Thursday, December 15, 2005

Software Development and Content Management

Recently, after I wrote about Content Management for consumers, I realized that the software that I use every day in my job as a Software Developer is also a Content Management system. In bald terms, a Content Management system consists of a content repository and workflow that define and controls how the content is managed.

A software system comes from a collection of source code that is maintained in a Software Configuration Management system (SCM). It allows you to see each change to the code and who made it. A sophisticated SCM allow for code development along different branches at the same time. A SCM is in effect a content repository.

Some people on reading this will say that a Content management system means that all content is kept in a database. I will explain on another occasion why it a bad idea to lock content away in a database and propose a better solution for a content repository.

In the system I use we have a bug tracking system that is called an issues system because issues is good newspeak for bugs, and also because the system is used for tracking not only bugs, but also features and enhancement suggestions. Moreover the system is set up so that you cannot do a code checkin without tying the code change to an issue. This allows the system to check that the code change is made to an appropriate version of the code.

The point of all this is that the bug tracking system defines and controls the code development workflow and is tightly tied to the content repository. Thus the whole thing is a Content Management system.

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