Web content management provider Hippo (news, site) released version 7.6 in July, offering some love to its developers. But there's more to this open source Web CMS, as we see from the newest Ars Logica Compass Review.

Founded in 1999, Hippo is a Java-based open source web content management solution. Over the years, the technical platform has solidified and the latest releases have been able to focus more on features and functionality than infrastructure. According to Tony White, owner of Ars Logica, a consulting firm that focuses on content management, Hippo has three things going for it:

  1. Java still reigning as the enterprise standard for high scalability
  2. Open source becoming a serious consideration for large enterprises
  3. Having excellent native multi-site, multi-channel, multi-lingual capabilities -- combined with substantial expertise in mobile technologies.

The Hippo Market

The Compass Report is based on Hippo 7.6. Hippo 7.5 was released in February with some much improved functionality including drag and drop layout editing of templates, multi-channel/contextualization and language translations. 7.6 focused on developer improvements including a REST API, a developer website and support for Spring MVC.

The market for Hippo, according to the report, is mid to larger sized organizations, especially those with a preference for Java, mid-level Web CMS requirements and a desire for multi-site, multi-channel, multi-lingual capabilities. In fact, Ars Logica states that Hippo is the leader in its "Multi-Site, Multi-Channel, Multi-Lingual” category (with one exception).

Multi-Site, Multi-Channel, Multi-Lingual

These are the strengths of the Hippo CMS. In addition to the high rating in this area, the report notes Hippo's mobile delivery capabilities and its "above average" product usability. Where it's currently weak is in its market presence and its marketing and sales tools. The report also notes that even though there have been many improvements to Hippo's usability for non-technical users, it still has a "techy" feel to it.


Hippo Compass Guide Ratings

From a technology perspective, Hippo rates well for flexibility and scalability, although Ease of Administration and developer tools come close behind.

Learning Opportunities

Open Source Shouldn't Be a Primary Decider

Although Hippo is open source and as such has a licensing model that focuses on subscription to services and not licensing the Web CMS itself, the report indicates that the decision to go with Hippo, or not, should not be based on this since "...we believe that, in the long term, total cost of ownership is farily similar for both types of solutions".

Instead of looking at the open source model, take your requirements and the product capabilities into consideration. That is how any solution should be selected anyway.

To get the full report, which is free, head over to the Ars Logica website.