The two day conference started off with a keynote from
Charles Nesson, director of the Berkman Center for Internet
Society at Harvard Law School. Charles talked about the
importance of open source solutions for the future of
education. It was very encouraging to hear thus from one
of the premier experts on cyberspace law.
The conference proceeded with a quick succession of talks
about the various CMS that were present. Each had something
unique to contribute, and it was very interesting to hear
about other CMS straight from the programmers.
The CMS could be roughly grouped into categories:
- traditional CMS (database-oriented, JAVA)
- XML-based CMS
Wyona, bitflux, AxKit
Midgard, Zope, Cocoon
- Community CMS
Some systems, especially of the XML-based variety, showed
a high level of sophistication. Wyona went as far as to
do everything in XML, even the access control.
Generally most CMS placed a lot of emphasis on publishing
workflows, revision control etc. It became evident very
quickly that there is a lot more to the term CMS than
most news publishing scripts from Hotscripts or Sourceforge
can provide. Also, CMS means different things to different
The presentation that really blew the audience away was no
CMS though, it was a WYSIWYG editor. Yeah right. Another one.
Actually, after having seen the <a target=_top href="http://www.q42.nl/xopus/">demo of that particular
editor, a lot of mind bombs exploded in the audience.
Many could not believe their eyes, and you could witness
their thought processes as they pondered on the impact of this
The demo, which is for Internet Explorer 5.5 and up only
at the moment (Mozilla version to follow soon) relied on
It was arguably the first killer app that really showed what
the value of XSLT on the client is. As Lon Boonen, the author,
said: "This is not another templating engine. Its the last one."
Sooner or later all CMS, PostNuke included, will have to
lay out their XML story. PostNuke has a foot in the door with
its XML-RPC system, but a lot of works remains to be done.
Another aspect of the conference was devoted to various frameworks
that allow to create custom CMS. The CMS market is so fragmented
that most sites run custom-built CMS. Some frameworks were very
elegant (Zope and Cocoon), while others focussed more on ease
of use, and leveraging PHP knowledge (Midgard).
PostNuke was the only representative from the Weblog / Community
CMS world. Unlike the more traditional CMS it places the emphasis
more on the community aspects of a site, and allows for easy
integration of functionality that goes beyond content management,
like shopping carts, chat, forums, galleries etc.
The <a target=_top href="http://www.postnuke.com/talks/oss_cms_postnuke.pdf">slides (1450K) from the PostNuke presentation should be available soon.
The best part of the conference were definitely the one on one
discussions with developers from various CMS systems. Over a
couple beers a lot of ideas were exchanged, and optimism about
future areas of collaboration led to the formation of
<a target=_top href="http://www.oscom.org">oscom.org, an organisation devoted to exchange of ideas
between Open Source CMS.
The conference was a success with more than a hundred attendees,
quite a few of them coming from big name CMS vendors. Some
preliminary contacts were established to work on a Java
standard for CMS, called the <a target=_top href="http://www.jcp.org/jsr/detail/170.jsp">Content Repository for Java API
Similar ideas where discussed among a group of Open Source CMS.
A very promising start for what looks to become a regular event.
See you in San Francisco for the next installment.