Chapter 1 What Content Management Is (And Isn't)


This chapter establishes the basic ground rules of the ensuing CMS discussion.

  • What is content?

  • What is a content management system?

  • What does a CMS do for us?

  • What doesn't a CMS do (that too many people assume it does)?

  • What are the different genres of CMS software?


On how the discipline of content management is different than the software and why it can be different for everyone.

The discipline of content management–the accumulated theories, best practices, and accepted patterns of the field–transcends any specific system. In this sense, it's a Platonic ideal: an abstract, subjective representation of how content is to be managed.

The specifics of this ideal can be very different depending on the experiences, preferences, and needs of the observer. This means there's no single, accepted definition for content management as a discipline, just a set of debatable best practices. While people might try to lay claim to a Grand Unified Theory of Content Management, no such thing exists.