A content management system (CMS) — which provides a structured way to store things such as features such as news documents, images, video and other online content — is arguably one of the things a lot of content producers love to hate. 

If you have any doubt, just try Googling "love, hate and CMS." 

Gerry McGovern discussed it here way back in 2013 in a post that conceded:

"Something is seriously wrong with the process by which organizations commission their content management systems. In all the years I’ve been doing this I can’t think of an organization that was genuinely happy with what they have. 

"Many of the systems are usability nightmares with tortuous processes for creating, editing and — particularly — deleting content."

That post sparked CMS Myth, a blog published by Connective DX — a digital agency "with a passion for getting CMS right" — to develop a handy CMS Pain Assessment Tool

cms pain assessment

Sigh.

That love-hate relationship may explain why open source WordPress, known for being easy enough for even the least motivated content creator to use, is so darn popular. It powers 50 percent of the whole Internet, according to BuiltWith.

But in 2016, can we expect things to get better? Maybe. More CMS providers are trying to bridge the gap between the needs of developers and site owners, with simple and easy-to-use the most commonly heard phrases. 

While no one seems destined to catch WordPress anytime soon, Drupal and Joomla also rank among the Top 10 CMSs. Want to see who else leads? Here is the current list of the leading CMS platforms, once again courtesy of BuiltWith.

builtwit cms rankings

As 2016 dawns, let's hope that developers worldwide have resolved to address our CMS love-hate issues — and make those ubiquitous platforms a little friendlier to use.

Composite C1

Just as it promised, Composite C1 released Version 5 in late December. The new release — the third major one since Composite C1 went open-source five years ago — was created in collaboration with Orckestra, a provider of the e-commerce Orckestra Commerce Cloud.

According to the Composite team, the CMS has undergone significant UX improvements, including a new C1 admin panel and a built-in browser view. For developers, it has also significantly improved support for MVC, added dependency injections on C1 function parameters and mapping data items to URLs to tree elements.

The C1 Console

Composite replaced the classic Windows look of the admin panel with a modern and simplified user interface.

composite new ui content

Visual Content Navigation

It introduced the built-in browser view that displays the content of the node you have navigated to. The C1 browser spans pages, media, data items and other types of content.

composite content navigation

The C1 browser has a selection of view modes: a standard browser or devices of various sizes such as phones and tablets. It also includes services like Google PageSpeed Insights, the W3C markup validator and the built-in C1 Page Speed report evaluating the performance of C1 functions.

composite features

Improved MVC Support

With MVC Functions you can run an MVC application on top of Composite C1 or build/test the application without involving the CMS in this process. In the “pure” MVC scenario, you do not have to put any CMS specific code into your controllers. Otherwise, you can do the registrations by decorating your MVC controllers and methods with C1 specific attributes.

composite mapping

Mapping Data Items

Now users can map relations between URLs, data items and tree elements when building features that fit common patterns like list/detail views. It introduced low-level registries and APIs to help developers handle even the most exotic scenarios.

composite mapping 2

Everyone installing Composite C1 on a new site can grab it on GitHub. If you're giving the CMS a first try, video tutorials and documentation will speed up your start. Get the most comprehensive record of what's new in Version 5 from the versions' history section on their site.

"This time we're not publishing a how-to upgrade manual for the community version of Composite C1. Our fixed-price and estimated upgrade service can significantly cut down your expenses on moving a C1 website to Version 5," said Aleksandra Kharchyshyna, Composite C1 marketer in Europe.

Enonic

Enonic — which is already promising its community, customers and competitors "a disruptive 2016" — released Enonic XP 6.3 in late December. Highlights include:

  • Full clustering support: scale your sites and applications easier than ever (see attached screenshot)
  • Pluggable admin Widgets: access third party contextual content and apps directly from the Authoring UI
  • New server side JavaScript libraries, including full support for multipart/file/binary handling
  • Hot reload development mode: no need to compile or deploy while developing

Want to know more? Check out the official release notes.

In addition to a new version of the main product, Enonic also released a video tutorial for developers that explains the use of serverside JavaScript MVC and a Google Analytics App.

Hippo

A tip 'o the hat to Hippo, which recently joined the likes of Apple, Facebook and Google on the EContent Top 100 for the fourth consecutive year. The honor recognizes the community as an industry leader in Digital Content and Web Content Management.

The recognition capped off a great 2015 for Hippo — a year the community launched Hippo CMS 10, achieved record growth, entered as the only open source Java CMS in the the Gartner Magic Quadrant and hosted its biggest events in Boston and Amsterdam.

Hippo's partner network is expanding. And following the opening of its office in Germany, German IT consultancy SEVEN PRINCIPLES (7p) has joined the community to take on the enterprise landscape in the DACH region.

Hippo won the triple with the Dutch National Police — best government website, most popular government website and best overall website of 2015 — in a ceremony honoring the best Dutch websites.

Joomla

Get ready for Joomla Version 3.5. The community has been beta testing the upcoming release and plans to release 3.5 Beta 2 on Jan. 27. Beta 3 will follow on Feb. 3, and the 3.5 release candidate will come a week later.

