Why a Corporate Enterprise Web Application experience is not likely to be build with an entry point Content Management System (e.g. the big three: Joomla, Wordpress or Drupal).
The difficulty comes with the number of techniques that seamlessly have to work together and the requirements that the corporate web application needs to meet. Especially the non-functional requirements play an important role in web development (non-functional requirements, or call them quality requirements if you like, are e.g. response times and security aspects).
Of course these requirements exist in other areas as well, but due to the surface where a corporate website operates in these are even more important.
Corporate Web Application description.
This is a possible description of a Corporate Web application:
The HTTP(s) protocol makes sure this (secure) content is delivered to the browser by a high traffic capable webserver running a web application written in a higher-level interpreted object-oriented language like e.g. C#.net or java. The business logic is usually separated from display and data by using a so called n-tier framework. The data is managed by an enterprise class content management system and stored in a relational database and can be retrieved and updated with SQL.
The application further manages authentication and authorization (e.g. from an Ldap directory). The application integrates core business data in it's output or feed back to it. It fits into a Service Oriented Architecture using XML as the data layer and can be utilized in a portal or mashup framework."
Corporate Web Application requirements
The above description of a possible corporate web application already mentioned some requirements, here are some more corporate web application requirements:
in random order:
- Strong integration with the Corporate Web Content Management System
- Single Sign On experience for customers
- Collect and manage customer / prospect information (e.g. into CRM system)
- Integration with business processes and other back-end systems
- Security (most important for the visitor/client data)
- Good SEO without sacrificing Usability
- Support internationalisation and localisation
- Support multiple browsers en devices
- Scale out scenarios
- High availability
- Cost effective in long term (ROI)
- Load balancing
- Back up & Recovery
- Staging environment
- Maintainable by the IT department and third party suppliers
- Usage of open standards (W3C)
- Legal and compliance requirements
- Web 2.0 integration
The Web content is of course managed in a enterprise class Content Management System. The requirements for a corporate CMS are of course different per Company.
There is a difference between content management and content presentation?
Indeed, content management and content presentation are different disciplines. Most Content Management Systems combine them or have at least an option to combine them. For sure that allows a quick time to market, but it breaks most of the Corporate Website requirements , e.g. the integration with multiple back-end systems.
On the other hand
I have set up and deployed many Joomla, Wordpress and Drupal websites in a couple of days. But setting up a corporate website takes me at least three months (of course depending on the available budget and skills). Using one of the big three mentioned above to set up a simple website is easier because there exist many useful open source templates and plug-ins. Does that mean we can better use an entry Content Management System for the corporate website? Some people think yes, but they are wrong. Because all three don't meet the above requirements.
Does that mean there is no place for Joomla, Wordpress or Drupal in a corporate web environment? Sure there is: These tools are a perfect choice for single marketing campaigns which require a quick time to market. In some scenarios these platforms have a clear advantage over the corporate website.
More reading on the web: