask why in heaven do they need to turn around the nicely structured relational database into a very intransparent OO DB.

    The webifying of the entire thing, because that is what Documentum is after right now, is strategically an absolute mess. I very often had the impression that Documentum itself does not know which direction to choose: J2EE? .NET? This is especially visible when integrating external databases into a website of which the content is managed through Documentum. Whether you choose Java (JavaBeans + JSP) or ASP to integrate the external databases does not really matter: pieces of code will be spreadled around in your DocBase (repository of documents, workflows, etc in Documentum slang) but also on your server (no, no, no, NOT controlled by your document management system). Documentum just does not provide a solution for integrating external databases (which need to be queried on your website) into your webcontent. You need to build up the framework yourself.

    Stability: the product is very unstable, server-wise as well as web-client wise. The client-server Desktop client is better but outdated.

    One could actually ask whether it is a product or a service you get in exchange of your million dollars or so. Sure you get some software but it requires a tremendous amount of "customisation". And, o yes, forget about getting a set of proven procedures etc. Documentum just shines in terms of absolute lack of documentation on best practice, methodology etc.

    An open look under the hood: Documentum is to a large extent a puzzle of software from other vendors. As said: 3rd party RDBMS (ok, we can live with that, SAP also uses mostly 3rd party DBs), 3rd party search engine for the repository (!!!), 3rd party PDF rendition software (!!!), 3rd party (OPEN SOURCE!!!) XML engine (Xalan or Xerces, I do not remember)...

    Can a company go for an open source content management system?

    Sure it can, especially since large chunks of a commercial document management system are based on open source. But that is the wrong question.

    Can the management of a company go for open source software?

    Usually not. Because open source poses a risk. Not so many have done it before, there are less highly paid consultants around which you can blame the failure on and besides Gartner says ...

    Just my few cents.

    • Architecturally flawed: the product still bears a legacy of client server, or better, outdated client application (i.e. Desktop client) and so-and-so server.
      Um, there was nothing wrong with the client/server model, and desktop clients often provide far superior functionality to the alternatives. You go into this yourself farther down when you discuss the move to "webify" the product in question. Web browsers are great for browsing; not so great for other things.

      sPh

  • Though a Brit invented the World Wide Web in Switzerland, it seems that Yankees only really understand how to commercialize it!
  • I run a mailing list [filsa.net] for people interested in content management. It was started by myself and my friend Cam [camworld.com] at OSCon in 2000, and has grow from the stack of about 35 business cards to a mid-sized list of about 1000 regular subscribers and more on digest. It's populated from some smart, articulate people and there is plenty of traffic these days.

    Recently we had some discussion about why or why not [filsa.net] use open source content management systems. There are many issues beyond technology in the content management world--the list in general tries to address all aspects of content management, though those conversations are often held in the context of costs and performance.

    The list is geared towards users of cms as well as the engineers/designers who admin and support the cms. Marketing to the list is forbidden. There's lots of interesting discussion in the archives [filsa.net]. The cms-list is moving to a new home, cms-list.org [cms-list.org], but for now, find it at cms.filsa.net [filsa.net].

    Phil Suh - cms-list Listmom

  • I breath CMS (Score:2, Informative)

    by SkyLeach ( 188871 )
    Or at least I have been for the past month+.

    I was tasked with evaluating and recommending a CMS on top of Weblogic Commerce Server/Personalization server/Campain server or whatever it's being called at the moment.

    After going through all the presentations, whacking at installs and demos, pouring over frameworks and reading through source code I have finally come down to the following recommendations, opinions, and other such stuff.

    Let's start with the definition. Is a CMS just supposed to store text, images and possibly other binary files, or does it store HTML and a framework as well? Every single one I have seen (ArsDigita, Zope/CMF Dogbowl, Fatwire, Stellant, Interwoven, etc...) have different ideas of what that means.

