Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Retail Therapy for OpenCms

I just saw an announcement for a new integration between OpenCms and the Java based commerce system KonaKart. The integration is implemented as an installable OpenCms module that connects to KonaKart over a SOAP API. For those of you who are new to KonaKart, it is free to use but is not open source licensed. However, many of the underlying components (such as Struts and Torque) are open source and customers are free to tinker with those. Another interesting aspect of KonaKart is that there is a straight migration plan from the popular PHP commerce system osCommerce. The database structures are identical.

Commerce is not entirely new to OpenCms. I remember seeing shopping functionality on The North Face website (an OpenCms reference site) but it appears to be removed (probably because of a channel conflict with their retail partners). What caught my eye, however, is the amount of momentum OpenCms seems to be having. With two, high impact, big releases (v6 and v7), OpenCms has brought itself back into the limelight after losing mind-share to the new generation of Java based WCM platforms (Magnolia, Jahia, Alfresco). I think adding in-context editing has narrowed the usability gap between OpenCms and the newer products. Other new features like WebDAV have also played a big role. Plus, OpenCms is considerably less expensive (there is no "Enterprise" version to buy. All the revenue comes from support). Support packages from Alkacon are relatively inexpensive and provide enough of a safety net to molify the risk averse CIO.

If you looked at OpenCms a couple of years ago and found it less exciting than its newer peers, you may want to take another look.