Friday, December 14, 2007

Tough Choices

What if it came down to this...

The re.web project team has been compiling CMS product specs, grilling vendors, running references, and bugging our friends at mStoner and Global Image for their opinions on CMS products.

You may be wondering:
Have you guys selected a CMS yet?
Well, "not yet" is the best answer we have so far. But here's something we've discovered:
Perfection is elusive!
Since November, I've been explaining some of the features we're looking for in a CMS. It's a lot of information, and the direct benefits are often hard to visualize. But we're doing our homework, building spreadsheets, and seeing many different approaches to get at the same result.

In doing this research, we've found that no single product is "the best" in every category. Here's an example:
There's a product we've seen that has a super-easy interface for the average content editor to make updates. But when we finally had the opportunity to get hands-on, we found out that this slick experience is only for folks using Internet Explorer on Windows.
So we thought we'd survey our web editors. How many could possibly be using Firefox, Opera, or Safari? Turns out, it's close to 50%. Does that rule out the super-easy product?

Maybe, if this were the only pair of issues we had to weigh. But we need to compare the complexity of building Templates, ease of reusing content, and many other factors.

Our goal over this next week, before we leave for break, is to come up with a plan. Not just a plan for weighing these criteria, but a plan for involving some other folks around campus to help us wrestle with these issues.

There really is a lot going on behind the scenes right now. So far, many of you just have our word for it. Watch this space over the next few weeks and I think you'll start to see much more tangible evidence!

For those who are interested in how our Web editors compare to the rest of the Web, here are recent statistics on browser usage. And here's Wikipedia's info about the second browser war.

posted by Andrew Bauserman

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