2014 was a busy year for the world of CMS.
Another round of CMS Awards saw yet more platforms crowned champions of their sector by both the people and the appointed judges.
Exciting new projects like The Grid were revealed for the first time, while existing powerhouses like Prestashop and Squarespace released major new versions. Ghost continued to grow, WordPress continued to dominate and the realm of open source continued to be awesome.
The CMS Critic team, otherwise known as Mike Johnston and I, also made some waves. Website Builders Critic was launched, and we traversed Europe to attend a range of events, including Jahia One, Hippo Get Together and Magnolia.
With that busy period now behind us, we can begin to look forward to another year's worth of excitement. So, what do we want to see?
Still relatively new to the scene, Ghost has impressed us thus far, and we'd like to see that continue.
The blogging platform — which boasts a cloud-hosted as well as a self-hosted version — recently acquired Roon.io, and is gaining traction are credibility all the time as a powerful, yet simple blogging solution.
Quite frankly, Ghost is the most exciting platform to talk about at the moment. Not because it's the most powerful, or the most flexible, but because it has chosen an extremely popular niche (blogging) and has made it its sole aim to make life easier for those who take part in it. A bold and interesting mission.
Online communities and social networks are plentiful, and there are certainly a good number of enterprise solutions available to create excitingly powerful news ones.
However, when it comes to the average startup looking for a cheap or even free solution, social networking and community CMS' are few and far between.
Products like SocialEngine, PHPFox, Oxwall and Elgg are fine, but I'm not sure they're quite fine enough. In fact, they're quite equally not fine enough. I can't point at any of them as truly solid and encompassing solutions, and that's a big problem. I'd like to see at least one of them step up, or, failing that, another product step in.
2014 saw the introduction of PrestaShop Cloud, the first truly free and open source cloud-hosted eCommerce solution. A massive milestone in the history of open source, in my opinion.
Hippo CMS also showcased its contributions to the world of open source via its digital reformation of the Dutch police force. A riveting story about how open source software is changing the world.
These are just two of the countless examples of free and open source awesomeness in 2014 alone, and we hope that awesomeness increases as we move into 2015.
All forms of software need to innovate in one way or another in order to survive. Nothing moves quite as fast as the Internet, so any CMS standing still is essentially committing suicide.
Some notable examples from 2014 include The Grid's supposed artificial intelligence, Pikock's carousel style website builder, and Remarkable's “AXM” release. Those kinds of innovations are great to see. New products with new goals, what else could we ask for?
Also, with wearable technology now gaining traction in the real world, it will be interesting to see how the CMS world reacts as we move through 2015.
Every CMS vendor in existence should be thinking about making their product more accessible.
Although many website builders and other platforms have dedicated apps for mobile devices, Magnolia led the way for enterprise CMS by impressively releasing an iPad (and then a non-tablet specific) version of Magnolia 5. It wasn't just responsive, it was functionally customized and tweaked for a mobile user's needs.
Enterprising companies around the world are changing the way they work. Technology has eased the hours and days that the average employee spends at their desk or in front of a laptop. Modern enterprise platforms need to recognize this, and adapt accordingly.
In 2014, both Ghost and LightCMS laid out an excellent example of how updates should be handled.
Ghost announced that it would release a small, yet worthy update every fortnight or so, and they've stuck to their word. LightCMS didn't quite match that frequency, but they did success in releasing a flurry of updates throughout the year, each one relatively large, too.
Understandably, not every product out there can match these two when it comes to constantly updating and improving. Each product has different teams behind it, different financial structures, different niches to serve, and so forth. However, I can't see any harm coming from my suggestion that more CMS should take a digital leaf out of Ghosts' and LightCMS' book.
WordPress, Drupal & Joomla fans, I'm looking at you in particular.
Mike Johnston and I both touched on this topic a few times in 2014 (check out Why WordPress, Drupal & Joomla Are NOT The Best CMS as one example), but I think it's wise to really drive this point home. No CMS has a monopoly over any niche. Some products simply work better in certain circumstances, while others excel elsewhere. It's that simple.
In 2015, I'd like to see the fanboy mentality ease off a little. Nuanced discussion trumps, “But WordPress/Drupal/Joomla rulez!”, every time.
Well, that's everything on our list. What's on yours?