The future of web CMS is (not)
Julian Wraith recently asked people to contribute to a debate on the future of content management. While this is an interesting debate I'm going to attack it from a slightly different angle. I'm looking at it from the point of view that there are a number of widespread cross vendor issues that need to be fixed before we start moving forwards.
Each example is a real world example. Kudos points if you can spot the various CMS systems in question (some points apply to multiple CMS). If your CMS doesn't suffer from any of the following leave a link to it in my comments, I'd love to evaluate it.
So, in no particular order:
- I want to access your CMS with my browser but I can't because I use Firefox and you only support IE.
- I want to roll out your CMS within my organisation, I have to migrate all of my users to be stored in a database table in a custom schema defined by your CMS.
- I'm trying to define the layout for a web page using your CMS but your templating language is completely bespoke and not based on any standards.
- I've managed to render a webpage using your CMS but you seem to have added loads of extra div tags all of which have CSS classes named "crapvendor".
- I'm trying to use your WYSIWYG editor but apparently I need to install an ActiveX component.
- I've entered some standards compliant markup into your WYSIWYG editor using the "source view" and it has "corrected it".
- Your CMS doesn't understand the extended character set of my source document but when I paste from this document it happily saves these characters to the repository anyway - as question marks.
- I want to import an image into your CMS - this requires a java applet. (In fact any java applets for any purpose = bad IMHO)
- I've entered a summary of my content, now I have to manually enter keywords too.
- I'm performng an operation that takes some time, the status screen is of the "white" and "blank" variety.
- I've had it with your browser GUI. I want to use Livewriter but no API exists for me to implement support.
- I've finally managed to create something as complex as a webpage, now for the 20 step process to publish it. (Admittedly normally a limitation of the implementation rather than the CMS).
- I've negotiated above process and the URL of my new page is /index.php/news/12042984626492732?ver=8.0&this=sucks
- I want to assemble a list of all recent news items in the CMS, this is half a day of development.
- My site relies heavily on user generated content. I need to set up a cron job in order to get this user generated content back into your CMS.
- You believe that "your way" of versioning content is better than SVN/Git/Sourcesafe.
- Your support engineer just provided a configuration setting to fix an issues. When I ask where this setting is documented I am told "it isn't".
- The same serious defect has existed in your software for over 5 years. I personally have reported it on more than 5 occasions each time I am told to disable the component in question.
There was a time when some of these were acceptable scenarios, mainly due to the limitations of technology but leaving something dated in place because "it works" isn't an acceptable scenario in my book.
If you are a vendor who commits one of these crimes against WCM then I'd love to hear your excuses and intended fix dates. If you disagree with any of the above being a problem I'd also love to hear from you.