Introduction of content management system

In this section, I will brief a bit about the details of content management system and the history of it.

What is Content Management System?

Content Management is a technology that consist a set of processes to support the collection, managing as well as the publishing of information. Fundamentally, these processes are collaborative process, which needed few individuals to play the roles and fulfill their responsibility respectively. For an instance, an author is responsible on creating and editing of the content. An editor's role is to improve the style of delivering the content messages. A publisher is to help out on publishing the content and the administrator is responsible on managing the access permission of the files and folders while assigning assess rights to authorized users.

A content management system, abbreviate as CMS and it is a set of automated process which reduce the number of people which had to be involved on handling the digital content life cycle. Besides that, a CMS represents as an application or tools that are developed to help organizations to create, edit, review and display electronic messages. Basically, a CMS is utilized to manage the content of the website. It is a piece of software that provides a template to allow users to manage their web contents internally without needing any programming knowledge. In other words, CMS allows the user to design and update a website without having to use programming code or language at all since CMS lets the web site itself to handle most of the work involved in creating it. Hence, utilizing CMS is a quick and organized way of developing a new web site or to enrich the contents of an existing web site.

CMS is frequently used for storing, revising, controlling and publishing contents in a web site. Data in a CMS can be defined in many ways, for example in movies, documents, scientific data, pictures and many more. Also, it simplifies the tedious and difficult task of codifying out the features of the website and the information it displays. Instead of hard-coding the requirements, it enables the user to manage their own website contents by interacting with the user-friendly interface provided by the CMS. Compared to the usual way of coding, using the CMS is like editing a word document via Microsoft Word without having to rewrite a new document manually. CMS has the potential to substantially transform the methods of managing a website by practically allowing any users, technical or non-technical ones, to manage a web site conveniently. All it needs for a CMS user to manage a website is to have a computer with an internet access to upload new contents from anywhere and at anytime.

History of Content Management System

In the early 1990's, Microsoft and Lotus have provided their customers the capability to update certain types of online contents in their product. Then, the concept was further used to develop the first Content Management Tool, which was from Vignette with StoryServer around 1996. Within a short period of years, other vendors like Interwoven, Broadvision and Documentum have started to release new CMS packages into the market.

Between the year of 2000 and 2005, the industry sector had to deal with waves of merger and acquisitions issues, thus ceased providing support to users and packages were either abandoned or merged.

In the year 2007, there were 3 types of CMS available:

  1. Software Editing - These systems handle the website changes which by the network or maybe a local machine and then upload the new contents into the website through publishing. These systems are offline and therefore require software installation before undertaking editing.
  2. Online Editing - Due to these systems being online systems, they require no software installation, hence giving the users flexibility to manage any machine as long as they have password access to authorize their entry. Online content management systems can be as simple as Wikipedia or as sophisticated as the CMS editor functions such as Vx.
  3. Hybrid Systems - Hybrid systems combine both of the online and offline editing concepts. By using an online editing system, users are able to edit the contents at anytime provided that there is internet access. On the other hand, users are also able to do some checking of contents before the content is put back into the online editor.

From the year 2008 to current year, Content management systems are getting improved significantly and allow users to manage the text, documents, audio, video and images.

The concepts behind Content Management Systems were being introduced into other fields of the marketing mix. Integrated email marketing functionality was used in many systems and applied into their CMS, allowing users to track between the email and website functions.

Advanced systems have been used to bring the offline work into the content management platform. CMS systems are now able to manage printing materials, PDFs and other offline communications in a similar way to websites as well as emails.

TYPE OF CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

In this Section, I will be focusing on the 6 main categories of CMS which are widely used in the market. The six main categories are the Enterprise CMS, Web CMS, Document CMS, Mobile CMS and Media CMS.

Enterprise Content Management System

Enterprise CMS is a system which utilized combination of variety tools and technologies that allows users to manage the organization's unstructured information between organizations. ECM is used for capturing, managing, maintaining, storing, and delivering the content's messages as well as any documents which are related to the organization.

ECM allows user to manage the complete lifecycle of the contents, from the time contents are firstly being added to finally being removed. The wise management of contents is crucial for attaining the business goals.

Although implementing ECM can be a costly initiative and can be a financial burden for an organization, the usage of ECM can increase the organization's efficiency rate of conducting business by providing value to the organization through the highly efficient methods of retrieving, using and disposing organization information.

