Evaluation of Open Source (OS) Content Management Systems (CMS): Alfresco, Drupal, and Joomla!

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Dec 4, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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Evaluation of Open Source

(OS)


Content Management System
s (CMS)
:


Alfresco, Drupal, and Joomla!







18

September 2007




Chantel Brathwaite

Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

Chantel Brathwaite

2

Executive Summary


Businesses are using content management systems (CMS) to perform web administrative
fu
nctions, manage assets, provide personalization and localization features, and much
more. However, selecting an open source CMS is difficult because there are many
options. This report uses trend data from independent research organizations to
form

evalu
ation criteria that can be used to further analyze CMS software.
Evaluation criteria
were

then used to evaluate three different open source products: Alfresco, Joomla!, and
Drupal to determine w
hich products were suitable for different web requirements
.




Results

indicate that Alfresco is suitable for websites that require advanced functionality
such as detailed content analytics or document and knowledge management features.
Drupal is suitable for sites that require intermediate level functionality, suc
h as the ability
to grant access of one portion of the site to a subset of users, or the ability to maintain
multiple sites. Joomla! is suitable for basic sites that require some intermediate level

functionality, such as blogs and

forums.


Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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Table of Cont
ents

Executive Summary

................................
................................
................................
............

2

Table of Contents

................................
................................
................................
................

3

Introduction

................................
................................
................................
.........................

4

Definitions and Terms
................................
................................
................................
.........

5

Methodology

................................
................................
................................
...................

5

Literature Review and Industry Resea
rch

................................
................................
.......

6

Evaluation Criteria

................................
................................
................................
..........

7

Candidate Selection

................................
................................
................................
........

8

Evaluation and

Results

................................
................................
................................
....

9

Conclusion

................................
................................
................................
........................

12

Appendix

................................
................................
................................
...........................

13

End notes

................................
................................
................................
...........................

16


Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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4


Introduction

Once upon a time, when businesses were starting to establish
their
web presence
s

and
visitors had limited bandwidth, many websites functioned as brochures. Users visited
these websites, which consisted primarily of static

HTML pages,

to learn more about

products and services. Interaction with the company meant sending an email to the sales
representative or finding the toll
-
free telephone number to call technical support. Today,
as visitors grow more web savvy, and as ac
cess to high
-
bandwidth connections become
more

prevalent, visitor expectations

have changed. Visitors now expect training videos,
to be able to connect with other visitors via forums, to be able to find white papers that
answer specific questions, and muc
h more. Additionally, as more people from different
countries gain internet access, businesses must find ways to globalize their web content.
Multinational companies often communicate with geo
graphically and linguistically
diverse employees

via internal

intranets.



To

help

meet these needs, businesses are using Content Management Systems (CMS)
in
conjunction with other products.
CMS are used to perform web administrative functions,
manage assets, provide personalization and localization features, and m
uch more.
There
are many
sub
categories of CMS. A Web Content Management (WCM) system has
additional features specifically tailored to manage web site content. A Digital Asset
Management (DAM) system has additional features to support the ingesting,

catal
oguing,
storing, retrieving, and annotating

of digital material. An Enterprise Content
Management (ECM) system is usually comprised of a WCM and DAM, and provides
additional knowledge management and document management features as well.


However,

the dizz
ying array of options can be daunting for even the most seasoned
information technology (IT) administrator. CMS
Matrix
, an open source organization
that tracks and rates content management systems
,

lists over 800 different

open source
CMS

packages.
i

And,

if we expand the list to include commercial packages
, the list
grows longer.


If an administrator requires a CMS for a mid to large company, and there are funds for a
commercial solution, the selection process becomes easier. There are many respected
ind
ependent
IT

research firms, such as Gartner Incorporated, Forrester Research, and
International Data Corporation

(IDC)

that regularly determine which applications are
best
-
of
-
breed. The administrator can use this material, coupled with a thorough
understa
nding of business requirements to quickly
identify viable candidates.



