SilverStripe Framework and CMS Updated - Version 3.0.3

SilverStripe Framework and CMS 3.0.3 was released earlier this week. This new version of SilverStripe provides security fixes, bugfixes and a number of minor enhancements since 3.0.2.  As with all 3.0.x releases, it is drop in compatible with 3.0, making upgrading simple.

The list of minor features and enhancements in SilverStripe 3.0.3 includes:

SilverStripe helps win a presidential election; this time in France

François Hollande won the presidential election in France last week, with the help of an impressive campaign and content management system SilverStripe.

Hollande’s website was the web-based focal point of the door to door campaign and functioned as the main communication tool throughout the whole election period. In the month before the election, the site had three million unique visitors and ranked 15th most visited information site in France.

Open Source Meets Google Summer of Code 2012

Every year, I find it an honor when I'm asked by open source projects to announce that they have entered been accepted as mentoring organizations into Google's Summer of Code program. I'm a big advocate of college education and I also understand the importance of a summer job to keeping those college bills under control. Open source projects and the Google Summer of Code provides this opportinuty for upcoming software developers.

SilverStripe Framework Will Stand Alone

SilverStripe Ltd. is due to release SilverStripe CMS 3.0 in alpha in October and beta by the end of the year. The biggest change to the current content management system will be the separation of the SilverStripe Framework as it’s own entity. The framework as a stable basis, formerly known as ‘Sapphire’, enables the developer to build more than just traditional websites and potentially build applications for any device and any purpose.

CMS Expo: The Right CMS For Government

The use of content management systems in government is a personal and work interest of mine. There is actually a lot of diversity in what governments need their CMS to do and I'm curious to see how well the panel handles that diversity. Tony White, Ars Logica, is the moderator for this panel. 

Leaders from Featured CMSes will be on-hand during this panel discussion to participate in a live analysis of the CMSes, asking probing questions of each, to determine how their represented Content Management System (and supporting community and infrastructure) best meets the demands of today's governmental needs, whether at a municipal, state or federal level.

Represented on this panel are: Lee Middleton (SilverStripe), Shaun Walker (DotNetNuke), Brian Colhounyan (TERMINALFOUR), Benjamin Mack (TYPO3), Ken Wasetis (Plone), Jeff Kline (Accrisoft), and Casey Neehouse (Umbraco). The following questions were asked either by the moderator, Tony White, or audience members. The panels' answers to these questions are paraphrased.  

What features in your CMS make it a good choice for government?

  • Plone - Government is already actively using Plone. Plone can address complex and flexible workflow. Import/export capability for security purposes.
  • TYPO3 - Addresses accessibility (Section 508 in US government).
  • Umbraco - Lots of state agencies are switching to .Net CMS. Umbraco and Dotnetnuke are .Net CMS. Section 508 compliance. 
  • Accrisoft - Local government is the specific client for this company...delivering a turnkey solution.
  • TERMINALFOUR - The UN is a client. Multi-language is why the UN chose TERMINALFOUR for their CMS. 
  • SilverStripe - SilverStripe sees government as partners and have built a very robust product that can be used by government.
  • DotNetNuke - Microsoft has helped partner with DotNetNuke which has been a positive in introducing DNN and open source to all level of governments.

CMS Expo: SilverStripe KickStart on Content

I'm sitting on a session that is geared toward content users working with SilverStripe. John Gregg, SilverStripe Training and Quality Manager, is heading this session. There isn't much new for me in this session, but it has been awhile since I looked at the SilverStripe author user interface. At times, I have considered SilverStripe's UI better than WordPress and thought this session would be a good chance to take a fresh look at the interface/workflow.

SilverStripe community begins work on SilverStripe CMS v3.0

The SilverStripe open source community recently posted their roadmap to SilverStripe CMS v3.0. Version 3.0 represents a major year-long development project and is expected to be a substantial improvement over the current v2.4.x series. With an aggressive schedule, a stable version of SilverStripe CMS v3.0 is expected to be available by the end of 2011.

The roadmap introduces three major goals of SilverStripe CMS v3.0:

  • Better technical platform. Sapphire, the underlying programming framework, will evolve from an integral part of SilverStripe CMS, into a product that can stand on its own feet. In forming this delineation, improvements will be made throughout the core, including the ORM, data integrity, templating language, and performance. Sapphire v3.0 will consequently enable developers to make richer and more complex web applications and websites.
  • Better user experience for content authors. A refresh of the content authoring environment will bring even better usability and productivity. The interface will transition to jQuery, making the system capable of much greater customization. Managing images, embedding videos, and previewing work in progress will all be made easier. Images and documents will be able to versioned and secured in the same way pages can currently be.
  • Improved support for the social and mobile web. SilverStripe's existing templating language and support for web services already provide a foundation for the two top themes in the web currently: social media and mobile devices. With SilverStripe CMS v3.0, the developers intend to improve the core to make development for both easier and richer.

SilverStripe's Business Relationship Manager, Sigurd Magnusson, sent CMS Report an email about this new roadmap for version 3.0 and how developers can help get involved. "Note at this stage", said Magnusson, "the main thing we want people to do, is join our development mailing list so they people can be involved in the decisions and contribute to the development of this new major release, due late 2011". The official mailing list for the development of SilverStripe CMS 3.0 can be found at Google Groups.

Those interested in additional information regarding SilverStripe CMS v3.0 are encouraged to take a look at the SilverStripe 3.0 Planning page. A video recording of the  first public presentation on SilverStripe CMS v3.0 is posted below the fold and slides from the meeting are also available.

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.