Web Content Management Face-Off

eWEEK Labs reviews six systems that span the capability spectrum; the challenge is finding just the right one.

When it comes to choosing any enterprise application, there are always many hurdles to overcome and issues to consider to make sure the product you buy is right for your organization. But when the enterprise application in question is a Web content management system, the hurdles often are much higher and the issues harder to understand.

One of the biggest issues is figuring how much Web content management your company needs. With many enterprise applications, its impossible to go too big. For the most part, if a company needs only a low-end or midrange solution but purchases a high-end product, it can still get the job done. (The companys "just" paying too much for capabilities it doesnt need.)

With Web content management, on the other hand, too much product can lower productivity and make Web content more difficult to manage. This is because many high-end products are less focused on simple ease-of-use and deployment features and are instead more concerned with bringing order to massively complex operations.

Adding to the confusion is that there is a good midtier of Web content management applications that can serve some low-end needs and some high-end needs. Also, the weeding out of content management systems that many (including eWEEK Labs) expected never happened. Indeed, it seems that for every company failure and acquisition, another company forms or a vendor in another field decides to enter the Web content management market.

To do a comprehensive evaluation of the hundreds of players in the Web content management area would take at least two entire issues of eWEEK. To keep it a little simpler while still presenting a good overview of where the market is now, we tested six products released in the last few months that represent the full spectrum of Web content management capabilities.

Included in this evaluation are the open-source Bricolage 1.8.1, Interwoven Inc.s TeamSite 6.1, CrownPeak Technology Inc.s Advantage CMS, Serena Software Inc.s Collage 4.5, PaperThin Inc.s CommonSpot Content Server 4.0 and Ektron Inc.s CMS300 4.5. (The reviews are ordered, roughly, from the high end to the low end of the content management market.)

It almost goes without saying that companies should carefully evaluate all aspects of a Web content management product before making a decision. However, due to some recent developments, it is now a lot easier for companies to evaluate these products than it was just a couple of years ago. All the products we review here are offered under try-and-buy programs, making it possible to use the systems in your environment before making a purchase.

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