Archive for the 'CMS' Category

Jan 21 2009

Interwoven on WordPress

Published by under CMS

Disclosure: I am on Interwoven’s customer advisory board

I’ve known Tom Wentworth at Interwoven since 2005 when I was part of the team bringing Interwoven Teamsite (a very capable enterprise level content management system) into CXO Media at IDG.

I’ve posted in the past on the impact of WordPress — the leading open blogging environment — as a free CMS alternative. I was happy to see Tom tackle this topic in a Dec 30 post:

“As a blogging platform, it’s amazing.  Having been in the CMS space at Interwoven for roughly 8 years I really appreciate it any time I see innovation in or around the CMS market.  WordPress is one of the most innovative and impressive applications I’ve used in quite some time- WordPress changed the game for blogging.   I’ve spent a lot of time with WordPress and although I’m not an expert- I’ve spent enough time with it to get a good feel for what it can (and can’t) do.


So- is WordPress a CMS?  Well, no.  Although Matt Mullenweg might disagree, WordPress is not a CMS- at least not an enterprise CMS.   I won’t get into the limitations in this post but suffice it to say that WordPress isn’t ready to tackle the content challenges faced by Interwoven customers.  But as a blogging platform, WordPress does many things well.  Here are four things I think CMS vendors can learn from WordPress: …

Hat’s off to Tom for tackling the elephant in the room. I need to post in the future from the point of view of a global enterprise customer concerned with expense challenges and asked, on a regular basis, if there is an open (read “free”) alternative to things like metrics and analytics engines and content management systems. Right now, open isn’t ready for prime time, but for SMB and mid-market, the open allure is undeniable.

2 responses so far

Sep 14 2008

WordPress auto-update — first time results

Published by under CMS

I’ve been blogging on WordPress since 2004, when Om Malik suggested I get back into blogging after a brief, but discontinued foray on Blogger back in 2002. I have my own host — — at (now Meganet) and had been running a simple Frontpage-built set of static pages for a couple years, primarily tending to the domain so I could enable the email address.

I installed WordPress and after some serious stumbling and fumbling, figured out MySQL, Php, and the old days spent in front of IPswitch’s FTP client transferring files and building directory structures on my host.

I love WordPress — indeed I would go so far as to claim it is the most significant and beloved piece of software in my life over the past twenty years — and it just got better.

Much better.

While I was in my admin dashboard this morning I saw the suggestion that I “automatically” upgrade to the latest version. In the past, any time I attempted a maintenance upgrade of my blog I would usually kill it, requiring the intervention of more capable minds, such as Mark Cahill to get thing sorted out and running again. Mark told me when he last upgraded me in July that the auto-update would be coming, and well, yes it is.

About one minute, a simple, straightforward set of questions, and ta-da, I am up to date with the latest verison. Gratitude aside, this auto update is a big step towards making WordPress the defacto opensource content management system for the world, taking out the technical/sysadmin barrier to entry that makes self-hosting so challenging for people like myself, who don’t have the time or cause to get good at the essentials of open source LAMP based hosting.

I love WordPress.

2 responses so far

Jul 16 2008

WordPress 2.6

Published by under CMS

I’ve been a massive fan of the software that drives this blog — WordPress — since first installing it in the fall of 2004 at the recommendation of Om Malik. As I’ve blogged in the past, this open source tool has the potential to disrupt the content management system market, as I believe it is now capable for most any content publisher to use and adapt WordPress to provide CMS services at a level that would have easily cost $100,000 in site licenses a year ago.

Full disclosure, I am a major Interwoven Teamsite fan as well. I’ve advocated Teamsite into two big implementations and believe it, and other enterprise strength CMSs will always have a role in the large global enterprise. Put simply, the probability of a site as complex and critical as converting to WordPress or Drupal is nil at this point in time.

But WordPress — the list of sites that have adopted the software as their primary CMS backs up my contention that the power of the “blog movement” is not the trackback/RSS/notification environment, nor the citizen journalist side, but that it opens the realm of dynamic and frictionless content management to the masses. Indeed, not only the countless numbers blogging for free on hosted servives like and Blogger, but serious sites such as AllThingsD (Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at the WSJ), and CNN’s main politics blog (which doesn’t feel so much a blog as a really crisp site.)

Anyway, Mark Cahill upgraded me this morning to the latest and greatest version –2.6– and as he notes, the power of this version is not only it’s CMS capabilities (he formally annoints the version as a CMS and he should know coming out of Atex), but it’s auto-update capabilities for self-hosted morons like myself.

