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Alternatives to MOSS's CMS features?

  Asked By: Fernando    Date: Dec 29    Category: MOSS    Views: 3035

This is more of a curiosity question...

Are there viable alternatives to the CMS components built in MOSS?

The more I learn and understand this aspect of MOSS, the more
disappointed I am in it. It's not entirely intuitive and there seems to
be a lot of overhead for getting rather basic sites up and
running...especially if you have any desire to REALLY modify the default
look and feel and functionality and/or care about things like clean CSS,
valid markup, and table-less layouts.

I'm sure it's great for large organizations that have a ton of content
and the time and ability to really create solid policies and content
definitions and the like and need full integration with their team
collaboration content. But seems like a lot of overhead for smaller
sites that have a lot of ad-hoc pages managed independently of each
other by different people.

Is anyone aware of CMS systems that are being written on top of the WSS
framework as an alternative to MOSS CMS? Any products that are
attempting integration with products like dotNetNuke or CommunityServer?

Just wondering...I can see a market for such a product. Something like
'WSS CMS Lite' or the like.



3 Answers Found

Answer #1    Answered By: Anthony Rutledge     Answered On: Dec 29

I've used or evaluated a lot  of different CMS systems. CMS is a nebulous
industry and as you climb the ladder from quick and simple to enterprise,
you also go through a lot of different tradeoffs in terms of power and ease
of use.

Something like WordPress makes a really easy lightweight CMS. It's not just
a blog but it can create  pages and has plugins for calendars, surveys,
whatever. Theoretically you can do the same in MOSS with a combination of
the blog and basic  CEWP pages. Strict CMS people  don't think of it as a
"real" CMS because it's still primarily a blog and designed around that. But
it's a great  lightweight solution.

PHPNuke/dotNetNuke are certainly much more flexible than WordPress in
letting you create your own site, but there are tradeoffs in scalability,
central management, and enterprise system integration. I think of these as
the free kitchen sink products. Good for a geek on a budget.

Stepping up to a dedicated CMS like Drupal or, oh, CommonSpot gets you into
a more "real" traditional CMS but then also starts getting into more
difficult page design/development and often they're mired in web 1.0. They
might have some capacity to do rss, but they were designed back in the day
of a website just being an isolated repository, not a collection of
shareable/syndicatable content. Good for a business looking to create a
traditional static site with no real need to be integrated with enterprise
systems like LDAP, Oracle or PeopleSoft.

Jumping into the enterprise space you have the big iron like Documentum or
Interwoven. These are so flexible in what they support that they're
basically making you do all the heavy lifting and are a glorified set of
APIs for version control and file transfer. They typically don't dictate
what your DB or code language is, they're so flexible they'll work with
anything. Of course, being so flexible they don't help you at all in terms
of using them. Heck, when I was evaluating Interwoven Teamsite the team I
shadowed did sites  by scratch in Dreamweaver and edited the sites with
Dreamweaver. The CMS just managed  workflow and deployment.

In my mind, the MOSS CMS features  fit right into that nice middle spot. Not
too big to be cumbersome but still with the enterprise hooks that are
lacking in a lot of the smaller, lightweight, often opensource products.

The thing it looks like you're struggling with is that a well managed CMS
based site requires clear business rules, workflows, and other
organizational/political management decisions to be made. I've worked in
.gov and .edu and I know how hard or even impossible that is. But the
biggest point of failure I've experienced with any CMS is the expectation
that you can just install the software, set up a blank site with some web
based editing and expect it to work, which is of course is like pulling
teeth. Any web site requires preplanning and governance, and a CMS with web
based tools to create and edit pages  requires even MORE of that.

Our current approach is to use the MOSS CMS for the parts that can be
managed, like official information coming out of the Communications and
Marketing offices. For the smaller, departmental sites that still insist on
posting their own content, we're looking at giving them blogs. In fact, we
just had a meeting to discuss the merits of the fledgling blogging support
in MOSS (even with CKS:EBE) vs WordPress MU.

Answer #2    Answered By: Heena Nagori     Answered On: Dec 29

" I've used or evaluated a lot  of different CMS systems. CMS is a
nebulous industry and as you climb the ladder from quick and simple to
enterprise, you also go through a lot of different tradeoffs in terms of
power and ease of use."

Answer #3    Answered By: Aishwarya Karmarkar     Answered On: Dec 29

What would you recommend as best-practice for governance of a new
Sharepoint deployment for a large  enterprise? What are the
lessons-learned (the oops's and uh-oh's) that you experienced that
others can avoid?

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