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“Ugly Secrets of Content Management Systems”

From: Seth Dillingham In Response To: Top of Thread.  
Date Posted: Monday, July 10, 2000 4:46:33 PM Replies: 6
Enclosures: None.

There's a story on right now that made me nervous when I first started reading it, then I changed my mind and decided that it's probably good for my company, Macrobyte Resources.,2770,6358_12,00.html

(Update 12/9/2000: Since switched to a subscription-based system, I can't provide a working link to the article: I'm not a member, so I don't even know what the new link is.)

The basic message to that article is that you'll be better off writing a custom Content Management System for your company than you will be if you use one from a vendor like Vignette. Those tools (pre-packaged CMS's) require so much customization that you end up writing most of a CMS anyway, they claim.

What I think the author misses is that it's a lot of work to write the underside of a CMS. Sure, Vignette's system has a lousy reputation among those who actually use it, mainly because their workflow system sucks... but what so many companies will find is that it's an awesome amount of work to try to develop the services that Vignette provides in your own in-house product... and then you have to try to support it. If IT staffs were static, that would be fine, but they're not.

Macrobyte makes Conversant, a product that we've been continually developing for 15 months now. We have most of the features of the "big guys", like Vignette's V/5 (formerly StoryServer) and Allaire's Spectra, and we do lots of things they don't do at all.

On the other hand, we're a very small company, and have the flexibility to move very fast in whatever direction we choose. We currently have a customer request for some advanced workflow features in Conversant. Some of those features are going into a custom plugin for this customer, and the rest is going directly into the product itself.

If Jimmy Guterman's main problem with the pre-packed CMS's is that the companies behind them move too slow when adding features or fixing bugs (or any other customer request), then we have nothing to worry about. Maybe he and Inside should try out Conversant!

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