Web Content Management System (WCMS).



WCM Tool Evaluation Checklist The following criteria can serve only as a coarse approximation to your real requirements, as those will vary from project to project.

WCM Intro & Architectures.


This diagram depicts the main core and interacting components of a web content management system (WCMS). Have a look how a (typical) WCMS works:

1 The WCMS gets and puts all its documents and the corresponding meta data (attributes) into its document base.

2 Users connect to the WCMS by standard browser clients.

3 If the access to the WCMS is protected, users have to log in (with userid & password). Access rights are usually kept on a "per-object" basis in the document base. The WCMS might interface to existing user directories via LDAP or similar protocols.

4 Users often want to search the repository for documents containing certain keywords. A fulltext search engine therefore belongs to any WCMS. It should search not only HTML files, but also most existing office formats (doc, ppt, pdf, xls, ps etc..).

5 The search engine has to keep track on users' access rights: It must only give results a user is allowed to see..

6 The search engine usually keeps its own index. It is most convenient if the WCMS immediately updates this search index if a new or modified document is checked into its document base.

7 To generate the index, the search engine scans the objects in the document base.

8 & 9 A web spider supports indexing of remote websites. Users can therefore also retrieve documents stored in the vast universe of the internet.

10 Other datasources like SQL-databases can be integrated via standard embedded SQL, JDBC or any proprietary DB interface.

11 Last not least: Other applications, like legacy systems, have to communicate with the WCMS via the API, the application programming interface.

WCM tool evaluation checklist.


The following criteria can serve only as a coarse approximation to your real requirements, as those will vary from project to project. Experience from different WCM projects taught, that those requirements given below provide a good starting point.

Name Description.

Information Structure Possibility to structure the information contained in the system in flexible formats, like trees, graphs. New structure elements should be create-able on-the-fly.   All information structures should be browsable.

Meta Data It should be possible to define and manage meta data, information about the data beeing stored in the system. Meta data can be viewed as a number of attributes associated with a specific class of objects.

Link Management Hyperlinks maintained automatically, at least between objects in the repository.

Separation of Layout and Content Strict separation between the graphical appearance of objects and their content.


Browser Client On the client side only standard browser software.

Version Management Ever heard of RCS and CVS? Never start a real project without a version management tool. Nobody should have to live without such versatile systems, something like that must  be part of any serious WCM. It should include not only the data objects, but also the meta data (attributes), so that complete versions can be retrieved later.


Dynamic assembly of pages Web pages should be generated "on the fly", on the basis of what is currently needed and what the user is allowed to see.


User and Permission Management It should be possible to assign access/modification permissions to specific users or groups. User authorisation should be integrateble with standard directory services like X500 or LDAP.


Search Engine A powerful, full-text search engine should be integral part of the product. It's good if users can find the required information regardless of document formats. The better search engines can search in over 100 different file formats (office formats, ps, pdf, ...).

Extensible The tool should support custom extensions to better suit specific needs.

Graphical Navigation Explorer or file-manager like navigation.


Scaleability Tool can be scaled to fit increasing demand or changing client expectations. That's definitely easier with Unix-based systems (as NT has written children-play-stuff all over).

Activity logs All activites are logged, to be able to track customer downloads (and propably bill them for it).

Integration of existing systems Integrate existing applications, websites, databases, workflow systems  and document management systems into the system. Therefore the WCM needs a high-level API to facilitate such integration efforts.

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