Individuals Create, Enterprises Manage Content”, written by Lana Gates,appears in the August 2008 issue of Software Magazine.

As digital content grows exponentially, more alternatives emerge for managing it, including open source alternatives and packages targeting SMBs; high-end CMSs continue to innovate as well.

"Open source in content management is a much more established, much more robust alternative to proprietary products out there,” Crouch says. He and his team examined a number of open source players, including Drupal, Mambo, and Joomla, before choosing Plone. “Plone was a dark horse,” he says, “We didn’t know a lot about them. There’s not as much press about them.”

But after evaluating the other open source prospects alongside of Plone, Crouch knew this was the right tool for him. Plone is folder-based, he says — very intuitive, with a simple process for editing and managing pages, documents, and images. Plus, it includes solid workflow, sharing, and secure content.”
One area where Plone really differs from its open source competitors is in its coding language. While most are written in PHP — and, as a result, have a larger user base and are easier to learn — Plone is written in Python, a more structured language

Crouch’s target audience is small to mid-sized businesses with one to 70 million or so users, clients that are relying on an IT guy to do a website and are starting to look at generating content such as white papers and blogs, and pushing content through e-mail.

The technology is the easy part, Crouch says. Content is the hard part. “With small companies, [content] always is an issue. It’s always bigger than they think it’s going to be.”

Crouch cautions that cost savings in project development is not one of the benefits of open source. “Just because you’re using open source doesn’t mean the project’s going to be inexpensive,” he says. “In the long term, you’ll save in licenses and fees” by not being locked into a vendor.

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