The single biggest feature though, is one that will come in handy for the lone gunman blogger: they will now be able to do an automatic (single click) update for WordPress when a new version comes out. That’s a huge feature, and will help the less technical stay up to date and secure

One response so far

Apr 27 2007

AllThingsD – WordPress as CMS

Published by under CMS,General


Whoa. The new Wall Street Journal project by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg is pretty good, not for what the writers have to say (that’s okay) but for how the site is produced.

One word: WordPress.

I’ve been arguing for three years that blogs are, at their fundamental heart, open-source content management systems for everyman; easy ways for the you’s and me’s of the world to quickly publish, format, and monetize content. In a post I made earlier this year, recapping some advice made to a friend who had assumed the editor-in-chief position at a regional business magazine, I argued that an editorial enterprise that invested big money in an expensive content management system was investing in the wrong things. Publishers don’t need ornate Content Management structures, but should be investing in quality editorial material — writing, photography, video, audio — and putting their production infrastructure down on the strategic ladder with telephones and electricity.

Alas, my friend was outshouted by a moron who insisted the publication’s web presence wasn’t worth squat unless it was constructed on the back of a $500,000 commercial publishing system.

Well, along comes the Wall Street Journal, and its two best tech reporters, and what do they use?

WordPress. The same free CMS/blog software that runs The big difference? They designed and implemented an awesome template that supports advertising, looks like a “magazine” (whatever that means), yet which supports the essential functions generally associated with a “blog”, commenting, tagging, permalinking, etc.

Me, I’d say this is hands down the best implementation of open source publishing technology I have ever seen, one that should serve as a wake up for any online publisher wondering if they should invest $1,000,000 in web publishing technology.

4 responses so far

Oct 11 2006

Most excellent example of comments in a blog I have ever seen

Published by under CMS,Community,Technology

Jack Slocum’s Blog » WordPress Comments System built with Yahoo! UI

My post over the weekend about missing some vital Lenovo mentions in the comments of blogs that I track yielded some excellent suggestions from faithful readers about various plug-ins and options to gain better insights into the sentiments of peanut gallery. Rick Klau at Feedburner, Mitch Ratcliffe at BuzzLogic, and Chris Murray, ex-of-CXO all chimed in with good pointers.

Then I find this baby. Jack Slocum took advantage of Yahoo’s open architecture and built a comment tool for WordPress that is to blogs what David Foster Wallace is to footnotes. Check out the expandable nav bar on the left. The ability to drop a comment on a specific point in a blog post. I am totally freaked and want it.


No responses yet

Aug 17 2006

CSS evil strikes

Published by under CMS,General

The nastiest thing about WordPress and Cascading Style Sheets is their relative impenetrability to anyone other than a dedicated web monkey/producer. If you don’t work in this stuff for a living, then all you can hope for is a stable template, easy management and no bugs like the one that hit me this morning which is putting everything into italics. My patience wears thin. Sure, I can go into the admin console, hit “presentation” and do to myself what I did last winter when I took the entire blog down for a week and had to spend cash to get the coders at my ISP to un-befukticate me.

[Update: Ryan from the c-c-c-comments delivered the solution.]

5 responses so far

Jun 13 2006

Further messing with blog design

Published by under CMS

I finally — after the debacle in January — went back to Michael Heilemann’s Binary Bonsai, downloaded the 167 build of K2, unzipped it — backed up the MySQL databases and transformed into a better looking place than the old 1.5 Kubrick which has held me together since 2003.

Then I decided to be done with the perpetual act of trashing my sidebar and converted to Widgets — which I still haven’t mastered but which at the very least give me some control in an Ajaxy way over what elements get displayed and which don’t. The header image I talked about late last week when I went scanner crazy on some old Cotuit photographs. I wish I had the time to get serious about CSS, but I know from keeping my HTML chops sharp in the 90s that such knowledge is wasted unless its practiced daily. Even so, the nerd manque within demands that I start getting dirty with code, be it page description, BASH shell commands, MySQL db structures …..

I think I need to set up a sandbox server and get really serious. This recent convalescence has given me a little time to steel wool the rust off of my techie talents, but nothing to the extent of the early 90s when I was beta-testing HotMetal Pro and Vermeer and turning down offers to write books about SGML …. sigh, now I worry about banner ROI and search engine optimization and other generic online marketing challenges.

I am further convinced that within 5 years we’ll see another revolution in site construction, management and display when the next Vermeer arrives to build a full WYSIWIG LAMP implementation out of the box. Do I think the average joe will become his own sysadmin? Never, but we’re still a very long way from having a content management system for the masses.

