Posts tagged "open source cms"


ImpressCMS is a community developed Content Management System. With this tool maintaining the content of a website becomes as easy as writing a word document. ImpressCMS is the ideal tool for a wide range of users: from business to community users, from large enterprises to people who want a simple, easy to use blogging tool. ImpressCMS is a powerful system that gets outstanding results and it is free!

ImpressCMS can be used for many types of web sites. The system is highly scalable and it can be used for example as an intranet for a company with 20,000 employees as well as for building a simple 5-page website for the promotion of your company. The system is extremely useful for managing online communities because it has the ability to create user groups and assign permissions for managing content to each different group.

For each type of website ImpressCMS offers different functionality with a collection of hundreds of free modules that will be available at A few examples of what you can do with them:


  • Publish news of your organization
  • Let visitors contact you through a state of the art customizable contact form
  • Create and manage articles
  • Add a forum to your site
  • Sell products through your web site using an online store
  • ...and many more
  • ImpressCMS is free open source software in the full meaning of the word, covered by the General Public License version 2 (GPLv2). It is available for free and anyone can use it and modify it to their own extend. The system is based upon the award winning content management system XOOPS, which has known a strong reputation and a long development history.

    Quate CMS

      The Quate CMS is a simple, user-friendly, flexible and customizable website content management system. It is known to run on any server with recent PHP (4.3.x+) and MySQL versions. The Quate CMS is released under the GNU General Public License.


    • Free and open source. Licensed under the GPL.
    • Clean and simple article URL addresses for pages.
    • Fast interface - not bloatware.
    • Extensions engine to provide additional features when needed.
    • PHP 4 and 5 intercompatible. Also operating system intercompatible.
    • Supports multilingual pages for websites that need different pages with different translations.
    • Customizable - The main Quate CMS interface is so simple, it is difficult to tell if website is using the Quate CMS. They don't require a link back to theirs site. It's your site, not theirs.



    There are only a few server requirements to run the QuateCMS:

    • PHP 4.3 or higher.
    • MySQL 3 or higher.

    If you do not know if you meet the requirements, the QuateCMS installer will run checks before starting the installation process.

    On the client side, they highly recommend you to have javascript enabled (most users do not have to worry about this). Additionally, they recommend a web browser that supports image alpha transparency. Most recent web browser satisfy this. Again, these are only recommendations.

    Development Versions

    If you're feeling lucky, you can go ahead and try development builds. Development builds are incomplete, experimental, buggy, and are for testing purposes only. If you are a curious type, check out the git repository for this project.

    The development branch has been re-worked significantly from the 0.3 series. Some features from previous versions have not yet made it into the alpha release.

    Some of the notable changes include:

    • Clean and simple article URL addresses.
    • Page revision history saves older versions of your pages.
    • Caching system for better performance.
    • Support for MySQL, SQLite 2, and PostgreSQL databases.
    Jentla Offers New Forms & Application Builder

    Jentla, a provider of Web CMS solutions built on the open source web content management system, Joomla, has come up with a new tool for supporting business processes. It's called Jentla Action and here's our look at it.

    Jentla Technologies

    Jentla is probably best known for Jentla N multi-site extensions for Joomla. These are extensions that enable large amounts of Joomla sites to be administrated through a master system and central database. But that's not all Jentla offers. In addition, it has Jentla E a GPL ecommerce suite and there's Jentla V, for video management.

    The latest solution to add to the list is Jentla Action, a tool that helps you quickly build forms and applications.

    Jentla Action: Form Builder

    According to Jentla, you build one form that serves both the end user, the editor and the administrator. And you build it in a code-less environment. Jentla Action separates the definition of the form fields, from the design so that you can bring in different groups with the right capabilities.

    Jentla Action Process

    Jentla Action Supports Multi-site Deployments

    There are a number of nice features in Jentla Action. One is the ability to create a single form that will display certain fields for say a public website, and then include additional fields for display on the intranet.

    You can also import and export fields via CSV and create just about any type of field you can think of. In addition, all fields are searchable and any security set on those fields is adhered to.

    Forms are also included in the same publishing workflow as other content, so you aren't required to build and manage a separate publishing process for your forms and applications.

    Jentla Action can be used by both power business users and developers. You  can check out how Jentla compares Jentla Action against Microsoft Infopath and Drupal CCK.

    Alert: What's Coming for Open Source CMS in February 2011


    The folks at dotCMS (news, site) plan to release version 1.9.2 in February, marking the second major release in the 1.9 series. New features include:

    • Inline editing
    • A host dashboard, displaying site trends and usage statistics for site owners and marketers
    • An activity stream reporter, showing users' usage and activity
    • Cache tags for web developers to statically cache arbitrary blocks of templates, containers, pages or content code for increased performance
    • A new auto-updater for system upgrades
    • An Italian language translation

    In addition to these new features, one of the more extensive additions revolves around image editing. Content creators get the ability to edit images within dotCMS, with options such as resizing, cropping, rotating, adjusting hue, saturation, brightness and colors, and saving out different image types. Content editors get a clipboard where they can create edited versions of images (called renditions), select which one they want to use and then paste it into content.

