When we interviewed Brian Alvey in late 2009 on his new web content management system, he told us it was being developed for big publishers. And that it was, Crowd Fusion is the web content management system behind The Daily, Rupert Murdoch's iPad exclusive newspaper.
Next Generation Digital Newsroom
News coming out of Crowd Fusion has been pretty light since we talked with Alvey in October of 2009. As far as we knew, the open source Web CMS was still in beta. But that didn't stop The Daily from being built on top of it.
To successfully launch a product as ambitious as The Daily, we knew we'd needed to build so much more than just the app itself," said Ariscielle Novicio-Ablan, Vice President of Technology for The Daily. "Crowd Fusion was the perfect partner for us, offering a full set of software and infrastructure solutions for both the scalability and flexibility that this project needed."
Crowd Fusion built and maintains the infrastructure required to support both The Daily iPad app and its website. Interesting to note that Crowd Fusion runs completely in Amazon's cloud.
Editor's Note: We asked Alvey if Crowd Fusion is still in beta and he said the open source program is still in beta. They've had over 1200 applications for the beta and accepted around 150, "Most of them have been either developers we are vetting to hire or potential large customers." He indicated that Crowd Fusion is not at point where it can support large customers like The Daily and a lot of smaller sites/individuals.
He did say that the platform was "more than ready for primetime".
A Flexible CMS
The WCM platform provides the complete solution for the newsroom's writing and workflow. Custom tools were built to pull in media including videos, photos, wire articles and custom data feeds from different data sources (this capability is something Alvey about at length when he described the CMS).
According to a TechCrunch report, CrowdFusion had to rebuilt the CMS three times to support the changing needs of The Daily, certainly a testament to its flexibility.
One of the more interesting aspects of this project for us has been marrying the old with the new: building a workflow system and tools for a team of editors and designers accustomed to working in print, television and online who are now able to re-imagine their craft for the first time,” said Craig Wood, Crowd Fusion COO and co-founder.
Crowd Fusion supports millions of subscribers downloads and offers all the social media and user generated content capabilities required of any publishing site today. In addition, now that Crowd Fusion has worked with Apple and The Daily to offer iPad subscriptions, the WCMS supports Apple's new subscription model as an integrated enterprise plugin.
If you had asked us what we thought might have the web content management system behind the The Daily, we might have said WoodWing (news, site), or perhaps a custom build -- Crowd Fusion probably would not have come to mind.
Now, we have another WCM platform to watch closely, especially with the focus on mobile and cloud computing. What will Crowd Fusion do next? We look forward to finding out.