Over the years, I've told people that CMS Report is a side business. While I would never become rich from this blog, I've been lucky enough to have been able to put a little extra cash in my wallet from this website's ad revenue. In truth, what has actually sustained CMS Report is not money but my passion for information systems. I absolutely love this magical process where people, hardware, software, and infrastructure come together to improve the business or organization. A decade ago, I could find no better example of information systems in the real world than the content management system. I decided to write about CMSs and created a blog and website to host those articles. After spending ten years as this site's founder, editor, and primary writer I've decided it is time for me to move on to some new challenges.
What an amazing and crazy ride this has been for someone that started his career as a meteorologist and now works full time in government IT. This was supposed to be a one year exercise for feeding my hunger to learn more about CMSs. Instead, this became a ten year project that tapped into a community of developers, marketers, analysts, founders, executives, small business owners, and entrepreneurs. It has been a joy to have met so many creative, smart, and hardworking people through this website. I received more than I gave. But in the past few years, my passion to write only about CMS topics has diminished and I'm not happy that my articles lack the shine they once had. After considerable thought, I've decided it's time for me to pass the torch to another.
When it comes to content management systems, these two questions are the ones that I get asked the most:
- What is the best CMS out there?
- What features do I need to have in my CMS?
Over the years, I've tried answering that question in various forums. But inevitably my initial answers to the first question are almost always:
- It depends on what you want to do.
- It depend on who you're willing to work with.
This leaves us with the second question. What features do you need to have in a CMS? The honest answer is I won't know until I better understand your business goals and current workflow. But I can tell you with a straight face what is the most important feature your new CMS needs to have:
- The ability to export your content easily out of your "new" CMS.
Too often, people worry only about importing their content into a new CMS from their old CMS. But what if in a year or two you find your new CMS fails to meet your needs? Before adopting a new CMS, you should have a clear exit stategy for the day your new CMS becomes your old CMS.
With some CMSs, the process to leave from one platform to another is an easy one. We just did an Agility CMS to Drupal migration where Agility's software provided easy access to their export functionality. This didn't surprise me because three years ago I researched Agility well and confirmed they had export functionality readily available. Unfortunately, too many CMSs are not like Agility. CMS vendors don't always provide an easy method to leave their CMS and sometimes this is intentional (it's called vendor lock). Website migrations even in the best of circumstances are already difficult and you definitely don't want a CMS where exporting content is made difficult by design.
Niels Hartvig recently posted that Umbraco 7.4 has been released. With much focus on improving the user experience, this new version of Umbraco is being subtitled as the "Content type editor update".
Features and improvements highlighted in this update includes:
- New content type editor
- Some UX polish + documentation
- Media library improvements
- Grid polish
- Password for user panel (no dashboard)
- Models Builder
A few days ago, the Agility CMS Team released an update that includes new features and bug fixes. This is the first update since the "big upgrade" threee months ago when Agility introduced a significant rebuild and redesign of its content management system's interface.
Among the bug fixes, probably the most annoying one to me was a bug hat prevented users from being able to delete a linked content item from within grid view. Previously, a user was required to click on the "Edit Content" button in order to remove an item. Before the fix, the work-around was sufficient but annoying due to the changes involved in the expected workflow. Overall though, as a user of the Agility CMS, I've been pretty impressed how much Agility got right in the redesign that the waiting time for the fix was acceptable to me.
As was mentioned earlier this week, today is the day Drupal 8 becomes official and is released for public consumption. The last time CMS Report was given the opportunity to talk about a major Drupal release was in January 2011 with the release of Drupal 7. If you thought the three year waiting period from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 was long, waiting nearly half a decade for Drupal 8 certainly feels like a lifetime in the world of content management. During this cycle of development, Drupal's own open source community has evolved and its developers have introduced hundreds of changes into the Drupal content management platform.
Since the release of Drupal 7, the Drupal community considered not only how they could influence the content management industry, but has also looked outward to consider how the best practices of developers, designers, and publishers could influence Drupal's own to build a better Drupal. Dries Buytaert, founder and project lead of Drupal, in a blog post remarked that "Drupal 8 has been a big transformation" for the open source community.
The pace of change in the digital world has become dizzying. If we were to ignore these market forces, Drupal would be caught flat-footed and quickly become irrelevant.