    Some existing features also got improvements in addition to the various bug fixes and performance improvements:

    • All images and icons from the backend are now rendered as sprites, using just 2 images, to improve performance
    • Recurring events are now stored individually in the system so a particular instance can be edited separately
    • The ability to import content with the content identifier as the primary key


    In January, DotNetNuke Corp. (news, site) introduced support for two new Microsoft (news, site) products: WebMatrix and Razor. WebMatrix integration offers a development environment suitable for those with little technical experience building DotNetNuke sites, and Razor integration makes it easier for technical users to to build DotNetNuke extensions.

    DotNetNuke was also selected as part of Microsoft's Technology Adoption Program (TAP) for Windows Azure, and provided training materials for the Microsoft Web Camps program. Finally, the company named Bob Cortale as the Senior Vice President of Sales. Cortale will be responsible for building, developing and managing their global sales force and product support organization.


    In January, the Drupal (news, site) project finished this little release called Drupal 7. If you want some insight on where Drupal's headed next, check out project founder and leader Dries Buytaert's blog.

    Drupal company Acquia (news, site) added file system reliability and performance enhancements to their Acquia Hosting product, and support for custom Varnish page caching configurations for those using dedicated load balancers. They also made a number of additions to Drupal Gardens (news, site), including:

    • Basic right to left support for their themes, for those using languages such as Hebrew and Arabic
    • The ability to bulk delete gallery items
    • Enhancements to Drupal 7's editor usability
    • Performance enhancements to the ThemeBuilder

    Acquia also released Drupal Commons 1.3 beta. New items for this released include:

    • User badges as community participation rewards, with various ranks and icons
    • Usability improvements, decluttering some pages and increasing customizability of others
    • New default graphics
    • Breaking the commons apart further to allow more granular feature customization
    • Improved multilingual support for global organizations

    With this release, the Drupal Commons project transitioned to GitHub, allowing other developers to have access to the repository for both grabbing the code and submitting enhancements. GA release of Drupal Commons is expected within February.


    In January, Ephesoft (news, site) announced that Zia Consulting became the first system integrator to deploy Ephesoft's Intelligent Document Capture System to the Amazon cloud. The company also opened its EU headquarters in Maidenhead, UK, to work with its European partners.

    The month also brought new features such as out of the box reporting for Windows-based platforms through Ephesoft's thin client, which is built on Google (news, site) Web Tools. Reports give insight into operator productivity and the system throughout, and partners can extend the reporting module using other reporting tools.

    In February, Ephesoft continues working on a Linux version of their Intelligent Document Capture System, which will include another open source project, Tesseract v3.0 for its OCR engine. They anticipate that it will be available within the next two months.

    Hippo CMS

    In January, the folks at Hippo CMS (news, site) released Hippo CMS 7.5. This version brings new features such as:

    • A Template Composer that lets the end user change the page template layout within the site
    • Support for multiple translations of documents and folders
    • Support for Jackrabbit 2.1
    • An HST REST engine
    • An HST JAAS Login Module and Form-based Login Servlet support
    • Cross-domain and channel-aware linking, even across hosts
    • Multi-domain, multi-site, and multi-channel HST configuration
    • Support for Freemarker templates
    • Locale support per (sub)site

    Thanks to partner Finalist, Hippo CMS now integrates with Liferay (news, site), donating the integration code to the Hippo open source community. Hippo has also announced a partnership with Smile, a major French integrator of open source solutions.


    In January, the Joomla! (news, site) project released Joomla 1.6. New features include:

    • Advanced Access Control Lists
    • Nested categories
    • Template styles
    • Administrator UI improvements
    • New multi-language support
    • SEO improvements
    • Built-in 301 redirect system
    • Improved framework

    There's a migration guide for those who have concerns about upgrading. This release was considered part of the Microsoft CodeMash, and the project held JoomlaDay Chile 2011 with nearly 500 attendees.

    In February, the focus turns toward updating Joomla extensions and templates, and the Joomla core team is preparing for the next release, codenamed Bowerbird. In the meantime, the Joomla 1.6 release parties continue until February 7. There's a Joomla! Night coming on February 4 in Stockholm, Sweden, featuring the theme "Joomla: At the edge of innovation." The next day is a Nooku code jam, where Nooku is Joomla's development framework. Finally, there's a Joomla!Day coming in the Netherlands on April 2 - 3.

