Judging Five Open Source Content Management Systems

Last fall, I once again had the privilege of participating as a member of the judging panel for Packt Publishing's Open Source Awards. For the 2010 event, I participated by voting for the category of Open Source CMS Awards. In that award, the winner was declared by the panel to be CMS Made Simple, with SilverStripe as first runner up followed by MODx as second runner up.

I received a lot of inquiries asking me how and in what order did I rank the content management systems. Each of the judges on the panel, selects and ranks their top three CMS from the five included in this category. The judges are given a lot of reign for how they rank the CMS and may consider a number of factors including performance, usability, size and support from community, accessibility, ease of configuration, customization, scalability and security.

It has been my history to be transparent to all with how I rank each CMS as my vote will have some differences to those of the panel. This time around, I find myself hesitant and under personal protest with me providing information on how I ranked the five content management systems.

I question whether we're doing any good by declaring one CMS as better than another CMS. Dean Barker discussed on his blog some time ago this same uneasy feeling you get when you judge a CMS without having some reference to real world requirements. None of these content management systems would I consider losers and all of them remain worthy of future consideration. Yet, I'm disturbed that people will look at the numbers and interpret the results in a ways I never intended my rankings to be used.

My rankings for the Five Best Open Source CMS (with number one being the highest) were:

  1. SilverStripe
  2. mojoPortal
  3. MODx
  4. XOOPS and CMS Made Simple (Tie)

I'm not a firm believer in ties when it comes to ranking content management systems. Yet, this year I did just that for XOOPS and CMS Made Simple. All five content management systems that were reviewed I would consider as a candidate for a future project. None of the CMS would I consider a "last place" CMS so I refused to do so. It is also important to note that neither Drupal, Joomla!, or WordPress competed in this ranking as previous winners in this category duke it out in the Hall of Fame category.

Winners by Factor

The table below includes the "winner" for each of the criteria I used to rank the Best Open Source CMS Award.

Criteria Finalist Name 
Performance No Winner
Ease of Use (Usability) SilverStripe
Size and Support from Community XOOPS
Accessibility mojoPortal
Ease of Configuration mojoPortal/SilverStripe
Customization No Winner
Scalability SilverStripe/MODx
Security  No Winner

 

SilverStripe
Performance 4
Ease of Use (Usability) 5
Size and Support from Community 4
Accessibility 4
Ease of Configuration 4
Customization 4
Scalability 4
Security 4
 Total Points 33

 

mojoPortal
Performance 4+
Ease of Use (Usability) 4
Size and Support from Community 3
Accessibility 5
Ease of Configuration 4
Customization 4
Scalability 3
Security 4
 Total Points 31

 

MODx
Performance 4
Ease of Use (Usability) 3
Size and Support from Community 4
Accessibility 4
Ease of Configuration 3
Customization 4
Scalability 4
Security 4
 Total Points 30

 

CMS Made Simple
Performance 4
Ease of Use (Usability) 3
Size and Support from Community 4
Accessibility 4
Ease of Configuration 3
Customization 4
Scalability 3
Security 4
 Total Points 29

 

XOOPS
Performance 4
Ease of Use (Usability) 3+
Size and Support from Community 5
Accessibility 3
Ease of Configuration 3
Customization 4
Scalability 3
Security 4
 Total Points 29

Despite the criteria given, the fact is the best CMS is the CMS you determine is best in meeting your project requirements. In other words, you may find that all five CMSs in this category meet your project needs or in some cases none of the given applications will meet your requirements. Despite how I ranked the CMS you still need to do your own homework before choosing what your "best" CMS. If you feel that I perhaps should have ranked a particular CMS higher than another, I'm not going to argue with you because you may be correct in your own assessment.