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How we’re not going down the same road as Sitecore

James Huang | 2022.07.04

“Content management” is a misnomer, and it has been for years.

It made sense back in the day when all we did was actually manage content. Decoupled systems meant that your content management system and your content delivery system were two different things. You managed content, then you kind of threw it over the wall to some rudimentary delivery framework.

We didn’t see the advent of the modern, coupled CMS until the early 2000s. They were more accurately “content management and delivery” systems, but that’s ungainly, so here we are.

What’s the dividing line? It’s vague, but I’ve tended to split it at the publish button – anything you do to the “left” of publish is management, and anything to the “right” of publish is delivery.

It’s fair to say that most of the recent changes in CMS have happened in delivery. This is natural since we had to solve management challenges first. And management is less volatile than delivery. While management is a process of refinement, evolution, and adjustment; the delivery side is in constant upheaval – it keeps reinventing itself.

This means that systems which are poorly architected on the management side will suffer when trying to adapt on the delivery side. Systems without a solid data management foundation find it hard to stay on the edge of the delivery curve. The level of delivery-side change magnifies architectural shortcomings, and several vendors have had to scrap their systems and write new ones.

The most recent vendor to capitulate is Sitecore.  They heavily implied they were abandoning their current CMS architecture in favor of a SaaS approach, and this new approach would be based on their StyleLabs acquisition of 2018. They took the underlying object architecture of the StyleLabs DAM and are using that as their go-to CMS going forward.  Apparently, this is the only way they feel they can compete in a headless-centric market environment.

To make that more clear: effectively, Sitecore is deprecating and walking away from the much-vaunted CMS (SiteCore) they’ve been developing for 20-some-odd years. From someone who has been in this industry for 20 years, that’s pretty wild to see.

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