Squirrel Notes is an email newsletter about CMS and other content technologies. It publishes twice each month.

This issue was published on Thursday, August 09, 2018.

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Non-sequiturs from the world of content management.

NetGen Layouts. I had a demo of Netgen Layouts a few weeks ago. This is a tool to manage the presentation layer of a backend content repository. It was originally built for eZ Publish, but Netgen is expanding it to other repositories.

A key point: you can back Layouts with multiple repositories, so it becomes a mash-up presentation manager for an aggregated content warehouse. This video is worth watching.

Now, you might say, "well, a bunch of CMSs do this." Sure, but, remember, there isn't one single CMS behind this. You can back it with multiple CMSs, each providing content in a different way and for a different purpose.

There's value there.

Content Operations Tools. I talked about content operations a few issues back, in the sense that we put so much technology into building CMS websites, but not nearly enough technology into working with the content once they're built.

I've become interested in the complimentary set of tools that exist around CMS. Things like:

  • Gather Content, which is a tool to collaborate on content before it shows up in your CMS (years ago, I argued that a lot of stuff happens before content ever sees the inside of a CMS: The First 85%)

  • Things like Kapost, Divvy, and Percolate which are scheduling and content planning tools

  • Acrolinx which is a content governance tool

I love CMS, clearly, but I've always said that we manage containers. There's another entire ecosystem of tools to manage the stuff that goes into the containers, which is a thing we too often ignore.

(How many remember when CrownPeak acquired ActiveStandards two years ago? I'd be curious to hear how that's actually working out.)

DAM Maturity Model. I love "maturity models" because they give you a simple way to position yourself along a larger axis of competence. It's helpful to know where you are, and the areas you need to examine or improve.

There's a helpful maturity model for Digital Asset Management that was developed by Real Story Group and the (now-defunct) DAM Foundation. It divides the discipline into 15 skill areas over four categories (People, Information, Systems, and Processes), and describes what each one would look like at five levels of increasing competence (Ad Hoc, Incipient, Formative, Operational, and Optimal).

The download is free (you do have to register), and the document is Creative Commons-licensed.

On Definitions. A source of confusion in any industry is the lack of common definitions. CMS is no different — people use the same words to mean different things.

I've put together a glossary for web content management, but it can't claim any consensus. What we need is a CMS standards organization, but that's another conversation entirely.

The Two Types of Content Strategists. Here's an influential blog post by Ann Rockley which is worth reading. She divides "content strategy" into front- and back-ends. The front end is about marketing, while the back-end is about...well, content — modeling it, architecting it, and delivering it. I love that that her idea of a "back-end strategist" is halfway to a content engineer or developer, and is a clear differentiation from marketing.