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Content Management Systems

June 18, 2009

One of the items which came up on the PHT membership survey was the desire to know more about Content Management Systems (CMS).  Probably the easiest way to describe it comes from a recent posting by Jessamyn West, who describes it as “letting a CMS do the annoying work for you” – the annoying work being the back end infrastructure and file management work involved with putting up and maintaining a website. (things like changing HTML, file structure, linking, etc.)

This quote comes from her keynote at the New England Library Association Spring Event, when they had a CMS Day.  It’s a decent starting point to get familiar with some of the systems (Plone, Drupal, Joomla) and to get a basic understanding of what it is and see how it integrates in other portals.  (You’ll notice that it’s fairly transparent.) 

Note that since this is a public library event, they lean heavily towards open source systems (more on that in point #2 below).

Two things I would note:

1)  Drupal is gaining more and more adoption – in fact, SLA is going to provide Drupal for divisions soon in the future (much easier to manage than learning ColdFusion)

2)  One notable system that is NOT included in the CMS day presentations is Microsoft SharePoint, which we in the corporate arena run into a lot.  More and more, in fact, since Microsoft is going hard after selling the Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs) to our organizations.  While it’s a benefit from a cost and update standpoint (the organization gets the latest version of almost everything), it often winds up being the case that SharePoint becomes the “must use” platform, which can be a challenge. 

In fact, since we’ve actually had SharePoint called out by name in the survey, we’ll probably discuss challenges & experiences from SharePoint implementations at an upcoming meeting.

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