    2010 Open Source CMS Market: Drupal Trails Joomla!, DotNetNuke Challenges

    Water&stone has released their annual Open Source CMS Market Share Report. Who is dominating the open source web content management space? And who managed to move ahead of other contenders? Find out here.

    The Report

    2010 is the third year that water&stone has published the Open Source CMS Market Share Report. The report is non-commercial and released under an open license, unlike similar work from other industry firms. This year’s report began with thirty open source systems but ten were eliminated due to current market position. Water&stone assess the remaining twenty systems on metrics related to rate of adoption and brand strength. Using this data, the report defines market leaders.

    The report uses multiple data sources to draw conclusions. In addition to a survey, which water&stone conducted with over 5000 responses, other metrics included:

    • Product downloads
    • W3Techs’ analysis of technologies used on the top one million websites in Alexa’s rankings
    • BuiltWith’s technology rankings
    • The number of developers offering services in the technology on Elance and Guru
    • The number of books in print for the platform
    • Google page rank

    Using a multi-faceted approach minimizes the likelihood that the outcome is biased toward a single factor and hopefully quiets the inevitable cries of, “But what about…” that will come from supporters of platforms that did not rank as expected. The firm was also very careful to note cases where their methodology might have resulted in a skewed outcome.

    The Good

    WordPressJoomla! and Drupal, three of the most well-known open source CMS platforms, remain decisively in control of the market. In metrics such as number of installations and shares of Facebook
    posts, these three clearly dominated the field.


    water&stone 2010 CMS survey - installations


    share of Facebook posts

    In fact, in almost every measure, there is little indication that the leadership of the top three platforms is being challenged in the near future; but this is the internet — we could all be surprised.

    As for the leader of the pack, WordPress managed to take the lead in a number of key metrics. They included:

    • Search interest
    • Daily website traffic
    • Daily unique visitors
    • Daily page views
    • Downloads

    In terms of technology specific results, Liferay leads the Java WCM market, followed closely by Alfresco. DotNetNuke is the leading platform for the .NET market, although newcomer Umbraco is quickly narrowing the lead. The report also lists Concrete5 and Umbraco as solutions that are gathering strength in the market.

    The Bad

    The report identifies the following platforms as struggling to maintain market share:

    Using metrics like Google's search query interest, water&stone concluded that these projects are showing negative market trends.


    Google search interest

    The Ugly

    Jahia and phpWebSite, which were included in the 2009 version of the report, were removed from the top twenty list for 2010. Textpattern and Xoops may also want to take note — the 2010 report notes the two as at risk systems.

    In its second year making the at risk list, Textpattern's downward slope has continued into 2010. The report found low adoption rates, little growth in third party support, poor search engine visibility and low brand familiarity for Textpattern.

    The results for Xoops did not look much better. Xoops finished last in many important metrics like downloads and installations while leading negative indicators like abandonment rate.

    The Open Source CMS Market Share Report is likely a valuable source of information for any organization evaluating CMS tools. However, readers should be careful to consider their unique needs to determine if the conclusions are applicable. For example, small firms overwhelmingly dominated survey responses; larger firms may have radically different challenges.

    Have you read the full report? How did your favorite CMS system fare?

    Editor's Note: See how your favorite open source CMS fared this year compared to last year.

    Apache Software Foundation Divorces JCP over Irreconcilable JSR Differences

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) today announced its resignation from the JCP (Java Community Process) Executive Committee (EC). This comes in only a day after Java SE 7/SE 8 specs (JSR-336 and JSR-337 respectively) were officially approved by the JCP despite the ASF, Eclipse Foundation and Google voting against.

    Evil Plans and Stirring the Pot

    The conflict goes back to 2006 and, most recently, has been around Oracle's (who acquired Sun Microsystems - the inventors of Java) refusal to grant a Java TCK (technology compatibility kit) license to the open source version of Java called the Apache Harmony project. Apache has objected to the restrictions over Harmony and threatened to leave the JCP. Since then, the differences has not been ironed out.

    JCP is responsible for selecting which technologies to approve as official Java specifications. Just like it happened in the past with the near and dear to our CMS hearts JSR-170 and JSR-283. The JCP is supposed to foster an open specification process and protect the open licensing structure.

    However, the are fears that Oracle is taking control over the JCP, which is supposed to be an unbiased and independent body. Oracle wouldn't agree to grant a Java compatibility license for the ASF's Harmony project.

    This may indicate that Oracle is trying to keep a tight reign on any alternative implementations of Java other than their own version, while backing the OpenJDK open source version of Java.

    No Harmony in the Java World

    With these restrictions on distribution, the Apache Software Foundation decided to leave the JCP in a post published today, saying:

    By approving Java SE 7, the EC has failed on both counts: the members of the EC refused to stand up for the rights of implementers, and by accepting Oracle's TCK license terms for Java SE 7, they let the integrity of the JCP's licensing structure be broken.

