dotCMS 1.7, New Plugins

dotCMS (news, site), an open source J2EE/Java Web CMS, released a new version -- v1.7. The last time we saw an update was back last year, when 1.6.5 came out.

What’s new and exciting in 1.7? The answer is -- plenty. Should you jump on the dotCMS train? Read on, and then decide.

Plugins Aplenty

One of the updates in version 1.7 of dotCMS Web Content Management system is the introduction of open plugin architecture. Being an avid supporter of all things open source, the vendor now offers such perks as modular development, more extensibility and user contributions.

That means any developer and webmaster can, in essence, extend the entire existing dotCMS functionality -- including the ability to add custom JavaScript and override the system at the Java, portlet or database levels.

In other words, users can add any action, property, macro or code to dotCMS, but avoid breaking upgrade path. Other possible plugin advantages are laid out on dotCMS’ blog here.

Learning Opportunities

dotCMS has a directory of readily-available free plugins that is updated frequently by both dotCMS-ers and the community. To highlight some of them:

  • YouTube Video Embedder: With two options for embedding YouTube videos into a page (as a widget or macro).
  • Twitter Feed: Specify a search term or a user and display that Twitter activity on any dotCMS page.
  • PayPal Payment Processor: Using PayPal's API Credentials, this integration allows to accept online payments.

Improving Multilingual Capabilities

One would be a fool not to take globalization into account when updating a CMS. In 1.7, dotCMS took its multilingual web content management functionality up a notch. Here’s what’s new and improved:

  • WebDAV access to language property files
  • Improved multilingual content editing interface
  • New Multilingual Content Import feature
  • Refreshed Glossary Management Interface
  • Addition of fallback to default language content feature (if none is available in the language you are viewing)

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

As always, there are performance and front-end enhancements. dotCMS 1.7 sports:

  • Cluster and performance improvements
  • DB management of journal of changes instead of using jgroups, multicast
  • Single thread re-indexer
  • Default cache sizing optimization

Overall, dotCMS has put in a good effort in the new version. While many more improvements can be accomplished (a more engaged community involvement and better documentation being some of them), the CMS can be an attractive option for some Java-man audiences.