Normally in this space we look back over the current month and forward into the next month, keeping you up to date with the open source CMS and other related projects that might interest you. Like last year, we're taking a look back at 2011 and into 2012 for some extra insights into what's to come.

The Respondents

We sent out four prompts for questions to our usual lists of F/OSS suspects. Out of those, 18 projects responded. These projects classify themselves as:

  • Customer Experience / Web CMS / Channel Optimization / Analytics (74%)
  • Digital Asset Management (16%)
  • Information Management / Document Management / Records Management (26%)
  • Collaboration / Social Business / Innovation Management (53%)
  • Intranet / Portal (34%)
  • Enterprise Search (10%)

Projects were allowed to choose more than one answer, for those compelled to do the math at home. You can see the raw numbers below.


How the responding projects classify their products.

Looking Back at 2011

Sometimes the path forward is clearer when you take a moment to reflect on the past. To that end, some of our questions centered around 2011. When asked what two things each project was most proud of achieving in 2011, 14 respondents answered:

  • Alfresco Software (news, site): The Cloud-scale Alfresco 4.0 release, and the new Alfresco iOS mobile product.
  • Composite C1 (news, site): Successfully changing the product strategy to free open source, yet making a profit, and becoming the .NET open source CMS with the best user and developer ratings.
  • DotNetNuke (news, site): DotNetNuke 6 completely revamped the user interface, which "now rivals anything on the market today," producing a 40% jump in downloads for the free Community Edition and a corresponding growth for the commercial business. Also, delivery of a fully mobile-enabled version of DotNetNuke.
  • Drupal (news, site): Drupal growth within large enterprises, and the adoption of Drupal 7.
  • eZ Publish (news, site): Integration of intelligent web analysis, and the personalization and recommendation engine.
  • Hippo CMS (news, site): The channel manager (multisite, multilingual, and multi-device), and the REST interface, CMIS, and open API.
  • HWIOS (news, site): Adding a URL-based websocket protocol, and a realtime multiuser web text editor.
  • Jahia Web CMS (news, site): Releasing Jahia 6.5, the addition of new large projects, and high profile customers.
  • mojoPortal (news, site): Good mobile support and significant sales revenue growth for add-on products.
  • Nuxeo (news, site): Achieving a great user experience, and creating great developer tools to build apps users love.
  • ocPortal (news, site): First CMS to implement and big usability improvements.
  • Umbraco (news, site): More than 100% annual growth, and remaining committed to their principles while growing.
  • WeWebU (news, site): Winning some large customers.
  • XOOPS (news, site): They've created a strong team of contributors that will carry them into the future, and a standard module GUI that will be used for all new modules and the most important existing ones.

Plans for 2012

Many of our questions centered around plans for 2012. When asked about geographical growth targets for the next year, North America (79% of respondents) and Europe (84% of respondents) were the two highest priority areas by far. The largest medium priority targets were South America (61% of respondents), Asia Pacific/Oceania (53% of respondents), and the Middle East (42% of respondents).

In particular after establishing their European headquarters in Amsterdam in July 2011, DotNetNuke expects to grow their commercial business in Europe at a faster pace than North America in 2012. Alfresco specifically identified Japan, India and Australia as high priority.

When asked how they plan to enhance their products, the highest priority objectives each at 58% of respondents were:

  • Better Mobile Device and/or Multi-Channel Support
  • Improve General Usability
  • Cloud Support

Other high priority targets at 50% of respondents were Additional APIs / Integration / Platform Features and SaaS Options. Alfresco specifically identified mobile (especially tablet) and the Cloud as their highest priorities, including usability and performance as related to Cloud and SaaS.

When asked specifically what the top two goals are for their projects in 2012, 14 respondents answered:

  • Alfresco: Become a key enabler of enterprise tablet rollouts and offer a successful Cloud service that connects to the Enterprise.
  • Composite C1: Make web CMS more popular via SaaS and "starter wizards," and become the most chosen .NET open source CMS when evaluated by web professionals.
  • DotNetNuke: Social collaboration and deeper Cloud integration.
  • Drupal: Mobile and Drupal distributions (vertical solutions).
  • eZ Publish: Achieve an outstanding user experience "in all dimensions," and enhanced interoperability as a content platform.
  • Hippo: Integrate Apache Rave (a new web and social mashup engine) into Hippo CMS, and add context-aware personalization focused on multichannel behavioral targeting, monitoring, conversion and reporting.
  • HWIOS: Abstract HWIOS into a smaller, easy-to-use library, and create several independent high quality applications around this library.
  • Jahia: Offer a collaboration feature as JahiApp, and add additional mobile and multichannel integration.
  • mojoPortal: Expand adoption and create more add-on products to build revenue.
  • Nuxeo: Broaden adoption and distribution, and offer Nuxeo as a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
  • ocPortal: Continue to lower barriers to building sophisticated websites, and make management of sophisticated websites easy, safe, and fun for small businesses.
  • Umbraco: Release Umbraco version 5 and Umbraco as a service.
  • WeWebU: Achieve broader adoption.
  • XOOPS: Refactor the core framework and update it for PHP 5.4, and consolidate existing modules to convert them to a standard GUI.