    The Apache Software Foundation concluded that JCP is not an open specification process and that "the commercial concerns of a single entity, Oracle, will continue to seriously interfere with and bias the transparent governance of the ecosystem."

    Since it is not possible to protect the rights of implementers and to distribute independent implementations of JSRs under open source licenses without the fear of litigation from Oracle, Apache decided to express its disdain for JCP with an immediate resignation and removal of all official ASF representatives from "any and all JSRs."

    One can only wonder (or be slightly depressed?) about what kind of implications this development may bring on the content management industry. Many Web CMS and Enterprise CMS products are Java-based. Many of them are open source.

    While many large enterprise are comfortable with Oracle and Java as their language of choice, many of them also use open source technologies like Apache Tomcat and the likes. Above all, Apache has a reputation of bringing innovation to the table with its projects. Innovation is not the prime factor that drives the money-making machine that is Oracle.

    As we discussed before, Oracle may have a considerable impact on the industry, from many different angles. Not many of them were without controversy. Care to share your thoughts?

    OpenWGA 5.2 Adds Support for CMIS, Social Media

    OpenWGA (newssite) went open source a couple of months ago, but the updates haven't slowed down. With its latest release (5.2), you now have support for CMIS and social media.

    OpenWGA is a 100% Java CMS by the German company Innovation Gate Gmbh. OpenWGA is a relatively new addition to the open source family of Enterprise CMS but it is a veteran in the content management market. They offer enterprise-level features and probably their dual-licensing scheme (i.e. open source and free is just a part of it, while the more valuable features are in the paid commercial license) is one of the reasons why they are not as popular as many other enterprise-level content management systems. OpenWGA doesn't lack features and appeal as this latest release demonstrates.

    There are many new features in OpenWGA 5.2, the most notable being the included support for CMIS, new social plugins, video streaming and the new editor scheme in the Developer Studio.

    CMIS as a Client and a Server

    The support for CMIS is one of the major features in this release because CMIS is such a hot topic. CMIS support means that as a client, OpenWGA can access content in any CMIS repository (i.e. Alfresco) and display the content within an OpenWGA site/portal. As a CMIS server, OpenWGA will be able to provide access to the contents within the OpenWGA repository to any CMIS-enabled client.

    The bad news is that CMIS-functionality is available only for the paid (i.e. Enterprise) version, so if you are running the free version, you won't be able to use CMIS.

    New Social Plugins

    The new social plugins are the latest improvement in OpenWGA and unlike the CMIS functionality, they are free Enterprise 2.0 plugins. The plugins are OpenWGA Wikis, OpenWGA Blogs, OpenWGA Forums and OpenWGA Photos. All of them can either be used as stand alone applications or can be integrated into other web projects.

    Maybe these features appeared a bit late because many other Web and Enterprise CMS have them since the beginning of time but having in mind that OpenWGA isn't Drupal or WordPress and it doesn't have a huge community of developers, the delay is easy to understand.

    Video Streaming

    Video content is frequently to be found on an CMS and this is why it is good if the CMS is able to stream videos. The tricky part with streaming videos is that they require the so called “accept ranges” (an HTTP technology that chunks the video in portions, so that the browser can download a portion and play it rather than download the whole movie at once, which with huge movies and/or slow connections might take ages). Now OpenWGA 5.2. includes such support for video streaming.

    A New Editor Scheme in the Developer Studio

    Schemas have always been part of application design and they make the whole process much easier. Starting with OpenWGA 5.2, you will be able to use schemes. You can use predefined content type settings, content items, language definitions and website areas. All this functionality is included in the free OpenWGA Developer Studio.

    These new feature additions make OpenWGA a good choice, especially if you are obsessed with programming languages and wouldn't trade Java for PHP, Perl or .NET.

    DotNetNuke 5.6: Enhanced Workflows, Search, Google Analytics

    Open source web content management vendor DotNetNuke (news, site) keeps to pace with the release of v5.6 of its Professional and Enterprise editions that include better search functionality, enhanced Google analytics support and new workflow enhancements. 

    While these enhancements are restricted to the two editions mentioned above, it has also introduced a number of new enhancements for the community editions — databse optimization, new configuration management and improved search.

    DotNetNuke v5.6, Professional, Enterprise Editions

    This is the first upgrade since August when the company shelved the Elite edition and replaced it with the Enterprise Edition.

    Elite Edition made its first appearance in September 2009 with two editions: Regular and Premier, both comprised the code from the Professional Edition with added support. The new Enterprise Edition included the Professional Edition plus Elite Support, and a new key feature — content staging.

