CMS features

An interesting thread about CMS modules has started “again” on the cms-forum list. As usual, there’s a debate going on on what features should a Content Management System have. Many people seem to think that features like calendaring, discussion forums, polls and surveys, etc. should be a part of CMS. I disagree. These features are certainly very cool and form a part of any web initiative that requires collaboration, including employee intranets and customer facing websites. However, we must separate them from core content management systems. The problems that a CMS tries to solve and those addressed by this applications are very different.
One can always say that the data generated by, say a voting application is content and hence by definition, any application that handles that is a content management system. If we were to follow that line of thinking, then pretty much everything will be a content management system. An ERP, a CRM system, a search engine (Google??) – you name it and it’ll be a CMS.

In my opinion, a CMS should provide core capabilities like:

  • Content Creation – Web based forms for content entry, integration with content creation software like MS-Office
  • Content Management – Repository Management, Workflows, version management etc
  • Content Delivery – Some kind of templating that separates content from presentation and a mechanism to publish content

It would be good to have interfaces to search engines and other applications for dynamic delivery of content. This includes applications for security, personalization and so on. If some of these are built into the CMS, that should be considered additional.

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