Anybody who works with a content management system (CMS) on a regular basis can tell you what a manual, time-consuming thing it is to even accomplish the simplest of tasks. More often than not, these issues exist because every piece of data that get entered into the system has to then be separately previewed, or in some cases viewed after the fact, to check and see how it is rendered. This creates a lot of extra steps that ultimately conspire to rob the people who use the system of a lot of productivity.
That's why the concept of 'in-context editing' that is being put forth by Day Software in version 5.3 of its CQ offering for CMS. Obviously, users can still create content in any application they want and then import it into CQ. But once it's in the system, CQ allows end users to simply click on a piece of content and start editing within a modular window that shows exactly how that edited content is going to be rendered on the Web site.
According to Day Software CTO David Nuscheler, the in-context editing capabilities of the system is derived from the underlying architecture that separates the management of the content repositories from the widgets, gadgets, tables or forms that people use in their browsers to enter data into the system. Sitting between those layers is a unified object store that manages the relationship between the data entry layer and underlying repositories that can be any virtual type of database or Microsoft SharePoint system. That extensibility also applies to existing CMS systems, which user can either integrate with CQ or invoke a wizard to bring entire templates and data structures from a legacy CMS into CQ.
Nuscheler says the difficult part of doing this was creating interactive components within the browser that could interactively communicate with a system based on Java. But with the right architecture in place, Nuscheler says the CMS is now extensible in terms of customization. To that end, Day Software has developed a number of digital asset, marketing and social calendaring applications for the system.
When you think about the usability of CMS systems, or any other repository for that matter, it's pretty clear we need to combine the simplicity of personal productivity applications with robust repositories that are flexible and extensible. Why so many companies have had a hard time doing just that remains a mystery of computer science.