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CMS Expo 2011

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We are apart of the CMS Association and just got back from their main event, the CMS Expo held in Evanston, IL, a bustling suburb just 10 miles from downtown Chicago. The CMS Expo is conference based on content management systems or CMS's.

What's great about the conference isn't the number of people as only about 400 people show but the quality of people that show. This year Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal, showed once again. A core developer from the Joomla project, Andrew Eddie, showed.

Also, the founders of DotNetNuke, Umbraco, SilverStripe, Accrisoft, Terminal4, Typo3, Agility were all in attendance. In addition, representatives from organizations like Microsoft (displaying their Web MS project), MailChimp, Carnegie Mellon University, The National Weather Service and the Gilbane Group showed.

There was certainly a large focus on who's CMS is best. The answer is always the same... it depends on the requirements and people running it.

However, Buytaert's keynote speech on Monday (or was it Tuesday) intrigued me. He highlighted how CMS's go from inception to bespoke solution to commodity, or a solution everyone can comfortably purchase. The issue is that companies no longer have one web site, they have multiple web sites. The question is how do they organize all the sites?

Buytaert draws the conclusion that web sites can be broken into three distinct categories for an organization. First some of which are on company-owned hardware for internal and external private use (internal government web site for employees). Secondly some are on cloud-based systems combined with content delivery networks, or CDN's usually for large scale public sites (whitehouse.gov). Then there's the microsite category or web sites that can be put up and taken down based on events (a temporary site for the tornadoes in Alabama).

Accordingly, Acquia, the company that maintains the Drupal project, offers three distinct products. First the freely available Acquia Drupal project that companies can use for private use and customize to their hearts content. Secondly for public large sites there's the fully managed Acquia Cloud that can handle the largest site you can think of. Lastly, Drupal Gardens for those quick need solutions and software-as-a-service that can be up and running in a matter of hours.

While the examples are for Drupal, the principles can be applied to every CMS.

Thanks to everyone that spoke, we really learned and hope to implement the knowledge over the next 12 months til we return.