    I believe that a CMS and a CMF should be separate yet work together nicely. This concept only shows nicely on the Zope project, and not at all in the others I mentioned. Write your own framework or use the CMF Dogbowl, it's all yours to choose. All the others I mentioned force you to use their framework if you want to use their CMS. A CMF is an architectural framework implemented in a language on top of a framework. A CMS is an application written in any language you choose for storing content.

    Fatwire and Stellant are ok, but really bloated and untested. They do not perform well and are not even really out of beta yet. Interwoven does not perform much better and is priced somewhere past the moon. ArsDigita is ok from what I have seen, but nothing to write home about and lacks some of the functionality of Zope's CMF. That said I think it is a fine solution if you want to: go with it. Again you are forced to use their CMF if you use their CMS. Zope is my favorite because it's a CMS with other nifty tools like Python and DTML to boot. I can extend it and hack the source, both very nice features. They don't make me use their framework, but if I want to use it then I have a very nice one integrated and ready to bring online. The biggest benefits are discussed below, which was why I was so picky about our CMS.

    I also see things that are a mutation of the concept of a CMF and a framework, like Portal Server. This horrific idea by BEA of how to mangle productivity and make the overworked lives of web developers much worse is only more problems on top existing ones without offering anything to ease the pain. BEA's marketing department is using mind-control devices, however, and used them on my bosses convincing them to force me to use the beast.

    After learning (through great frustration) how to use Portal Server I have managed to implement a nice solution that minimizes the pain of administrating Portal Servers "portals". (I put that word in quotes because their "portals" are not Portals, but something else entirely which I have failed to properly quantify.)

    My solution was to create a pipeline to Zope through a wrapper library and an HTTP connection, a tag library, and bang-whip-zing I have a working CMS and I can pretend to use the Portal Server "framework" (NOT), while really using Zope's stuff. It looks like this in JSP:

    Now I pass of everything except actual java programming (like ERP access to corporate systems and in-house tools), to marketing to plug into Zope. I don't get called for "change this style sheet" questions anymore and yet I still have full control over everything.

    IMO, if you are going to use a CMS and you don't want to make your life hell use Zope. Otherwise, my second choice is to go with ArsDigita. The rest are just too knew to the game and way too bloated and slow.

    BTW: It took me only a couple of days to wrap zope in a library for use in JSPs and It can be done from any type of framework. Sure, it's odd to read content from an HTTP stream until you remember that when you channel bond your NICs, make your connections cached in a resource pool, and use Zope's caching the HTTP stream is faster than reading from disk :).
  • ...that doesn't also want to be the web server?

    Our department site is piggybacked on a nice big Sun maintained by the university. It can handle a lot more (traffic|attacks|uptime|etc) than any little box we could set up. So I've been trying to find a CMS workflow that outputs to static pages and uploads them to the production box after the changes are accepted.

    I checked out ArsDigita, SourceForge, and most recently HotScripts [hotscripts.com]. They have a lot of stuff [hotscripts.com], much more than I have time to sort through. Love to hear specific suggestions.
    • There are a few systems that are entirely content production oriented and create flat HTML as their output. For commercial systems, Interwoven fits that criteria on the high end (except for their "web accelerators.") and companies like Red Dot on the low end.

      I attended a talk earlier this year given by Andy McKay from Activestate describing their use of Zope on activestate.com. Basically for one portion of their site they develop all their software on Zope on their development server, export it all to flat files and push it to their production side.

      So just because a CMS wants to be a web server, that doesn't mean it has to the a production web server.

  • by NuKeLiTe ( 418 )
    Obviously, as PHP-Nuke's author, I can't be too much objetive on this matter.

    There are a lot of Content Mnagement Systems on the net to try out.

    PHP-Nuke [phpnuke.org] is just one of them with many nice features that maybe can solve your needs. But with so many options (free software options) you need to try then decide.

    Download all of them, test each one and decide for the better option. You have many options like PHP-Nuke, Postnuke, Slashcode, PHPSlash, Zope, Thatware, PHPWeblog, Xoops, MyPHPnuke, etc... etc.. etc... I can only speak for PHP-Nuke but I prefer that you try and evaluate it yourself.