We also asked whether the projects anticipated making changes to their development process, or their organization, in 2012. Among the 15 who answered the question, 60% said yes, with many offering explanations:

  • Alfresco: The Cloud will be our first take on new projects and ideas. A/B testing in the Cloud allows rapid validation of new ideas.
  • Composite C1: We plan to offer a fully managed experience for our users, handling setup and hosting with trials and reasonable pricing.
  • DotNetNuke: We'll continue to scale our engineering organization by hiring additional developers, QA engineers and others.
  • eZ Publish: Stronger collaboration with business partners and clients to build the "perfect" ecosystem.
  • HWIOS: Full-time development has halted. The focus will shift more to make the software more interesting for a broader community.
  • Jahia: We will hire significantly more resources in 2012 than we did in 2011.
  • ocPortal: As the world becomes more globalized and competitive, and Western cultures less powerful, it's important to diversify the community to embrace different cultures and economies. Western companies can no longer dictate pricing and standards, and open source companies must embrace the more complex global dynamics and not just think of themselves purely as exporters.
  • Umbraco: We will continue to further integrate our community into the development process, adding more transparency as we go.
  • XOOPS: We'll be taking more advantage of Continuous Integration (CI) software like Jenkins, and other quality tools that are part of the CI ecosystem.

Content Management in 2012

Content Management as a concept and practice is constantly evolving. We asked where the projects see content management changing in 2012, and 14 shared their responses:

  • Alfresco: An interesting debate on whether Cloud vs On Premise is really two sides of a similar problem. The two must integrate. Tablets are the fastest growing device in history, and companies are doing large-scale rollouts. Companies need to be on top of their approach to delivering corporate content to mobile devices securely so it can be consumed by employees and business partners where/when it makes sense.
  • Composite C1: Increased demand for delivering content to different platforms, like mobile devices and desktop apps. Video use will become more popular, focus will continue on the mobile web experience and social media, along with an increased focus on usability and simplicity.
  • DotNetNuke: Gartner projects a 20% growth in teh WCMS market, and 11% in ECM. This represents high growth opportunities for WCMS vendors grabbing market share from traditional ECM vendors, particularly with small and mid-market businesses that need to move to a CMS model due to the explosion of content requirements and the need to integrate with social and mobile. Portals and CMS will continue to merge as the lines get fuzzier between the two. According to W3Techs, 73% of all websites don't use any CMS yet, which leaves that market wide open. Non-open source WCMS vendors will continue to specialize (i.e. marketing functionality) in an attempt to carve out niches for themselves between ECM players and lower cost WCMS vendors. Continued consolidation of the WCMS market as smaller players are taken out or bought. Cloud-based WCMS solutions will gain significant ground over traditional on-premise WCMS, particular for small and mid-market businesses. The integration of social collaboration functionality will become the "shiny new toy" for WCMS vendors in 2012.
  • Drupal: More focus on content delivery via web services.
  • eZ Publish: Easy multichannel and multi-source management will become key for successful WCM solutions.
  • Hippo: Cited Customer Experience: 12 Predictions for 2012.
  • HWIOS: Push/two-way CMS systems will become more mainstream. Most development will probably come from the node.js community.
  • Jahia: More convergence among DAM/WCM, Collaboration/DM/WCM, and the rise of the Content Composite Platform.
  • mojoPortal: No predictions, just see mojoPortal improving with its feature set and usability.
  • Nuxeo: Toward a platform approach. Use the Content Management platform to build solutions and apps. API, extensions, and services are key.
  • ocPortal: High end Content Management tools are on a path of getting increasingly complex, moving further into analytics and quality management territory. It's our belief that this path is wrong: core authoring functionality is still far too weak, and the industry needs to radically improve it. The integration of frontend website functionality (such as search or account management) is still also very poor in most systems, cobbled together in most cases. Meanwhile analytics and quality management can easily be achieved via separate specialist tools which already exist. Unfortunately most people in the industry are incentivized to keep adding stuff on and keep budgets high, rather than improving the overall experience, so usability is seen as something you can add on via a metric layer, rather than design in via cohesive core.
  • Umbraco: UX will improve dramatically.
  • WeWebU: Mobile, social, Cloud.
  • XOOPS: More convergence with social media/networking, and more demand for mobile applications taking advantage of existing content.

