My CMS Origin

…so a new meme was started by pie, then was followed by all other cmsgurus and then it became popular on Twitter. Everybody went down their memory lane and shared how they started their career in Content Management. Therefore, here is what made me commit to the content management space.

My Introduction to CMS

I started as a Business Associate with a leading service provider in India. I was trained in Fatwire CMS version 5.0. Content Management was kind of a new science for me and understanding content management from a French teacher with a thick French accent was nothing less than rocket science. Those 5 days of training were neither good enough to go ahead and develop an intranet for a major Oil company, so we researched the tool and implemented the solution in ten months.

btw- I was also asked to create sequentially and a class diagram for this CMS implementation and I was like What??

My Argument about the future of Content Management

I remember my argument with my Project Manager where I was defending that there is no future of content management and EJB is the one who will rock the future. Other arguments were based on the huge costs involved in procuring a CM solution and I was sure it was not an option for any SME’s based out in India.

In the Mainstream

A year later, I joined  Apoorv at Wipro Technologies, and from there on we worked closely in the areas of web portals, open-source, and Content Management. I researched a lot on CM systems like OpenCms, Alfresco, Teamsite but the focus area was always Fatwire.

As I was involved in both portals and content management technologies, many times, I wondered which one is better, who holds the future, and then my thought process took another turn, and that was where I started this blog. A post like this was trying to demarcate between the twos.

With time comes maturity and I was now sure that content management is here to stay. To prove my point, my job helped me to travel across the globe for few large CMS implementations. Apart from pre-sales, architecture, and implementations, I always have my eyes open for the happenings in JCRs, CMIS, Migration strategies, and every small big topic in this system.

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Content Integration Vs Content Migration

Few days back Fatwire Software announced the launch of the Fatwire Rescue Program for Vignette and Interwoven WCM customers.
The program will enable customers of Interwoven and Vignette to upgrade to FatWire’s WCM solutions at no license cost. However, this holds good only if they engage Fatwire’s supported or so-called ‘proven’ migration tools and services.
Vamosa and Kapow. I hope this move will hold well for Fatwire in WCM market space.

If you remember Fatwire already has a Content Integration Platform(CIP), which is a “web-services-based” content sharing tool. In this Fatwire CMS user can access content stored across the enterprise without leaving the Fatwire CMS interface (CS-Direct). CIP offers connectors to access content from Documentum, SharePoint, and Windows and Unix file systems.

So why this rescue package from Fatwire when they already have a solution in place? Here are my insights on the demarcation between the two offerings and the differences in the approach –

1. In Content Integration Platform, the source WCM/ECM sever must be up and running in order to serve the content. The only difference will be accessing the content using Fatwire console (dash/advance/insite interfaces).
[Access + Connector = Integration]

2. Fatwire rescue program is based on the expertise and past experiences of Content Migration service providers (Vamosa and Kapow). Server Instances of Teamsite or Vignette will not be required after full content migration.
[Entire data movement (Assets/Content/Templates/Workflows/Roles/Security/Users/Publishing Events) = Content Migration ]

Since there is no Fatwire connector for Vignette and Teamsite as of now, I believe this is another way of attracting the customers to move completely into Fatwire at lower cost (No license cost + No Running Instances of Teamsite or Vignette required).

Content Migration is a very risky, customers are advised that there is no fully automatic or a neat way of doing it. Manual intervention and tweaking of trusted scripts, XMLs and non-java based templates is very much required in order to do the migration. Evaluate and request for case studies or a proof of concept from the product vendor before you make a decision.

I am glad that in the midst of acquisitions in the WCM space, Fatwire is the one of the niche player who is moving a step forward by collaborating with content migration service providers like Vamosa and Kapow. I hope this move will hold well for Fatwire in WCM market space.

Content Integration Platform and Content Interoperability

Few days back Fatwire Introduced Microsoft SharePoint Connector as part of its Content integration platform. This new connector enables Fatwire CMS users to seamlessly access SharePoint content to use on the web. The Content Integration platform provides web-services-based, peer-to-peer content sharing capabilities that gives CMS users access to content stored across the enterprise without ever leaving the Content Server interface, and publish it to their public sites, intranets and extranets.

Enterprise content which are spread and stored in various content management systems and across platforms, the integration and seamless access of the content is still a challenge. Efforts are being made to overcome to manage content across multi-vendor, multi-repository content management environments. Recently talked CMIS is another such effort which defines a set of protocols, exposed via REST and Web Services definitions, for platform-independent interchange of content.

“…….Using CMIS-defined HTTP calls, you will be able to do standard CRUD operations (create, read, update, delete) against any compliant repository, regardless of the underlying repository architecture “

Though there are couple of valid questions which still need to be answered around the concurrent operations across content repositories, but it seems like that various CMS vendors or specification authorities are going to use “common web services” as their technology to move forward.We will definitely look forward for the success of content integration platforms or CMIS as it’s hard to find projects that were successful where vendors took JCR170 as their selling point, nevermind you still find sales guys talking about JSR 283 in their product presentations 🙂

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