CMS Best Practices – Who cares?

The basic tenet of a CMS system is that it differentiates between content and format, thus making it easier for content creators to focus on content and not look & feel. It also promotes content reuse and hence if same content is shown in different ways, one does not need to re-enter the content.

However, imho, all these rich html controls (eWebEditPro et. al.) discourage the above philosophy. These tools give the power (of misuse?) back to the content guys. Some of these guys are happy because now they are not tied down by the descipline imposed by html forms. However, they end up entering the same content multiple times (main page and printer friendly page for example). I’ve also seen sites where the headline on different articles uses different fonts even though they use a sophisticated content management system.

Interwoven is confusing

So now they’ve announced MediaBin Presentation WorkBench for PowerPoint Files. Tomorrow they’ll have a workbench for PDfs, another one for word docs, xls and so on. I’m already confused with the product lot they have – mediabin, worksite, teamsite, livesite, mailsite, records manager and a zillion others. It would be better if they could educate the market and explain when a particular product is useful. Or are we supposed to buy a different product for every different kind of functionality that my company requires?
Everyone said that the benefits of an ECM product is that one does not need different vendors for WCM, DM, DAM and all other flavours of **M but imho, different products from the same company are as bad (or as good) as different vendors.

BTW, i am a big fan of interwoven and the fact that they did not want to do everything for everyone (Vignette??) but were content with doing something for everyone. However, looks like things are changing.

Direct Integration Approach

This approach can be used if the external applications expose their functionality thru an http (or https) interface. There are different options to achieve the integration and following factors affect the choice:

  • Format of data provided by the application.
  • Flexibility provided by the application to customize the look and feel and other aspects
  • Complexity of the end application itself

One of the major techniques using this approach is “Web clipping” the external application.

Okay gotta sleep now. Watch this space. Meanwhile, here’s an initial draft of our thoughts on different integration approaches. Let me know your comments.

Integration Approaches for a Web Portal

The fundamental essence of a web portal is its capacity to accommodate Heterogeneity – integrating many different resources for rendering a unified user experience and it’s Scalability – the ability to do so for more users than ever before. And that is what many of the clients are asking for these days.

I, along with my colleagues Debi and Kashyap, have been consolidating our thoughts on different appraches. I will publish some of that here.

Comments are welcome. If things go on well, we will probably come out with a good reference paper.