Microsoft releases open source Web CMS

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The notable Microsoft-tracker Mary Jo Foley alerted my attention to a new development from Microsoft in her recent comment: Microsoft develops open-source content-management system.

Web CMS has thus far not been among Microsoft’s strongest software offerings to say the least. The most recent content management system from Microsoft, CMS 2002, certainly missed the mark and has since been discontinued. Today, the popular SharePoint 2007 offers CMS functionality, although it has several shortcomings, in particular when used for for public websites (e.g. standards, accessiblity, search, harmful URLs), so I was very interested to study Microsoft’s newest offering.

The description of Oxite, the name of the new open source CMS, sounded a bit like the blogging-platform WordPress, which also powers some larger websites. It is too early to tell where Microsoft is going with this, although the product already seems to offer some of the CMS features that SharePoint is missing. I have had no official briefing from Microsoft yet, nor have I had any conversations with early adopters. The website for MIX Online, a large Microsoft-sponsored community for web developers and designers seems to be the only live Oxite user so far. Note the nice and harmless URLs, which is a milestone for any web solution from Microsoft, although to be fair, it might be a customized implementation of Oxite.

You can download the first public release from CodePlex. If you have any experience with Oxite or any further details, please leave a comment.

5 thoughts on “Microsoft releases open source Web CMS”

  1. It’s always interesting when vendors don’t eat their own dog food. In this case we have a very large commercial vendor who are experimenting with open source and also somewhat recognizing that their existing offering (SharePoint) came up short.

    CMS Watch has some further interesting details.

    Niels Hartvig, with all respect, I think it is worth adding that you head up an open source .NET-based CMS that might end up competing with Oxite

  2. > worth adding that you head up an open source .NET-based CMS
    Sure it is – that’s why I made sure there was a link back to my blog where it’s pretty clear what I do for a living :-)

    That said, Oxite is as far away from being a “real” web cms as you can be, even being a fully feature-rich blogging engine. Claiming that it’ll ever be a CMS is a bit like lookng at a bike and saying that because it has wheels it could turn into a great car. So I don’t even doubt that it’ll ever compete with Umbraco. It might compete with other .NET blogging engines, but using Umbraco as a blogging engine only would also be a bit overkill!

    It’s also very much worth to notice how this was released. If MS have real plans to ship something that’ll be supported, they release bits like this as CTP (Community Tech Previews), which is still unsupported, but *might* turn into an alpha, then beta and then release candidate (where the product starts to be supported). This was simply shipped as something that’s completely unsupported and might evolve “if the community decides” (ref: http://www.codeplex.com/oxite/Wiki/View.aspx?title=FAQ&referringTitle=Home).

    As I see and read it, it’s more of a sample application to show you can build applications using the new ASP.NET MVC technology (very similar to java struts) using best practices. ASP.NET MVC is one of the focus technologies (along with Silverlight) on Microsofts coming MIX conference, which is why it was released. And as a sample application showing the technical potential of the MVC technology it’s very nice.

    But in terms of having potential as a Web CMS it’s not even close and that was why I was surprised to see all this buzz from analysts all over the blogosphere. A year ago the European division of MS launched something called a Website Starter Kit which is closer to being a Web CMS (still quite far away IMHO) than Oxite, but it never got any attention.

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