CMS – Content Management System is something which is generally accepted as a medium for broadcasting, interacting and exchanging contents. It is one of the most vital parts of WEB 2.0 revolution and in other words can be said as the best invention of mankind. Before the developed and use of open source WCMS (Web Content management system), all the websites were static or partially dynamic in nature and classic HTML and other scripts were used for developing web pages.
This orthodox system was in existences in the primitive communities for broadcasting information over the internet. Even today, many newbie webmasters or other technically backward people use the same orthodox method for creating websites. The static system of web development works well in circumstances when the requirement is very limited and static in nature.
As the World Wide Web developed, things started changing at the speed of light, needs of the people and requirements started changing, when time became money and information became power and thus is a situation very similar to this, codes were written 24 * 7 for development of new softwares for managing contents across the web and later on these softwares were proudly called as “Content Management System softwares.”
Although there is widespread agreement among the expert about the actual definition of CMS (Content Management System), they have never agreed on the specific meaning of CMS. Thus Content Management system has been defined differently by different webmasters.
According to Wikipedia “A content management system (CMS) is a computer application used to create, edit, manage, search and publish various kinds of digital media and electronic text. CMS are frequently used for storing, controlling, versioning, and publishing industry-specific documentation such as news articles, operators’ manuals, technical manuals, sales guides, and marketing brochures.
The content managed may include computer files, image media, audio files, video files, electronic documents, and Web content”. According to other notable authors, “Any system or software that is capable of managing the contents and is generally accepted by the people for storing, processing and retrieving of contents can be regarded as Content Management System. ”
It is now clear from the above definition that the definition of content management system is essentially functional and also must satisfy the general acceptability criterion. A complete definition should include all the important functions of CMS and also its basic characteristic i.e. general acceptability. Anyhow Wikipedia definition many be considered better as it covers both these qualities.
Origin of Content Management system
The origin of Content Management system is not known because of the non-availability of its actual definition; it is deep-rooted in antiquity. Some prominent webmasters put it, “The origins of CMS are lost in the mists of dot com bubble when the web 1.0 revolution was in its esteem high and many stretch back into paradisiacal intervals between the web 1.0 revolution and web 2.0 revolution.” No doubt the evolution of CMS has been a secular process and shall continue to remain so.
With the evolution of Internet, the HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) was in high demand. Folks started writing their own codes and buying better HTML editors for building websites. But the biggest problem faced by them was that HTML pages were static in nature. In order to change the contents of the website they have to again write codes or use any available HTMl editors on local PC to update the web pages and then deploy the modified pages in the remote server.
The entire process was ridiculous, time consuming and complicated. Further for a large scale website like Yahoo, MSN, eBay, Amazon the static approach of plain HTML was of no use. The need of those days was dynamic concepts like ecommerce, forums, social networking, guestbook’s and other dynamic horizons. Soon folks started think about managing the contents in the server side. This gave rise to new concepts in which data or in other words contents (text, images, music, and videos) were stored in the database (access, MySQL and SQL Server etc) that can be retrieved on demand.
Mainly PHP and MySQL was use to develop robust applications for managing contents. With the passes of time, these applications became more and more sophisticated, more and more better in comparison with their ancestors in managing contents which gave rise to a new ear:- The era of ‘Content Management System’.
Functions of Content Management System
- User-friendly Interface: This most signification function of any content management system is that, it should be simple understand and easy to operate.
- Security of Contents: Well the security comes first. The CMS should be secured , bugs free and stable
- Multi user facilities: The CMS should have multi user management system.
- Transfer/converting of Contents: The information stored in CMS should be flexible in nature and should be capable of transferring /converting of contents to other formats such as PDF, doc etc.
- Maximization of Satisfaction: CMS should help the webmaster and their clients to maximize their mutual benefits to extreme ends.
Static and Dynamic Functions of Open Source CMS
- Static Function: In the static function, a typical open source content management system allows its user to take all the advantages of its features and functions.
