Content Management as a Marriage

By Deane Barker

I got to thinking the other day that the content management field is flooded, especially the open-source systems. Go to sites like,,, etc. and you’ll see hundreds of them. Then, every week, I get notifications that new ones have been released: NetWizard Matrix, and Tiki, and WSW, and this, and that.

I’ve tried very hard to keep track, but there are too many. And there’s so much duplication. Every day a new system comes out that says it’s better than the last one. But is it? Has anyone really broken any new ground in content management in the last two years? We run from system to system like we have CMS attention deficit disorder.

I’m a guilty as anyone – I dutifully dash off a new posting when something new hits the fan. Lately I’m thinking that I’m doing people a dis-service. I feel like I should find one competent system and stick with that, plumbing the depths of it for all it’s worth so that people can move from the superficial layer to something deeper: providing actual value.

I challenge you to pick one system, live with its flaws, celebrate its strengths, but more or less forget about the technical and architectural end of it and instead concentrate on the user at the other end of the keyboard. Focus on delivering him or her actual content. (You remember, the reason we install these system in the first place?)

At the risk of an absurd analogy, it’s like a marriage. You can work the bar scene, hopping from one date to another, which is very exciting and sexy, but it’s all so superficial. You never really get to know any of them. Your time is pre-occupied with the process of getting to know them and their value to you is based on them providing romantic interest.

However, one day, if you’re lucky, you find someone that fits – they may not be perfect, but they fit for the most part – and really get to know them (marry them, even), then you can move to another level where this person catapults you to new areas, and let’s you explore things beyond just romance for the sake of romance.

I’ll say it again, we have enough platforms. We need to stop dating, settle down, and actually do something with our lives.

This is item #337 in a sequence of 354 items.

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