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 2010 and into 2011 for some extra insights into what's to come, but this time around we used a small survey to see what's in the hearts and minds of open source project leaders.

The Respondents

When we sent out our questions, 23 projects responded. When asked how they would classify their project, we allowed multiple answers since today many of today's players have offerings that span multiple classifications.

The most popular responses were:

More specialized classifications included Web Engagement / Web Optimization / Sentiment Analysis at 9% and both Digital Asset Management and Enterprise Search tied at 4%.

Even with our broad classifications, 22% answered Other. Explanations include:

  • A CMIS-based platform for building Composite Content Applications by configuration
  • A web development framework
  • A collaborative knowledge platform
  • Document scanning and intelligent document capture
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)


How the respondents classify their projects and products.

Economics and Growth Plans

Economically, about 44% of the respondents were strongly positive about 2011, with 39% somewhat positive and the rest being cautiously neutral. Many cited the lower costs of open source software as driving more organizations to their doorsteps.

When asked what parts of the world their projects and organizations are targeting as a high priority for growth in 2011:

  • North America - 91%
  • Europe - 70%
  • Asia Pacific/Oceania - 36%
  • South America and the Middle East - Tied at 19%

The picture is very different if you look at medium priorities:

  • Middle East - 38%
  • South America - 33%
  • Asia Pacific/Oceania - 32%
  • Europe - 26%
  • North America - 8%

In the realm of low priorities, the lowest was South America at 33% with the Middle East at 29% and Asia Pacific at 18%. Specific countries people are targeting include Brazil, France, and the UK.

Enhancement Plans

Respondents have big plans for enhancing their projects in 2011. When asked which areas they'll be adding or improving, high priorities included:

  • Improve General Usability - 78%
  • Additional APIs / Integration / Platform Features and Social / Engagement / Personalization / Optimization Features - Tied at 64%
  • Address Performance and Scalability Limits - 52%
  • Better Mobile Device and/or Multi-Channel Support - 48%
  • CMIS Enhancements - 29%

There's also a strong list of mid-range priorities, those items that developers would love to get to if resources and time allow:

  • Semantic Web Features (e.g., RDFa, Semantic intelligence, etc.) - 55%
  • Better Mobile Device and/or Multi-Channel Support - 39%
  • Address Performance and Scalability Limits - 35%
  • Additional APIs / Integration / Platform Features - 32%
  • JCR Enhancements - 25%
  • CMIS Enhancements - 24%
  • Social / Engagement / Personalization / Optimization Features - 18%
  • Improve General Usability - 17%

The lowest priorities are JCR Enhancements (35%), CMIS Enhancements (33%) and Semantic Web Features (e.g., RDFa, Semantic intelligence, etc.) (30%). JCR Enhancements were by far the biggest N/A answer at 35%, no doubt because they only apply for projects based on Java. Further explanations include easy document access from Windows systems, content collaboration, Microsoft (news, site) FrontPage editing, web intelligence, HTML5, better multimedia integration, documentation improvements, a touch-specific GUI, and Enterprise Workflow/BPM.

Learning Opportunities

Questions And Prognostications

After asking the fun statistics-gathering questions, we got into the more detailed discussion of what each project is up to. Rather than breaking it out by project as I usually do, I thought instead I'd group the responses to each question for easy comparison.

If you don't see your favorite project, it's not for lack of trying, we went out numerous requests for responses. Maybe for a New Year's Resolution you could nudge your project to answer us more often!

Looking Back At 2010

Before getting into what's to come, let's take a look back over 2010. One of the questions asked of the respondents was, "What 2 things are you most proud of your project/product achieving in 2010?" Here's the breakdown of what the projects had to say:

