Content management remains an unsolved problem. Untold billions of dollars (and hours) have been spent building commercial, open source, and custom content management systems since the first Web page was pushed to a Web server using FTP, and yet they all still suck.
Former Salon editor Scott Rosenberg ruminates on the fact that TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington lists frustration with technology as one of the reasons he’s happy to be selling TechCrunch to AOL. That doesn’t surprise me.
I’ve worked on many content management projects in the past, and to be honest, I’d be perfectly happy if I never worked on another one again. For some reason, finding an adequate balance between usability, flexibility, and performance is nearly impossible.
When building content management systems there are two options. You can base your work on an existing system which is just inflexible enough to make your life a living hell on a daily basis, or you can build something from scratch and spend a large amount of time repeatedly reinventing the wheel. Frameworks like Rails and Django make it a lot easier to reinvent the wheel, but you still can’t escape the fact that you’re spending time creating forms that enable users to enter content that will be inserted in a database so that it can be presented on a Web page.
That’s why it’s hard to find competent engineers to work on content management systems for publishing companies.