October 10, 2006

Why Do They?

Why do Web developers prefer home grown Content Management Systems over commercial and open source CMS?

click for a larger version of this graph

The graphic shows one of the findings of a survey, held by Sitepoint ( an online resource for developers) and Ektron (a well known mid market commercial CMS vendor). Over 36 % of developers prefer to eat their own dog food. Only 10% use commercial systems.


I have my own views, but would be interested in hearing others.

Posted by Marius at 12:22 PM | Comments (4)

July 21, 2006

Philosophy and the wikipedia debate

21 July 2006 I have an admission to make, I enjoy a bit of philosophy on the side. The ABC has a neat philosophy program which gives me a weekly fix. I listen to it via podcast, the New Age way.

A couple of weeks ago, it gave the air to Jaron Lanier, that entertaining self-publicist. He is no longer obessed with Virtual Reality, but is now a critic of the collective wisdom of crowds. Listen to it here (mp3) or, for Jonathon, here is the transcript.

Wikipedia consistently manages to attract a broad range of critics across the spectrum of the litarary and traditional publishing elites, while ever getting much use. There must be a message there somewhere...

Posted by Marius at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2006

Scary Google Page Rank

16 July 2006 I'm finalising a presentation on the Failure of Content Management Systems for the Open Publish conference later this month. This afternoon I was using Google to find some items to illustrate my presentation. It was scary to find that in a search for Content Management Failure, my presentation already ranked # 20 on Google before I even finished writing it!

Posted by Marius at 04:12 PM | Comments (1)

September 01, 2005

Open Dispute

1 September 2005 In a previous life I ran a software distribution company. Open Source software was not something that enthused me then, as it was incompatible with our business model. Now that I'm no longer tied to any particular business model, I have looked at open source software again. In particular, I can see a promising future for open source Content Management Systems. Such systems can provide solid frameworks for low budget web sites and offer clear benefits for Web designers and their customers.

When deciding on a system for a few projects recently, I decided to use the Mambo Open Source CMS for three reasons:

I've been happy with the system, it performed well. My only substantive criticism of it would be the quality of documentation, a common failing of open source software. Mambo's user community is a powerhouse of energy and interestingly a hotbed of small entrepreneurs building extensions, templates and services around Mambo.

I had the pleasure to meet up with Peter Lamont on a number of occasions over the past six months. He originally released Mambo to open source and admits he had no real idea what the result of that might be. After releasing Mambo "to the wild" some years ago, he went on to develop a commercial version, which was only modestly successful (like most commercial CMS's).In my conversations with him, I found him struggling with how to best re-engage with the open source version of his progeny.

Dramatically, over the past month the Mambo community has self-destructed after Peter created the Mambo Foundation, which was viewed suspiciously by users and developers. The whole sorry saga is self-documented here. For a brief version, the Ars Technica article is a good read.

The well known paranoia of those who provide their services for free, coupled with Peter's somewhat hamfisted approach proved a lethal combination. The moral to this story? Don't open source your code unless you are really prepared to let go of any commercial interest in it.

Posted by Marius at 12:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 11, 2005

When you have a hammer...

When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. A recurring theme on the Pronet list/feed is the use of TypePad or Movable Type as a general purpose web building tool. And of course when a VC agrees, it must be true...

I'm as big a fan of Weblogs as anyone and this weblog is at the core part of the new site I'm building. But trying to do everything with weblogging software is madness. While my hammer might be Movable Type, my screwdriver is Mambo CMS and my drill is Jotspot. All are free or low cost and provide a wealth of features "out of the box". Yes, and I still use Dreamweaver to build the templates.

Blogging has de-mystified site creation and maintenance, it is putting the heat on traditional CMS vendors to differentiate themselves and RSS is revolutionizing the way we communicate and publish. But let's keep our feet on the ground, the writing environment of Weblogs is still dreadful and their content management is rudimentary at best.

While it might take a bit of time to learn how to use more than one tool, the result will be clear when the building is finished.

Posted by Marius at 11:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 24, 2005

The future of Enterprise Content Management

Enterprise Content Management 365 logo
I usually scan over the Penton email newsletter about Content Management because James Brown is an entertaining writer and Content Management is one of my continuing interests (passions?). In his last email, James announced a new series of articles on Penton Europe's CM365 site, the first of which was entitled "The future of Web Content Management", by Adrian Kershaw, Fatwire Software's General Manager for Northern Europe.

I read the article and was surprised that, while mentioning personalization and news, it did not mention Weblogs, RSS and aggregation. I left a comment to that effect, as the web site invited readers to "Add a comment to this article" and hoped to engage Adrian and others into a conversation about how RSS might impact ECM.

Thank you. Your comment has been submitted to our editor and will appear when approved.

Unfortunately, it looks like comments are a one way street at CM365. Four days later, my comment still hasn't turned up on the site. So we might well ask:

We are left with the impression that Content Management Vendors are not looking to learn from the Weblog/RSS phenomenon. They no longer call themselves CMS (Content Management Systems) vendors and have re-branded themselves as being in the "Enterprise Content Management" business. And of course there is a whole industry which is supported by the ECM market: the Analysts, the "Journalists" and the Trade Show organizers. Needed, because customers are confused by the bewildering array of vendors and price points. And in some cases, customers are coming to realize that the Emperor has few clothes and that they're very expensive.

There are millions of users of Personal Content Management Systems (a name which ECM vendors might prefer over "blogs"). Sure, blogging tools are in many cases, crude and unpolished. Users put up with the rough edges because the tools serve their purpose, they allow them to communicate in a way that they couldn't before. It is "Comments, RSS and Aggregators" that lets them turn one-way communication into a conversation with whoever they imagine their readers to be.

That's not to say that there aren't interesting problems to be solved when managing large amounts of content or that it isn't useful having a predictable framework to build a web site, but one would think that Enterprises would want to communicate as well as manage their content.

Weblogging is disrupting the CMS market and vendors will ignore it at their peril . The Innovator's Dilemma and Solution by Clayton Christensen (not to mention the Cluetrain Manifesto) should be required reading for ECM vendors.

Oh… and Adrian, I feel you describe the past of Web Content Management, rather than its future, no matter what Rupert Murdoch or Forrester might have said. Like you, they have a particular perspective which is not be shared by literally millions of bloggers.

Posted by Marius at 04:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack