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

This issue was published on Thursday, November 29, 2018.

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Western Europe's Odd Dominance of CMS. Ever notice that lots of CMSs — including most of the "major" systems — originated in Western Europe?

What commonly-known CMSs are American?

  • WordPress...-ish. It was actually a fork of b2/cafelog which was French, and the lesser-known of the two WordPress founders is English

Of course, this leads to a discussion about where software is "from." Is it where the founder is from? Where they were located when they wrote it? Where it has the most adoption? And what if the company moves? (Example: Episerver is basically now a U.S. company.)

The other American systems I know of are smaller/niche --

If you know of others, drop me a note.

CMS for Media Applications. My friend Jeff pointed out this interesting article: "Is it finally time for media companies to adopt a common publishing platform?"

This is quite relevant because we've mentioned Arc (Washington Post), Chorus (Vox), and Scoop (New York Times) before. And the article mentions MediaOS from Hearst and Clay from New York magazine.

This is clearly a trend: media companies productizing their in-house CMS platforms.

dotCMS on Hybrid Headless. One of the trends in headless is figuring out what to call traditional systems that also offer headless functionality. I've heard "also headless" and "headless optional." A few issues back, I linked to a blog post from Magnolia where they termed it "hybrid headless."

Well, dotCMS wrote to note that they too have used the "hybrid" moniker in a white paper entitled: "dotCMS: Your Hybrid CMS."

You need to register to download it, but they sent me a copy, and it's a pretty well-reasoned argument for why a hybrid system might be a good way to go. This jumped out at me:

[a headless system will] shift the monolith from the vendor to an in-house technology team

I love that line: "shift the monolith." Even with headless, there's still going to be complexity — the only question is who owns this complexity? That's a question worth thinking about.

The Technical Basis of Content Experience. I wrote a new blog post last week about how to differentiate a content repository from a full "CMS." I drew the line around a system's ability to provide an orchestrated response to an abstract request.

I think the soul of a CMS lies in its ability to reason about abstractions. A CMS can interpret and respond to an abstracted, intentional request — don't just give me a specific content object, but rather here is my need, and respond with the bundle of content structured in such a way that meets that need.

Budapest Talk in December. I'll be speaking at POSSIBLE in Budapest on December 18, on the topic of "Distributed CMS." This is trend I see accelerating over the next few years. I'll provide more details on Twitter (@gadgetopia) as we get closer to the event.