I'm still in need to read this InfoWorld article in its entirety, but thought it was worth mentioning now. InfoWorld's Mike Heck has written an article, Open source CMSes prove well worth the price, which reviews and compares five content management systems. The five CMS under review are Alfresco, DotNetNuke, Drupal, Joomla, and Plone.
The good news is that all five CMS ranked Very Good or higher. However, Alfresco was the only CMS that ranked Excellent with a score of 9.2. Plone 3.0 received the second highest ranking with a score of 8.6. DotNetNuke and Joomla tied for third and fourth place with a score of 8.4 which put Drupal a fraction lower with a score of 8.3. While none of these CMS ranked poorly, I'm sure the open source communities are bound to scrutinize over how the individual criteria were scored and ranked.
InfoWorld really was impressed with the Alfresco CMS and had this to say about it:
With a strong organization behind it and a slew of features, Alfresco's Community Edition stood out in this comparison. That would be true solely considering its content management, but as these applications branch out into document and records management, Alfresco has already staked a claim in the extended ECM space.
The reviewer also concludes by saying good things about the remaining CMS. DotNetNuke was a nice surprise for the reviewer, Plone was seen has a very powerful and scalable CMS, and Joomla! was expected to pick-up the pace once Joomla 1.5 is officially released. The reviewer also has something to say about Drupal in his conclusion that I think is especially worth discussing.
The lightweight Drupal has a decent following and special features, such as taxonomies, but comparatively weaker CMS functions (lacking rich-text editing, for example) and a somewhat unfriendly development environment mean Durpal is playing catch-up.
I find the author's conclusion about Drupal a little puzzling. While I agree that Drupal lacks some of the features that are now basic in most CMS (rich-text editing is an example that is right on the money), I have to say I'm surprised the reviewer considers Drupal "a somewhat unfriendly development environment". I could find no where in the body of the article how he arrived at this conclusion. Perhaps, something in the article was dropped during the editing but I'm just unclear what the reviewer is trying to say about Drupal's development environment. When I have time, it may be worth an e-mail to the author to ask for clarification.
Either way, I'm happy to see that all five open source projects have built a CMS that not only the project leaders can be happy about, but also that any five of the CMS can put a smile on their users' faces. While I have never intended to focus on "free" content management systems in my posts, the fact is that there is a lot of good things to say about content management systems that are developed through open source methods. Something most of us have known for quite some time.