But, evaluating open source CMS packages is a bit more difficult.
The few

firms

that

concentrate on open source
applications may or may not include

trend analysis. Those
that do ofte
n produce reports that are expensive for
many
. F
or example, the 2007 CMS
Watch Web Content Management S
ystem
report ranges from $975 to $2975, depending
on licensing options.
ii

Although
Gartner, Forrester, and IDC offer repor
ts within the
same price range
s,

if commercial vendors are positively reviewed, they
are more likely to
purchase the rights to publish those reports

on the
web.
Although
the intent of these
Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

Chantel Brathwaite

5

companies is to

use these reports to
attract potential customers,
researchers
interested in
ope
n source
can
exploit this free source of information to obtain trend analysis
data

that
is
standard
in these reports
.


This document uses
that

approach to evaluate
three open source CMS packages:
Joomla!,
Drupal, and Alfresco
.

The
se

three packages are wid
ely considered “best
-
of
-
breed” in the
open source community
. Additionally, because this
document

focu
ses on web site
management, the CMS packages selected are those that have been categorized as

WCM

software or have a significant WCM component
. These pac
kages have then been
evaluated to determine which type of website it best serves.



Definitions and Terms

Although the CMS and its subcategories have been briefly discussed, it is helpful to gain
a fuller understanding of each.



Content Management System

(CMS)
. A content management system is
software that is used to support the creating, updating, publishing, translating,
archiving, and retiring of digital information. Standard features, such as tracking
the changes made to digital information are often

included. CMS is a generic
term that can be applied to many different types of software. Subcategories of
CMS include web content management and digital asset management software.



Digital Asset Management (DA
M)
. Digital asset management software has
add
itional features to support the ingesting,

cataloguing, storing, retrieving, and
annotating

of digital material. Traditionally used to support media organizations,
DAM software is being increasingly used to store corporate information, such as
webcasts, p
odcasts, or audio material.



Web Content Management (WC
M)
. Web content management software has
additional features specifically tailored to manage web site content. Examples
include the ability to publish content on a web server or the ability
to
provide
web
content in different languages (commonly part of a set of features related to
“localization”).



Enterprise Content Management (EC
M)
. According to Association for
Information and Image Management (AIIM),
ECM
software are

the technologies
used to capture,

manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents
rel
ated to organizational processes.
iii

ECMs often contain include WCM, DAM,
and knowledge management features.

Methodology

A tra
ditional
software
evaluation process
involve
s approximately seven ste
ps:
Requiremen
ts Gathering
,
Literature and Industry Research Review
,
Candidate

Selection
,
Request for Proposal
,
Vendor Demonstration
,
F
ormal Evaluation
, and
Software
Selection
.


However, since the goal of this process is not to select software, but rather
t
o determine
which software can be used to support which website goals,
modifications
to this
process
have been made.

Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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1. Literature and Industry Research Review

2
.
Development of Open Source
Evaluation Criteria

3. CMS Search and Candidate Selection

4
. F
ormal Evaluation

5
. Soft
ware Mapping and Categorization


First, research lit
erature was reviewed to identify trends

and
commercially
-
used

evaluation criteria.

Reports from i
ndependent research organizations were
reviewed

and
evaluation models identified.

Next, review and trend data was distilled to generate
evaluation criteria suitable for open source software.


Next,

data from independent open source research
organizations were
evaluated to
determine which CMS products were considered to be “best
-
of
-
breed
.”

Additionally
industry

awards,
awards
were reviewed to find candidates.

At the conclusion of this, three

candidates
were identified for inclusion in this report.



Once
candidates were identified
,
the actual software was evaluated using the open source
evaluation criteria, CMS Matrix data, and actual working copies of the software.
Documentation, as well as comments from users
,

were evaluated against the raw data.

As part of the evaluation, results were compiled in a spreadsheet and software was
catego
rized according to
website level
.