    Now, only a matter of months later both the Professional and Enterprise have been upgraded with a list of new enhancements that contain three principal upgrades. They include:

    • Site Search: Now enabled by a new engine that speeds up the process of locating files and pages across a site. Along with support for Boolean searches, phrase searches and even relevance searches, the engine includes rich query syntax. Its new true web spider can index any site —DotNetNuke or not.
    • Enhanced Analytics Support: Enhanced support for Google analytics includes upgrades to its integration abilities and now enables tracking of sub-domains as a single entity as well as five segmentation rules per page. The enhanced analytics is available in both the Enterprise and Professional Editions.
    • Content Approval Workflow Enhancements: Upgrades to the content approval workflow enables content managers to configure approvals at site, page and module levels, while users who will be impacted by the content changes will be able to view the changes before anything is published.

    It also comes with content locking to prevent workflow conflicts as well as business rules that enable workflows with an unlimited number of states or reviews.

    Community Edition

    But the upgrades are not limited to these two editions. The Community Edition also got some attention and has three major upgrades. They include:

    • Search: Upgraded search includes enhanced indexing, enabling standard core search features to index page names, tag attributes and other metadata
    • Performance enhancements: Optimized database architecture and handling of web analytics tracking codes.
    • Configuration Manager: Offers better access and control over website configuration files without users having to access the files directly.

    DotNetNuke is also offering a perpetual license option for existing Professional and Enterprise Editions subscription customers. Current DotNetNuke Corp. subscription customers may purchase a perpetual license to use the DotNetNuke Professional or Enterprise Edition version they are running on their production servers.

    Whatever it’s doing, it must be doing it right. The company says that over the past year its annual revenue growth has jumped by 300% and added 1000 new subscribers to its business. Nice for the times we’re living in!

    SEOTOASTER v 1.8.1 ecommerce CMS is now rocking

    SEOTOASTER v 1.8.1 combines a powerful and intuitive content management system, fully integrated shopping cart software, a complex sale/b2b e-commerce quoting engine,as well as automated organic search engine marketing execution that requires less than 60 seconds of configuration.

    SEOTOASTER integrates the Paypal payment system for credit card processing and can also configure any number of desired additional payment gateways. Version 1.8 of the open source CMS also offers an out-of-the-box integrated quote management engine that is ideal for e-commerce merchants who require offline interaction to close sales. B2C or B2B merchants like car dealers, equipment vendors, or those who sell luxury items or high-end appliances will appreciate its elegant and powerful quoting engine.

    The quoting engine requires a single click configuration and, coupled with the shopping cart, handles the intake of quote requests, status displays, and flexible processing. From creation and emailing of PDF quotes to the prospective clients with an integrated online payment button, to addition of products, or even quote creation from scratch over the phone by internal staffers for instance.


    With SEOTOASTER v1.8 Ecommerce solution edition, out-of the-box, you can;

    • Entirely control the look & feel of your store

    • Create product lists and merchandise display options with unlimited flexibility

    • Easy single-screen checkout page

    • Intuitive user interface

    • Easy tax & shipping configuration, including USPS, free shipping & flat fee shipping based on order amount or weight

    • Builds products using micro-format for great SEO performance

    • Builds XML product feeds for shopping comparison search engines, including Google Products

    • Checkout options include Paypal and/or credit card  and/or quote request

    • Pre-configured with Paypal Pro gateway & Pay with Paypal button
    • Merchandising widgets including scheduled on-sales pricing, and gifting

    • Merchant & customer notification for sales

    • Included quote engine for complex sales process

    • Quote request & prospective client notification

    • Quote adjustments, auto-emailing, auto PDF generation

    • Simple quote management

    • Automates 301 redirection

    • Automates deep-links creation

    • Automates on-page SEO alignment

    • Automates media tagging

    • Automates link sculpting

    • Automates link silo building via a point & click interface

    • Automates and simplifies the ongoing execution of many more arcane SEO techniques while providing an intuitive interface for users.


    Users can further enhance SEOTOASTER's existing feature set with an optional SEO Samba subscription, which provides the ability to market from a central interface for multiple websites hosted anywhere in the world. SEO Samba's Internet marketing softwareautomatically executes all on-site SEO techniques and provides access to automated off-site link building tactics; distributes your information to web, RSS directories, and specialized search engines such as Google News; distributes unlimited optimized press releases automatically; and more, for just $99 per month.

    SEOTOASTER can be downloaded free of charge here, and is also available as a turnkey e-commerce website builder hosted service, with nightly backup, automated software revision and support for $25/month.

    Stephane Croisier: The Future of Open Source CMS

    This blog post is a wrap-up of the GilbaneSF 2010 debate on the “Future of Open Source CMS” (#fosc on twitter) with Geoff Bock  & Dale Waldt (Gilbane Group), Ian White (The Business Insider), and Jahia’s inputs from an Open Source Content Management vendor perspective.