Electronic document is regarded as the lifeblood of market business currently. ECM plays a vital role in keeping the continuity of this trend since the availability of keeping a business going 24x7 is the task of business continuity planning.

Web Content Management System

Web CMS is a piece of Web application software, implemented for the purpose of creating and organizing HTML contents as well as controlling and managing dynamic Web materials. A WCMS provides the advanced functions of content creation, content managing, editing, and other important Web maintenance functions.

This software provides specially designed authoring tools that allow users to create and manage electronic data for the web page with relative ease without any technical knowledge.

WCMS aids the non-technical users in making changes to a website without the need of coding expertise. It basically requires an experienced coder to set up and add the needed features first, but then allows non-technical administrators to use it as a Web-site maintenance tool.

Document Content Management System

A document content management system is a computer system used for collecting and storing digital documents or images. Document content management system actually not so different from content management systems and also overlaps with the concepts of it.

Document content management systems have a wide variety of functions which include storing and structuring electronic documents and metadata, structuring, provide document security, document control and adhering to compliance as well as indexing and retrieval capabilities.

Document CMS have an enhancement to allow system to managed any type of the file and stored it into the system. The applications later expanded the capabilities to further enhance and audit electronic documents, collaboration tools, and security.

Mobile Content Management System

Mobile CMS are one of the types of content management system which are able to keep and deliver the services as well as the content to mobile devices such as smart phone, PDAs and other mobile phone. Mobile content management systems may possibly be discrete systems, or may be developed as part of add-ons or modules of other larger content management systems which have the capability of multi-channel content delivery. However, mobile content delivery has many known constraints and limitations including small storage capacity, limited wireless bandwidth, small screen size, and significantly weak device processors compared to other alternatives.

Yet as mobile devices slowly become increasingly sophisticated and advanced technologically, the market demand for mobile content management increased as well. Initially, MCMS technology is developed to focus on the Business to Consumer mobile market place with games, ring-tones, news, text-messaging, other related content. Nowadays, mobile content management systems have also been involved in Business to Employee and Business to Business scenarios, providing more timely information to organizations and better functionalities to mobile workforces and business partners in a high efficiency-rate manner.

Component Content Management System

Component CMS allows the management of contents at the component level instead of being at the document level. Components are represented as concepts, topics or assets such as tables, images and product descriptions. These components could be as small as a single word or lines of definition or as large as a chapter. Furthermore, multiple content assemblies that contain components can be viewed as traditional documents. Each of the components has its distinct own lifecycle that includes the owner, the version of it, usage approval for users, and usage descriptions. These information can be traced as part of an assembly or individually.

CCM is mostly used for multi-channel customer-facing contents that include marketing information, services or products usage descriptions, skill-learning details and providing support. Similar to Mobile Content Management System, CCM may also be a separate system or as a functionality of another content management systems such as the Web Content Management or the Enterprise Content Management System.

CCM is able to provide greater consistency and accuracy for the contents wherever they are reused and greatly reduce content creation and maintenance costs as there are lesser contents to create, review and manage due to the reusing. Also, using CCM can cuts delivery and publishing costs as contents created do not have specific format, so contents can be published to any channel without any format compatibility issues and saves time from reworking of the contents.

Media Content Management System

Media Content Management System provides users the capability to create, manage, modify, and publish contents conveniently on the web sites developed by the Media. Anyone who can surf the web can easily make any content changes through the use of Word Processor. Through a browser-based interface and a Word-like text editing tool, C.M.S. requires little effort in learning and comprehending its usage methods to become productive. This significantly saves the costs for on-going content maintenance costs by hiring designers and programmers.

In addition, managing Web sites with Media C.M.S. also allows user to delegate responsibility without losing control since it makes the management of contens secure by determining which users can access, change, and approve the contents. This ensures only authorized users can manage the right contents at the right time.

By using Media CMS, users can be reduces web site maintenance costs by not depending on designers and programmers to make site content changes. Furthermore, users are able to edit the web site contents at anytime and any place which has Internet connection. Also, Media CMS has low staff support requirements as it is relatively easy to learn and comprehend in its usage ways.

Summary

There are numerous types of CMS used in the industry, each having its own distinct features and domains of use. The vendors frequently add and modify the features of the CMS from their requirements and ways of contents management perspective. More and more users also prefer to customize their own CMS which will meet their constantly changing requirements. Nevertheless, the concepts of all the CMS are similar and the main difference is that the users of these CMS are in different domain, whether the CMS are used in the enterprise, for public or personal usage.

