A Content Management System is a computer application that permits the creation, editing, publishing and manipulation of content on a website. These systems are usually used for the storing and retrieval of technical and user’s manuals, news articles, brochures, guides, among others. The content itself may be constructed of any file type: images, audio/video files, spreadsheet and word processor documents, or any form of Web content. The primary types of Content Management Systems include: Enterprise, Web and Component systems.
1) An enterprise CMS focuses on content and documents oriented towards the organizational processes of a business enterprise, and have a primary function in managing the organization’s unstructured information content.
2) A Web CMS focuses on content and documents specifically designed for Web publication by non-technical content creators.
3) A component CMS focuses on content within documents, often managing structured content, such as XML, to locate, link and render content at any level of organization. This content is then often sent over to Enterprise and Web Content Management Systems.
The five primary aspects of Content Management Systems include the following:
1) Versioning. The ability to keep, and roll back as required, previous versions of content, even after content is updated.
2) Granular User Management. This is the ability to assign and differentiate users based upon permission levels.
3) Content Organization and Relation. This is the ability to position content in both larger organizational structures as well as in relation to other content.
4) File and Image Management. This is the ability of the system to store files in relation to the content that uses them.
5) Multi-State Content. This refers to the system’s ability to store content in a variety of states, from ‘in-progress’ to ‘archived’ to ‘active’ or ‘inactive’.
Along with these core functional requirements of a basic CMS, such systems often include a collection of other features and enhancements including extensibility and integration, scheduled publishing and expiration, task management and collaboration, among others. The capability of such systems to pick and choose among such a wide array of functions provides evidence that no strict definition yet exists. The CMS, as a technology structure, continues to advance as users and developers define and refine their needs and definitions.