DBMS concerns are critical

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-09-01 Print this article Print

Thus, while JSR-170 is still gaining support, compliance with this standard may eventually assure Web site managers that they can retain their stories and look and feel even if they switch from one CMS program to another. In the meantime, though, Web administrators must continue to pay close attention to DBMS concerns and exactly what one can, and cant do, with a given CMS.
The most popular open-source portal application, PHP-Nuke, for instance, can certainly be used as a CMS, but many Web administrators might find it a bit difficult for their purposes.
So it is that other open-source developers have built specific CMS operations from PHP-Nuke such as PostNuke. It may not be as flexible as PHP-Nuke, but at the same time it comes designed expressly for CMS. In addition to these, the most significant open-source CMSes at the moment are: Midgard, Plone, Zope, Typo3, OpenCMS and eZ," according to Boye. Midgard, like the Nuke family, is based on PHP. It is a true LAMP setup with APIs for Java and C to provide faster performance. Although, it is primarily meant for Linux, it can also be run on Mac OS X and other BSD Unix systems. Plone is essentially the cleaned-up for the mass-market son of Zope. While Zope can be used for much more than just CMS, Plone is dedicated to CMS use. In eWEEK Labs tests, the analysts said, "the free, open-source Plone has taken what was already probably the best option in Web publishing portals and made it the clear leader in this field." Plone 2 will run on Linux, Mac OS X, Unix and Windows. Interestingly enough, Plone 2 actually has more features on Windows than it does on other operating systems though. For example, the GUI-based controller, which makes it easy to launch Plone and view its status, is only available on Windows at this time. Typo3 is designed for SMB (small-to-medium business) use. Its strong points include its support for Web-based communication and several different DBMS for its engine. Unlike the other CMSes weve mentioned so far that are based on scripting languages, OpenCMS is built on Java and XML. Both OpenCMS and Typo3, while not well known in the U.S. are very popular in Europe, and both products, Byrne pointed out "have been around for at least five years." Thus, if youre looking for a CMS with both longevity and a proven track record, either deserves your consideration. OpenCMS, however, is far from the only open-source CMS written in Java. Magnolia is also a worthy program. eWEEK Labs found it to have the "most intuitive content-creation interfaces weve seen in any Web content management product … across platforms and browsers." Its also the first CMS thats JSR-170 compliant. That said, the Labs also thought that its "lack of deep workflow" makes it suitable for simpler sites. Mambo also has its admirers. Unfortunately, with its recent troubled management history, its hard to see where Mambo, under that name, will be going next. Mambos former developers, however, have taken its GPLed code and are creating a new version of Mambo—under a different name—at OpenSourceMatters. Last, but by no mean least in our 20,000 foot overview, is Drupal, another PHP-based CMS. What sets Drupal apart from the others is that it does a nice job of sitting between CMS and blogger software such as the open-source WordPress. In the end analysis, Paola Di Maio, editor and publisher of content-wire.com, a vertical technology newsletter service that covers CMS, said it best, "Ultimately, its the ability of the software to meet the requirements within the budget and schedule that counts." Fortunately, since open-source software can be freely tried, the wise Web administrator should first determine which CMSes look best for his use, and then test out the best two or three. Then, hell be able to make the right choice. As Bryne said, "I never say best or worst among these tools—open-source or commercial—because fundamentally I believe it is a question of the right fit for any given scenario. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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