- Dynamic Function: The dynamic functions are those by which the CMS allows its user to customize the CMS as per their own requirement. It should support and allows its users to write their own codes for developing components, modules and plugins in order to full fill any individual preference and requirement.
Qualities of a Good Content Management System
Any typical content management system should have the below give qualities in order to performs is functions is the best possible way.
- User Friendliness: The CMS should be very user friendly in nature.
- Portability: The size of the CMS should be less or just average so that minimum time is required to downloading, installing and deploying the same in the remote server.
- Durability: It should be durable in nature and should last for long time. The company to which the CMS belongs should be authentic, financially and legally sound.
- Stability: The CMS should be stable and should not change very frequently.
- Security: The CMS should always provide strong security features.
Role of a Content management system
CMS – Content management system plays a vital and all pervading role in the smooth and efficient management of contents. It not only facilities the webmasters to developed full fledged dynamic websites but also simultaneously enables the non technical person to operate the website in a lucid manner. The existence of CMS helps the webmasters community to experience the difference and explore the never ending benefits of converting their dreams into reality.
Advantages of Content Management system
Following is the overview of the various advantages of CMS from webmaster perspective.
- Removal of Difficulties: It helps the webmaster in overcoming the difficulties of writing scripts and codes to creating web pages, problem of developing dynamic modules, storing of data, repetitive works etc.
- It is economical: Open source content management system is economical because it is free.
- SLVC: Store large volume of contents. It allows the user to store large volume of contents in the database and retrieve the same as per the requirement.
- CDIR: Converting dreams into realities. Some of the powerful CMS like Joomla allows the webmaster to dream the impossible and then apply their intelligence to covert their dreams into reality.
- Non technical approach: It even allows no technical persons to operate the website.
- A gift to webmaster: From philosophical point of view, content management system is regarded as the greatest gift of intelligence mind to webmasters or users.
- Security: There is always the danger of security. No CMS is 100 % error/bugs free. Moreover some webmasters using CMS become easy Perry of hackers and malicious users.
- Frequent Changes: Frequent changes in the CMS version become a really problem for webmasters and leads to various confusions.
- Fluctuations: Fluctuation in the framework of CMS generates atmospheres of uncertainty in the user’s community.
- Many more…
Note: The real advantages of CMS are more than its disadvantages. Demerits generally arise due to lack of knowledge’s, wisdom and ineffective management in development of CMS products.
Classification of Content management System
Content Management System can be broadly classified into three major categories
- Enterprise CMS: According to AIIM “Enterprise Content Management is the technologies used to Capture, Manage, Store, Preserve, and Deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. This system is used to business organization for proper management of digital documents.
- Web CMS: According to Wikipedia “A Web content management system (WCMS or Web CMS) is content management system (CMS) software, usually implemented as a Web application, for creating and managing HTML content. It is used to manage and control a large, dynamic collection of Web material (HTML documents and their associated images). A WCMS facilitates content creation, content control, editing, and many essential Web maintenance functions.”
- Component CMS: Component Content Management system can be mainly defined as a content management system that focus on managing the content at a granular level (component) rather than at the document level. In the system the component represents a single topic, concept or asset (e.g., image, table, product description).
Websites with Content management system:
Each and every high traffic websites of the world are powered by content management system. To name a few, Yahoo, MSN, Google are all developed with content management system. According to a recent survey almost 99 % of the top 1000 websites of the world are powered by CMS. Further out of every 100 website, 80 % of them are powered by pure CMS or partial CMS. Really the days are gone when the folks spend hours in writing code and scripts for creating a single web page. It’s now the time to cook a CMS enables website in minutes….
In the end, it is true that Content Management System is the need of the day. But this doesn’t mean that CMS should be used blindly without any introspection. A wrong preference for an unsecured CMS or unstable CMS is only a matter of choosing the lesser evil. And thus, experts advice that before starting you journey and putting you first step towards any Content Management system, first try to gather enough literature about the product stability, security and support so that it may help you to apply your own wisdom to choose a better Content Management System.