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cms product groups and variants

In order to simplify consideration of Content Management Systems, we use a six-step classification system.

Step One - Function based classification
In the Content Management System Definition page, we hinted at the broader range of software products that have some form of Content Management System (CMS) heritage. These include Document Management Systems (DMS), Digital Asset Management (DAM) Systems, Learning Management Systems (LAM or eLearning Solutions), Brand Management Systems, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and a wide range of other web related information systems. The most appropriate classification for Komodo CMS and similar product offerings is that of Web Content Management Systems (WCM), although we believe we have superior credentials in both eLearning and Brand Management as well.

Step Two - Scale based classification
In addition to the functional niche, the scale of the system is also identified. For example, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Global Content Management (GCM) are more about the customer size to which the solution is targetted (and of course the attached price tag). It is true that ECM solutions contain advanced workflow management and archival systems, and the GCM solutions usually have translation and Unicode management built in, however so do some of the smaller players. In this classification, Komodo CMS would be considered mid-market. This uninformative designation covers small businesses with serious web management requirements through to large corporates and governments who whilst having large audiences may have modest numbers of web editors and contributors. In many ways it is easier to scale-up than live with application complexity that comes about because of unused features (in our humble opinion of course).

Step Three - License model classification
Further market segmentation comes about on the basis of the engagement model. Proprietary systems come at a cost in the more conventional sense and are subject to stringent licensing terms, ASP solutions are purchased under a rental agreement and Open Source solutions are at least notionally free and subject to open agreements in the form of GPL or GNU licences (discussed later). Komodo CMS would be considered a proprietary system and is subject to an End User License Agreement (EULA), some important issues related to licensing are discussed in the section on Open Source solutions.

Step Four - Platform based classification
Some CMS solutions will only work on a certain platform (for example, Microsoft Windows®, UNIX®, or Linux) or are built on top of other solutions (Lotus Domino, Microsoft Exchange) or require the use of particular plug-ins, system set-ups, or internet browsers. Where cross-browser compatibility is advertised, this may not cover editing for which a specific browser may be required. Platform agnostic content management systems do not exist in the real world (outside of marketing spin doctoring), because at the very least, every vendor has a platform preference and every vendor can only test so many different combinations and permutations of platforms and browsers.

Step Five – Classification of underlying development environment
As with all software products, CMS solutions are built by programmers using varying programming environments. With the increasing compatibility of solutions that has come about bu the adoption of Open Standards (ODBC, RSS, XML, LDAP, and so on), organisations can deploy varied software applications and make them work together. The reality of course is that this is easier to do when they are relative close in origin and development methodologies and where your deployment, IT and other resources can be utilised across multiple environments. If everything you already operate runs on Windows, then you will need to think twice before buying software you wish to integrate that runs on another platform or uses another code base. Beware however that this is not your only selection criteria otherwise saving some integration problems may lead you to bigger core functionality problems if your existing vendor of other IT solutions has a sub-standard offering in web CMS applications space.

Step Six - CMS methodology classification
Content Management Solutions are youthful, even in the field of internet applications. As a result, there is no real industry standard and the methodologies used to manage internet content vary considerably. No solution is exactly the same as another, however some classifications exist. Some editors use a file and folder structure (these are generally systems that have migrated to the internet from document management or other pre-web CMS disciplines), most however are WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), trying to maintain the ‘look’ of the site whilst in an editing environment. The user methodology continues into areas such as user access, rights and privileges, methods of file handling, site updating processes and a raft of other ‘stylistic’ decision areas.

Classification results – The six sided matrix
As you can see from Google’s DMOZ Project, there are a large number of vendors in the Internet Content Management space. Broken down across the six classifications detailed above (function, scale, license, platform, build environment and user methodology), the number of vendor solutions in each matrix segment is a much smaller number.

In the section on
Making a Decision, we suggest that you determine your requirements and the ‘matrix section’ in which your ideal product resides before making a choice.

For the record, Komodo CMS can be classified as follows under this model …

Functional classification: Web Content Management System (WCM)
Scale based classification: Mid-market solution
License classification: Proprietary license with exceptions
Platform classification: Cross-platform with Linux deployment preference
Underlying code classification: Developed using PHP and MySQL
User methodology: Cross-browser editor, through-the-web, WYSIWYG

Other classifications and comparisons abound …

For enterprise solutions,
Gartner publishes a magic quadrant®, if you are willing to buy the research. In other segments the research and comparisons are more fractured, however examine our CMS Experts and Product Vendors sections to gather more information.