Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Content management system
A content management system (or CMS) is a system used to organise and facilitate collaborative digital content creation and publication. Recently, the term has been associated with programs for managing the content of web sites. Web content management (WCM) systems implement a subset of CMS functionality and are focused on managing and publishing content for the Web.
A content management system in its simplest form is a computerised tool that manages traditional sources of information (address books, encyclopedias, rolodex, etc.). The idea behind a CMS is to take information and organize it so that it's easily retrievable, updatable, flexible in how it can be reformatted or retransmitted, and is searchable.
Today's content management systems are typically elaborate software/database applications designed to store and process large amounts of complex information. They are popular among large organizations and websites, especially those with many files that need to include consistent content or styles.
A simple use of a CMS is managing a common element on all pages, such as copyright information or a featured section link for websites. A CMS allows you to find all the usages of this information and make sure that it is all correct and up to date.
A very commonly used feature of a CMS is conditional composition, i.e., creating different documents for different audiences. For example, a software company may have a product with 30 different plugins. Customer A buys all the plugins, and gets all the documentation for them. Customer B, though, only buys 5 of the plugins, and shouldn't get the documentation for the plugins that they haven't purchased. Using a CMS, the software company can generate specific documents for each customer without authors having to manage multiple, similar documents. The CMS does this by using the Metadata (computing) associated with the content. The content associated with a plugin would include that association in the metadata, and the CMS would know only to include it in the document composition when that plugin is part of the package.
Another common usage of a CMS is workflow management. An author creates the content, adds it to the CMS, which triggers the workflow that notifies an editor to edit the content. After the content is edited, the workflow then notifies the web site manager or publication team that new content is ready and can be included in the web site or documents.
Any application which manages information could technically be considered a CMS, such as help desk software, address/contact management systems, an RDBMS, blogs, etc. However, a content management system is generally regarded as a framework of tools that are less application or data-specific. A well-designed CMS should be like a computer: able to be "programmed" with different rules and perform different types of processes and manage different applications and related data.
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