Literature Review and Industry Research

In 2006, Gartner published “WCM and DAM: The Next Generation,” which outlined key
issues and trends in web development that have affected the development of web content
management an
d digital asset management systems. Gartner found that WCM will
continue to offer core functionality, such as workflow management, library services, and
access to templates.
iv

However, because of changing user expectations,
businesses are
beginning to
cr
eat
e

websites that are more targeted and focused on the customer.
Therefore, high
-
end CMS packages are offering analytics to track user behavior, a means
for feedback, and stronger integration with portal software. Previously advanced
features, such as b
logs and forums are now standard. “The Forrester Wave: Web Content
Management
for

External Sites, Q3 2007” echoes Gartner’s findings.

v

In addition to
addressing the need to deliver targeted information, the report

also highlights the need for
consistent

branding. Internal employees who don’t have programming skills want to be
able to perform administrative functions such as create personalization rules or
administer multiple sites.

Both reports indicate that presenting content in different
languages, re
using content, and having the ability to use metadata to tag content are vital
for high
-
functioning web sites.


The CMS market has changed significantly to address these trends. In particular, the
enterprise content management market has been volatile.
As ECM vendors have realized
the importance of the web content management, many have rushed to acquire companies
with strong track records in this area. Consider IBM’s acquisition of FileNet, SDL’s
acquisition of Tridion, or Oracle’s recent acquisition of

Stellent, which is one of the most
Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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feature
-
rich WCM packages on the market. Major ECM vendors have recognized that an
ECM suite is not complete without strong WCM. In response, WCM products not
associated with an ECM are quickly adding more features to
stay competitive. Because
commercial ECMs can be quite expensive (ranging from $100K to over $1M, depending
on options purchased), standalone WCMs are a viable option, particularly for small to
mid
-
sized businesses.

Evaluation Criteria

The Forrester’s WC
M Model, which maps different web
goals

to WCM features, served
as a starting point for the development of
this report’s
evaluation criteria.
vi

The
evaluation
criteria

used in this report incorporates industry
trends and basic website
goals
. These criteri
a have been
specifically formulated for

open source applications. For
example, for commercial applications
, the corporate commitment to a product
is
partially
determined by
wheth
er a vendor has been profitable and

the number of employees
dedicated to

the
product line
. For open source applications,
one way to

measure this
is

to
determine the size of the user community and the frequency of releases.
So, a
n open
source project that is s
upported by two people and
that has

had no releases for the

past

two yea
rs is the equivalent of a company that has been posting record losses and is facing
bankruptcy.


Table
1
: Web Evaluation Criteria

Website Goal

WCM
Evaluation
Criteria

Basic
: Establishing
Web Presence



Is it low cost?



Is technical
support and developer support available (e.g.
documentation, forums, mail lists)?



Is work ongoing (updates, patch
es)? Has there been a
release, patch or update
within the past year?



Can users publish a static page?



Are social networking plug
-
ins available

(
e.g. blogs,
forums, chat rooms)?

Intermediate
: Adding
Internal and External
Functionality and
Standardization



Can users check in and check out digital assets to a
centralized library? Is it version controlled?



Can people who don’t know HTML enter and p
畢汩獨s
c潮瑥湴o



Is there multi
-
site management? Can you share content
among sites?



Can administration of the site be delegated?



Are search logs available? Basic statistical reports (e.g.
impressions, keywords)?



Is this product a portal or can it be integ
rated with one?



Is this product compliant with major W3C
recommendations/standards

(e.g. 508C)
, accessibility
standards, and JSR 168 (for portals)
?



Are templates available?



Can users customize the site?

Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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Table
1
: Web Evaluation Criteria

Website Goal

WCM
Evaluation
Criteria



Is localization
supported
?

Advanced
:
Targeted

Opera
tions and
Services



Can users customize workflow?



Are content analytical tools available?



Can users publish information in a variety of formats
(multi
-
channel publishing), such as Word, PDF, or XML?



Is site and archive retention available?



Are there metadat
a tags available for content?

Candidate Selection

The first step in candidate selection was to find a systematic means of sifting through the
800+ open source CMS packages.
CMS Matrix provides a
website

for users in the
community to download and review C
MS packages. Users review software using nine
categories: system requirements, security, support, ease of use, performance,
management, interoperability, flexibility, built
-
in applications, and c
ommerce.
Because
of the systematic nature of the review, th
is seemed to be a good starting point.