    You will find below the presented slides and a summary of the main topics we covered during the debate. This blog post will be followed by a couple of others over the coming months detailing the most important paradigms: the future of Open Source CMS. We will consolidate all these entries into a whitepaper available for download next fall.


    Today, it is hard to define what an “Open Source CMS vendor” is, since virtually every CMS vendor uses open source in its products, contributes to open source, or provides services around open source. Additionally, most, if not all softwares are dealing with “Content” in one way or another.

    To get a clearer picture of the future of Open Source CMS, we need to approach the topic from two different angles:

    • The Future of CMS
    • The Future of Open Source

    Future of Open Source CMS

    View more presentations from scroisier.
    1) Future of CMS: Composite Content Platforms vs Content-Enabled Applications

    CMS is a strange beast whose definition is broad and uncertain. CMS mostly implies two different audiences: techies (CIOs; CTOs; and developers) and practitioners (marketers, information Workers, and lines of business). From this perspective, it is evident we are not dealing with a single “system,” but rather two.

    CMS: Content Management Services or Content Management Solutions?

    The former stakeholders are looking for a “content platform”, the latter, for finished products and solutions to solve some of their content issues.

    As Wikipedia notes:

     Application software is contrasted with system software and middleware, which manage and integrate a computer's capabilities, but typically do not directly apply them in the performance of tasks that benefit the user. A simple, if imperfect analogy in the world of hardware would be the relationship of an electric light bulb (an application) to an electric power generation plant (a system). The power plant merely generates electricity, not itself of any real use until harnessed to an application like the electric light that performs a service that benefits the user.

    For a long time, CMS was a simple mixture of horizontal infrastructural libraries combined with vertical applications, without any clear segregation of duties. Most CMS solutions available today are still based on this monolithic approach.

    Recently, the industry-led (think JCR or CMIS) massive standardization and interoperability effort was coupled with a push to quickly prototype and launch rich content-enabled applications. This combination led to a greater separation of content platforms and content-enabled applications.

    Towards Composite Content Platforms and Content-Enabled Applications

    CMS Key Trend: Separation of Platforms and Applications/Products

    Even though the term “composite” has existed for quite some time, only recently did it gain traction, due to its role as the cornerstone of SharePoint 2010, actively pushed by  Gartner as a replacement for the older and more limited CEVA term.

    Content particles are becoming increasingly granular and structured. Moreover, there is an ever-increasing need to rapidly assemble, cross-link, enrich, and combine heterogeneous content objects. Therefore, the term “composite” sounds convenient and appropriate.

    Composite Content Platforms are tomorrow's ECM 2.0

    The nice thing about composite content platforms (call them content application servers or content management platforms if you prefer), is that they act as dynamic content containers or as content runtimes, which can run content composite applications. The next generation of composite content applications will be even more dynamic. They will not only glue cold content together, but also will natively inherit from the merge of application servers and content stores, and create hot actionable content-driven applications.

    Of course, a simple website could be considered a composite content application (in which case your httpd server could be seen as a kind of first generation and lightweight composite content server). However, composite content applications can also scale to more complex content-enabled applications requiring advanced business processing schema, strong business integration, and heavy personalization requirements.

    All these composites content applications can produce and publish massive amounts of content and data, which needs to be correctly managed. And here come the usual content management product families (WCM, DMS, DAM, RM…) that will help manage this deluge of information for all the content-enabled applications.

    This platform/product split is quite common, at least as part of the high-end enterprise spectrum of the CMS market niche.  It is rapidly moving down and impacting all other sub-segments.

    Some recent examples:

    • Day CRX vs Day CQ WCM or DAM
    • SharePoint Foundation 2010 vs SharePoint Server 2010 Editions
    • Alfresco Content Application Server vs Alfresco WCM, DMS, RM
    • Nuxeo EP vs Nuxeo DAM, DMS, Case Management, …
    • Exo/JBoss GateIn vs Exo Extended Services (DMS, WCM,…)

    Due to their historical focus and inherited technologies, some of these frameworks or content foundations, are still driven by a portal-centric approach (e.g. Exo), a document-centric approach (e.g. Nuxeo, Alfresco), or a web-centric approach (e.g. Jahia, Day). However, we can assume that there will be a rapid consolidation towards a universal set of core value-added services able to nurture and enrich any content asset, be it a web page, a document, a record, an email or a scanned fax.

    Content Lifecycle Services such as versioning, file plans, workspaces, content types, searching and querying services, interoperability services, mashability services, Social Services, persistence-independent storage services, etc. are becoming commodities.

    Composite Content Platforms

    As open source commoditization is actively ramping and rapidly extending its borders, competitors must decide whether to horizontally extend the level of content services offered as part of their content middleware (e.g. archive more volume, support more load, add new value added content enrichment services), or to go up the value chain and provide new lines of content-enabled products and applications to solve the needs of various business lines. Usually, both expansion strategies are pursued in parallel.