WHY USE CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?

In this section, I will focus on comparative between static websites and CMS as dynamic websites. Besides that, I provided the advantages and disadvantages of both static websites and dynamic websites. And state a reason why user or organization should choose CMS over than static html websites.

Static Websites vs. Content Management System

A website design is ranges from simple coded static web page to database driven dynamic Content Management System portals. In the early years of development, all the sites are created through HTML codes to generate images, texts or other digital form of information that internet users can access. But today, many websites are created through the use of database driven CMS.

Using a Static Websites

This type of website is designed and coded by a web designer. It is usually programmed by using a language named HTML, xHTML or maybe CCS. This type of programming language normally used for static web pages is easy to understand and learn. Thus, many people are able to write a webpage through this method. The process of serving a static web page is goes like a request made by a user of the website and then the server will then located the file requested and send it back to the browser. After the browser gets the file from the server, it reads the code and displays the page. The layout of the pages is exactly the way it was written by programmer. There is no decision making done by the server or even the browser.

The idea of implementing static websites is that there will not be any changes or necessary modifications needed for the websites for long periods of time. Whenever the need to edit the contents of the websites arises, the user has to manually code the page or using specific software which provides the capability of generating html codes such as MS Office Front Page to change the contents accordingly. Furthermore, if the user wants to make change large scale changes such as the menu item or the content in every page of the websites, the codifying process becomes more tedious and complex.

Using a Dynamic Websites

A websites that created by using database driven with Content Management System. A dynamic website are separate the content from presentation and layout. It is given the ability to non-technical users in order to change and maintain the website without needing any knowledge of programming language. A CMS have an editor interface which similar to the word processor's standard and that are termed WYSIWYG editors or Rich Text Editor. Hence, this allows user connect to internet from anywhere with web browser to create a page content without any programming language knowledge.

A CMS is suitable for all types of businesses, and it can be used to drive all types of content, such as image, text, documents, sound, link, video and much more. CMS is good for easy updates to the page content, organizing and storing input and data from visitor's feedback. There is no need to hire a professional or web master to make changes to your site. On the other hand, if user want to have a new look to your page. This can easily be done with a new template that updates your entire website at once.

The Advantages of Static Websites

Despite the fact that nowadays a lot websites are utilizing content management systems to manage, there are still some resistance from users to change and are still using a static webpage.

  1. Low development cost - At the construction phase, the cost to build the web pages is significantly lower than the other alternative due to its simplicity and mostly suitable for small businesses which only intend to have a simple website where the contents do not frequently change.
  2. High compatibility and flexibility - Static sites are highly compatible with most of the browsers and are easy to optimize. Also, since static sites don't have templates provided and guidelines fixed for uploading contents, users have all the flexibility and freedom to design according to personal liking.
  3. Less response time - Static sites don't have databases to link, functions to process and scripts to run compared to websites organized with content management systems. It only needs to load and process the codes of the web page. Hence, the response time is significantly faster than loading a dynamic page with many functions and the need to connect to the database.
  4. Search engine friendly - The URLs for static websites are mostly consist of simple characters compared to dynamic websites which have many special characters in the URLs. As a result of that, search engines are easier to detect and index any search results from static websites.

The Disadvantages of Static Websites

When it comes to the adaptability of static websites to be modified and meet new requirements, the drawbacks of utilizing static websites become evident.

  1. High maintenance cost - It is costly to update static websites frequently as all the contents in the website are hard-coded. Hiring web designers to make changes on static websites can be tedious and time-consuming as all the contents in the page must be reprogrammed to meet the new requirements.
  2. The need for programming knowledge - Any updates or contents reorganization needed to be done on a static website will be confronted with difficulties as the site owner has to have strong programming skills in order to do such changes.
  3. Lacking competitive advantages - Static websites have many limitations in terms of functionality. Since static websites do not have functions and scripts to be processed and run, the attractiveness and capabilities of the websites may be duller and weaker in comparison with dynamic websites where the features are rich and functions in it can be expandable.

The Advantages of Dynamic Websites

Through the use of CMS, the management of websites can be significantly more productive and convenient due to its interactive interface and powerful features.

