ANALYSIS OF CURRENT CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

creaturewoodsInternet and Web Development

Dec 8, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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ANALYSIS OF CURRENT CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Google Summer of Code 2007

Corey Shaffer

Organization : WordPress

Mentor : Brian Layman

Project : Helping create a better content management structure for a popular online utility








































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ABSTRACT


The purpose of this document is to describe three of the top current content management systems
(CMS) available today.

The exact
definition of a high quality CMS
will be outlined

and
subsequently used to critique

the

CMS applications.


The information presented will be used as a
means to improve the CMS functionality for the online site WordPress.




KEYWORDS


Content management systems (CMS),
WordPress,
Classification Scheme,
Drupal,
Joomla!
,
Backpackit.com, Blogger.com, archiving, ta
xonomy display
, reporting


1
. INTRODUCTION

A content management system assists users in organizing and controlling their resources.
The main reason to use a CMS application is to improve the organization of content. A quality
CMS application can provide

numerous benefits to an individual and/or company ranging from
increased growth capacity to increased site flexibility.





WordPress, an online blogging site, is looking to improve its CMS features in an attempt to
offer its users a more efficient way
to organize and manage their content. Improvements made to
the CMS features of WordPress would create a much better content control structure for the
popular site











In order to improve and upgrade the CMS of WordPress
, research must be done to
det
ermine exactly what makes a CMS application successful. What features are offered that
present the user with the most gain in terms of the management of their information?
To do this, a
few of the top available CMS applications will be analyzed in an att
empt to decipher what
features
they offer that
greatly increase
the ability for users to control

their content.

1A. What is a quality CMS?


Before attempting to qualitatively analyze
current
CMS applications, an exact definition of
what a quality CMS actua
lly is needs to be concretely defined.

What
tools and features

are
necessities in the development of a CMS? What principles must a CMS exhibit in order to be
labeled as high quality? These qu
estions must be answered before any CMS applications are
selec
ted to be critiqued and used to enhance the CMS functionality of WordPress.

a
.
Classification Scheme


There are many different contributing factors to the overall quality of a CMS. Since
requirements necessary for a CMS are so varied, a specific classific
ation scheme was obtained
that has worked nicely to group CMS requirements into specific groups depending on their
function. The classification scheme
, which spans from initially creating the content to delivering the
content to the users,

is as follows:



Content creation



Content management


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Publishing



Presentation



Contract and Business

This scheme spans the entire life cycle of a content management application
.

For purposes of this
study, a few specific factors from each portion of the classification schem
e that deal most
comparably to the goal of bettering WordPress as a CMS will be selected and used as
the critique

and anal
ysis material for any observed CMS.

Let it be known that these are not the sole factors
required for
creating a complete CMS
, but the
y are the most relevant to the task of improving the
CMS functionality of WordPress.

1
. Content Creation


Content creation is the functionality required by the users of the CMS.

It is the portion of
the classification scheme that deals
specifically with
u
sability.

Factors

include

integrated authoring
environment, powerful linking,
and
ease and efficiency of use.
A
n integrated authoring
environment
ensures
authors have a full range of access to all of the tools and features offered by
the CMS.
A CMS exhi
biting this functionality would present a powerful development environment
to its users. This correlates directly with the ease and efficiency of use of the CMS.

No matter the
number of features offered by the CMS, if it is not easy to use and navigate,
it will not be a
success.

The CMS
also
needs to exhibit powerful linking ability, which means cross
-
links created
between pages by the user must be stable against restructuring.


2
. Content Management


Good content management stands at

the core of a CMS.

A CMS solution must include
some form of central repository or managing center that offers a wide range of tools for users to
work with their content.

Some of the factors that will be observed for the purposes of this analysis
are reporting and versioni
ng control and authoring.
For reporting, it is imperative that the CMS
provide an extensive range of statistics and reports to its users. A nice addition to this requirement
is the ability to allow the user to enable what specific reports they receive.
Versioning control and
authoring
provides the user with the ability to store, backup, and manage their content. A good
CMS will allow the user strict accountability of their content.