Only products that
had
,

at minimum
,

150 user reviews (indicating a large user base

or at
least interest in the product
) and that scored a six or higher in six of the nine categories
were considered

as potential candi
dates
. From these, the top five for each category was
selected.


Additionally industry awards, such as InfoWorld’s Best of Open Source Software
(BOSSIES) and the Packt Open Source Content Management System awards were
reviewed to find
potential
candidat
es.
vii

viii

The following tests were then applied to each

system potential candidate:


1.

Software

must provide basic WCM capability including the ability to publish
pages, connect to or function as a portal, and perform web administration, and
maintain user acc
ounts.

2.

Software

must have an active user base, as is evidenced by the presence of forums
and/or mailing list
s

as well as user groups and/or conferences. Activity must have
been detected
in these forums or lists
within the past 14 days.

3.

Software

must have
demonstrated evidence of product development within the
past year. This includes major or minor releases, patches, or testing.

4.

Software

demonstrates that there are plans for future upgrades or releases.


At the end of this process,

three candidates emerge
d as clear contenders:




Jooml
a!

is a content management system that allows users to build websites of
varying complexity using a combination of user entered data, custom code, and
extensions.

Although the product is fairly young (the first release was in
2005), it
is built on the Mambo codebase, wh
ich was first developed in 2000
. Joomla!
meets all basic criteria and was announced the winner of the Packt Publishing
Open Source Content Management System Award in 2006.
ix

Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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Drupal

is a CMS that provides a means f
or users to quickly build web sites.
There are many modules available “right out of the box” as well as extensions.

Drupal was originally built as a bulletin board system and became open source in
2001. Dru
pal won the CNet Webware 100 and was second run
ner
-
up

(by one
vote)

in the Packt Publishing Open Source Content Management System Award
in 2006.
x



Alfresco

is an Enterprise Content Management
system
that offers web and
document content management

functionality

as well as records, knowledge, and
image ma
nagement features. Only the web content man
agement features were
evaluated. Alfresco was founded in 2005 by the former Chief Operating Officer
of Business Objects, a
major
business intelligence software company. Since its
inception, Alfresco has won num
erous awards, including the InfoWorld BOSSIE
and KMWorld’s Trendsetting project of 2006.
xi


Evaluation and Results

Overall, th
e software evaluations revealed that each product could be successfully used
for different types of sites.

The following table pre
sents a summary

of the results
.
Refer
to
Table
1
: Web Evaluation Criteria

for more information on the Web Site Goal/Criteria.
A detailed list of results appears in the appendix of this document.



Table
2
: Evaluation Summary

Web Site
Goal
/Criteria

Joomla!

Drupal

Alfresco

Basic

X (Good, but
standards
compliance might
be an issue.)

X

X (But may be too
complex. This is an
issue because
technical support is
not free.)

Intermediate


X

X

Advanced



X



Joomla!

Joomla! handily fulfills the requirements needed by basic websites. In addition
to providing the standard features, Joomla! has a large and active development and user
community, user groups, and conferences. There are also many plugins to add
f
unctionality. Web forms make updating content easy for non
-
HTML users.



Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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Figure
1
: Joomla! Control Panel


However,
site administration
is

substandard.

Permissio
ns are preset, not granular, so
administrators
precisely control
user access to different functions
.

Another drawback is
that Joomla! does not offer multi
-
site management, which would be needed to handle
more advanced business needs.

There are issues with compliance to industry standards as
well.

However, a commercial
plugin

can be purchased to supply this

feature.
Search
analytic tools are limited at best, but

the software does support the use of Google
Analytics.

Ther
e is also no support for secure socket layers, which is a basic requirement
for secure web sites. N
ote that Joomla! 1.5 will be released soon and may address some
of these issues.