    Hope you can find the best solution in the "free" world ;)

    Regards!
  • I'm curious if anyone out there uses PVCS or other Merant products. The company is now focused completely on content management (and source code control) and it's strange that no one has mentioned them yet.

    [Disclaimer: I used to work for the company, which is why I'm curious what happened to them.]

  • by ciryon ( 218518 )
    Don't try this at home

    Part of my job involves being webmaster for our company. When I got to that position we allready had a new and improved website. (I hadn't been involved with the creation of that site). It was constructed so that anyone in the company would be able to add information and news to the webpage. And that without knowing anything about HTML. Sounds nice, eh?

    Well, the entire system was delivered by our advertising agency, and we didn't need to care about the system beneath all the beautiful eye-candy. That was a bad thing as it turned out. The site was built with a tool from a web agency which created ASP pages. It also involves special addition to Microsoft IIS (the only webserver capable of running the system). For us to play with we had a nice content management built into the site. We couldn't change absolutely anything (like moving a textbox 1 inch to the right) without calling the web agency and asking for their help. But, wow, we could add certain news items in mandatory textboxes. As it turned out, nobody in the company (who wasn't a HTML-guru) dared to change/add anything to the webpage, because the content management was extremely confusing and unorganized.

    I, who know quite a bit about creating websites with HTML/PHP/Perl and whatever, was becoming more and more frustrated with the "nice" content management tool. It also required me to use Internet Explorer 5.5 (nothing else) and load a special entry to the Windows registry which lowered the securitysettings in my browser. When wanted to add a text to the site the CM system started a miniature Microsoft Frontpage. That means it was impossible to add any kind of HTML in the text, no links nothing. But, whohoo, I could press CTRL-I for italic text. Damnit, I run a Linux desktop at work and aren't too happy that I need to switch computer every now and then. The system was also extremely unreliable and would crasch once in a while. I have created a special WWW folder on our IMAP server where I store all mails to the web agency regarding the content management system and the webpage. It's over 100 mails since the beginning of the 2002.

    The web agency is now bankrupt and we are working on a new webpage using Zope on a UNIX server. It's really a great and extremely flexible tool which enables you to quickly create advanced dynamic sites.

    Ciryon

  • I've tried dozens of content management systems, and Phillip Greenspun's baby still rules them all. Aside from reliability, functionality, and performance issues, the biggest problem with these systems is that they require developers and users to learn a whole new paradigm, language, and way of looking at the world- often completely new, and unrelated to anything else. Any reasonably competent programmer/webhead can pick up TCL and extend the ACS- without struggling with Zopisms, J2EE jargon, or Vignette-ese. And all users need to learn is how to cut and paste stuff into a browser form.
  • I installed phpWiki [sf.net] this morning, on one of our dev servers for internal documentation. It's not as powerful as many other systems, but it's incredibly simple.

    Getting it to run with IIS isn't, however.
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 )
    Whatever you do, don't buy a proprietary CMS.
    This is serious OSS turf and most of the professional CMS - Vendors I know and deal with in buisness have gone/are just about to go belly up. Note that those who do go belly up usually release their babe as OSS themselves in the end (ars digita - a Java thing I gather - for instance)

    There are tons of OSS-CMS solutions out there that kick their proproietary counterparts up and down the street.

    Depending on what project scale you have in mind I'd chose between 2 to 3 strategies:

    #1: The small, minimum overhead PHP/MySQL (an SSI solution... THE SSI solution) way. Tons of ready to use OSS solutions out there, lot's of ISPs with PHP to go. I personally use phpnuke (kinda like 'slashcode reimplementation in php') as the cms for my webproject (www.modp4rlor.com). Note that PHP rulez the SSI market above ColdFusion, JSP, ASP and all the rest and is somewhat scalable if you use the proprietary stuff like that from zend later on.