Open Source in 2012

Open source as a business model has existed long enough for plenty of experimentation, lessons learned, and "growing experiences" gained. When asked how important the idea of open source was to their organization, 15 projects responded. The vast majority (60%) said that the idea of open source is equally important to them as it was back in 2010. All but one of the remaining said that the idea of open source is more important now than in 2010.


For the majority of respondents, open source remains at the same level of importance as compared to 2010.

In particular, Composite C1 switched to open source during 2010. Alfresco states: "Based on a recent survey of our Enterprise Edition customers, open source continues to be a huge driver in customer's choosing us over SharePoint." When asked how they see open source business models evolving in 2012, 14 respondents answered:

  • Alfresco: Open source as software transparency will take a more prominent role. India becomes an interesting channel for open source as a platform for solutions in the West. Oracle's benign handling of MySQL will go into other areas.
  • Composite C1: They will become increasingly commercial and continue to gain market share.
  • DotNetNuke: We don't see the open source business model evolving dramatically in 2012. The decline in new GPL-based open source projects will continue, as the market drives vendors into more open licensing schemes like Apache or MIT. Open source WCMS vendors that don't already have a vibrant commercial marketplace for extensions and designs will no doubt invest in this area in 2012. Open source vendors that don't offer predictable release schedules or commercial support will lose ground in 2012.
  • Drupal: The emergence of Open Source 2.0 companies (similar to Acquia and HortonWorks) that have moved beyond dual-licensing models to monetize open source. The emergence of Cloud-based platforms, PaaS/SaaS, and Cloud service delivery models, along with App Marketplaces, provides better ways to deliver tangible business value to customers.
  • eZ Publish: Commercial open source turned out to be the dominant business model for WCM. Disruptive technology changes and fast innovation cycles can't be copied with traditional vendor strategies. Clients require not to be "locked in" by the WCM supplier.
  • Hippo: Open source will become less of an issue. It's proven, but will also not be the main differentiator anymore.
  • HWIOS: Service, support, and custom development will become even more important for open source CMS systems.
  • Jahia: As open source business models demonstrate more and more relevance, we'll see broader adoption, which will eventually lead to acquisitions of open source vendors by large, proprietary vendors.
  • mojoPortal: I'm not really concerned with trends or changes in other people's business models. It isn't easy building a business around open source, but my model is working and I expect that to continue. We provide a free open source compelling feature set to grow adoption and we choose carefully to also provide compelling add-on functionality people are willing to pay for.
  • Nuxeo: Toward more Cloud-based services, merging online services with open source software to provide superior customer service. See Acquia, Nuxeo, OpsCode, CloudFoundry, and many more.
  • ocPortal: Raising standards for comfortable personal technology have meant development has become increasingly multi-disciplined, and harder for individuals to achieve "consumer-pleasing" results on their own. As a result, open source is further going to be run by communities of businesspeople and senior developers, who have the expertise and resources to push barriers, rather than the traditional communities of end users and "hackers."
  • Umbraco: We see more projects succeeding with the open source software plus community model.
  • WeWebU: Open source will become an even more important ingredient in companies' going to market strategy, especially for smaller vendors.
  • XOOPS: In the current economic downturn, open source software has become increasingly attractive to users and businesses as a means to save money. There will be more and more startups using open source, as it creates a lower barrier to entry for them to compete against established companies.

The Cloud in 2012

The Cloud has come up time and time again throughout the responses. When we asked how the Cloud is affecting business models and planning, the vast majority (73% of the 15 respondents) said that the Cloud is having a major impact on their business models. Some offered explanations:


The Cloud is having a major impact on CMS business models.