  • Alfresco: The "overwhelmingly positive reception" to their developer conferences in Paris and New York.
  • Calenco: The stability they've achieved for their product.
  • dotCMS: Their enterprise-level multi-tenant marketplace success, and managing to break into the global marketplace with dotCMS v1.9.
  • DotNetNuke: New product features such as a new localized content management capability and the addition of the Telerik RadEditor to the open source version of their platform. They're particularly happy that they managed to deploy enhanced QA tools and procedures at the same time. For commercial accomplishments, they exceeded 1,000 subscription customers and experienced nearly 400% growth through the year.
  • Drupal: There were no long-form answers from the Drupal project in general, but we did get some from Drupal company Acquia. They're proud of releasing the beta their SaaS product Drupal Gardens (news, site) and growing it to hosting more than 29,000 sites.
  • Ephesoft: Implementing CMIS integration, and enabling content-based classification for scanned documents, faxes and emails.
  • eZ Publish: Adding multichannel capabilities and a variety of enterprise features such as a service platform and patch management.
  • Hippo CMS: Features around internationalization, their REST interface, their plugin architecture, and scalability both horizontal and vertical.
  • Lucid Imagination: Achieving a high rate of acceptance among brand-name fortune 1000 companies and of their "highly active" community of developers and adopters.
  • Magnolia CMS: Continuing their trend of 50% annual growth, their two major releases, and the caliber of the team they've built.
  • Melody: Growing their active contributor base by 2-3x, and making so many advances for the core platform.
  • Nuxeo: Releasing Nuxeo Studio (the lightweight IDE for content-centric applications based on Nuxeo) and Nuxeo Marketplace (their app store).
  • Sense/Net: The popularity of their Windows Workflow Foundation Integration feature, and moving their development teams to using the SCRUM methodology to speed up taking new features to market.
  • SilverStripe: Achieving the first Microsoft Certification for an open source project, and the act that their software powers more and more complex sites.
  • Tiki Wiki: Winning the BOSSIE award and increasing community involvement to stay "one of the largest collaborative open source projects in the world."
  • TYPO3: Improved usability features in the current branch, and developing the next generation of their platform together with their framework.
  • Umbraco: Reaching profitability through organic growth and no venture capital, and keeping the community feeling friendly as it doubled in size.
  • WeWebU: Going open source with OpenWorkdesk, and adding CMIS support.
  • Wiredcraft: Performance gains and mobile apps.
  • WordPress: While there weren't general responses from the WordPress project, we did get answers from WordPress company Automattic. Their response was the scale of WordPress deployments, with partners serving "hundreds of millions of pageviews/month" on the platform, and the level of adoption of WordPress mobile apps across Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Nokia and Windows Phone 7.
  • XOOPS: The most important was rewriting the next generation of XOOPS with the Zend Framework. As part of joining mainstream PHP-based web development trends, they're also heavily using Smarty 3.0 and jQuery, the jQuery transition was made for XOOPS 2.5.0. Finally, for 2010 they're proud to receive the 2010 OSS Award Northeast Asia Open Source Software Promotion Forum award, and to be a finalist for Packt Publishing's Open Source CMS Award.

What They Want For 2011

Another question put to the vendors and projects was, "What are the top 2 things you want to achieve for your project/product in 2011?" Here's what folks had to say: 

  • Alfresco: Focusing on web engagement to evolve how users produce and consume content, and improving technical aspects of their products like scalability, stability and performance.
  • Calenco: Better visibility and adding translation management.
  • dotCMS: To accelerate their R&D pace and to increase their sales through enterprise licensing.
  • DotNetNuke: The idea that an organization's main web site is the central hub of their online presence, and improving their optimizations for DotNetNuke sites displayed on mobile platforms.
  • Drupal: Helping to release Drupal 7, and reach the GA launch for Drupal Gardens.
  • Ephesoft: Improving their cloud and grid computing support, and improving their language support for OCR and their user interface.
  • eZ Publish: Adding in-depth multichannel capabilities for better single source publishing, and elevating their APIs to the most comprehensible in the market to create the most adoptable and extensible web CMS.
  • Hippo CMS: The first involves launching a new portal based on OpenSocial, OAuth, SAML 2 in the Apache (news, site) community. Second is to extend their multi-channel engagement functionality.
  • Lucid Imagination: Cloud readiness and deployment, and widespread acceptance and displacement of commercial search vendors.
  • Magnolia CMS: Rewrite their GUI based on JCR 2.0, while maintaining backwards compatibility through "a lot of under the hood magic." They also want to focus on user experience and leaving them flexibility for the future.
  • Melody: A successful launch, a demonstrated ability to release multiple times a year, and to grow their community support and engagement.
  • Nuxeo: Achieve wide adoption by ISVs and system integrators as a composite content platform, and to broaden their product line.
  • Sense/Net: Increase the number of channel partners and developing strong support for mobile and touch devices.
  • SilverStripe: Improve adoption of their software and market leadership through the quality of key WCM features.
  • Tiki Wiki: Enabling their users to accomplish more with Tiki Wiki in more areas, across broader skill levels, and to achieve better name recognition and market share.
  • TYPO3: Releasing their first Long Term Support version, and improving the usability of the backend.
  • Umbraco: A successful launch of Umbraco 5 (the complete rewrite of their CMS product based on Microsoft ASP.NET MVC) and keeping the company "lean, friendly and ego-free" as they double the number of employees.
  • WeWebU: Support for Alfresco Activiti and native support for IBM FileNet P8 5.0.
  • Wiredcraft: Enabling data visualization and training.
  • WordPress: Make it easier for large web properties to adopt WordPress as their full CMS, and to help grow the ecosystem of agencies and development shops that can provide support to these larger companies.
  • XOOPS: A smooth transition to their new Zend framework architecture. So that priority means that the two things they want to achieve in 2011 are making X3 the best platform for CMS and web application development, and ensuring a smooth transition for their existing XOOPS users. This move to standards-based frameworks is "like getting suddenly a whole new team of some of the best and brightest PHP and RIA programmers."

    Upcoming improvements for 2011 include:

    • Distributed deployment respecting virtual hosts
    • A contributor-friendly skeleton making it easy to add and manage third party modules and plugin
    • SEO-capable URL routing
    • Unit tests ready to implement

    The project will do its best to ensure that legacy modules and themes remain compatible.

How Will CMS Evolve?

We didn't just want to hear about the projects, we were curious to see what each group's crystal balls might hint at as far as where the project is going.

So, another of the questions was, "How do you see content / information management evolving in 2011?" Not everyone had an answer, but most gave it a shot, and there were some common threads among the answers:

  • Alfresco: We'll see CMS's "supporting a greater diversity of content distribution channels, such as consumer-oriented social networks, as more and more businesses express a desire to gain better visibility and 'control' over their respective brand and messaging."
  • Calenco: Better acceptance of information strategy concepts.
  • dotCMS: Expect customers to have more development platform and web engagement requirements.
  • DotNetNuke: Expect more of a focus on the cloud to allow for easier deployments, better service for mobile users, and more seamless integration of social media applications with the rest of the content.
  • Drupal: The importance of mobile content delivery and networked smart devices will continue to grow. They also see cloud service offerings continuing to evolve.
  • Ephesoft: Enterprises will find automatic incoming document classification becoming increasingly important. In particular, they think that email classification will start playing a bigger role in decision-making.
  • eZ Publish: WCM will become the orchestration tool for an organization's communication channels. The challenge is to publish content from any stakeholder to any channel. "Content is King, APIs are Queen."
  • Hippo CMS: Content-oriented and page-oriented systems will separate, and multi-channel engagement and personalization will continue to grow.
  • Lucid Imagination:  Better integration across vendors will further legitimize open source as a strategic alternative to enterprise content technologies.
  • Magnolia CMS: "There are enough hard-core content management problems to solve to not get exited about the latest fuzzy buzzword." Their focus in 2011 "stays where it has been the past 7 years:" on usability, flexibility, and enterprise strength. In particular, they'll be focusing on more integration options and on functional areas around the needs of large corporations. They'll also be bringing more of the authoring process into the product, extending the collaboration theme of Magnolia 4.4 while adding multi-variate testing and analytics integration.
  • Melody: Data entry has to get easier, and that tools must adapt to better enable content curators as well as creators.
  • Nuxeo: CMIS as both a model and API will lead to the commoditization of content platforms, and that ECM will move to "ECM 2.0" by including more Enterprise 2.0 features.
  • Sense/Net: Content-based workflow (or BPM) will grow stronger, and mobile/touch device use will rise significantly, especially "with management."
  • SilverStripe: Those who don't focus on CMS and website usability risk falling behind. Other predictions include the growth of social networking and visitor trend reporting features from what started in some ways as vendor marketing messages into real, tangible functionality.
  • Tiki Wiki: The whole process will become more collaborative, more social, and integrating more with third parties outside the organization (with all of the complexities that come with such efforts). The Tiki project also thinks that the push toward open source models will continue.
  • TYPO3: Different outputs for the front end, spearheaded by HTML5 and mobile interactivity.
  • Umbraco: Web CMS will become even more the "water" for web sites, by becoming taken for granted as part of their structure, due to the "the continued focus on professional backings of the products." They also feel that growth will continue in particular for both PHP and .NET-based open source web CMS, and that measuring the value of content and the online environment will grow even more important.
  • WeWebU: Backends will become a commodity thanks to CMIS, and that customers will invest more in applications that leverage their data and documents from the backends.
  • Wiredcraft: Improvements to both UI and UX, along with the consolidation of some of the current Enterprise offerings.
  • WordPress: They already see writers and content producers becoming empowered as platforms like WordPress "remove many of the technical barriers to producing and managing content."
  • XOOPS: that focus will turn to what to do with the content. People will ponder how to use their content to interact with and engage users and visitors. Also, they'll work on how to provide new services using their content.

