Why Content Management Needs to Improve

by Ruben 2 Minutes

Yesterday I read an interesting blog post about how Joomla! sucks.

Actually, the author never said it sucked; he just stated that he preferred using a non-CMS instead (WordPress). But when I read the post, it’s exactly what I got out of it.

Joomla! failed to deliver what it promised to deliver. It failed at taking the pain out of managing content.

Not Picking on Joomla!

Now I don’t want to make it seem like I’m picking on Joomla!, because I’m not. The problem that Joomla! has is the same problem that infects most of the major content management systems out there. Whether it’s Plone, Magnolia or any other large CMS out there. They all fail at it: simple content management.

Simple content management means being able use the system without a ton of mind-numbing documentation or training. It’s a simple task, yet the steps some of these systems put users through is absolutely mind-blowing.

This is not an open source CMS problem, it’s a global problem affecting most any CMS that has been around for a few releases.

Bad user interfaces and too many features. Feature after feature after feature, they spread like cancer. Slowly metastasizing until there are so many links and icons being crammed on the screen that you’re left with an unusable mess of an interface.

Selling Content Management

So you’re a web designer and you’ve got a client that has a need to manage content. What are you going to do?

You can set up one of the aforementioned content management systems out there and pray your client’s brain doesn’t explode trying to use it.

Well at least it saves development time right? Not really. You still have to spend time integrating the system and don’t forget about support. Support is a killer unless you enjoy fumbling through a system over the phone with someone.

But that’s besides the point. Your client can’t use it! Maybe they’ll limp along and eventually learn but do you really want your clients cursing your name anytime they go into a system you sold them?

That leads to what lots of designers end up doing: writing your own CMS.

Not a bad solution but it really shouldn’t have to be this way. You shouldn’t have to do something that’s been done a hundred thousand times before.

There’s Still Hope

To be fair there are some good, simple content management systems out there.

For instance I’m using a PHP based system called Frog CMS (influenced by Radiant CMS). It’s awesome. So easy to use that a thousand monkeys could write Shakespeare with it.

Frog CMS is a very young project so it’s not without its flaws (few plugins and a small community). Still, projects like these suggest brighter days ahead

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by Ruben
Ruben originally founded proposal software, Bidsketch as a one-person company while working as a software developer for a billion dollar payroll company. Since its early days as a “company of one,” Bidsketch has grown to help over 2,000 paying customers win billions of dollars in new business and save thousands of hours in the process.