Monday, April 18, 2005

Existing WCMS-es

This is a from an internal discussion at work..

Jahia seems nice on the demo, but they are quite outdated on the open source part (using old stuff like struts and ant, no JSR-170). Same thing goes for the very popular Liferay.

Swedish SiteVision is also good, but Objectware have alread got the under their hood. Magnolia as well, but the (like us) are based on persisting the content with Jackrabbit, and at this point there is no DBMS support there (though this is right around the corner). Magnolia's developers, the commercial company Obinary, are offering their customers an other JSR-170 compliant repository: CRX from Day. I suspect that the CRX is heavily based on Jackrabbit, since the Day developers are the core of the Jackrabbit crew.

Here's an incomplete overview:

Company      Open Source produt         Commercial product
-------------------------------------------------------------
Obinary Magnolia Compass
Day Jackrabbit CRX
Senselogic -- SiteVision
eXo eXo Platform --
Liferay Liferay --
Alkacon OpenCMS --
Us -- P

All the companies above also gather some revenue in consulting and hosting services.

So where should we position ourselves? We could keep developing our own CMS and
use Jackrabbit at persistence level, but that would leave us in competition with
Obinary (which is not where we want to be).

Perhaps we should build on Magnolia instead of making something on our own.
It would save us quite an amount of development with the cost of giving us
a lesser understanding and custom-tailoring of the CMS. But we feel we will
make up for the lack of functionality by spending the time saved on making
Magnolia extensions and modules.

This could lash right back our face. Magnolia can turn out to be too complicated
for someone outside Obinary to understand (like our previous CMS stroke us) and
too hard to modify for our customers' needs.

We also have to consider the transaction of articles and data from the old
database onto the JCR. We might even (like Magnolia) have to invest in an more
solid JCR implementation like CRX to ensure scalability, if Jackrabbit proves
incomplete to the task, that is.

Day has a nice faq about CRX and JCR:

http://www.day.com/content/en/product/jsr_170/content_repository/crx_faq.html

CMS-wizeguy Öbergs ramblings:
http://www.theserverside.com/news/thread.tss?thread_id=32890#164178

The more I think about it, and study our competitors, the more convinced I
become that we should build on what others have built. I'm worried that if
we keep developing a CMS on our own, it will take too much resources, and
no matter what always reside some paces behind Magnolia.

We've spent some time increasing our knowledge of Jackrabbit, JSF, Tomcat
and other useful technologies. Perhaps this knowledge is better put to work
if we join up with the present kings of content (kongene på haugen).

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Some notes from work..

Some thoughts from the early planning at P...


Clarification on the component model

We need to define the components with all their properties, relations and functions. Perhaps some patterns from the JSF model can be used.

How is Content stored in the repository? Same way as in View? Should we seperate the Content-objects from Areas until they are published? This is related to workflow and document process routines, I guess. Note that it is important to maintain a modifiable workflow in the tools. Some smaller business will require a 1-step towards publishing an article, larger enterprises will need an x-step process involving collaboration from several stakeholders (author, publisher, editor).


Area is a meta-wrapper for content which describes how the Content will appear live (online).

Different sorts of Areas include Site, Page, Frame, Category, and so on. Literally all sorts of seperating folders that show up in the site map.

Traditionally, an object in a CMS (an article) is defined with meta-data which defines the graphical View of the object. This is per MVC, wrong! A news-article is usually put in a news-folder. This adds meta-data to the object, saying "This object is part of the News-category.". This wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't directly connected to the View of the site. If you're article is independant of View, then how come it is lying in the news-folder? What if you want to publish the same article in another folder? You could fix it by inserting a reference, but that would be a hack.

TODO: Clarify the point above :)

An Area contains other Areas and/or a reference to Content (a content object. We used to call these components, but still haven't figured out a better name for them).


A Content object is independant of the view and the Area(s) in which it resides.

Typical content objects: Article, Post, Comment, Webshop-item, Announcement

Attributes: Privilegie[], Action[], MetaTag[], language, Text[], WorkflowStatus, Dates

Operations: search, syndicate, modify, publish, crudImage, crudText, , move, reference

Template (is applied through a renderer on a Content object, resulting in a live object. The result will typically be an XML-snippet, like HTML or WML, or perhaps pure text):

Types: Article (title, subtitle, ingres, main, images), ArticlePreview (title, subtitle, ingres, thumbnail)

Images

Types: Thumbnail, NormalImage, ResizedImage, Logo

Attributter: title, MetaTag[]


Text

Types: title, subtitle, ingres, preview, mai, date

Attributes: Text (er meta-data i seg selv)

Operations: Rename, edit, internationalize


Requirements

These could resolve in a couple of user stories that will affect the component model. We don't need to model stories for obvious and primitive CRUD operations, but nifty stories that are required by the uses.

Elaborate the use of modules and how we will combine Actions and Components. How many of the data object should be predefined?

Typical CMS features

User/privilege/credentials/DRM/group and role-management

User interface - Usability

Authoring/editing - Core functiona

Integration of content - The jig-zaw

Meta-data - Adding value to information

Work process - Gate-setting

Templates - The dresses of a CMS

Version management - Påliterlighet

Globalization - Internationalization (i18n)

Rendering (page-generation) - Dynamics

Searching - Searchability/Findability

Personalization - Portals

Privileges - Access to the CMS

Syndication - Sharing content

Cross-media-publishing - Variation of access


Typical roles:

Author - composes articles, posts pictures

Manger - Check, confirm and submit new content

Adminstrator - Manage users, groups, user settings and order of authorization

Web-desinger - Design web layouts, pictures and styles

Sys-integrator - System components, object linkings


Note

Note that the posts below are continually edited, even if this blogger doesn't update the timestamps for when they were last edited.