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Monday, March 22, 2010

"Death is Only the Beginning"

I’ve found that life is always more interesting when you can relate it to either KU basketball or a good movie. And since my last blog was in relation to March Madness, and I am feeling completely disgraced to be a Jayhawk right now, I will relate my point to one of my all-time favorite films, the 1999 remake of The Mummy, starring Brendon Fraser.

The part of this film that I’d like to focus on is when Evelyn awakens the mummified high priest, Imhotep, by reading the words “death is only the beginning” from the book of the dead. After saying this single phrase, the mummy awakens and is more powerful than anyone else in the world, even though he once was dead. So, let’s recap: someone that was seen as dead, awoken and proved that he was far from dead, but actually incredibly capable of literally anything, even things that nobody else in the world could do.

This particular moment in the movie came to mind when I came across an article today that was entitled, “Is This the Year the Propriety CMS dies?” If you are someone who believes this, or is even asking this same question, then clearly you haven’t been using the right propriety systems. If anything, this article should read, “Propriety CMS Mummified, but Resurrected and Back with a Vengeance.”

It is true that open source systems have found a special place in the hearts of several web developers throughout the nation, but that isn’t to say that propriety systems are dead. In a tough economy, choosing the open source route may seem like the more attractive route to take, but there can be a lot of hidden costs and extras that don’t appear right off the get-go. Also, something people tend to consistently forget is that an open source system and a propriety system are NOT the same thing.

The article uses the phrase, “selling your milk when the cow is free” to describe propriety systems against open source, but that couldn’t be more wrong. To make that phrase apply correctly it would have to say, “Selling your Häagen-Dazs Triple Cherry Chocolate Chunk when the cow is free.” Meaning that, yes, you could probably find a way to turn your cow’s milk into that fabulous ice-cream flavor if you were a total expert in that field, but even still, probably not get the exact results you’re looking for. A propriety CMS, if it’s the right CMS, isn’t just milk, it’s a one of a kind frozen dessert that can never be duplicated.

People working for propriety companies are complete experts at what they do. They can customize a CMS to exactly fit the bill for what a school is looking for. They can do all of the behind the scenes technical work, so that the design and all of the fun stuff is left to the university employees (even those with NO technical experience). Ross Morrone, a developer for Youngstown State University and user of ContentM by AllofE said, “I am in love, not only with the CMS but the idea that I can now get back to what is fun about design, I have fallen back into care free mode when it comes to coding because I don't have to do it. I have more control over the look and creating a great user experience rooted with rich media.” How man users of open source systems can say the same?

If you think the propriety CMS has died, remember that death doesn’t always mean the end. If there’s anything we can learn from society’s current obsession with vampires and mummy’s, it’s that some things may surprise you and come back more powerful than anything else out there.

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Blogger Joe said...

There is significant truth to this. My roommate has been exploring various open source CMS options for his personal website, and the thing we consistently discuss about them is that while it might work for a programmer, he wouldn't dare put most open source CMS apps in front of a normal user. They simply don't have the same polish and effortless ease of modification that products such as ContentM do.

If the user has to manually edit a config file to change a setting in ContentM, I haven't done my job as a programmer. It's as simple as that.

5/19/10, 3:28 PM  

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