Open source CMS award 2009

November 5th, 2009. Tagged: CMS

It's this time of the year again - the Packt open source CMS awards. Yours truly has been in the jury in the past two years in the "PHP CMS" category, this time I was selected to judge in the "Other" category. So I had the pleasure of reviewing 5 non-PHP content management systems. Very impressive stuff!

Here are some observations (the CMS's sorted alphabetically, nothing to do with my verdict). They might be more on the negative side, but I had to find things I don't like, right, I couldn't just vote for all of them. And plus, in previous years the CMS developers sometimes would ask for any suggestions for improvement.

DotNetNuke

  • click
  • written in .net
  • rich text editor
  • free and paid (professional) version
  • busy community forums
  • a number of extensions/pluggins/modules conveniently sitting in the admin menu
  • pages made up of modules
  • needs a bit of work in the keyboard navigation, "enter" key behaves in various ways and not always intuitively
  • needs a bit of UI and usability work, the UI is all over the place
  • -1 for having to complete a form in order to see a demo (form includes phone number and "ok to be contacted by a salesperson?", many new services require less information to make you a full member)
  • -1 for having to register in order to download
  • -1 performance (no gzipping, no minification, multiple scripts and styles, no sprites, etc)
  • -3 for sending me three emails shortly after registration for a demo

dotCMS

  • click
  • written in Java
  • very slick
  • versions - free, paid, on-demand
  • pre-packaged sets of functionality to get started quickly depending on the type of site you're building (e.g. ecommerce, press center, etc) - pretty cool idea
  • impressive list of clients - .edu's, gov, corps...
  • highlight on "enterprise" features (sorry, hate that word), with focus on scalability. Hey, you can even buy the hardware, with pre-installed CMS
  • -1 for having a 404 on many pages (global.js, also menu_bg on the demo site)
  • +/-1 for performance best practices (some sprite use, but not enough, -1 for using gifs, +1 for gzipping, should compress the page as well, -1 for not combining components like css and js)
  • built with many open standards, velocity templates, struts, +extra for using YUI base/reset/grid (wink)
  • -1 for putting long text chunks in an image
  • readily available demo
  • nice CRM module with mailing list
  • -1 for using dark text on a dark background ("Your search for "<i>skins" returned 0 results.")

mojoPortal

  • click
  • .net
  • many auth options - ldap, oauth, etc
  • free, some paid features such as support and advanced from editor
  • could benefit from a sexier demo
  • nitpicking: double htmlentities escape
  • -1 for performance best practices (should gzip, merge css, js, etc)
  • clean markup (although .net's viewstate bloat makes me uncomfortable), despite the few single quoted attributes
  • inline editing (edit links appear as you browse the front-end) - ftw
  • rich text editing with several editors

Plone

  • click
  • python
  • slick and contemporary
  • impressive list of add-ons
  • excellent step-by-step tutorials, manuals and a free online book
  • impressive client list, starting with (since I bitch about performance throughout this post) Akamai, the CDN provider
  • +1 for performance best practices, could also gzip and minify css/js, +1 for sprites
  • -10 for missing demo?

WebGUI

  • click
  • Perl
  • one-click personal demo is a very good idea
  • "site starter" that hand-holds you through setup
  • -1 for not gzipping, etc
  • +1 for the cheesy rockstar photo here
  • -1 for white fonts on light blue background in profile pages (I left the default colors during setup)
  • +1 for innovative admin console approach (accordion-style menu on the left, while viewing the front-end)

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