Re: XML content management systems

Subject: Re: XML content management systems
From: "Lech Rzedzicki" <xchaotic -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Yaakov Gelber" <yaacovg2007 -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 May 2008 15:29:49 +0100

In that case I don't think SharePoint is likely to fulfill those requirements.

As a first step, I think, you might need to change your authoring
environment. Any variations of Word products may produce consistently
styled conent, but it's simply to easy to stray from there, even
unintentionally. Also Word's native OOXML format is difficult to work
with (th specification spanning thousands of pages, arguably not XML
in some places).
Switching to a more suitable format such as DITA, encourages reuse by
default and is becoming the de facto standard for tech writing
departments. Through specialization, you may adapt DITA to suit your
particular needs.

I personally had to work with processes where Word format was the
desired output (due to it being widespread), it worked well as a
presentation tool. Any attempt to merge the changes from Word to the
CMS is in my view a risky attempt.

As for XML-based CMS, there really is a lot of them out there. I
suggest reading STC Intercom edition devoted to planning and choosing
a CMS implementation.

Then maybe http://cmswatch.com/, just to see the plethora of solution
on the market.

There really is a lot of factors to ponder upon, technical,
managerial, philosophical.

For instance, for any large enough repository, scalability and
performance become issues - if your writers are used to editing
offline, performance of many CMSes might be noticeably slow.

Workflows only makes sense if they are well-designed and integrated
with the tools. I think this is one particular are where Sharepoint
excels - you can use use API to program custom workflows. In my
experience, I find it much more difficult for the management to use &
grasp the ideas of CMS than writers themselves.

Almost every time, you need to customize the CMS solution to you
needs, you need to ensure that it's configurable enough (many CMSes
don't expose APIs for crucial functions so you're stuck with default
behavior) and that you have the resources to do so (in-house full-time
programmer ?).

>From the plethora of choices I see two ends of the spectrum:
a) small, usually open-source solutions, usually adapting existing
tech such as wikis, DITA OT, SVN, exist to form a basic CMS
b) huge players, Microsoft, PTC, IBM than can provide end-to-end
solutions (editor + database + workflows + nice GUI).
For instance in case of PTC that would be Epic Editor + XHive XML DB +
Documentum as a sample configuration.


It really is becoming a huge field as almost every company needs to
manage their knowledge and assets via some form of CMS.
The right choice can only be made knowing the specific use cases. An
that is only the beginning of the road, it needs to be followed by a
well-governed implementation and migration, followed by user training
and careful maintenance, including but not limited to managing the
reusable content.

Lech
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Follow-Ups:

References:
XML content management systems: From: Yaakov Gelber
Re: XML content management systems: From: Lech Rzedzicki
RE: XML content management systems: From: Yaakov Gelber

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