Pros: Strong developer/user community, many templates, many plug
-
ins



Cons: Permissions not granular, can not administer multiple sites

without paying
for a plugin, no SSL



Rec
ommendation:
Good option for
Basic Web Sites


Drupal:

Drupal is very simple
to use
and easy to administer. User permissions are
granular, so administrators can easily control the features users have access to. In
addition to meeting basic web requiremen
ts, it provides many advanced features that
make it a good option for intermediate
-
level web sites.


Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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Figure
2
: Drupal Content Management Page


However, there are some simple functions, such
as including an image on a page

that
can
be cumbersome initially.
Drupal has a large development and user community.

It allows
those without HTML knowledge to edit sites and has rudimentary chang
e management
features.

Like Joom
la!, Drupal supports Google A
nalytics.




Pros: Strong develop
er/user community, multi
-
site management



Cons: Functionality for simple functions is sometimes cumbersome



Recommendation: Good option for

both Basic and

Intermediate Level Sites


Alfresco:

Alfresco is the most robust of the WCM evaluated

in this report
.
Alfresco
offers all of the functionality needed for basic websites (
e.g.
page publishing, web forms
entry, multi
-
site management, delegated administration)
as well as for advanced sites
.
Alfresco is compliant with many W3C and industry st
andards (such as
508 and JSR 168
),
which means
easier

integration with other products. It also includes a virtual server
that
provides previews of site changes. Users can publish to multiple channels such as PDF
or Word. The workflow can be customized to the business an
d is email based. In
addition to electronic image capture and document management capabilities, the
application supports java server faces, a huge advantage for those using Struts to develop
web applications. Content analytics

and archived format convers
ion are some of the
features that make this product suitable for advanced websites.

Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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Figure
3
: Alfresco Dashboard



Alfresco is not without drawbacks however.
One major drawback is that although

Alfresco is free, technical supp
ort is not.

Although user groups are forming,
because
Alfresco is fairly new
, there are not as many
free, alternative sources of support
.




Pros: Feature
-
rich, advanced capabilities, industry standard compliance



Cons: Technical Support



Recommendation: Go
od option for
intermediate and
advanced web sites


Conclusion

Today, businesses are using content management systems (CMS) to help them deliver
targeted information for visitors interested in their products

and services
. There are many
software packages a
vailable, however selecting a CMS is sometimes difficult because
trend and evaluation data does not always coexist in the same reports. Using a process
that incorporates trend analysis conducted by independent researchers and feature
analysis conducted by

open source organizations can
often facilitate decision making.


The results

of this report

indicate Alfresco, Joomla!, and Drupal have various strengths
and weaknesses. Alfresco provides advanced functionality, but may require more
expertise to administ
er since user support is somewhat lacking. Joomla! provides good
basic functionality and is very easy to use, but is missing some key features. Drupal is a
good solution for basic and intermediate websites and can be easily administered
(although some fe
atures are a bit cumbersome). Ultimately, the best path for business
owners
is to

use trend data, coupled with their own requirements to choose

a CMS that
will support their web strategy, both today and in the future.

Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

Chantel Brathwaite

13

Appendix


The follo
wing is the detail
ed evalu
ation criteria for each CMS candidate.



Drupal

Evaluation


Version
:
5.2

Website
:
www.drupal.org

Evaluator
:
Chantel Brathwaite

Evaluation Date
:
8
-
Sep
-
07

Criteria

Score

Comments

Cost (Software + Tech
Supp
ort)

5


Developer Support

5

Huge community. Lots of support. Legacy

Static Page Publishing

4

Hard to do some very basic things. But
overall very good.

Social Networking Tools
(blogs, forums, etc.)

5

Large variety of plugins and core
components.

Libra
ry Functions (Check
In / Check Out)

3

No version control, but can interface with
systems to provide this.

Web forms content entry

4

Very
intuitive a
lthough simple actions can be

complex.

Standards compliance
(508, JSR 168, etc.)