3
. Publishing

For published pages of the authors, it is imperative that
the CMS collect usage statistics.
This will delineate what are the most popular entities that the user possesses. It grants the user
the ability to place a value on their assets.

The CMS must also be able to support multiple formats
such as PDF.

4
. Pres
entation


The presentation of a CMS must be usable, quick, and be able to be navigated effectively.
The topic of usability includes, but is not limited to ease of use, efficiency, easy reversal of actions,
and quality feedback. The CMS must look good, bu
t be easy

to understand and navigate. It


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should present the user with multiple methods of tracing and reversing their movement throughout
the CMS.


4
. Contract and Business


Business requirements must also be met when developing a CMS. For the purposes o
f
this project, the business requirements are being developed as a response to this document.
Therefore this region of the classification scheme is unable to properly be identified at this time in
the project cycle.

b
. Classification Scheme Conclusion

The

CMS models that are examined for purposes of
improving

WordPress will be critiqued
and graded based on how well they exhibit the requirements detailed in each of the sections
above. If any of the CMS models
contain features that are very efficient for so
lving one of the
above requirements, that feature will be noted and possibly prototyped to be included in the next
development cycle for WordPress.

2. ANALYSIS OF CMS DRUPAL

2A. Introduction


Drupal was selected based on a
three
-
month

trial run of the ap
plication.
After
the
trial
, it
was determined that
Drupal
could
very useful in the attempt to improve WordPress as a CMS.
Drupal was noted among many websites that ranked the top open
-
source CMS applications
available today.

a. Drupal Mission Statement


Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual or a community of users to easily
publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website. Tens of thousands of
people and organizations have used Drupal to power scores of different w
eb sites”


2B
. Overview

Drupal has several features that tie nicely into the classification scheme depicted earlier in
this document. Drupal is equipped with a role based permission system
, which allows users

to fine
tune personal configuration settings.

Users can bookmark important or favorite pages in their
content as well as review, modify, or rearrange any existing content they currently pos
sess. The
taxonomy display [
discussed

further

in section 2
B
]

is a particularly useful tool for users.

Drupal
a
lso featured an interesting version control system, which allows the user to track content updates
based on who changed it, what was changed, what time it was changed, etc. Authors can also opt
to view previous versions of the content by way of a “roll
-
ba
ck” feature.

A poll module lets users
create simple polls. Ask a question, provide possible answers, and let your users vote. Drupal then
keeps a running tally of the results.


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2C
. Analysis

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Positives


Drupal features a wonderful int
egrated authoring env
ironment that allows the user to
control their content easily and effectively.
The Drupal lay
-
out can be manipulated into
several
different forms, but no

matter the colors
presenting

the application, the basis of Drupal is simplicity.

During the trial us
e of Drupal, it exhibited powerful linking capabilities and great ease of navigation.

As you move further into
content, there are several ways to retrace your steps or to see quickly
where you stand amongst the tree of information you are navigating.
For

example, take a look at
the following screenshot.







FIGURE 2.1


Once you click on a link to view a new content source, your steps are traced on top of the screen

[see red box]
, giving you an idea as to where you stand.

In this exam
ple
,

we will click on level
design

as denoted by the blue box surrounding the link
on the left side
in the above picture.








FIGURE 2.2


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The red box now contains “home”, which was your previous location. If you click on “test
t
” in the
midd
le of the screen, the red box would say home > level design.
Drupal presents you with a
return

feature

to your previous locations as you delve further and further into your site. This is a
great feature that is subtle, but extremely useful.


Also, as lis
ted in section 2A Overview of Drupal, the versioning control and poll features
were both excellent modules that improve Drupal as a CMS.


2D
. Analysis


Negatives


From what was observed, Drupal seemed to be a bit lacking in the department of
reporting. U
ser actions could be followed, but there were not too many pure number statistics
recorded. Items such as page views, specific content views,
and such were not able to be
recorded.


2E
. Conclusion


Drupal’s
simplicity presents a perfect mentor for WordP
ress to

model after.

Although
lacking in a few aspects denoted in the classification scheme defined in section 1, Drupal’s ease
and efficiency more than make up for any flaws it reveals.

