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CMS Wars: Welcome to the Cage Fight

by User Not Found

CMS Wars- Welcome to the Cage FightThis group was unlike any other. Participants had contempt for the views of their opponents. Debates raged, and supporting data flew everywhere. Venom surged from each retort, leaving the opposing thought bruised and bloody. What is this? A political rally? A Yankee vs. Red Sox brawl? No, it’s a blog thread about content management systems.

Honestly, folks, what is it about a CMS debate that brings out the inner warrior? Advocates thump non-believers with hostility better reserved for a cage match. While passion exists in many arenas, the struggle between CMSs seems unique. As an ad gal, I’ve marketed everything from cars, condoms, and soda, to breakfast cereals, airlines, and mobile phones. Nowhere does a product debate rage as contentiously as with content management systems. You criticize at your own peril. Can you imagine similar debates about other consumer products? Say, spaghetti sauce? Here’s a REAL blog post to illustrate my point, with some adjustments:

“What in H311 are you thinking!?!? I am one of the people who has never used Prego and have no intention of ever using a tomato based sauce. I started using pesto specifically because of the basil and garlic base I was building upon. It met needs that no other sauce could match. I have pasta that is right now ready, and getting cold, waiting for some sauce and you expect me to use Prego?”

So tell me, what is it about a CMS that makes it so personal? It’s akin to a religion. The attachment is strong. Is it a natural response to a bad personal experience, those with vested interests insulting the competitor, or something more primal? I recognize that mastering a CMS requires months or years of training on a particular platform. It’s a commitment. So, is an innocent CMS discussion truly a debate about which rival technology will reign supreme? Should one gain favor over another, a web developer could easily find themselves out in the cold. Their skills would become obsolete. Retraining would follow in short order leaving said developer at the bottom of the employment totem pole. Taking this further, it could be said that when someone criticizes a CMS they are—in reality—trying to steal bread out of someone else’s mouth. Am I right here? What say you? What is it about a CMS debate that engenders so much passion and fury?

Photo Credit: <a href="">KellBailey</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>


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  1. Michael Dec 07, 2012
    People build businesses around a CMS platform, and it is hard to change that platform. I know, we have been through it. I think it is taken personally because a lot of people may know they made a bad choice initially and defend their choice to not admit that. It is a debate that touches so many subjects and can reflect their business models. Once can either want a free CMS to provide themselves more profit, or their clients cheaper sites. We believe that you get what you pay for, and hence chose Sitefinity. Why..... because, not because of its outstanding OOB features, but instead for its flexibility in extending its OOB functionality. I have yet to find something I cannot build in it. I have never had to tell a client "Our CMS cannot handle that".
  2. Dragan Dec 07, 2012
    I think this is not purely about CMS but in general about things that take central place in people's lives, and the ones that are the strongest in these debates are as Michael says these who live out of it and therefore defend their standpoint with mere existence. You will see the same heated arguments over choice of OS, Android vs. XX, but also out of the IT world like cars and other. And I think that the reason why is simple, since this is a central premise in their life people think that if they recognize that there is something better, they will implicitly admit that they are wrong in their whole life. So it is easier to persist in defense of a something like CMS than to change your life.
  3. Richard Sargent Jan 10, 2013
    I am a user of Sitefinity for the web site of the company for which I work, and also a consultant supporting a client who is asking me for recommendations on what CMS to use for their internal and external web sites. I like the drag-and-drop functionality of Sitefinity, and I personally prefer paying for software and getting good support, rather than using public domain software. That's why I use Microsoft products. The main problem with Sitefinity that has me reluctant to recommend it to my client is that it is provided by a company whose main products are for Dot Net developers. The consequence is that both the documentation and support for Sitefinity starts with the assumption that the user is a programmer. I happen to be a Dot Net programmer, but my client has very little Dot Net programming expertise. If after I recommend Sitefinity and they install it and start using it, they have to do something that should be simple, like applying a patch to fix the Google Analytics that is broken in version 4.4 and 5.0, or upgrading to the next release, they will be hit with hand editing the web.config page and other esoteric steps that will be well beyond their capability. So the assumption that Sitefinity support people make, and the documenters make (even when documenting for end users), is that the end user knows what a programmer knows about developing a web site. I can easily imagine that my client will think I have recommended Sitefinity because it will make me indispensible. That is not what I want. I want them not to have to know HTML, and not to have to know CSS, and not to have to know how to edit a web.config file. But I'm afraid Sitefinity won't provide that to them.
  4. Paulette Stout Jan 11, 2013


    You raise an interesting issue. All my blogs are written from the perspective of a decisively non-technical user (see my blog just posted here: ), so coming from that perspective, I find Sitefinity to be the most usable CMS I’ve tried. Not being a .NET developer has not stopped me from diving in and making pages, blogs, creating new templates, editing text, etc. etc. Most of the stuff a typical user would want to accomplish to advance their business.  Likewise, most of the content updates and enhancements using widgets, etc. that your client would want to do, they’ll be able to do in Sitefinity without your assistance. That said, no site can be created and be forevermore free from developer assistance. A website is a tool that needs to be honed and sharpened to stay fresh. I’m sure they’d get that. Plus, you certainly seem to be proactive enough to recognize that ongoing maintenance should always be a consideration. I wish I had you when my site was being created years ago! I would have been much better off with Sitefinity than with what I was using! Cheers! Paulette

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