March 2009
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Celebrity CMS Deathmatch – The Meme Spreads

I ain’t lookin’ to compete with you,
Beat or cheat or mistreat you,
Simplify you, classify you,
Deny, defy or crucify you.
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.

Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: The Meme Spreads
Part 3: The Aftermath

It was the morning after the night before, and the CMS Vendor Meme started by Day Software began to spread. Two further vendors (Magnolia and Alfresco) were infected on the first day, but the days that followed saw the meme spreading like the Undead. So far, we have 18 Vendor Zombies. What follows is a day by day account of the unfolding events.

19 March 2009: Infopark CMS joins in with 41/45. GX enter too, also with 40/45. Nearly all the scores seem to sit about there. dotCMS and Midgard have responded, but no score that I can see. Not that the score really matters. Still no-one with a perfect score. Tridion staying quiet. Julian Wraith is keeping a real-time scoreboard. Irina Guseva blogging about it too. Google this GUID to find everything there is to find: 9c56d0fcf93175d70e1c9b9d188167cf
dotCMS have good designers

dotCMS have good designers

Big news. Vignette have responded using a FaceBook note. I gotta be honest, I didn’t think they would. Hats off to them, I say. They started with an intro explaining how Kas’ checklist didn’t really apply to them, only to ” stand-alone, SMB-focused software targeted at companies” that are “managed by a very small IT team”. They also find “that the Enterprise customers we serve don’t typically let the needs of IT drive their Web experience decisions”. So what? Why does that mean that the checklist doesn’t apply? I would have left a comment, but sadly no comments allowed. [UPDATE: Mea Culpa. You have to be a Fan of Vignette to comment on their page. But you can.]

They didn’t give themselves a score, but gave a YES for most questions. The occassional NO was well justified. The one SORT OF that made me chuckle was the “running on latest version of the software”. They’re “not on the latest point release”. Well, have fun upgrading that. It’s only a point release after all. Shouldn’t take long at all. Just a click, I’d think …

InfoPark's Image
InfoPark’s Image

20 March 2009: Nuxeo enter the fray with a 40/45. They haven’t tagged anyone since they think there isn’t “any serious player that hasn’t been tagged already” . And they seem to be my kind of company. They’ll trade SDK’s for beer. They’re threatening to spread the meme to DM and Collaboration too.

Sweet! Another big player is up for a bit of fun. OpenText have entered, but not given themselves a score. Like Vignette, they start with a well written but very corporate intro explaining how the rules of the game don’t really apply to them. Nevertheless, they kindly agree to play anyway as “our customers expect nothing less than a transparent, strategic vision from Open Text”. Impressive stuff. An extremely slippery dodge on Question 14 – one price sheet. They also manage to squeeze in a few sales pitches (question 9 and 10). The RedDot name didn’t appear once. The brand is truly gone it seems. All in all, nice one OpenText.

Hot on their heels comes EPiServer, who score themselves highly with 42/45. Right up there at the top. Now, I am a skeptical little man and that sounds on the high side. But I know EPiServer extremely well (believe it or not, I’m a certified developer who isn’t allowed to code) and I don’t think I can’t fault their logic. They’re certainly very accurate about their answer to the language question. If anything, when you install it as English you might see the odd bit of Swedish. And maybe I’d lower the 2 to a 1 on the licensing model as the definition of a site, as they confess, is confusing as hell. But a big thanks to EPiServer for entering. They haven’t tagged anyone yet.

SiteCore in next. They gave themselves a modest 40/45. A very nice response though. My favourite was the response to the Dog Food challenge – not only do they use pre-release versions on their site, but they call it Champagne instead of Dog Food. Also like their answer to the documentation question. I’m starting to think that the Documentation question doesn’t belong on the checklist. Online documentation is probably more useful than locally installed documentation. Thanks for playing, SiteCore. But I’m not going to link to your ugly red “star image” cause it is 500 KB big.

Autonomy/Intervowen and SDL Tridion – come out, come out, wherever you are …

21/22 March 2009: It’s pretty quiet over the weekend. Almost too quiet. Then, suddenly, another big player posts their response. Thanks to Tom Wentworth from Autonomy/Interwoven. It’s absolutely brilliant to have all the major vendors getting involved in this. Really good for the CMS Community, I think. Like the other Enterprise Vendors, they haven’t given themselves a score. I think if they were to score themselves, it would be pretty low. However, all their responses are sensible and highlight the fact that the ECM players considers themselves very different to the smaller companies.

So, it seems that only one large vendor that has been tagged who is staying out of this. I’m not going to name the chickens again, but I wil say that an anagram of their name is “sordid lint”. C’mon, people, air that dirty laundry.

23 March 2009: Things appear to be getting quieter now that most of the main players are in. Doesn’t look like the meme is going to infect non-CMS vendors. A new entry today comes from Alterian (who own both MediaSurface and Immediacy). I liked the tone of their response. Very collaborative, very honest, and even congratulating some of the vendors on their response to other questions. They, like others on Twitter, question the validity of the reboot on install challenge, about which I’ll say more when everyone is in.

They don’t give themselves a score, but we’ll forgive them as they would probably have to score their two products independently. This would confuse the league tables horribly. I think the tone of their response proves how wrong I was about how this was going to play out. It isn’t a Deathmatch at all. But “CMS Celebrity Deathmatch” is a more catchy title than “CMS Collaborative Love In”.

Some think the noble hippopotamus a somewhat pointless rhinoceros. Not these guys, though. Hippo CMS come next, tagging Open Source Vendors OpenCMS, eZ Publish, Joomla!, TYPO3, Plone and Drupal. If this meme spreads into the Open Source land, all hell could break loose. Maybe someone will tag WordPress? Anyway, Hippo join Jahia at the top with a whopping 43/45. And where they deducted points from themselves, you can tell they feel they have the moral highground. Who needs an installer when you can deploy WARS and EARS? And surely editors speak more than one language? Did you know that hippos kill more people in Africa than any other large animal?

Another great side effect of this meme is that we are finding CMS Gurus on Twitter to follow. They’re all crawling out of the woodwork. Bill Trippe is compiling a list. He said he’d post a link here in a comment when it is ready. [UPDATE: Bill has posted the link below, but I got this wrong. It is a list of the actual vendor accounts, not individuals].

Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: The Meme Spreads
Part 3: The Aftermath

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