Open Source Business Models

Since this is, after all, the monthly FOSS update, we couldn't help asking, "How do you see open source business models evolving in 2011?

A few people had to whack their crystal balls to come up with what felt like workable answers, but many brave souls gave it some solid thought:

  • Alfresco: Commercial open source models will be refined, with adjustments made to address factors like the economy, evolving technology, and so on.
  • dotCMS: They feel that the dotCMS Open License is a great example of how things will evolve, following the spirit of the GPL v2 while allowing "more flexible distributive terms." They feel it's also a viable business model because it locks down Enteprise-level features for paying customers, while still offering a fully-functional web CMS to their open source community.
  • DotNetNuke: The continued expansion of cloud computing will cause open source business models to move toward subscription-based SaaS-type offerings.
  • Drupal: the folks at Acquia say they strongly believe in "OpenSaaS" (open source software delivered in SaaS offerings). They say that the key to such services is that customers aren't locked in, they own not only their data, but their code as well, so they can export their entire site or application if needed (code, design, users and database).
  • Ephesoft: The folks at Ephesoft expect the US to embrace open source technologies more, especially in the government space.
  • eZ Publish: Hybrid enterprise-compliant open source vendors will become a serious option for larger organizations. A core focused development staff in combination with a well-managed, innovative open source community is "the predominant software development paradigm in an era of disruptive technology evolution," allowing enterprise open source vendors to deliver faster and at lower costs than traditional software companies.
  • Hippo CMS: Commercial open source players will dominate the market.
  • Lucid Imagination: The folks at Lucid Imagination see continued acceptance of commercially-supported open source as the best practice in open source enterprise adoption.
  • Melody: The most potential exists for open source themes.
  • Nuxeo: More and more people (and specifically vertical vendors) will use open source components in a critical way in their products, lending more value to open source vendors. They also feel that in some sense open source will compete with SaaS, even though some are doing open source with SaaS.
  • Sense/Net: Even as open source becomes more acceptable to enterprise customers, the hype about open source being "the holy grail" will start to diminish.
  • SilverStripe: More of the same as far as companies offering professional services and/or dual-licensing their products. However, they feel that the increased awareness and growing history of open source business models brings them further into the mainstream as "safe" in 2011.
  • Tiki Wiki: More widespread acceptance creating more consultants and companies providing services and support. They also feel that the financial models will continue to evolve, such as "art of monetizing complements" to the open source assets and "sharing the pie" in open source ecosystems. Another prediction the folks at Tiki Wiki offered was more combining and integration of open source packages for value-added offerings.
  • TYPO3: As open source gets more professional, the focus will shift to better marketing and an increase in paid staff.
  • Umbraco: More closed source businesses will try open source as a last ditch attempt to survive
  • WeWebU: "You'll hardly see a new software development that will not be open source." They also feel that commercial open source business models will become more refined, allowing customers to choose levels of support and maintenance.
  • Wiredcraft: The trend of the last 5 years will continue, with open source reaching wider and more professional audiences.
  • WordPress: The folks at Automattic said that they see premium services becoming a larger part of the mix, offering as examples his company's VaultPress and Akismet. They also feel that support and hosting will continue to play a big role.
  • XOOPS: They don't see a major shift from what's already in place, but that perhaps more large companies will get involved through sponsorships and more as they discover the advantage of open source.

