Back in 2009
That was then …
What is a CMS
One of the aspects which seems to be the cause of most of the debate is the definition. Engineers, knowledge workers, developers, designers and users alike have for the longest time disagreed on exactly what makes something worthy of being labelled a Content Management System. The diverse definitions stem from varied understandings of what the term Content actually means and from the fact that we’re talking across lines of discipline.
Content can be any type of data or media for that matter whether digital or not. I Library is technically a Content Management System.
Some CMS Types Include:
- Document Management System
- Customer Relationship Management System
- Digital Asset Management System
- Media Management System
- Enterprize Content Management
- Inventory Management System
- Web Content Management System
To correct the first point of disagreement, we’ll further specify that WordPress is an “Open Source”, “WEB”, Content Management System. OSW CMS. We’re not advocating for WordPress as a Customer Relationship Management System for example, though there have been a few examples of it being used on that way here and there.
Lets look at what Wikipedia has to offer on what a Web CMS is.
A web content management system (WCMS) is a software system that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages to create and manage website content with relative ease.
Just because some Web CMS’s do CRM or analytics really well, does not necessarily give them an immediate edge over their rivals. It depends entirely on how the debate is framed. Lets frame it from our perspective.
Some Elements of a Web Content Management System
- Content in Database
- Workflow Management
- Access Management
- Front End Templating System
Why the debate
There’ll always be those who haven’t made the jump from their old stuffy CMS to the New, Cooler and Way Way easier One. There’ll also be those who prefer to live in the past, where every single website needs to be built from absolute scratch, CMS & all. Some Developers also obsess about the technical definitions of things to the exclusion of those who actually need to use these systems on a daily basis.
We believe a system which is easy to use, serves the majority of needs, can be self maintained, can be easily updated, extended and generally managed, is way superior to something only an engineer is able to understand and configure(in the majority of cases, Science Labs Excluded).
Those who make it their business to build custom CMS solutions for customers requiring highly sophisticated web applications would naturally disagree, but for the rest of us who are interested in a Content “Management” System, not a rocket science experiment, WordPress pulls out all the stops and allows us to Manage our Web content at light speed.
There are a couple of F1 or rolls royce CMSes out there, some which cost an arm and a leg, and some which contain tons of unnecessary or under utilized built in modules. WordPress is not one of those. The WordPress core has all the base requirements to build upon, and provides a super easy way of extending to your hearts content. We don’t expect the CIA, or NASA to use it for their top secret missions of course, nor do we expect Highly sophisticated business systems to emerge running on WordPress.
WordPress is by far, the easiest (for majority of users) most flexible Open Source Web Content Management System available currently. The numbers, and experiences speak for themselves.
Why say – WP “as” a CMS
People used to think of WordPress as purely a blogging system, and it’s true, that’s where it all started out, but it’s matured into much more than just that. The proof is in the pudding!
WordPress “IS” a CMS, An Open Source Web CMS to be specific.
Other Useful Links & Alternative views on the Topic:
- 2009 Interview with Matt Mullenweg by CMS Critic
- What is a CMS – CMS Critic
- Wikipedia List of Content Management Systems
- State of the Word 2011 WordCamp Presentation
- CMS or WCM, Which is Which
A recent post written on web design depot regarding Drupal, another very well known and much more mature CMS than WordPress. No doubt Drupal is powerful, but it’s a pain to operate for anyone who’s less than a developer and for content creation and management can drive your average web user nuts. Let’s not even talk about Joomla.
Also Just Found a WordCamp Boston Presentation on WordPress as a CMS
This post has been updated since WordCamp Cape Town 2011!