    Four main trends are emerging:

    • A rapid growth of built-in content enrichment services available for any type of content assets
    • Improved content interoperability services at the data level (OpenData; PortableData; CMIS; RDF…)
    • The need to quickly assemble, reuse, mashup and reuse existing content assets within various content-enabled applications
    • A tsunami of information, which needs to be correctly assessed and managed.

    With the rise of composite content platforms and content-enabled applications, we should see a shift from monolithic CMS towards better fractioning ones:

    • Composite content platforms which will serve both as a development foundation and as a production runtime for content-enabled applications
    • Content applications, which could be rapidly developed and run on top of a composite content platform
    • Content management products, which will let users best manage their content assets across all their content applications.

    Ideally, the next generation of composite content platforms should ensure a level of data openness and interoperability, aligned with the current CMIS, OpenData and other DataPortability trends.

    The goal of this new generation of Composite Content Platforms will be to offer a wide range of content enrichment services, while ensuring proper data interoperability and freedom. Ideally, composite content applications will become more standardized and portable, much as web applications became more standardized during the last decade. However, such a standardization process would take at least 5-10 years. Data Portability will therefore become one of the key purchase criteria.

    2) The Future of Open Source: Properly defining the limits of Open Core

    The line between proprietary and open source software has become increasingly blurred, as open source software is embedded in proprietary products and extensions. There is also plenty of confusion about the term “community”: community builds, originally based on the unstable development branch, are now promoted as “Freemium” editions for viral marketing purposes. Besides, the scope of  “core” features tends to be slowly but surely pared back to boost sales of newly created commercial extensions.

    So what can we expect of “Open Core” software vendors? How can we better define ethical and fair boundaries both for open source communities and vendors, while ensuring a reasonable level of open source “purity”?

    Simply put, more than 70% of open source contributors are now paid professionals while all open source commercial vendors look for ways to monetize their initial investments. This makes perfect sense, as any commercial entity needs to generate revenues, to pay employees and reward their shareholders.

    The Open Core business model is only the latest in a long series of commercial open source business models. Over the past two years, it has rapidly gained momentum. But it is also facing heavy criticisms (cf Gartner or InfoWorld). The model is more and more considered just another type of “Shareware 2.0” or, at best, a lightweight, limited and free SMB edition of the vendor’s main product offering.

    Essentially, there is nothing wrong with the Open Core approach and it has existed for years, even if it was not marketed under these terms. It comes down to how the vendor or the community defines the notion, including the scope and the “raison d’être” of the core vs the vendor’s product derivatives.

    In today's landscape, we can discern several common pitfalls:

    • Unclear core boundaries: there is no clear delineation between features that should remain in the open source core vs those reserved for commercial product derivatives.
    • Community Development editions vs Freemium marketing editions. Builds for developers and early adopters are often mixed up with "Gratis" editions to promote and evangelize a product line.
    • Community Open Source vs Vendor Controlled Commercial Open Source. Often the underlying intentions of the original contributor regarding its core are unclear. Is it to keep control over the project, or let the community drive development?

    In practice, an Open Core strategy often leads to the following consequences:

    • Endless debates: Defining the scope of the core vs the one of the proprietary product derivatives is a frequent source of contention both for the vendor's employees or between the vendor and the community.
    • Cannibalization of offers: Often there is little marketing distinction between the Core and Commercial Editions, in which case cannibalization normally occurs, to the detriment of the Core.
    • Community Exclusion: Vendors tend to favor their proprietary derivatives of community contributions, and shift their focus to value added enhancements rather than the enhancements to the Core.
    • Customer FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt): Customers often desire to buy software based on a free open source community project, but in the end revert to a classical vendor lock-in proprietary scenario. They are uncertain about the future of the Core, its maintenance, its migration path, its upgrades, and finally about its product roadmap  driven by the product strategy of the commercial derivatives.

    Open Core Main Success Criteria

    We can try to solve some of the classical Open Core issues with a series of best practices:

    • The Open Core should be of a real utility to the target market audience, and shouldn’t lock further usage or initiatives to the other vendor’s product lines. Open Core is not about confining customers in a closed shell --it's about promoting an open kernel that will help seed other initiatives and attract a long term community.
    • It should be evolutionary, despite the initial wishes of the main contributor to follow its own independent product roadmap.
    • It should not intentionally degrade stability, scalability or enterprise-grade features to boost conversion rates to commercial offerings.
    • Last but not least, there should not be an overt conflict of interest with the vendor's other product lines lest the value proposition fall back into the Freemium/Shareware2.0 camp, despite the presence of the source code.

    The value proposition and scope of the Open Core product offering should be clear to all stakeholders. Most importantly, users should be able to foresee a future for this Open Core product beside the extensions, derivatives, or additional lines promoted by the original vendor.

