Posts tagged "open source cms"

R.I.P Content Management System

Going into the R.I.P Content Management System session — led by Drupal project founder Dries Buytaert — at SXSW (site), I was not too sure what to expect. I know of Drupal Web CMS and their very large developer community that contributes to the overall success of this open source content management system.

I also understand that Drupal is behind hundreds of thousands of websites, so I was interested in hearing what Buytaert was going to present.

All About Drupal

Unfortunately, the session was tailored around Drupal, highlighting sites that are powered by Drupal and their large developer community.

Buytaert pointed to their user community and how passionate they are, running through slide after slide of the different things that their community does with the logo — creating socks, wearing a costume, making cookies — which was interesting, but I was still curious what that had to do with the session.

Buytaert described how open source systems are light years ahead of traditional content management systems because of the ability to leverage their incredibly large developer community. He discussed specific examples of where he felt that Drupal was ahead of these traditional content management systems.

Main Takeaways

Buytaert did make a couple of interesting points during the initial part of his discussion though:

Problem #1

Your webmaster doesn’t scale. Open source (Drupal) redefines the role of the web developer and (pretty much) eliminates the role of the webmaster.

Problem #2

Closed source CMSs are slow to innovate. It is impossible to implement every new feature, so they wait to see what goes mainstream and then integrate them. They are slow to adopt new technologies. Open source solutions are quicker to adapt to changes in the landscape due to their community.

I understand problem #1, and I think that was an obvious point. While I also understand that open source allows for quicker and faster deployment of features and functionality, I think that he was downplaying the features and functionality that traditional content management systems currently have integrated within their products.

The title of this session misled a lot of individuals, as they were not expecting a Drupal overview session. I do like the fact that Buytaert actually listened to the back channel on Twitter (hashtag #RIPcontentmgmt) and did apologize for the session being to tailored around Drupal.

Hippo CMS 7.3 Brings Facets, Surf-and-Edit, Pretty URLs

Hippo CMS 7.3 Updated With Faceted Navigation, Surf-and-Edit

With Europe being under heavy snow this winter, the NL-based makers of Hippo CMS (site) seemed to have many cold days to concentrate on the next release as opposed to spending their time ice skating on Amsterdam's canals. Here's what's new in the recently released Hippo CMS 7.3.

The latest Hippo CMS 7.3 brings several new features and improvements, continuing to focus on giving more control to content editors over the presentation layer straight from the Web CMS interface and ease of use.

Highlights of Hippo CMS 7.3

In addition to the revamped search, which now is part of the navigation area in the UI, here are some of the new features in the open source Hippo CMS 7.3:

  • Faceted navigation allowing content editors to find and “slice and dice” content.
  • Surf-and-edit feature with which editors can click an edit button in the preview site, which will lead them to the exact location of that item in the CMS, eliminating the need to search or browse the content structure.
  • Ability to build web forms from the CMS interface.
  • Ability to specify SEO-friendly URLs.
  • New rule-based replication process.

Faceted Navigation

With Hippo CMS 7.3’s new faceted navigation content authors and external users have a different view and access to the content repository.

Hippo Facets.png
Hippo CMS Facets

Users now have the option of browsing content and drilling down through it based on specific combinations of tags and keywords, which can come in handy in undefined and unstructured browsing structures.


In 7.3, Hippo CMS users can preview unpublished content in context to check exactly how it’s going to look like in the live environment post publishing. In this view, editors can use the new 'surf-and-edit' feature that allows them to jump directly to a specific piece of content in the CMS. Afterwards, they can click the “edit” button and edit content in the same interface.

Developers can add logic to their JSPs and associate content with corresponding links that allows the user to jump to a certain document in the CMS to edit the content.

Web Forms

Catching up with many other in the Web CMS market, Hippo CMS now features the ability to build Web forms within the content management system.

Hippo Forms.jpg
Hippo Web Forms

Web forms are treated like any other content type in Hippo: they can be published, version-controlled and re-used across different pages. In Hippo CMS, editors can create composite documents by including references to other documents. Since a form is a document too, they can be re-used anywhere within Hippo, said Arje Cahn, Hippo’s CTO.

SEO-Friendly URLs

Still chasing after SEO and graces from Google et al? Now, you can do “pretty” URLs (as Hippoids call them) in Hippo CMS 7.3, a friendly URL is automatically generated based on the document name that was specified by the user.

Hippo URLs.jpg
SEO-Friendly URLs in Hippo

There’s also a capability of manually changing the URLs.

Smart Replication

Administrators using Hippo CMS can now chose and automatically replicate subsets of content to repositories running in a distributed environment. Check out more info on replication here.

HST 2.04.04 Updates

Hippo Site Toolkit (HST) saw some love as well in this release. You will see flexible exception-based error page handling, canonical URLs, context-aware linking, support for Freemarker Template Engine and architectural improvements among many other changes.

