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A first look to Hippo CMS

I have taken a look at Hippo CMS and I presented this product to all my italian collegues in Sourcesense in a web conference. After my session we shared our comments on the product and we started a brainstorming.


A first look to Hippo CMS showing all the main interfaces and tools available in the product.


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How it does compare with Alfresco ?

June 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRaúl Macián

Hi Raùl,

thank you for your question and I'll try to explain my comments about these two products.

I think you are referring to the comparison between Alfresco WCM and Hippo CMS.

Alfresco WCM module is an optional module of Alfresco that provides a complete framework to manage web contents with a default set of workflows dedicated to manage sections of pages with different roles as editors, authors, and publishers.

In Alfresco you have to work only using XML contents and XSLT or FreeMarker to write the dynamic templates for pages. When you have to create a page or a part of a page you have to create the specific schema for the content and for the editor input form (using XForms schemas). The good point here is that you can use FreeMarker to easily parse the XML document and generate dynamic contents with a clean template.

The web content is an XML document that stores all the information needed to generate the output rendering (HTML, JSON, XML, RSS, etc..). The bad point is that in Alfresco WCM you can't use the repository features, you can't use properties or aspects and this means that you can't use the most useful features of Alfresco to create websites.

Just now with the new Alfresco Web Quick Start there is the real opportunity to use the repository features, but this project is starting now and I don't think that it could be used for big websites. I would expect a greater stability of this module before use it for a real prospect.

That's why many times our customers prefer to use Alfresco ECM with a portlet container to create portals or Alfresco ECM with a custom frontend to create complex websites.

The default framework provided by the WCM module of Alfresco is based on a mechanism that sometimes it seems not to be very smart to our customer developers.

On the other side, Hippo provides a specific CMS application to manage contents with a most simple workflow with just roles as author, publishers and managers. So the content management part of Hippo offers a simple structures of folders but it allows to use the repositories features with properties. A bad point in the Hippo CMS application is that it is hardcoded and it is not easy to extend or customize it for a specific need.

Another great point of Hippo is that it provides a complete and well written API to implement the content delivery application (the live website application) that can be used to manage pages with different components. For each component you can implement your own Java controller that can be depends on configuration parameters to allow reuse of Java controllers.

The bad point here is that the Hippo API only uses the RMI protocol to exchange information with the repository (based on Apache JackRabbit).

Hippo allows you to create the structure of pages using again the repository, so this means that using JCR you can create the structure of your pages and component dependences in the same way you can create content models for your contents in Alfresco. Using the Hippo CMS web application you can create all these artifacts without editing any XML document (again here better than the Alfresco WCM module).

Finally I would like to underline that Hippo is only dedicated to manage web contents and it also provide a DAM application inside the CMS application but I think that it is just a starting point for Hippo. If you need a complete ECM/DAM product I think that Alfresco is the better choice.

In conclusion I think that if you need an ECM product Alfresco is the best way and I suggest anyway to use Alfresco ECM coupled with a portlet container or a custom frontend, but it depends on which are the skills that your customer developers have to write a good content delivery application.

Hippo can be considered the right choice if you need to create a website without any strong ECM features. That's why there is the news about the Nuxeo and Hippo partnership dedicated to the release of a CMIS connector to allow exchanging of contents between these products. Hippo is trying to engage strategic partnership to bridge the gap about the ECM features.

Anyway you could create the website using Hippo and you could create Hippo components that could invoke calls against the Alfresco repository to manage all the ECM processes using for example the CMIS interface.

Hope this helps.

June 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterPiergiorgio Lucidi

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