  1. Save time and cost in content management - Contents in the website can be changed frequently through the use of CMS which saves the need of hiring programmers to code out the changes. Also, it saves a lot of time from hard-coding the contents as CMS provides an interactive template for users to upload new contents with just a few clicks of buttons.
  2. Do not require programming knowledge - CMS auto-generates the programming codes for non-technical users and saves the trouble for users to understand the program flow. Hence, a website designer who uses CMS doesn't have to know HTML codes to create and manage website contents.
  3. Rich features and better functions - Since dynamic pages can run scripts and modules in the web pages can have enhancement in functionality, a website managed through CMS provides better service and customer satisfaction.

The Disadvantages of Dynamic Websites

Despite of the strong features that dynamic websites provide, there are also certain constraints that a user may face when using CMS.

  1. Requires installation and setup - Though CMS helps users to auto-generate programming codes, it still needs to be properly installed and configured first on the system before CMS can perform its full potential capabilities.
  2. May require frequent upgrades - CMS may require updates from time to time to ensure its features and functions are up-to-date. Routine upgrades may also be needed to keep up with the increasing demand of workload to ensure CMS works smoothly.
  3. Slow response time - Since dynamic pages have scripts and functions to load, users with low internet bandwidths may require longer time to load the website. Also, the website has to link to the database to store and retrieve out the contents as well. Hence, it may take a longer time for the contents to be stored or published out into the website.

Summary

This section aims to analyze the possible advantages and disadvantages for both types of the websites which are websites managed via content management system and static websites.

Both of these websites provided different benefits over each other and it is entirely subjective as to which websites provides the best services. However, as the demand of managing websites in the market gradually increases within these past few years, it is an undeniable fact that content management systems are beginning to get public recognition as the wiser alternative in creating websites. Although many people are still unfamiliar with CMS as it is still considered relatively new in the market, it does has its potential to subsequently replace static websites in the coming future.

Every once in a while, new technologies are being introduced by web designers to enhance the capabilities of the CMS and everyone is also seeking methods of simplifying the constraints in implementing CMS. It will not be long for CMS to be commonly used among website designers.

CHOOSING AN APPROPRIATE CMS

In this section, I will list down the guidelines in choosing an appropriate CMS based on assumptions that I have identified the criteria and requirements of using the CMS.

Expectation

Before stepping into the technical area of CMS, we ought to look at the general expectations that the user wants from the CMS in the commercial perspective.

First and foremost, the user will be required to have an expectation on maintaining a steady and long-term relationship with the vendor and the product. Hence, the user will be required to spend some time in gathering information and doing research on the company's history and activities. The main focus on determining the vendor's reliability is the company's track record. Valuable information and feedbacks can be gathered from other organizations which have been using the software for certain periods of time. Through the feedbacks given, the user will be able to draw conclusions on which vendors have the best indication of providing the best services.

If the user's purpose of using a CMS is for a single project, a list of functional requirements document should be prepared to make comparison against the system capabilities. If the user is from a web development organization and looking for a CMS that will be provided to many clients, the new platform should not have any trouble in fitting in into the service offering of the organization.

Expectations of the user must be ensured and defined clearly as to whether these expectations when fulfilled will bring in significant advantages such as increased revenue or cost reduction.

Market Research on CMS Type

Although there are seemingly lots of CMS types available in the market currently, they can be roughly grouped into similar types. In order to start the selection process, it is essential for the user to identify the strong points and drawbacks of the possible choices of CMS.

  1. Homegrown - The term 'homegrown' indicates that the products are developed and supported by a web development firm to handle the own firm's projects. The main advantage of homegrown products is the ability to freely customize the system's structure and functions to meet new requirements. The main disadvantage is that the particular vendor, often small ones, that provides the product is the one and only dependable source in debugging and fixing errors in the product.
  2. Commercial - The CMS in this category are widely commercialized and are considered to have the broadest coverage with a variety of features. The main advantage is the price options available in the market due to its commercialism and the quick delivery of providing solutions. The main disadvantage is the difficulty in evaluating the performance of the CMS without hands-on experience, and it can be difficult to make customization to meet specific needs.
  3. High-end - High-end CMS vendors are few in the market. They are able to provide enterprise-grade solutions but under the condition of paying huge amount of money.
  4. Open Source - Open Source CMS are mostly developed by non-profit communities and are available for everyone without any subscription fees. The main advantage is that the usage of the product does not cost a single cent and users are free to make customization on the product. The main disadvantage is most of the products are not in the stable stages and have many bugs along with security issues.