    #2: The big, fat , hairy project way with all the Java might the OSS community has to offer (apache, tomcat, jakarta, cocoon, turbine, jetstream,... you name it). All of these are leading edge, GPLd and kick serious ass in large scale projects. Allways keep in mind though: Beware of the Java overhead. A lesson hard learned in the recent years by lots of people who thought their 10-hits-a-day Site would look cool with servlets...;;-)

    #3: My extra-special, quite very scalable, one size fits all, CMS, DocMS 'n multithreaded Appserver in a box: ZOPE!
    Features: Exept for some performance critical stuff in C completely written and extendable in Python. A fully OO, bytecode interpreted PL, GPLd of course. Very nice. Easy to learn, next to no overhead for your small projects, powerfull enough for larger stuff like Document Management or Revisioning or Publishing Systems. I know IT-service companies that rely completely on Zope (internal and for customers) and pull some serious projects.
    Has it's Web and FTP Server on board but can also be run as an addon to others (apache f.i.)
    Comes with it's own small and unobstrusive SSI solution (DTML - Document Template ML) just suitable for everything that's to small for servlets.
    Is fully OO and uses it's own Post Relational Database that actually stores EVERYTHING it uses.
    Very easy to extend via plugins, so called "products" and it's easy to build these plugins too.
    Oh, almost forgot: It uses a web interface. Only a web interface. And a good one on top. And it takes on klick to install on Windows and something like 4 and a half on Linux. Whatever you're up to, definitely check this one out!

    Roxxen is quite cool aswell. AFAICT a sort of smaller Zope using Ruby (sheesh :-) )...
    Well I could go on but I think you see that there is no need to spend God knows what on Cold Fusion or Intershop :-). Just add a .org or .com to those I mentioned and you find your way through. (to lazy to write links just know :-) )
  • I've been working specifically with Content Management for the past five years. If you think that it is simply something that is just a buzzword or bullshit that is sold to corporate heads then you don't understand the real value it provides. Being an application developer myself, I think that the largest value of Content Management is appreciated by those who create and manage sites.

    It provides abstraction of your content from your look-and-feel and can drastically reduce your development timelines and ease of maintenance. That may not matter if your site is only 5 html pages, but it does when you have thousands of them (and want to use the content on them in different ways).

    The problem is that most of the exisiting products (in addition the huge price tag) have been oversold on what they do or even what they are. Remember that the Content Management market is still in it's infancy, so a lot of different compaines entered the space just providing a development platform or by rebranding document/digital asset management products. This left most of the work up to the developers or the profession services (good revenue for the companies selling the software) teams that have to implement them.

    What I found led me to the conclusion we really needed some true turn-key solutions. After building about 5 custom Content Management Systems for various large corporations, along with my dev team we've spent the last two years designing and building a commercial product called Conclarity CMS (http://www.conclarity.com), which we are just about to release. It's built in Java using the J2EE framework, every content object is available as XML, and it uses XSL and XHTML for templating.

    If anyone is interested in checking it out, I'd be more than happy to give away some free piolit licenses to slashdotters.

    Landon Hall
    President, CTO
    Lucid DataStreams, Inc.
  • How old is this submission? The conference 'next' month in Zurich was March 21-22 2002 (ie it finished a week ago). It sounds like something I would like to have attended. Thanks Slashdot for the usual timely news :-(

    Phillip.
  • OpenText Livelink (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonbrewer ( 11894 ) on Wednesday March 27, 2002 @07:52PM (#3238049) Homepage
    I get cold calls at least once a month from headhunters wanting me to do Livelink [opentext.com]. I don't list a phone number, email address, or physical address on my online resume; they call information to get to my company and then work their way in from the front desk.

    The product is a web based document management system, like Documentum in theory, but much easier to work with in practice. I've been using it since September 01, and it has grown on me.

    Users interact via a web site or WebDAV (supposedly works on Linux) to view, add, check in, check out, or delete documents; to interact with workflows; to engage in discussions, and to do whatever else you have your server configured to do.

