Generic Content Management Isn’t Realistic

By Deane Barker on December 4, 2003

Perls of wisdom in a sea of site mismanagement: As I work with content management more and more, I believe more and more in what this guy has written:

…the vendors’ ideal of a generic site-management system “is completely wrong”, Berk says. “The development overhead is very, very high — and for 90 percent of the problems, that’s too much overhead.”

It’s true — there is no one single bullet. As much as we all want a generic solution that will wrap itself around every site, it’s not going to happen.

Content management is a patchwork. Certain parts of a site may run from a purchased content management system, other parts may run from a custom app, still other parts may be generated from a WYSIWYG editor.

What sort of tools does Berk have in mind? Perl scripts, for instance. A tiny technical team armed with Perl scripts and an Oracle database ran the first sites he worked on back in the mid-1990s. Berk recalls his fascination as he saw larger and larger teams implementing more and more complex platforms in the late 1990s and early 2000s to achieve essentially the same result.

We mentioned a humor piece a few months ago that was SO true. Read it again, and understand that content management is not a perfect science. It’s whatever works for a particular problem. Trying to get it all under one, top-down umbrella, is just asking for pain and frustration.

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