Feeling Like an Upgrade?

Since version 7.3 was expected in the fall of 2009 (per Hippo’s roadmap of 4 scheduled releases per year) you’re probably anxious to try out the new goodies. Head right over here for the upgrade instructions, do your homework and check out any know issues before you upgrade to 7.3 in your DEV environment. Then, tell us what you think about the new release in the comments.

Drupal 6 Performance Tips From Packt

Packt Publishing (site), one of our favorite providers of IT books for professionals, has just kicked out a book to help you boost Drupal 6 performance.

The book is aimed at users of all experience levels—that includes you, beginners!—as well as, designers, themers and webmasters.

Once you get your Drupal site and up and running, this book will help you to implement performance modules and solutions for keeping track of site performance as well as kicking overall speed up a notch. 

The book starts off easy by covering introductory topics such as upgrading and maintaining your site, and enabling core Drupal page compression and caching. Afterward, a shift in the advanced direction for a look at contributed modules for helping speed up performance. Lastly, you'll learn how best to implement and run a Drupal multisite environment.

Here's a breakdown of the topics covered:

  • Upgrade your Drupal 5 site to Drupal 6 using best practice upgrade paths
  • Back up and maintain your Drupal 6 site using core and contributed modules and utilities
  • Configure the Drupal core and contributed modules for high traffic
  • Run core Drupal page compression, CSS and JS compression, and use Drupal page caching
  • Run scheduled cron tasks to perform crucial garbage-collection processes
  • Use the Development (Devel) module to monitor page loads and queries
  • Use the Boost module for anonymous page caching, tweak Boost settings, and use Boost blocks and advanced Boost settings to monitor site performance
  • Install and use Memcache API and Integration module, and Authcache and Advanced Cached modules to enhance and monitor site performance
  • Configure a Drupal multisite environment for best performance

Normally it'll cost you about US$ 39.99, but there are currently some discounts available. Check it out.

Drupal vs Joomla: Which CMS is Best?

Anyone trying to evaluate open source content management systems is aware that there aren't a lot of recent, useful comparative reviews. What's surprising is that this issue is true even for such popular solutions as Drupal and Joomla.

Stating in January that, "most comparisons of Drupal (site) and Joomla (site) conclude that you should select the one that best suits your needs. However, they give too little guidance about how to do that," Webology eBusiness Solutions set out to quantify the pros and cons of each by releasing a survey.

The Survey

The survey divided questions into five categories:

  1. Developers
  2. Documentation
  3. Performance/Functional Aspects
  4. Appearance
  5. Ease of Use/Learning

Users were classified by their response to "CMS most experienced with," with those answering "Not Applicable/Don't Know" to this question being removed from the analysis.

In general, the respondents were slanted a bit more toward Joomla users than Drupal users. Their roles when working with their respective CMS's break down to the largest group being Project Managers, and other large groups including Programmers and Designers. The Drupal users were, somewhat unsurprisingly, more experienced, with a median of 7 years experience in web development, while Joomla users claimed 5.

The Results

In general, there were a lot of responses that fit expectations.

Drupal Users Love Drupal, Joomla Users Love Joomla

Drupal users list the highest client satisfaction with Drupal, and Joomla users list the highest satisfaction of their clients with Joomla. Drupal developers feel that Drupal is easier for developers to learn, and Joomla users feel that Joomla is easier to learn. After all, if you already chose Drupal or Joomla, there was probably a reason you chose it at the time.

Drupal Better for Extensibility and Large Sites

Once you get down to slightly less biased issues, it gets more interesting.

Drupal users rate their CMS higher than Joomla users rated theirs in areas such as documentation (especially core and module documentation) and bugs (core and modules). Drupal users apparently feel that their add-ons integrate better with the core, and their framework makes it easier to extend their CMS's capabilities.

Drupal users also rated Drupal higher than Joomla users rated Joomla for their support of multimedia, social networking, SSL, forums, event calenders, blogging, document management, SSL, internationalization, user management and permission features (a huge gap of 40%), ease of external integration, the ease of developing large, complex web sites, and the quality of add-ons for enhancing functionality.

Joomla Easier for the Non-Geeks

However, Drupal didn't win in every aspect. Joomla users rated Joomla higher than Drupal users rated Drupal when it came to the ability for non-technical people to learn the CMS interface (another large gap), maintenance and upgrading, the ability to create a new and functioning site quickly, the ability to teach clients to use their CMS effectively, and their willingness to put time and money into improving poorly performing extensions.

Which Web CMS is Better?

Sorry, there's still no cut and dried answer, and for that matter, we don't even believe in the question.

If this survey proves anything, it's that the choice of Web CMS depends on what you're trying to do —  which is what we've been saying all along. At least now folks have a more quantifiable set of opinions to look at.

For the complete list of questions and responses, along with all of the numbers, see the Webology eBusiness Solutions blog