Open source content management in a city near you…

I came across this announcement today that Dutch open source content management play Hippo has “taken over all activities of the San Francisco based portal-specialist BlueSunrise.”

Seth provides some details:

Hippo BV bought David Sean Taylor’s (of Apache Jetspeed fame) company Blue Sunrise. David is now the VP of Engineering and gives Hippo a presence on the West Coast (Bay Area). I don’t know of any North American customers running on Hippo CMS yet. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Blue Sunrise customers running on Jetspeed start to move toward Hippo Portal, which is based on Jetspeed.

Hippo is one of several European open source efforts in the content management realm expanding operations, an indication of the activity in this area at the moment. eZ Systems has announced a new managing director for North America, who will be tasked with opening an eZ office in Chicago. French company Nuxeo opened a UK office last year and the Drupal start-up Acquia, led by Dries Buytaert from Belgium, is based here in Boston. Knowledgetree (headquartered in Cape Town but with offices in London) is also starting up on the West Coast.

Bricolage?

I admit this was my first thought when I read this post by Alex Loddengaard on the Redfin Developers’ Blog. Redfin evaluated a number of open source CMS tools, including Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla, Mambo and Plone but found only Bricolage (written in Perl) met their requirements for multi-site publishing, templating and staging. It seems like the 2.9 release of Alfresco’s Community edition (which maps to the 2.2 Enterprise edition) probably would fit the bill now, but wasn’t available at the time of this initial eval.

I checked in with our open source gurus and they’re familiar with Bricolage and note that it has a substantial following.Β  But I hadn’t come across it before. There is also a commercial play for Bricolage services and support.

Many of the folks at Redfin, including CEO Glenn Kelman, came from Plumtree Software and I’ve known them for ages. I chatted with them at one point as they were making this choice before they found Bricolage. As they found the open source tools inadequate and the commercial tools to be too much (in more ways than one), I had suggested a SaaS provider like Crownpeak as a reasonably priced alternative – or at least one where the costs get chunked up, making them easier to swallow.

But for a company like Redfin, which provides real estate services online, the website is essentially the product (along with the real estate services themselves, I know) and open source seems a more natural fit, given the technical expertise on hand. This isn’t always the case in a comparably-sized company in a different line of business. It gets to a bit of what I was saying in yesterday’s post about the room that exists in ECM (and in this case the subsector of WCM specifically) for multiple vendors and models. Congrats to the folks at Redfin for finding the right one.

AIIMing for social software

No surprise really that social software, social publishing and other types of socializing were hot topics this week at the AIIM show here in Boston. I started out the week at Drupalcon (co-located at AIIM this year), the community event for the open source Web publishing tool Drupal. This was my first time at Drupalcon, or really at any open source user event of this size. A couple things struck me. First and most superficially, I stuck out a bit both due to my rather corporate-looking business attire (sorry guys) and because of my gender — a comment was made at the start of the event that the attendees were 93% male.

But much more interesting was the level of engagement. Cheers and audience participation during the keynote by project lead Dries Buytaert were plentiful. The event was packed (there were 800 attendees and they had expected 500) and there appeared to be a high level of engagement among folks in the sessions and the hallways. (And I wasn’t the only one sticking out for looking a little corporate – I think the guys from Acquia, the new Drupal start-up were in the same boat. 451 Group clients can read our write-up on Acquia here (log-in required)).

AIIM didn’t have the same level of excitement but there was still a common thread between the two events. Part of Drupal’s popularity is due to its community features and the availability of modules to add capabilities like feed management, voting and so forth. Other vendors that fall into a broadly defined content management market are busy adding similar capabilities either to WCM tools that will ultimately deliver community features to site visitors or to content contributor UIs within apps themselves. I met with folks from Day Software, Alfresco, IBM, Salesforce.com and Oracle and support for communities, collaboration and user-generated content are hot topics. Interestingly, it was not a focus during a meeting with Google — no social features appear particularly imminent for Google’s Search Appliances.

I also attended an interesting session held by Tony Byrne of CMS Watch. Tony looked at CMS architectures and how those companies wishing to implement external communities or to support user-generated content on external sites may end up with best-of-breed tools for architectural reasons, even though WCM vendors are adding support for these features themselves. Interesting stuff.

There was no sense of irrational exuberance at AIIM though, not like last year’s Enterprise 2.0 conference that had a jammed showcase floor and overflowing sessions. AIIM is a massive show though and as it is co-located with the On Demand show, it’s an odd mix of photocopiers, printing machines and enterprise software. Several ECM vendors I met with including SpringCM, Xythos (which I found out was acquired by Blackboard last year in a deal that has been kept totally quiet), Hyland Software and Tower Software are much more focused on more traditional ECM problems, from process management to archiving, which are alive and well.