The analysis of Drupal

resulted in one excellent idea to prototype

into WordPress
(taxonomy display) and also provided ideas based on what Drupal did not contain
,

such as high
quality reporting

(content views, etc)
.


3.
ANALYSIS OF CMS JOOMLA!


3A. Introduction



Joomla! is an award
-
winning CMS that will help you build

websites and other powerful
online applications
. Joomla!
p
romotes itself as being a simple application that is powerful enough
to
manage every aspect of a

website, from adding content and images to updating a product
catalog or taking online reservations
.



a. Joomla! Mission Statement


“Joomla! is one of the most powerful Open Source Content Management Systems on the
planet. It is used all over the world for everything from simple websites to complex
corporate applications. Joomla! is easy to install, s
imple to manage, and reliable.”


3B. Overview



Joomla! contains several features that exhibit the characteristics discussed in the
classification scheme detailed in section 1.
Online users referred prospective patrons to
Joomla!

more than any other open
-
source CMS application

available. Joomla! is easily extendable and has
an amazing
graphical interface that allows users to control their content in a quick and efficient
manner.

It presents an easy
-
to
-
navigate interface
for users of the site, but the str
ength of Joomla!
lies in its
Joomla! Administrator feature. Joomla! Administrator allows authors to browse a variety
of tools via a control panel. Each item in the control panel is supported with a visual

depiction
.

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Each item leads to a different page t
hat reports statistics to the author. It is a quick and interactive
way to view what and where content is spread out.
This control panel is the
perfect model

for
statistic reporting and quick

content

summarization.



3C. Analysis


Positives



The Jooml
a! Administrator feature is the best method for statistic reporting and content
summarization that was found during this
analysis
.



FIGURE 3.1


The control panel is an extremely effective way of reporting statistics. Take a look at the box
highlighted i
n green on the right

side of Figure 3.1. This box provides quick
-
click
reporting to the
author. You can see how many items are included in your different menu options as well as the
latest poste
d items. Authors can view stats showing most

popular pages
as well as currently
logged
-
in users.

The blue highlighted
box on the left side of the screen

leads you to more in
-
depth
summaries for each manager tool. Media manager contains all of your media on the site and
shows
where it is located. Content items m
anager list
s

all of you
r

content and provides a short
summary of its current functionality.


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FIGURE 3.2


An author can view the content title and quickly see whether or not it is published, when it was
created, who created it, and where it is located.
Joomla! Administrator is very in
-
depth
, yet very
effective.


3D. Analysis


Negatives



Joomla! did not seem to be as easy to work with as Drupal was during the test trials. The
development of the interface seemed to be more for the tech
-
savvy mind than t
he common
individual.
It seemed as though you could perform a variety of tasks, but it was not
overly
easy to
figure out how to work with Joomla!.



3E. Conclusion



Researching Joomla! after Drupal was the perfect method for critiquing these application
s.
The overall simplicity of the Drupal engine showed as Joomla! was more difficult to use and
navigate through. However, where Drupal was lacking [reporting], Joomla! more than made up for
in the form of the Joomla! Administrator.
The Joomla! Administra
tor would be a wonderful addition
to any CMS, however, it would need to be refined and brought down a

notch so that the common
individual

could successfully utilize all it has to offer.




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4. ANALYSIS OF POSSIBLE CMS FEATURES SUPPORTED BY INFO MANAGEMENT
SITES


4A. Introduction



The initial research obtained from analyzing Drupal and Joomla! provided great insight into
quality open source CMS applications.
When trying to find a third CMS to analyze, none were
surfacing

that contained anything that separa
ted them from the two applications already observed.

After try
ing a few systems such as Plone.org and OpenCMS.org, there was nothing witnessed that
would ultimately help to improve WordPress as a CMS.

After this realization, a few different up
-
and
-
coming

information management websites that had been come across

were revisited to see if
they had anything to offer to
increase the CMS functionality of WordPress
.



