Monday, April 18, 2011

The 10 most important features of a CMS

In a recent blog post entitled "Features Impacting Open Source CMS Selection " we learn that 3,365 people answered the question: “When selecting a CMS, how important are the following features?" as part of the latest Water & Stone report on open source content management systems.

79.7% of the participants in the survey were from small to medium-sized businesses (less than 100 employees, so the answers might not translate directly to Magnolia EE customers who are typically a tad larger (e.g. EADS, Johnson & Johnson, Unilver and the US Navy). Still, there are many Magnolia Community Edition users that fit the bill, and so let's have a look of how Magnolia stacks up on the 10 most important features a CMS should have.

  1. Flexible User Permissions – nearly 70% of respondents think this is very important. So does Magnolia, of course, which not only allows you to create ACL's Groups and Roles but also supports external authorization and authentication via LDAP and NTLM. All content in Magnolia is stored in a JCR-170 repository, which means all content is protected through access control.
  2. Open API – covered: read the Magnolia API.
  3. Search Engine Optimization – Magnolia and especially its best-practise Templating Kit (STK) got this aspect covered extensively, starting from friendly URLs to support for the Sitemap protocol. We even have written a 30-page Magnolia SEO tech brief describing how to apply search engine optimization (SEO) to enterprise websites by employing best practices together with the built-in tools in Magnolia CMS.
  4. Content Tagging – since Magnolia 4.1 we allow you to categorize content using Magnolia's Content Categorization module. Watch the video showing you Magnolia's content categorization (this feature is shown starting at 9:09 minutes). There is also a community modules for tag clouds that takes a different approach.
  5. Configurable Workflow – well covered thanks to our integration of a third-party workflow module. Workflow is documented on our official documentation page. WHile most people get along well wit Magnolia's out-of-the-box 4-eye-workflow, there are nearly no limits to what the underlying engine can do.
  6. Content Versioning – yes, Magnolia CMS creates versions of content and includes a diff view to see the differences between them.
  7. Social Media Integration – provided via Frisbee, a Magnolia module that provides
    • Google Map (v3) integration (single and multiple markers)
    • Flickr Slideshow, with custom query builder (tags, full-text search, author based search..)
    • Facebook integration (SDK, iLike, meta tags, reading values from page properties)
    • ShareThis and AddThis integration
    • Twitter integration (last tweets, tweet this, retweet)
  8. Multi-Lingual Support – coming from Switzerland, we breathe multi-lingual. For an example, see Sony's Singstar site. Magnolia CMS also allows you to export content into a translation-office friendly XML file to externalize content translation.
  9. Multi-Site Management – read the case study how Texas State University is running 300 sites on Magnolia CMS. Magnolia's best-practise Templating Kit provides multi-site support in the Enterprise Edition.
  10. Mobile Publishing – Magnolia CMS has always been output-format agnostic, and while we currently ship no demo templates to show how content could look differently on mobile devices (a rather trivial exercise), Magnolia's STK demo shows how content is rearranged based on available screen estate (example starts at 5:30). Also, you may be interested to learn that Texas State University has an excellent Magnolia-powered iPhone app for their students; and recently voters in Switzerland very able to view voting results via a Magnolia-powered iPhone app.
Well, this concludes my little roundup of how Magnolia CMS supports the features Water & Stone's asked readers to rate in their survey. I think these are quite interesting, but note that readers had to rate these preselected 10 features, so it could be that some features are even more important (they just weren't on the list).

Magnolia recently won what is very likely the biggest Open Source CMS license deal on the planet. The feature that made the customer decide for Magnolia in the end? The fact that Magnolia didn't crash under high load, unlike the last remaining (closed-source) competitor on their short list.

And what about ease-of-use?
"We chose Magnolia CMS because it is easy to use for both our staff and our users." - Silke Radlherr, Team Leader, SWM
To learn how Magnolia's ease-of-use helped a $7B Utility Build its Brand on the Web, read our case study about SWM.

And to read what our users think about Magnolia, read the testimonials.