    This leads us to the following suggestions:

    Suggestion #1: Better distinguish your product branches

    First, let’s not confuse Freemium offerings aimed at practitioners with development builds for code contributors or early adopters. The term “community” normally relates to the crowd source collaborative aspects of an Open Source project (free speech), not that it is gratis (free beer). Releasing some community builds does not prevent a vendor from simultaneously offering Freemium editions of its various product families.

    So why are so many Open Core software vendors trying to redistribute an unstable version of their product as a promotional resource, in the hopes of converting users to stable and enhanced commercial editions?

    Second, most vendors need to improve the transparency of their Open Core strategies. The vendor should clearly state which of its products aim to become a community-driven open source Core, and which it will more strictly control with dual GPL/Commercial licenses, or even more proprietary licensing schema. There is no shame in being a Commercial Open Source vendor in 2010, so vendors should be candid about their position.

    Open Source Models

    Suggestion #2: Keep your Core away from possible conflicts of interest

    The second suggestion is to clearly delineate the scope of various product lines, to avoid any long-term product cannibalization. This not only helps to clarify the audience and the scope of features, but also the entire roadmap for each sub-product. The only sure way to do this is avoid all direct conflicts of interest between your core kernel and your product derivatives. Ideally, the Core should have a long-term perspective which encompasses the vendor's commercial derivatives. Organizations, or competitors, should be able to reuse, leverage and extend your core. Co-optition should be made possible.

    Common bad practices are the following:

    • Enterprise-grade features or scalability limitations. This classical marketing tactic associated with vendor lock-in is not viable in the long run, as it creates conflicts with the community and can finally force the vendor to fork the core and maintain two distinct branches.
    • Features required by the community (or even contributed by the community) that are deliberately placed in proprietary extensions (or not committed back into the Core by the vendor).
    • Refusal to loosen control of the Core: The vendor keeps full control of the Core and does not grant committer access to any third party.

    A frequent underlying cause of these bad practices is the lack of clear product boundaries vis-a-vis the Core, leading to severe conflicts of interest.

    Suggestion #3: One size does not fit all

    Now that Open Source business models are better understood by developers and customers, more vendors are using various open source strategies as part of their product families.

    For example, one could combine a community-based Open Core released under a business-friendly license, associated with some hybrid GPL/Commercial derivatives, combined with some other proprietary extensions.

    The “purity” of an open source vendor no longer has much meaning in 2010. Rather, we should speak of the purity of a given open source project, be it a Core, a library, or an entire product line. As vendors continue to adopt more hybrid strategies, the various levels of “purity” should be assessed for its particular product offerings. 100% pure Open Source vendors should start exploring various licensing models and apply them distinctly to each of their sub-products. As a result, these vendors will develop a more global and valuable Open Source business model. Customers will have to understand a vendor’s entire open source strategy before rushing to deploy the core or on another sub-product.

    This trend underscores the need for vendors to avoid Open Source FUD to their customers. The company's open source business model should be rather simple to explain, and clearly state the value proposition for all the stakeholders.

    We can summarize this chapter by listing the following key points:

    1. Open Core vendors tend to create confusion by mixing their Community with their Freemium editions, and their stable with their development branches.
    2. Most Open Core vendors do not clearly delimitate the kernel from their product derivatives. This usually creates severe conflicts of interest.
    3. Open Source vendor purity has largely lost meaning in 2010. Purity should be assessed on a project-by-project basis, and the vendor's entire open source business model should be clearly communicated to customers.

    3) Applying the Open Platform paradigm to the CMS industry

    Let’s now try to combine the first chapter, Future of CMS, with the second one, Future of Open Source, to envision how Open Source CMS could evolve over the next few years:

    • Composite Content Servers, Content-Enabled Applications and Content Management Products will be better differentiated, and split into distinct product lines.
    • An Open Core CMS strategy makes sense, especially if the Core becomes the Composite Content Platform. Such an Open Core strategy will avoid long-term conflicts of interest with the Content-Enabled Applications or the Content Management Products delivered on top.
    • The community of Open Source developers always tends to favor infrastructure and middleware initiatives on finished and ready-to-use software products. We should therefore assist the fast rise of new hybrid business models with some open-sourced Composite Content Servers for techies, released under a business-friendly license, combined with dual-licensed or even proprietary content applications and content management products for practitioners. It is wise to separate communities of techies and practitioners.

    Applying our conclusion to the Open Source CMS industry, we can now try to draw a general picture of future business models:

    Open Source CMS industry - Future Business model

    Of course, each CM product and vendor is different, so there will certainly be hundreds of heterogeneous variations of this business model over the next few years. But the underlying paradigms should be pretty similar.

    I will further detail each of these major paradigms in future blog posts. Meanwhile, please do not hesitate to add your thoughts and comments below.