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considerations about "hard" CMS

I'm currently testing for my employer 4 different "big and hard" (i.e. expensive, server based and browser-through UI interfaced) CMS on pilot demo servers. I can't name these softwares because of some confidential issues, but let's say that two of them brand themselves as "leaders on the market" and two others wanna be  "outsiders".

And after one week of use, I am very upset by these so-called CMS solutions (the less expensive costs 60.000 USD, all the same...), mainly because their UIs suck. Even for the simplest user, their UIs are cluttered by useless icons, menus with geek-like labelling, users are asked for things they should never have to deal with...

Of course, on the paper, they have huge functionnalities, but most of them seem unusable by "normal" guys.

By comparison, using CD looks so simple ! So even if CD is still a young (and so, unperfect) product, I am every day more convinced that the CD approach of CMS is the best possible one, i.e. only core CMS features are implemented, but in an "as simple as possible" user interface.

Although I haven't been the latest person asking for new features, I hope that next versions will always keep unchanged this ease of use, even if some feature demands should be sacrified.

Vincent Bénard
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Well, nothing against CityDesk, but you can not compare apples with pears.
I know some of the CMS's that you're probably talking about. (hey, and I can name them ;-) Vignette StoryServer / V6 for example).
You are right, in most cases there is no UI.  It's basicly a toolset you can use to build your CMS, which includes the application you use to manage your content. This doesn't have to be a disadvantage, since some projects have very specific requirements no pre-build CMA could fulfill.
The "only" problem this causes are exorbitant development costs. ;-)
In the end it just depends on your clients requirements.
Email me if you need some in-depth info on Vignette, OpenMarket or Eprise.

Stephan Brosinski
Thursday, April 18, 2002

This is a favorite quote:

"As Internet technology advances, new things become suddenly possible. Take content management. Just five years ago, it was almost impossible to waste a million dollars building a Web site. But modern, twenty-first century Internet technology means that any medium-sized organization with Web ambitions can now pour a seven-digit sum of money straight down the hole almost instantly." by David Walker (Australian tech journalist)

tk
Thursday, April 18, 2002

You also have to assess future requirements and expandability. I guess you could hire FogCreek Consulting to add things like workflow & approval process, but it's not the same as buying a system that either (a) has these features but you've simply turned them off, or (b) can be expanded on because they're written in Perl or PHP - Interwoven, e-Grail.

At my company we use Vignette/Storyserver and Interwoven/Teamsite (those are the two leaders, right? I believe they're the only two leaders in that market) amongst others, AND we use CityDesk. Each one fits a different need. I expect a lot more will be added to CityDesk 2.0, so it'll have the 'more features than you need, but can turn them off' and FogCreek has promised us that if we need added functionality, they'd create an API for our needs, and since CityDesk is in Access, that part is open to development.

You really have to perform a needs analysis of some sort, which it sounds like you're doing.

Mark W
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Our philosophy is that there are two separate markets here.

Vignette and Broadvision and the wannabes are going after websites with a budget of over $500,000, with thousands of pages, and dozens or hundreds of contributors whose work needs to be coordinated carefully. We think this adds up to about .01% of the websites in the world.

We're going after websites with budgets from $0 to $1000, with hundreds of pages, and at most a handful of contributors who all work together anyway. We think this adds up to about 99.99% of the websites in the world.

Joel Spolsky
Friday, April 19, 2002

Yep. A user license for Interwoven costs around the same as a user license for CityDesk... a little more actually, but that's after the $400,000's you spend on server licenses and pay developers to configure the software.

MarkTAW
Friday, April 19, 2002

OH, and the cycle time between website releases and designs in CityDesk is about as fast as you can code the HTML. In Vignette...

MarkTAW
Friday, April 19, 2002

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