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.