Content Management Systems? Not An Easy Decision!

Think of three images bundled up as a carousel. One has the name Drupal in bold characters, the second image reads Joomla, and the third one WebCenter Sites. As the carousel is flickering on your screen, you - the stakeholder - have the choice between these three Content Management Systems. Among other factors, cost, features, integration, and scalability will likely prevail in your final decision. With that, here are the facts for each platform:


Pros Cons
Open source/community of developers Thousands of modules and APIs that might overlap
PHP Limited usability for non-developers
Worldwide support in multiple languages No backward compatibility for different versions
Contributed modules and plugins Slow performance and poor scalability. Out of the box cached pages delivered to anonymous users only
Free Cost Painful updates
Pros Cons
Ease of use for content editors Cannot create multiple sites
Caching support Lacks flexibility for developers
Simple installation Limited functionality for blogs (no comments feature added out of the box)
Open source/community of developers Poor scalability beyond 50,000 visitors per day
PHP Limited customization
Extensive number of plugins/components
Free Cost
Oracle WebCenter Sites
Pros Cons
Complete WEM experience (mobile web site, blogs, gadgets, etc…) UI lacks usability for content contributors
Flexibilty in creating, modifying, and associating content Not Free (Oracle License & Maintenance)
Content Publishing is dynamic and static based on the needs of the delivery systems
Workflow capabilities constructed based on roles and database permissions
Scalable , enterprise system with single sign-on capability
Integration with other Oracle tools and systems

Open-Source systems can be extremely appealing to companies seeking to implement a CMS. Drawbacks are well documented, well known, and being fixed as the product matures into a competitive tool. However, the contributing community can be a major disadvantage to the product. Indeed the more developers, the more modules, APIs, and add-ons that might overlap with each other. It can be extremely difficult to bring together different projects with the same purpose. Developers and users then face the predicament of having to choose among a number of modules that might fulfill part of their requirements and not others. Regardless of such drawbacks, along with some product’s limitations, open source systems such as Drupal and Joomla can be just what a company needs if their needs of scalability and performance are simple. Plus the fact that they are exclusively written in PHP makes it browser friendly and less prone to compatibility issues. However an entity such as a Fortune 100 retail company might find it limiting to build an entire solution around the Drupal platform.

Which brings us to Oracle WebCenter Sites, previously known as Fatwire. This product suite spans an entire set of Web Experience Management tools that prove to be integrated into a core engine named: Content Server. The WebCenter Sites suite of products has proven to highly perform in a scalable environment. Page caching is provided at every level (content contributors and visitors) to fetch content as timely as possible to an exponential number of visitors. Content Server supports multiple sites and the sharing resources between them. Among the advantages of using WebCenter Sites are its well maintained and well organized products improvements. The creation of APIs and new tools to support developers and contributors alike are supervised and distributed by a single engineering team with a clear mission. This is in stark contrast with communities of contributors to open source systems.

Today, Content Server and its related components are owned by Oracle, which most enterprises heavily depend on for database implementations, middleware, etc. In the next few months and years, we should expect Oracle Sites to mature into a fully integrated solution of other Oracle solutions such as ADF. It would decrease implementation times and the creation of an extensive community of developers and experts as more companies will make the move to using WebCenter Sites. The main advantage of Joomla and Drupal are the relatively free cost of the product. However, customizations will require some important coding time and additional product development costs. Consequently WebCenter Sites offers a bundle of products satisfying requirements of major stakeholders: from marketing to analytics. For many retail customers, the cost of Oracle Sites has proven to be offset by a smoothly integrated WEM solution that will support their entire customer base.

You are still looking at your screen but you have made your decision. As soon as your choice pops up, you click on it. Which one was it?

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