Bugs I’m detecting in K2– I can’t blog photos from within Flickr that will appear in Firefox. They are fine in IE but I am not fine in IE and I can’t figure out how to tailor the and Bloglines widgets to display my tags and blog roll. Time to move on to work related stuff. Migraines are gone. I don’t feel like I have morning sickness all day long, and I want to get back on the bike. More on that saga of how to convince an insurance company adjuster accustomed to pricing dented fenders on a Camry that yes, indeed, a person can be foolish enough to invest over $5,000 in a bicycle. The company thought they were dealing with a Huffy rider. Bah.

2 responses so far

Mar 27 2006


Published by under Advertising,CMS,Metrics

I may be dreaming here, but why couldn’t a metrics system such as Omniture be integrated into a CMS such as Interwoven, and based on rules, automatically shift traffic down predetermined paths?

Example: if a vendor is driving traffic through banner URLs and paid search to landing pages, and if there are multiple instances of those landing pages as part of a standard A-B/multivariate suite, why couldn’t the “winning” page begin to receive the majority of the clickstream as it wins out over its alternatives? The metrics system would need triggers that would run against a rules engine, modifying in real time the destination URLs to funnel traffic to the appropriate page.

It would seem the human interaction in the production-analysis-placement chain is the weakest link in the flow. I need to think more on this one and see where it goes.

5 responses so far

Mar 08 2006 » The Content Management Gap – Part II

Published by under CMS » The Content Management Gap – Part II

Chris Murray throws down the challenge — why isn’t there a mid-tier CMS solution between the realm of opensource and the heights of enterprise CMS?

I say there needs to be an ASP model. There’s no justification for a company to consider CMS management a strategic IT investment. For those who do, they build their own and tune it to their model. For them’s that don’t, they need to treat it as a utility.

One response so far

Feb 27 2006

Centralization vs. De-Centralization in Global Web Ops

I have never operated in a multilingual web environment, managing the so-called “localization” of content into multiple languages. At IDG, global publishing was handled on a very de-centralized model, with the flagship brands writing in English and then licensing that content to country-based operations who in turn would pay to have the content translated into their local language, adding in local reporting in that same tongue to build a country-specific superset of the original brand.

Decentralization to gain operational agility is a noble cause, and one I support, but in IT enabled business models it can quickly grow a lot of hair, particularly when corporate messaging and brand management come into the picture. Look at and compare it to the Polish version,, and you’ll see what I mean. The Polish operation completely rebranded the domain, creating a variant against the CXO brand, using their site as a portal into other c-level titles.

Having just read IBM Redux, an account of the Gerstner turnaround of IBM in the 1990s, one of the biggest issues that Gerstner and his CFO Jerome York had to confront was the extent to which the company’s “Geos” or geographic businesses, had completely gone off on their own, competing internally and raising havoc with the financial and managerial controls across the company.

Pat McGovern, the founder of IDG, says he adopted a very loose, de-centralized structure after returning from a business trip to find a packed inbox, realizing that he was the bottleneck and that he had to loosen his controls so the business could thrive.

Decentralization was, I think, a necessity in the days before ERP and content delivery networks. The one thing that technology cannot remove is the reality of time zones and the complexity of cross-country meeting and calendar coordination. But time-shifted communications — I’m talking fancy talk for email — and voicemail, has all but obviated the need for a decentralized management model.

If the corporate model for a global enterprise is viewed at three levels — worldwide operations at the headquarters level, geographic which encompasses regions: (EMEA, Asia Pacific, etc.) and then country-level — then the importance of a rational command-and-control structure becomes clear. The trick, for a CEO, is, to borrow the phrase from McKinsey’s Dick Foster in Creative Destruction, to “loosen control without losing control.”

I raise this issue of global governance as I enter the early stages of organizing a network of over 70 sites. While there are obvious economic and operational benefits to a centralized hub model, one predicated on a master corporate database, there is less clarity on how to organize centrally while extending local control and translation down to the country level where the expertise resides. Last week I met with Eli Singer, CEO of Web Collage, and he said the notion that translation must be decentralized is misinformed and that cost savings and managerial control can be achieved in a central hub.

I could always follow my brother’s advice, one echoed by an Englishman I met at Ogilvy & Mather last week, and that is what I call “Texan Translation”: wear a ten-gallon hat and yell English very loudly until people understand you. (The Englishman smiled and said in a loud voice: “I SAID, MAY I HAVE A CUP OF TEA?”) All kidding aside, and abject apologies to the world at large for being yet another American mono-linguist, there is no Web esperanto or precedence for English taking over the world of ecommerce any time, ever, soon. Airplanes, ships .. some industries and professions have standardized on English. Not commerce.

2 responses so far