Web Content 2008: Day One

By Deane Barker on June 18, 2008

Day One was busy —

We started off with a keynote talk from Dick Costolo, who is the guy who created and sold FeedBurner and now works for Google. He talked about how far syndication has come. If you went to CNN or Gannett even two years ago and told them to pull in RSS feeds from other people and display them, they would have laughed you out of the room. Now, Reuters pulls in three feeds on their home page alone.

His other point was that allowing comments is just the start. Commenting is quickly becoming distributed in itself. People can create links to your content at sites like Reddit and Digg and then start comment threads there. I’ve actually found this handy when a link I’m interested in doesn’t have commenting ability.

Darren Barefoot got up next and gave another conference-wide talk about essentially what Blend has been doing for Federated Media for the last 18 months: developing social media platforms. I heard the phrase “join the conversation” more than once, which is something you couldn’t get away from at last year’s Conversational Marketing Summit.

From here, we separated into three tracks. I picked “Web Tools and Tecnologies,” which seemed like the most technically-oriented.

First was some guy talking about “Best Practices in Content Management.” Very heavy on the Power Point, lots of bullet points, lots of reading, etc. He almost seemed to be advocating the waterfall method at some point. He did talk about the Project Management Institute and their “Project Management Body of Knowledge,” which I found interesting, but I otherwise caught up on email.

Then came the CTO from Ephox who discussed how to deploy social networking inside your organization. He made some good points, but nothing really jumped out at me except his decree to “stay away from WikiText.” While you have to take this with a grain of salt coming from a guy who sells a WYSIWYG editor, I still totally agree with him, like we discussed a couple months ago.

Lunch. I sat a table labeled “Open Source Web Content Management” and talked to a woman whose company is redeploying their extranet on WordPress, which I thought was interesting. WordPress? For an extranet? I guess it depends on your definition of “extranet.”

I also had a long talk with a sales guy from Clickability, which is a hosted content management company, and a guy who has what I would consider a dream job: content management developer for the Library of Congress. Wow.

Things heated up afternoon. Piero Tintori (that’s an Irish name, believe it or not), the CEO of Terminal Four (which I had never heard of), discussed how to pick a CMS. He was kind enough to avoid any sales pitch for his own product, and he made a solid presentation about the things he sees over and over again.

I chimed in with some discussion about how people over-purchase workflow, and how much can you really assume in a RFP? He presented a question from an actual RFP that wanted to ensure that you could change the last name of a user without losing their permissions and audit trail. I believe in being specific, but at what point can you make a friggin’ assumption?

Two guys from Duo then presented on a massive content management import job they completed. They had to import several hundred thousand pages from one CMS to another, while maintaining URLs and inter-page links. It was pretty funny, and they made some good points about thinking ahead and doing a phase approach where to import a section, then stop and re-assess on what worked and what didn’t.

Finally, Seth Gottlieb finished off the day with a great presentation about open source content management in Java (which, not coincidentally, is the name of the report he writes). I got introduced to a bunch of systems I only knew peripherally (Lenya, anyone?), and Seth really knows this stuff up and down. He got nice and technical, so I enjoyed this presentation more than any of them.

(I also learned that Seth used to work for Optaros, and when he was there, we competed for a project, unbeknownst to me.)

So, it was a good day, and I got to meet a lot of people I only knew over the Web: Seth, Scott Abel, a bunch of sales guys I’ve talked or emailed with but never met (Ektron had a contingent there), etc.

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  1. I didn’t know about this conference. Lots of names that I recognize. I wonder if we can get some of those guys to the Sioux Falls Techknowledgy Summit? Someone willing to share information instead of trying to always sell you a product is the type of conference we need.

  2. As the “woman whose company is redeploying their extranet on WordPress” I’d just like to clarify that we are not using WordPress to host our Extranet, but as a content-management platform ON our Extranet.

  3. as a content-management platform ON our Extranet.

    Ah. That’s makes it a little clearer, thanks.

    Although, I must admit, I was a little intrigued at the idea of WordPress AS an extranet. Parts of that idea seem pretty good to me.

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