What is Open Source CMS - Amazon Web Services

attentionclewInternet and Web Development

Feb 2, 2013 (5 years and 3 months ago)


What is SaaS vs Open Source | Open Source
CMS (Content Management System) vs
Software as a Service (Saas) for websites

If you are reading this, you have probably come to a crossroad while
building a

or an online application.

Is it better to use a SaaS platform or is it better to
use an Open Source Platform?


is the question?

The answer to this di
will hopefully be determined below.

In this post, we define ‘Platforms’, ‘CMS’, ‘SaaS’ and ‘Open Source’, and we will
break down the pros and cons of Software as a Service when compared to the pros
and cons of an Open Source Content Management System

What is a CMS (Content Management System)?

To begin, let’s understand what is a Platform:

Think of a platform as a framework within which software is developed and can
perform its functionality.


Make life easy for developers

Allow the small t
asks to be done effortlessly thus saving time

Are a collection of facilities or services that can be used to provide ease and
efficiency of use

I often equate a Platform to a living city.

The city has facilities or departments set
up to provide the essent
ial needs of society such as Water, Electricity and Garbage

to name a few.

In a city, if you want a phone line, you simply contact
PHONE, and tell them you want a phone line.

Now compare the scenario above to living in the jungle, with
no support systems
or facilities.

Trying to do something as simple as setting up a phone line may be
possible, if you are extremely technically gifted, but not advisable, because of the
high amount of labor required.

This would be what it’s like to work

without a

Now let’s consider a CMS (Content Management System).

A CMS Platform is
basically a piece of software or a web based application that allows a user to
manage the content (text and pictures) on their web presence.

What is SaaS (Softwar
e as a Service) model Platform?

SaaS (Software as a Service)model Platform

is exactly what it sounds like. In
simpler terms it means you are “leasing” the application or an instance of it for
your client’s site.

You are paying for the use of the software, and not for the
ownership of the software. With a
SaaS Model Platform
, a user “configures” the
application for their use versus customizing it.

By configuring an application we
mean, create templates for their design preferences, setup forms and so on.

We will discuss th
e Pros and Cons of Business Catalyst, a SaaS model CMS built
by Adobe.

However, most of the comparisons also apply to similar

Pros and Cons of SaaS (Software as a Service)




Cutting Edge Technology : The creators of the Application upgrade the
application centrally & everyone benefits with the upgrade

Easy to Manage : The interface is very user friendly, the Site walk feature is
great, excellent integrated analytics, full

Resource Availability :Have many video tutorials that you can send to client
to train them on functionality

System accommodates 80% of your Web Development needs

Integrated CRM is excellent for Small Business needs

CMS system is very intuitive &
the site
walk feature is top notch

Integrated Email marketing plugs into the CRM nicely

Integrated Analytics & Reporting

Workflows are great tools for simple business automation

Some advanced features like API ‘s and Web apps allow us to push the
to a fair degree

Lower cost upfront

Faster development cycle as the developer doesn’t need to mess with any
environments, server setups or code.

Infact, a slightly tech savvy designer
can do the entire build



No Ownership : The client never
really owns the site, it’s more so a lease

No Portability : The client can’t host the site on their servers

Higher Cost of Ownership: Conventional CMS hosting can be fairly
inexpensive, but with SaaS model platforms, you often will pay for their
system fee
s + hosting in a monthly amount, whereas with an Open source
CMS, the system is free

Limited Customization :Since you have no access to code, you can get stuck
when you are faced with advanced customization.

Limited “Specialists” : It’s tough to find devel
opers who know the system
inside out

What is Open Source CMS

Examples of Open Source Content Management Systems are Joomla, Website
Baker, DNN, OS Commerce, WordPress, Drupal and Zen Cart to name a few.
They come in a variety of coding languages such as PH
P, ASP.net or Ruby on

Open Source essentially means that the Source code is open or freely available to
absolutely anyone. The premise being that you can distribute what you know freely
and openly so that everyone benefits. Putting this good karma o
ut in the world will
result in good coming back to you. It’s almost spiritual!!

Typically Open Source CMS systems are distributed under a GNU General Public
License, which is an honor
based software listing system (so there are no monetary

L License says that you can use, distribute, modify, integrate &
customize the software any which way you like, as long as you credit the original
developer for it explicitly. In other words,you openly state that your site platform is
a derivative of Jooml
a (or whatever open source platform), you have taken the base
Joomla, made some modifications, and used it as a development platform. With
this approach you are in full compliance with the GPL license, but the moment you
say that your platform has nothing
to do with Joomla, and you built it from the
ground up,you are in violation.

Pros and Cons of Open Source Content Management Systems



Complete access to code

you can customize this type of system to any
extent, be it talking to the customer’s
point of sale system, integrating to
their accounting system, creating embedded flash applications

Open Source code

easy to understand code, well organized


hundreds of developers who know the system inside out are
available all over the interne
t. In addition to that they have forums, blogs,
videos and much more. You can Google any issue and find a fix

Applications & Modules :Lots of modules or widgets freely available. For
example, if you wanted a real estate site, you could simply install a mod
and get done in 20 minutes

Low cost of ownership : Typical hosting fees range between 5
15 dollars a
month for an average site

The Client “owns” the site so they can move it or host it anywhere, and they
have access to all the code



Complex Setu
p & Install

a server has to be prepared and setup so you need
an expert to do this

Managing a site can be complex as it is designed for a basic level of
technical skill

High initial cost since a lot more work needs to be done to set this up

Once you are

educated with the knowledge to determine if an Open Source
Content Management System is the right fit, or a Software as a Service (Saas)
model is better, you should consult a professional who can utilize these platforms
and build you a solution that can m
aximize the functionality of each.

About the Author


A serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in
multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an
instrumental role in the franchise development an
d success of a renowned
international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include
, a Digital Marketing company specializing in
Search Engine

Social Media Marketing

as well as Website and
Mobile Application
. In 2007 he co
founded WSI Search Result, an online marketing
company that

supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after
public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences
and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports
both new and seasoned busi
ness owners on
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Social Media Optimization
Mobile Marketing
Brand Reputation Management

Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the
heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill
seeking adventures
from the jungles o
f the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include
working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected
by disasters and poverty.