Software Development

Introduction to CMS Platforms

What is CMS ? (Content Management System)

 

A content management system (CMS) is a software application that enables users to create, edit, collaborate on, publish and store digital content.

More specifically, a CMS is a software application that allows users to collaborate in the creation, editing, and production of digital content: web pages, blog posts, etc. The CMS (or WCM—web content management system) is evolving from just helping you launch digital content to a more robust system that is core to managing an overall digital experience across many different channels, such as email, mobile apps, social media, web sites, and more.

Instead of building your own system for creating web pages, storing images, and other functions, the content management system handles all that basic infrastructure stuff for you so that you can focus on more forward-facing parts of your website.

Types of CMS:

1. Web Content Management System (WCMS)

A web content management system (WCMS) is a content management system (CMS) software that controls the content, mostly HTML content, consumed over several digital channels. It is used to manage and control an extensive, dynamic collection of web material (HTML documents and their associated images).

2. Open-Source Content Management System

You can download an open-source content management system (CMS) software at no initial cost with no license or upgrade fees. Open-source CMS is a perfect choice when there is minimal integration needed with an enterprise system. Examples of the top open-source CMS platforms include:

  • WordPress
  • Drupal
  • Joomla

3. Commercial Content Management System

A single company builds and manages the commercial content management system software, and you need to pay a license fee to use the CMS software. The commercial CMS software is mostly ready-built for your business needs and is thus faster to implement than an open-source CMS. Examples of the top commercial CMS platforms include:

  • Sitecore
  • Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)
  • Kentico

How CMS works?

The CMS software includes multiple application layers. The purpose of application layers is to support CMS functionality and guide how different software parts connect.

  • Content Layer: An application layer to manage the content (functions like editing, managing, and storing content).

  • Delivery Layer/Layout Engine: To assemble the content into a layout or to deliver it.

The delivery layer, through the medium of an API, requests content from the content layer to deliver content to the audience. That content then moves through a presentation layer. It takes what the delivery layer has produced and renders it on a screen.

High Level Architecture

A CMS has two components: a content management application (CMA) and a content delivery application (CDA).

  • The CMA is a graphical user interface that enables users to design, create, modify and remove content from a website.
  • The CDA component provides the back-end services that support management and delivery of the content once a user creates it in the CMA. This is actually visible to your visitors.

Features

  • Security

Making sure your business is secure from cyber attacks is incredibly important. Not only do attacks interrupt the continuity of your business, but they also cost you huge amounts of money.

This results in a number of potential security issues such as data integrity violations, unauthorized access to data, and malicious codes and scripts.

Most CMSs come with a fairly robust set of security features, including advanced authentication, strict permissions, firewalls, and protection against malware attacks.

  • Omnichannel and Multilingual Support

A web content management system that supports easy multi-language, multi-channel delivery not only makes this job much easier, but it also empowers local brand and content managers to run localized campaigns on the channels best suited for their markets while maintaining the global brand identity.

  • User-friendliness

Using a content management system that is intuitive for the end user — and that allows employees to quickly reuse branded components such as images, designs, and experiences — will encourage teams to take ownership of the local experience, especially if it also allows all users to use the system in their preferred language.

A system that supports straightforward approval workflows will make the lives of brand managers easier and will in turn support continued effort and excellence in the globalization process.

  • Testing and Experimentation

To further support your global teams in their localization of the brand into new markets, it’s crucial that they can quickly evaluate the results of their efforts and take autonomous action based on this feedback.

The easiest way to do this is to ensure that the CMS/WCM you use has built-in experimentation capabilities for easy testing of content and experience elements — whether on desktop, mobile, or other channels.

  • Personalization

A WCM system that allows you to automatically personalize digital experience elements like campaigns, content, or product grids will provide more agility to global teams, as they can easily create variants of the site experience from one global system.

It will also allow businesses more control over the global brand, supporting globalization at scale.

  • Analytics

Use a content management system that has a built-in analytics engine so that your marketing teams, content creators, and brand managers can easily spot visitor trends and opportunities for improvement in the digital experience based on local visitor data. It’s even better if the system can provide this information per persona, which will give you much more precision in optimizing the content served to your visitors around the world.

  • Scalability

Businesses that run their WCM in the cloud will be able to scale their globalization efforts much faster, with development teams able to roll out updates to the digital experience worldwide with just a few clicks while also taking advantage of the uptime and continuous improvements offered by cloud providers.