  • Alfresco: The Cloud becomes the new and complimentary Freemium experience. This is an area where we're making major investments. Lots of people are doing simple Cloud-based file sharing, we'll add more value there. Our clients will be able to selectively replicate content from their on premise repository into the multi-tenant, Alfresco-hosted Cloud repository. This keeps content under Enterprise control at all times rather than relying on consumer-grade, simple file sharing, which we've seen this year not to always be handled with the level of quality and security companies require.
  • Composite C1: We'll be basing our SaaS products on Windows Azure and are offering both free and commercial Windows Azure components.
  • DotNetNuke: Deeper Cloud integration is one of our primary goals for 2012.
  • Drupal company Acquia: A key component of our value at Acquia is our Drupal PaaS and SaaS offerings, taking much of the complexity of scaling dynamic web applications out of the equation.
  • Hippo: Hippo has a Cloud offering.
  • Jahia: We've always been, by design, Cloud ready. Until recently, our customers mainly opted for on premise deployments. This is slowly changing, and we'll provide more optimization for Cloud deployments in the near future.
  • mojoPortal: Personally I think the term Cloud is overhyped. Hosting of any kind where someone else manages the server is Cloud hosting in my book. But what people mean when they say Cloud hosting is web farms in the Cloud that can scale well and are easy to manage. The thing is, Clouds don't really provide better uptime, and performance is not better with distributed architecture. The main benefits are scalability (which means you can handle more traffic, not better performance), and less cost and management effort than traditional web farms. But the vast majority of sites on the Internet don't get the amount of traffic that requires that scalability and I see people using Clouds for no reason and paying more for scalability they didn't need and getting less performance as a result of Cloud hype.
  • Nuxeo: More and more prospects and customers are coming to us because of the capabilities of our platform to run and leverage Cloud architecture (which is more than just running on a VM on Amazon).
  • ocPortal: We're finding that the technical skill of the average user has gone down, as the industry shifts more toward an expectation for instant results and great design. The Cloud is exemplar of this: people no longer want to (or know how to) maintain their own systems. This is for the better, but it means that businesses have to really cut away any slight amount of complexity to compete.

The Most Disruptive for 2012

Finally, we asked what people expected would be the most disruptive technology or trend in 2012. There were 15 answers:

  • Alfresco: The rapid rise of tablet use will displace many tasks performed on laptops, and allow more work to be done in the field and outside the office. On the other hand, IT organizations are going to be flooded with new device, networking, security and content delivery requirements they haven't had to deal with since the PC rollouts of the late eighties and early nineties.
  • Composite C1: We'll see a remarkable shift from "on site" and "at ISP" installations to Cloud-based application use. Web CMS is an obvious product category to experience this.
  • DotNetNuke: The evolution of the Cloud.
  • Drupal: Content delivery via web services for multichannel publishing purposes.
  • eZ Publish: The demand for holistic customer experience management solutions with sophisticated business process support will increase dramatically.
  • Hippo: We're excited to be an instrumental part of a new technical committee as part of OASIS, the web standards consortium. OASIS has just announced a new draft charter has been submitted for comment, to establish the OASIS Web Experience Management Interoperability (WEMI) Technical Committee. Hippo is proud to be taking a leadership role with the other member companies such as Adobe, Jahia, Liferay, Magnolia, Nuxeo, OpenText and SDL.
  • HWIOS: Real-time web (websockets, non-Flash webcams/mic support) and 3D web technology (RealXtend Tundra, webgl).
  • Jahia: Tablet use is becoming more widely spread throughout the Enteprise, including for content authoring. This has an impact, obviously, on the tablet-optimized authoring tools CMSes provide to customers.
  • mojoPortal: "Is there disruption every year? Is disruption the goal? Things change but it isn't all disruption. I can't think of anything that disrupted my business in 2011. I see disruption when I look around and it means someone overturned your business model like Netflix and on demand video is disrupting cable and may reach a tipping point in 2012. I don't wish for disruption to my business model. I think things like CMS as a hosted service aka SaaS might grow in 2012, whether it will be disruptive is yet to be seen. I think more and more of those people who were not connected to the Internet in the past will be connected by their phones and tablets and CMS systems will continue to need to meet the needs of those users."
  • Nuxeo: We're just getting started with cloud-based or cloud-related technologies and services!
  • ocPortal: The tabletification of the interaction experience means the traditional "desktop approach" of expecting the user to be able to manage multiple applications, documents, or windows simultaneously is becoming untenable. Instead, apps must lead the user through well-defined workflows to achieve key use cases. This is not just happening on tablets. Increasingly users are running web apps in fullscreen browser windows (such as the Mac OS Lion fullscreen mode).
  • Umbraco: Platform as a service will become the norm, with infrastructure (finally) becoming a nearly invisible commodity.
  • WeWebU: Mobile payment.
  • XOOPS: Globalization of mobile applications. With lower barriers to entry, we'll have thousands of applications being developed around th world, competing for mindshare and trying to solve problems we weren't even aware we had. As the old saying goes, "We'll be starving for knowledge, but drowning in the sea of the increasing number of mobile apps."

Wrapping Up

Overall, some interesting patterns. Lots about the Cloud / SaaS / PaaS, plus tablets and other mobile devices, neither of which is surprising. As we all know, though, predictions are part voodoo. Try looking at this piece side-by-side with last year's. How well did the vendors do in meeting their goals? How spot on, or way out there, were their predictions?

Where do you think 2012 will go?