5


Multisite management

2

A little kludgy
-

must be done using scripts

Delegated administration

5

Fully customizable

Content sharing between
sites

3


Localization

3

Based on user preferences

Personalization
(customize look and feel)

5


Content analytics

3

Extremely limited,
supports
Google

analytics

Segmentation and
personalization

3

content and language
-

based on user
preferences

Multichannel (email,
newsletters, websites)

0


Archive and retention

0


Workflow

Management

0


Metadata Support

0



Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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Joomla!

Evaluation

Ver
sion
:
1.0.7

Website
:
www.joomla.org

Evaluator
:
C. Brathwaite

Evaluation Date
:
6
-
Sep
-
07

Criteria

Score

Comments

Cost (Software + Tech Support)

5


Developer Support

5

Many user groups, forums, can interact with
the t
eam. Very enthusiastic community.

Static Page Publishing

5


Social Networking Tools (blogs,
forums, etc.)

5

Large variety of plugins and core
components.

Library Functions (Check In /
Check Out)

2

No version control, but can interface with
systems to p
rovide this.

Web forms content entry

5

Very
intuitive

Standards compliance (508, JSR
168, etc.)

3

Fair. The team is addressing this but this
could hinder the adoption of this tool

Web forms content entry

5

Simple!

Multisite management

1

Only for pay (
http://www.elearningforce.biz/)

Delegated administration

3

Somewhat inflexible. Can't assign user to
more than one role. Author, editor,
publisher, manager, administrator,
superuser

Content sharing between sites

0


Localization

4


Personalization (cu
stomize look
and feel)

5


Content analytics

2

has a little web analytics in core package,
but nothing in
-
depth. There are extensions.
Will need a different tool or extension to do
more analysis. Google analytics is
available for download. See what use
rs are
searching, trends, report summaries.
Landing page optimization.

Multichannel (email, newsletters,
websites)

0


Archive and retention

0


Workflow

Management

0


Metadata Support

0



Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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15


Alfresco

Evaluation

Version
:
2.1

Website
:
www.alfresco.com

Evaluator
:
Chantel Brathwaite

Evaluation Date
:
10
-
Sep
-
07

Criteria

Score

Comments

Cost (Software + Tech Support)

2

Software is free but technical support is not.
Can be quite costly.

Developer Support

3

Not a huge
user community yet, the forum
at Alfresco seems to be monitored but
providing free support would probably work
against their bottom line.

Static Page Publishing

5


Social Networking Tools (blogs,
forums, etc.)

5


Library Functions (Check In /
Check Out)

5

Since Alfresco is an ECM, it excels at this

Web forms content entry

5

Very
intuitive

Standards compliance (508, JSR
168, etc.)

5

Great, one of the strengths of the tool

Web forms content entry

5


Multisite management

5

Can do this and have virtual s
erver
previews

Delegated administration

5


Content sharing between sites

5


Localization

5


Personalization (customize look
and feel)

5


Content analytics

5

Robust package

Multichannel (email, newsletters,
websites)

5


Archive and retention

5


Work
flow

Management

5


Metadata Support

5





Evaluation of OS CMS: Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla!

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16


End notes




i

CMSMatrix Home Page.
http://www.cmsmatrix.org/matrix

S
eptember 18, 2007.

ii

CMSWatch Pricing page.
http://cmswatchstore.com/index.html
. September 18, 2007.

iii

AIIM Home Page.
http://www.aiim.org/about
-
ecm.asp
. September 18, 2007.

iv

“WCM and DAM: The Next Gen
eration” Gartner.

v

“The Forrester Wave: Web Content Management For External Sites, Q3 2007” September 2007, page 2.

vi

“The Forrester Wave: Web Content Management For External Sites, Q3 2007” September 2007, page 4.

vii

Packt Pub.
http://www.packtpub.com/award

viii

InfoWorld.
http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/09/10/37FE
-
boss
-
intro_1.html
.

ix

Packt Publishing,
http://www.packtpub.com/article/open
-
source
-
content
-
management
-
system
-
award
-
winner
-
announced

x

CNet.
http://drupal.org/node/152770

xi

Alfresco.
http://www.alfresco.com/about/awards/