Popular CMS available:

  • Joomla : Designed to be the middle ground in the open-source CMS marketplace, Joomla combines the versatility of Drupal with the user-friendliness of WordPress.
  • WordPress : This is another free and open-source WCMS based on PHP and MySQL. Businesses can use WordPress in the cloud or deploy it on a local computer to act as its own web server. This software is highly customizable, with many themes and WordPress plugins available. It is also a popular blogging platform.
  • CMS Hub : This paid CMS features a drag-and-drop page builder, SEO recommendations and website themes. HubSpot’s free CRM platform is also included in each CMS package, enabling users to keep track of customers and content, all in one place.
  • Drupal : Drupal is a highly flexible, open-source CMS targeted to a wide pool of developers, marketers, and agencies. The CMS allows marketers with more basic experience to create a site from a template, or for developers to create a site that can handle large volumes of data and heavy traffic.
  • Sitecore – Sitecore calls their CMS the Sitecore Web Experience Manager, which is designed for enterprise-grade content management and scalability. Some of its features include the ability to write content once and distribute to every marketing channel (also a function of omnichannel automation), customizable rules for tailoring content to specific types of visitors, multi-site integrations and management (including even non-Sitecore websites), multi-lingual capabilities, and Mobile First responsiveness.
  • Adobe CMS – Adobe Experience Manager Sites provides the digital foundation you need to swiftly create, manage, and deliver personalized, engaging content to every customer who visits your site. An intuitive drag-and-drop interface, out-of-the-box components, and an easy-to-use template editor help marketers deliver content quickly with minimal effort.

The Sitecore CMS – an introduction

Sitecore is one of the leading enterprise-level content management systems built on ASP.NET, enabling web content editors and marketers to have full control over all aspects of their website from social integration and blog posts to advanced personalization, ecommerce and more. Launched in 2001, Sitecore has used the .NET platform from the beginning of the language itself, and has been growing in popularity over the last few years.

The Sitecore CMS is at the heart of all Sitecore-powered websites. Having taken advantage of the flexibility, scalability and security of the .NET framework it’s an enterprise favorite, used by leading global organizations such as Experian, Toshiba, Canon and Nestlé. The CMS incorporates a powerful desktop interface that is controlled by a fully-customizable role-based system. This desktop is very similar in look and feel to a Windows desktop, which makes it easy for users new to Sitecore to pick up and learn the system. Like Windows, there are also multiple applications aimed at specific tasks such as editing content, managing users, monitoring campaigns, setting up workflows, etc.

The benefits of Sitecore to marketers

Sitecore is a fully featured, connected customer experience platform. You can do much more than just manage your online content. Out of the box you’ve functionality for :

  • Tracking and analytics
  • Personalisation
  • Building marketing campaigns
  • Content optimisation
  • Cortex – Machine Learning Tool

With Sitecore you can create, deliver and optimise for an end-to-end customer experience that spans acquisition, nurturing, conversion, retention and advocacy.

Building Blocks

  • Template
  • Content Item
  • Layout
  • Renderings
  • Presentation Layouts

What is Headless CMS?

A headless CMS is a back-end only content management system (CMS) built from the ground up as a content repository that makes content accessible via a RESTful API or GraphQL API for display on any device.

The term “headless” comes from the concept of chopping the “head” (the front end, i.e. the website) off the “body” (the back end, i.e. the content repository). A headless CMS remains with an interface to manage content and a RESTful or GraphQL API to deliver content wherever you need it. Due to this approach, a headless CMS does not care about how and where your content gets displayed. It only has one focus: storing and delivering structured content and allowing content editors to collaborate on new content.

 

Monolithic CMS

Now To convert that into a headless CMS we remove the templating feature from the stack as that is the head of that CMS – the actual website. With that done, we can replace it with a RESTful or GraphQL API that is accessible by other systems to access the data that was managed in the Admin UI.

Headless CMS Architecture

Use cases for Headless CMS 

  • Separating your content from the tech stack of your website to be able to move faster.
  • Websites, Web apps that use JavaScript frameworks (VueJs/Nuxt.js, React/Next.js, Preact, …).
  • Websites created with static site generators such as Jekyll, Gatsby or Middleman.
  • Native Mobile Apps (iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
  • Enrich your eCommerce Stack (Shopify, BigCommerce, Commercetools, Hybris, Magento2, or others) with a proper CMS for your marketing team.
  • Use it for feature flags of your own product to schedule releases of new features.
  • As a configuration interface for your home automation solution.
  • Or to manage content for your intranet.

 

 

 

References:
https://blog.hubspot.com/website/best-cms-systems
https://kinsta.com/knowledgebase/content-management-system/
https://www.sitecore.com/knowledge-center/digital-marketing-resources
https://www.storyblok.com/tp/headless-cms-explained

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