4B.
Analysis of BackPackIt.com


a. Mission Statement of BackPackIt.com


“37signals blends an
absolutely beautiful and intuitive interface with pertinent functionality...
Everything you used to scribble down on sheets of paper can be replaced by Backpack's
functionality, combining weblogging, to
-
do lists, and calendars all into one simple
-
to
-
use
in
terface. ”


b.
Overview

of the Backpackit.com Calendar Tool



Backpackit.com features a wonderful interactive calendar that could contribute to a CMS
application. The calendar organizes events into their specified days in a custom format defined by
the us
er. Users can set
-
up automatic e
-
mail reminders to be sent at a specific time before an
event occurs as well as delineate different tasks in a color
-
coded scheme on the

calendar
.





FIGURE 4.1



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Adding events to the calendar is very simple as an “add an
event” tool sits directly to the right of
the calendar itself.


c. Conclusion



Many users of the popular site spoke highly of the interactive calendar feature that
Backpackit.com

promotes.
The feature was very useful and could be tweaked to serve users

of a
CMS. A calendar feature similar to the on
e

shown could be created

and could automatically store
content
post
ing

dates
for

the user.
This would help to resolve versioning conflicts as a quick
glance at the calendar would show post dates and titles o
f content created.

Space permitting, the
“add an event” feature could also be given to the user so that they could use the calendar as a
means of organizing not only their content, but themselves as well.


4C. Analysis of Blogger.com


a.
Overview

of Blo
gger.com

Archiving Scheme



Blogger.com features a very useful archiving system that
is similar to the one WordPress
already has implemented, but it branches into several leafs that make it a little easier to
distinguish
where information is
.






FIG
URE 4.2


Figure 4.2 provides a visual of a Blogger.com blog. Notice the section highlighted in red on the
right side of the screen. The archive branches from year to month to post. The user can choose to
leave the tree tabs opened or they can close them

if they choose to do so. WordPress currently
presents a link to each month that contains posts. When you click on the month, you are
redirected to a new page that shows your posts for that month.


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b. Conclusion



T
his
current
archiving system
of
WordPr
ess
can be

updated to branch like Blogger.com’s
to allow the user to quickly sort their information and get to the post they desire to view. Simple
little re
-
designs such as this are very easy to do, but they can result in exponential gains in the
area of

ease of use and efficiency for a website.


5. CONCLUSION



This document is the first step in attempting to improve the CMS functionality of
WordPress. Our task now has a clear cut definition of what is considered a high quality CMS
application and
has

reviews of sever
al current systems that provide

insight into how WordPress
can become a better CMS. Each analysis resulted in an idea that could possibly be implemented
into WordPress. From the simplicity of use of Drupal to the intelligent statistic re
porting of the

Joomla! Admini
strator

feature, each analysis also provided a prime example of how to perfect
certain aspects of the classification scheme noted in section 1.

The analysis of the lesser known
information management sites such as backpackit.c
om and blogger.com also proved to be very
useful. Blogger.com contains a simple archiving system that serves as an upgrade over
WordPress’s current means of presenting archived content. As a result of the study of
blogger.com, the other

simple

features o
f WordPress will be analyzed to make sure they are
implemented and presented in a way that promotes ease and efficiency of use.


5A. Where to go from here?



The next step
in the attempt to improve WordPress as a CMS will be to further

review

the
features

noted in this document that could possibly be prototyped to be added to WordPress. They
will be analyzed to make sure the time/cost does not outweigh the value of the features to be
added.

Also, a more in
-
depth study will be
evaluated

to
ensure

the curr
ent features of WordPress
meet the ease and
efficiency

of use standards noted in this document. If any features could be
improved upon, they will be noted and a suggested enhancement will be discussed in detail.

When
this next step is completed, WordPres
s will have the final list of features to be prototyped as well as
a list of upgrades, if any, that need to be made to current tools offered by the system.



















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6. REFERENCES



http:/
/www.steptwo.com.au/papers/kmc_evaluate/



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_management_system



http://cmswatch.com/CMS/Vendors/



WWW.DRUPAL.ORG



WWW.JOOMLA.ORG



WWW.BACKPACKIT.COM



WWW.BLOGGER.COM