Content Management Systems
A Content Management System is a database able to store files together with their metadata. There are many different types of information that could be metadata, for example:
- Validity of a file for one, multiple or all products
- Target group (users, technicians, developers, …)
- Type of information
CMS typically have functionality like versioning, lifecycles, a detailed permission system, process automation, tracking of authors and modification dates etc.
There are various specialized types of CMS, like the following:
- Web CMS, specialized on managing HTML content and media files and deliver the data to a browser as a web site.
- Document Management Systems (DMS), also a specialized category of CMS, focused on managing binary data of all types and often providing rich interfaces to other systems (ERP) and process automation functionality.
- Component CMS (CCMS), specialized on managing structured content in formats like DITA for technical documentation or similar purposes, and providing versioning, review, lifecycles, translation management and single-source publishing.
Open Source Solutions
Across the various CMS types, there are many commercial solutions on the market. There are roughly 30 CCMS with significant presence, an even larger number of DMS and many solutions for specialized purposes. However, there are also many Open Source solutions. Using an Open Source platform does not necessarily mean that the software is free of charge, because there might be specialized, commercial components or plugins with proprietary licenses. Also, consulting, implementation and training fees apply as in projects based on commercial software. Often, though, Open Source solutions are cheaper than commercial solutions without being less powerful.
Apart from the cost, another important advantage of Open Source software is the public availability of the source code, allowing companies using the software to implement customizations, for example to establish interfaces to other software, and in case the original service provider vanishes from the market, the customer can choose another service partner and continue on the open code base available to everyone.
While there are many open Web CMS available, in the CCMS market, there are only few open solutions. One of them, Cinnamon, is a hybrid CMS with full CCMS and DMS functionality under an Open Source license. We have initiated the project and are the main contributor.
Even though there are good arguments in favour of Open Source solutions, this does not mean that Open Source solutions are always the best choice. The selection of a CMS solution is a strategic decision for the following decade (at least), and should be made carefully, based on the current and future requirements. All systems on the market have different strengths and weaknesses, and therefore, there is no one size fits all solution. In some cases, an Open Source system is the best choice, in others, a commercial system fits the functional and budgetary needs best.
We offer to provide our expertise in product selection consultancy to find the optimal system for you. From the entire market of commercial and open systems, we choose the optimal solution for your applications.