Website Content Management Software [WCMS] is software to facilitate website authoring and collaboration by providing easy administration tools to the users who lack specialist knowledge of markup languages. With these tools, new users can create and maintain a webpage with ease. Robust website content management software provides the foundation for collaboration, thus allowing users to manage content for multiple user editing and participation.
Most WCMS utilize “content repository” or a database for storing page content, metadata and other information assets that may later be required by the system. A presentation layer is used for displaying the content to website visitors. Several WCMS use “server side caching” for better performance. This is best where the WCMS is changed rarely while visits regularly happen. With WCMS, administration is often done through browser-based interface; however, some systems may need the use of “fat client”.
There are three basic types of Website content management software. They are offline processing, online processing and hybrid processing. These terms represent the pattern of deployment for WCMS.
Offline Processing – Such systems pre-process all the content. They apply templates for generating web-pages prior to publication. Pre-processing systems may also exist solely as design-time tools because they do not need a server for the application of templates at request time.
Online Processing – These systems apply templates when they are demanded. HTML is generated or pulled from a web cache whenever a page is visited. Open source WCMS are able to support add-ons, which provide further abilities, such as blog, web stores, contact management, photo galleries, etc. These are often known as nodes, modules, midgets, extensions or add-ons. Add-ons may be based either on paid license model or an open source. Different Web content management software have substantially different features and target audiences. WCMS research firm “Real Story Group” identifies five distinct tiers of WCMS vendors and open source projects.
Hybrid systems – Few systems integrate the online and offline approach to write executable code [e.g. ASP, JSP, PHP, Perl or ColdFusion pages] rather than mere static HTML. Therefore, WCMS is not deployed itself on each web server.
Some of the core advantages of Website content management software are:
Low Cost – Systems like Drupal, Directus, TYPO3, WordPress and Joomla, are free of cost. Others, though not free, are affordable. However, some of the systems can be expensive. Even in this regard, the overall costs are low as you do not have to hire full-time developers.
Customization – A universal design is created where pages share a similar theme with less coding. Many WMCS tools use AJAX system for design modes. This helps non-specialist users in creating custom front-ends.
Easy Usage – Website content management software are developed primarily for non-technical users. A simple admin UI enables content managers and users to update content without significant training.
Workflow Management – WCMS provide the ability of controlling the “how, when and who” of content publishing. Most WCMS enable administrators to define rules for workflow management.
In short, non-technical users are the most benefitted by WCMS. It enables them to make changes to a website with minimum training. Such software is not just cheap but it is also efficient and effective.