A simple, apparently innocent post by Erik M. Hartman, President of CMPros.org who candidly shared with his peers a simple Link to a new industry report, sparked a string of criticism and brought up a whole load
of important, key issues that altogether bring an interesting perspective to the subject
JoAnn Hackos, author and content management expert, reacted rapidly to the report: "I continue to be concerned about the complete omission in this report and others that purport to survey with content management environment of the component-management systems. DITA support for topic-based authoring, for example, is an issue of interest to many content management professionals and is not provided in a robust way by any of the companies that Forrestor analyzes" she said.
Barry Shaeffer, from Xsystems.com replied "JoAnn raises the dirty little secret of the CMS industry, namely that CMS software has traditionally been based on relational database technology and was thus, unable to deal with the hierarchical nature of text content. The result was that the only way the CMS could deal with logically hierarchical content was to break it into physical components so it could be managed. As JoAnn points out, CM systems that are "aware" of the logical hierarchy built into SGML and XML content do not need to fragment it in order to provide access to it."
Shaeffer added that, back in the early 90s, Open Text developed a system known as PAT (short for "Patricia Arrays) that could load and access SGML content at any level in the DTD, without physically breaking it up. PAT was ahead of its time, but it proved that structure aware tools could outperform their relational based counterparts in virtually every measure.
Let me go one step beyond JoAnn's excellent analysis, he says: "Component management" is an example of an industry attempting to turn a major lack into an asset. Only if we assume that CM software will not be XML aware any time soon, does component management even make sense. Sadly, with a CMS industry still trying to amortize its investment in relational software, that may well be the case.
Ann Rockley, author and expert, added that while once the primary focus of content management was web content management, the report in question enforces the new industry focus as being enterprise content management. She says:" We’ve seen this shift in the last few years. As already mentioned, the ECM focus misses component content management as an integral part of enterprise content
The report speaks of three areas of content-centric apps: Transactional content, business content, and persuasive content”, but there seems to be a gap here as well, what about product/service content? This makes up a large part of customer-centric enterprise content. "
If there is one thing we have learned, Rockely says, there is no one size fits all, and that the best solution is an integrated solution with ‘best-of-breed” tools working together in a unified content environment. Organizations need to determine all their content and customer needs to arrive at an optimum solution.
Brendan Quinn, Content Management practitioner at the BBC, says : "I had been starting to call what we do "structured content management" but in the future I'll use this new phrase we're coining on this list "component management", or "component content management". As we know, the first step to clear communication is a common vocabulary"
Rahel Bailie, Consultant, comments further: "Funny you should mention this because I have been saying that one of my frustrations has been that there is no consistent name and acronym (not that I think CCMS is at all sexy!) Aside: In the technical documentation community, there has been an ongoing (as in years) debate about what single-sourcing means, and some people are tying themselves up in knots to try to subsume the entire field of content management into that term because it's something familiar. Trying to explain that there is a bigger world out there, and an area of content management that covers single-sourcing and much, much more has been frustrating. So while I'm not crazy about the specific term "component," I am very much in favor of finding a name for this flavor of XML structured content so that we can find a place for it in the larger taxonomy of the CM world" she concludes.
CM Pros announced today its new Executive Director, Scott Abel, who will take office later this year.
Talk the talk
Give your story premium visibility!