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

This issue was published on Monday, April 09, 2018.

Subscribe to receive future issues

Non-sequiturs from the world of content management.

Java Content Repository. There are precious few standards of the CMS industry. We work with a lot of standards, but there are few standards around the specific concept of managing content.

One of the exceptions is the Java Content Repository, which is a long-standing Java standard for a hierarchical content repository. I've worked with two CMSs lately that make heavy use of it — Adobe Experience Manager and Magnolia. In fact, the Pluralsight course for developing with AEM is one of the better ways to learn about the JCR. It's a technology worth knowing about.

FYI: there's a PHP port of the JCR, but — to my knowledge — there's no .NET port...yet.

Interwoven's WCM Book. One of the early books on CMS was Web Content Management: A Collaborative Approach by the founder of Interwoven back in 2001. It really filled a niche back in the day, when there was nothing else. A friend who worked for Interwoven back then said, "We used to just toss it on the table and the system sold itself..." (if only my book had the same effect).

I actually read the book last year, just for nostalgia, and it's an interesting look back to where we came from. As the subtitle would suggest, the book is largely about data structures and processes to allow more than one editor to work on file-based resources at the same time — this was apparently The Big Problem back in 2000.

Fascinating how far we've come.

The Meta CMS. I've spent some time with Akumina lately, which is a intranet system built on top of SharePoint. In this sense, it's a "Meta CMS" — a CMS built on top of something else that might itself be considered a CMS (SharePoint, in this case). A Meta CMS usually spins the underlying CMS in a specific direction for a specific use case.

We can fall down the rabbit hole a bit more to say that any CMS is a Meta CMS in the sense that it abstracts and enhances an underlying datasource. Episerver, for example, is a Meta CMS on top of SQL Server.

Does this make Akumina a Meta Meta CMS (on SharePoint, on SQL?). Was SQL a CMS in the first place? Clearly no, and there's the underlying question: when does a data source "become" a CMS? When do we layer enough functionality on it that we cross a magic line and can say, "Yep, it's a CMS now."

(I tried to define this 10 years ago. Funny to read that now.)

Content Management Masters Course. FH Joanneum (AKA: The University of Applied Sciences) in Graz, Austria offers the first ever masters degree in content strategy. As part of this, I'm teaching the course on content management for my third year. My course is 10 lectures and three projects, over the final semester of the program.

The content strategy degree has some great instructors from the industry, such as Rahel Bailie, Lisa Moore, and Margot Bloomstein. They have very limited number of spots, so if you want to apply, you need to apply early and perhaps wait through a few cycles.

Scoop: The NY Times CMS. I'm an unabashed fanboy of the New York Times. Combine that with CMS and you have a perfect storm in this blog post from 2014 about their in-house CMS called Scoop. Not surprisingly, the NY Times family of sites is broad and heterogenous. They have quite a few blogs on WordPress, for instance, and I recently found out they're running Magnolia for some of their subscription sites.