Evaluate

After determining the type of CMS that suits the users' needs and short-listed the potential CMS candidates, there are still some issues to pay attention to before attaining the trial version or demo of the product:

  1. Application platform availability - The user will have to consider the components which the user is familiar with and is compatible with the hardware available on hand. For instance, the operating system and web server that need to be used in the selected CMS
  2. License obligations - The user has to ensure that the product will not have limitations in terms of customizing the CMS to fit the user's requirements. There are also recurring subscription obligations to be paid attention to incase the user breaches any licensing rules.
  3. Total cost of ownership - Long-term expenses including the training need for staff, service and support requirements in order to using the CMS, hosting as well as the implementation of the CMS must be taken account into to ensure that the product is worth the price paid for.

Decision Making

Listed below is an example of weighted criteria that used to determine the overall value of a CMS product:

  1. Product Performance and Flexibility - 10%
  2. Support and Documentations Provided - 10%
  3. Adoption & Community - 10%
  4. Functionality - 35%
  5. Usability - 15%
  6. Security - 10%
  7. Architecture & Quality - 10%

By defining clearly the user's criteria and the importance of each of the item, a structure can be created to be used to select the appropriate CMS.

IMPLEMENTING THE CONCEPT OF CMS INTO E-COMMERCE

In this session, I will state the reason why I choose to implement CMS concept into an E-commerce system. Besides that, I will show the steps on how to implement this CMS concept as well as created a simple demo showing how CMS concept plays its role to function in a system.

Reason to Use CMS Concept

From the information given above, it has proven that using a CMS can bring many advantages to the users as well as developers. The reason I want to implement the CMS concept into e-commerce system is because the contents in my client's website requires frequent updating in the advertising area and it will be convenient for my clients to edit or update any new contents into the website. I will be creating a web page that utilizes the CMS concept and provide the editor tools to allow users to edit or upload any new contents into the main advertisement page. Hence, users don't necessarily need to have any technical or programming knowledge in order to manage the contents of the website.

How to Implement CMS Concept

Listed down below will be the steps of implementing my CMS concept into an e-commerce system:

First of all, I did a research through the internet to find a suitable Rich Text Editor in order to implement it as an Editor for my web pages. After finding an ideal RTE, I created a Web application with .Net by using Visual Studio 2005 and generated a database by using SQL Server 2000.

In the beginning phase of development, I added some image files and .dll files which were provided by the Rich Text Editor packages into my web application. The reason for me to do this step is to get the functions of Rich Text Editor work as well as displaying the button images which were needed in Rich Text Editor.

After that, I focused on the design part. I created a simple layout in order to use it for displaying the contents that are generated using Rich Text Editor. Besides that, I have also created a webpage that consists of the Rich text Editor layout and some function buttons used to save and retrieve the data from the database. Then I created and set up the connections between database and the web application for data storing and retrieving purposes. I have also added some codes for the function buttons in order to save, to retrieve the data as well as to redirect from page to page.

In conclusion, although I have just implemented a simple CMS concept into my demo application, I have managed to gain a better understanding on how Rich Text Editor works in a page and how CMS can be utilized for the convenience of website designers. The codes will be located in Appendix A in this report.

How CMS Concept Works in E-Commerce System

Firstly, a user can start with creating or modifying the contents by entering to the page that consist of Rich Text Editor. The Rich Text Editor provides the tools for user in order to create or modify the content easily without any programming knowledge. Users are allowed to create a new content or edit the previous content. It will be needed to retrieve to the database once user wants to edit the previous content.

User need to save the content into the database after the content has been finished created. A result page will then display the content by retrieving the codes from the database.

CONCLUSION

As a conclusion, CMS is regarded as a set of very good facilities or tools that are used in managing the content or information in a website. This system will undoubtedly bring a lot of benefits to an organization which is heavily involved in the management of the website contents. Besides that, it also helps non-technical users to perform editing and creation of the new layout or contents they needed without the request of a programmer.

The development cost of CMS will gradually become cheaper and cheaper due to the rapid change of the environment and technology. Nowadays, the market has also provided a lot of Open Source CMS for users. Some of the CMS in the market are still considerably expensive due to their complexity and high level performances which are significantly more difficult to develop than others.

Therefore, in order to get a better strategy views in deciding whether to implement CMS in the business, the user must understand well about CMS such as the pros and cons of utilizing CMS as well as the needs of the organization. This is because a bad strategy that leads to the wrong selection of a CMS will affect the whole company's performance.

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