The Changing Times of Content Management Systems
by Josette MIllar
They say (whoever “they” is) that we can’t know where we’re going until we know where we’ve been. If we use our past to predict our future, in terms of content management systems, we might see centuries’ worth of evolution over the next few years.
Of course, we’ve got our own thoughts about where the web will be after a few more summers have passed. Here’s our take on one part of the marketing industry that went from four-legged and archaic to bi-pedal and independent in the blink of an eye:
In the Beginning there was technology, and there were ’techies.’ There was no in between. Content management systems of days gone by were hard-coded in a world of HTML, codes, and tags that didn’t allow for the every day person to put their hands on anything relative to updating or modifying the content. Of course, this was also back in a time when search engines were equally as infantile, and keyword optimization, SEO, and fresh content weren’t really on the table, either.
This inflexibility led to the land of user-friendly interface. Developers began to empower the user with easy text editing features, survey tools, podcasts, and other functions and features that made the sites fashionable and entertaining rather than just informative. In technological lifetime terms, content management systems went from newborn to full-fledged crawlers in a fraction of time. Suddenly, CMS users were able to poke around, curiously creating content and managing the material built onto their sites without spending fortunes on back-end development and frustrating techie-only features.
Today, we operate content management systems which are fully erect, walking on two legs, and taking care of life as we know it. As the open source era blew into town, the skills of software coders elevated to new levels, giving the average business owner or employee the power to operate full-functioning websites, allowing for easy integration of plug-ins, modules, database management, analytics, and more. Today’s web agencies embody the combination of soft and hard skills found by combining “creatives” and “techies.” This merging of the minds allows designers to create stunning and useful websites, which are made optimally functional with the underlying coding.
Tomorrow’s content management system is yet to be seen, but one thing is for certain: The evolution is far from complete. Going forward, it’s very possible that content management systems will actually not be as focused on the management as they are on the moderation of the content. In other words, it seems likely that, rather than the CMS being the place where all of websites’ features are created and maintained, this will become the home base where content from all over the web will converge into one single place.
It seems possible, if not likely, that streams of information and content will pour into companies’ websites from various places. As that information will be stored offsite in whatever location is responsible for housing the original content, CMS’s will be responsible for moderating this information as it arrives and ensuring that it streams properly to the outside world.
Along similar lines, continual improvement in the ability to preview this streaming will be important. We don’t even know what needs will present themselves in the future on devices yet to be unveiled or invented. As the methods by which consumers take in information evolve, so too must the manner of delivery mature.
What’s your opinion about where content management systems will be a few years from now? We won’t know who’s right until the time comes, so case your ballot by leaving a reply below!