    The web interface allows for use with any operating system, and the java widgets seem to run on our Linux, Sun, OSX, and Irix boxes. (and of course on Windows!) I can't speak for WebDAV, as I haven't used it. I spend a lot of time using their Office integration widgets, which allow me to interact with the repository directly from Windows or MS Office. (More menus appear in your apps.)

    I like it because it exports XML over HTTP. I send it a URL and object number, and it sends back a pile of XML that I transform into a web page. It means that I rarely have to update web pages, as I just say a web page is made of objects of type Y, and those objects show up on the web page when a user checks them into the repository.

    What's strange is that in the US, it is not too popular. Livelink consultants are impossible to find, and generally bill at around $100/hour. From my colleagues in the UK I understand that the billing is about the same, but that consultants are easier to come by.

    It's strange that the product doesn't have much of a name because OpenText has been around since 1991. They're a Canadian company who do about 100 million in sales a year, so they're not small or new.

    Anyway, I wasn't impressed up front, but have turned into a fan. And the user response, always important in IT projects, has been extremely positive. Just around 60% of the site's users have requested to participate in training sessions. (Which aren't cheap: Opentext bills $3000/day for onsite training!) And almost every user has been interacting with it daily, with almost no complaints.

    So, it's definitely worth considering, especially if you have the money!
  • by Vspirit ( 200600 ) on Thursday March 28, 2002 @12:59AM (#3239135) Homepage
    I'm in the WEB CMS business, so I resign from moderating though possible in this discussion.

    Should anyone want some Danish jibberish, the direct URL to a CMS is Sophistic CMS [sophistic.com] and it contain a few screenshot cuts and some explanations. Go fish translate it, yeah right, no Danish support :0)

    The advantages of a CMS, are that deploying a full featured website is incredible fast assuming the right tool is available. If this is so, you can concider it as a toolbox. You may have plenty of ideas of what your website should do for you, but developing everything from bottom-up can be an expensive task, with a CMS with selectable components, you design as you please and can implement components as required, and it is up running in a heart beat. Furthermore you have a CMS development crew as your backing to ensure that the components are matching the needs of tomorrows tasks. To finish it off a thorough CMS also provides you with the tool to maintain and develop your deployed site even further, with ease, with proper access management to distribute specific tasks.

    A sample is BLUNT [bluntmusic.net] a website for a new rockband featured on Danish TV3 through 10 shows generating lots of interest. Universal, their record company, had sponsored a small amount to support the band and their online promotion (We are currently preparing negotions with Universal to allow mp3 sales). The general photoshop/gimp+html design was provided by the design crew(among it were one of the band members)Monday, March 25th at around 13pm and was up and running less than 6 hours thereafter, supporting both IE and Mozilla/Netscape, Opera, etc.. I hope. Please dump me a mail at the address below if your browser (besides lynx, sorry :) is not supported.

    A CMS is a broad topic I give you all that. What matters is that it is about managing content, whether it be an intranet(office documents and tools for the daily business..e-business..), an extranet (marketing, product, pricing material, etc..), or a website with promotion, store, discussion forums, information spreader, its all about content, and thats what a CMS can cover as a tool.

    Basically its reusing code and sharing the development code of an tailored administration system, where a professional CMS consist of a lot of different components from which the integrators can implement and configure according to their needs and be up running in less time and with less waste of money. One of the benefits for non-techies is that the editing tool works just as a word processor and it can be delivered to support just about all platforms thanks to use of java or activex, depending of what is best for the users.

    Basically its a tool.

    Sophistic CMS, to which one of the above links is directed to, is pretty inexpensive and could be what you need, Danish Design, what do I know, IT IS YOUR CHOICE.

    The pages are only available in Danish, but you can reach our Danish office at +45 86 13 73 15 between 9am - 17pm CET og by email contact at sophistic dot com

    This may be concidered an advertizement, but it is still free content, so if it suits you, it is free for you to use.

    Best regards,
    Casper

Every little picofarad has a nanohenry all its own. -- Don Vonada

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