The team anticipates a stable release of version 3.5 on Feb. 17.

Nightly builds of the 3.5 branch from GitHub are available at: https://developer.joomla.org/cms-packages.

Joomla 3.5 will have a number of new features, including PHP 7 support. There will also be a plugin to gather basic anonymized data as an opt-in feature.

This plugin sends basic stats on your server to a Joomla controlled central server. This will help Joomla better understand its install base and end user environments. This will only submit the Joomla version, PHP version, database engine and version and server operating system.

"In the interest of transparency to the community this data is public through our API. No data is collected until users opt-in. The plugin can be disabled at any point. A post-install message will display to make site owners aware of the plugin.

"The privacy of Joomla users is important to us. We want to allay any fears that we are collecting personal identifying information. The source code for the server code that gathers the data is on GitHub," said Joomla team member Mark Simko.

There will also be:

  • Count items, which display the number of published, unpublished and trashed articles in the Category Manager for articles, banners, contacts and newsfeeds
  • Site and admin links to Module User Status
  • Switches to the mod_status module to show/hide links to the frontend and backend of the site
  • Ability to add a user CSS file to Protostar
  • A "check to see if the file user.css exists" and loads the file to allow user customization
  • TinyMCE drag and drop images
  • The ability to drag and drop images into the tinyMCE editor

Simko said Joomla also has a backwards compatibility promise to make sure code doesn’t break. "However, due to changes in PHP 7, we had to rename the String class to StringHelper. This is a minor change and we don’t expect any issues from it," he added.

Version 3.5 is coming on the heels of the release of version 3.4.8 in late December, which fixed some bugs related to session management from Joomla 3.4.7. The project emphasizes that this release only contains bug fixes and strongly encourage our users to update as soon as practically possible.

It also fixes some issues found in the 3.4.7 release to do with browser sessions. All reported bugs from the 3.4.7 update have been fixed in this release:

  • Users were unable to edit or create items after the 3.4.7 update
  • Fatal error about connection->stat() not existing on external database connections
  • After session timeout users could still navigate the backend but without being able to create/edit items or use pagination/filters

Joomla just launched a new Developer Relations Team. Developers are invited to become Volunteer Developer Advocates with the goal of making web development with Joomla easier and more productive.

"Over the next year or so, we will build better resources for developers — better documentation, sample apps, tutorials, blog posts,and more. We will work closely with developers at hackathons, deliver talks at meetups, and offer workshops at conferences," Simko said.

What do you need to join?

  • Excellent speaking and presentation skills
  • At least 3-4 years experience with Joomla
  • Understanding of PHP, MySQL and other technologies related to Joomla core
  • Great writing and social media skills
  • A minimum of five to 10 hours per week

Interested? Email Tessa.Mero (at) joomla.org

And if you are looking for some things to do:

Magnolia

Call 2015 a banner year for Magnolia. The community won more customers than in any other year in its history, achieved a 45 percent increase in customers and partners, and moved its offices to accommodate its steady growth.

Now it's looking ahead to 2016. The team is already making plans for conferences in San Francisco and Basel, Switzerland, which will be held May 10 to 12 and June 7 to 9, respectively. The call for papers and registration is open.

Team members have been sharing their insights through a number of recent blogs:

Chief Visionary Officer Boris Kraft, one of CMSWire’s top contributors for 2015, even wrote a letter to Santa with a plea for a better CMS. And a new webinar recording on how to develop Magnolia based sites correctly, quickly and efficiently is live.

With all that activity, it's not surprising that Magnolia is still doing a lot of hiring. Interested parties can browse the community's job section.

Nuxeo

The Nuxeo Platform LTS 2015, the newest version of Nuxeo’s content platform for enterprise content management (ECM), digital asset management (DAM) and case management is now available.

Key new features of Nuxeo Platform LTS 2015 include cloud-scale performance and scalability and native MongoDB support for building massive, big data-sized content stores.

It also includes:

Umbraco

Umbraco crossed its largest milestone yet in the fourth quarter of 2015 with the launch of Umbraco-as-a-Service (UaaS). Two years in the making, UaaS was created to help anyone who builds Umbraco solutions to accomplish that goal easier and more conveniently.

With automated upgrades, unlimited hosting and smooth deployments, it assures users that their sites will always run the latest and most secure version of Umbraco because it automatically handles upgrades to latest patch version.

Everything in your project — from code to content — is version controlled making deployment as simple as clicking a button, the team claimed. The UaaS interface manages teams and also allows users to invite colleagues and collaborators.

Umbraco has also been optimizing and refining the Umbraco Core, releasing version 7.3.1. It will soon to release a “community edition” incorporating fixes and improvements work on by our open-source community.

In January, the community expects to release v7.4 and continue on-boarding new clients to UaaS. Work is also underway for Umbraco v8 (see the Roadmap here) as well as two events: Codegarden, June 15 to 17 in Odense, Denmark and uWestFest in San Diego on March 4.