What Will Disrupt Us?

Who can resist a fun buzzword like disrupt? Not us! So we asked, "What do you expect to be the most disruptive technology or trend in 2011?" You might be surprised by how often some items come up, or you might not:

  • Alfresco: Intelligent application of social computing principles behind the firewall with an eye toward efficient collaboration will continue to change the way that enterprises conduct business while improving overall agility and productivity.
  • dotCMS: VOIP integration with social media.
  • DotNetNuke: The continued growth of mobile computing and social media. "The growth of social media will require that CMS systems become increasingly able to support the paradigm of an organization’s primary web site as the hub of its online presence including its far flung social media channels. The continued growth of mobile computing will require that CMS systems are able to support pageviews on a growing list of devices ranging from smart phones to tablet computers."
  • Drupal: "OpenSaaS" cloud-based service delivery.
  • Ephesoft: It's all about open source intelligent document capture. "This technology not only fills a gap in the marketplace but also provides automation for paper based processes and eliminates labor costs."
  • eZ Publish: "The explosion of mostly unstructured data is causing the emergence of a whole set of new technologies designed to manage all content input and make sense out of the chaos." They predict that "content intelligence" (semantic technologies, recommendation engines and revolutionary enterprise search concepts) will emerge to help people cope, enhancing web CMS's so they offer more relevant, tailor-made and engaging content concepts.

    The folks at eZ Publish also point out that enhanced analytics and concepts will be required to help content managers and editors make sense of it all.
  • Hippo CMS: The folks at Hippo CMS hope that a new kid on the block (I think they have someone in mind) might dominate the media.
  • Lucid Imagination: Search integration in cloud-enabled content technologies.
  • Magnolia CMS: The folks at Magnolia CMS have some simple but important wishes. They hope that the economy stabilizes, people start investing again and that no one starts another war.
  • Melody: People and organizations will start rejecting complex CMS's in favor of simpler tools like Tumblr.
  • Nuxeo: The cloud, semantics and open data.
  • Sense/Net: Touch devices.
  • SilverStripe: Mobile/smartphones and social networks will continue to disrupt, but in a different way from 2010. In 2011, they feel that "both streams of technology have shifted beyond their early adopter phase, and now are entering increased mainstream adoption."

    The prediction is that those vendors who offer the most meaningful toolsets will benefit most, with such features concentrating on the fact that people are interacting more frequently and more informally with sites, companies and organizations.
  • Tiki Wiki: Tablets (especially Android-based) and mobile platforms will shake things up.
  • Umbraco: Simply open source.
  • WeWebU: The folks at WeWebU wanted to make a wish instead: they want to see a simple, affordable and globally-accepted payment system. Such a system they feel would boost international trade and sale of goods, especially on a private basis.
  • Wiredcraft: There's been a rush on scaling applications, both in volumes and in medium (performance and mobile).
  • WordPress: the folks at Automattic feel that mobile-focused publishing with its own social graph dynamics, and mobile-only platforms "feel like they could create completely new models of interaction for publishers." They cite Instagram as a great example and are impressed by how quickly Instagram grew their audience.
  • XOOPS: More social networking applications trying to connect people, especially using mobile technology and cloud computing.

See you in 2011!

Hopefully this gives you a bit to chew on as we say goodbye to 2010 and wave hello to 2011. Maybe this piece will even inspire you to take stock, yourself, of where you've been and where you're going. Have a safe New Year and may all your content be bright!