A web content management system (WCMS) is a software system which provides website authoring and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages to create and manage the site's content with relative ease.
Most systems use a database to store content, metadata, or artifacts that might be needed by the system. Content is frequently, but not universally, stored as XML, to facilitate, reuse, and enable flexible presentation options.
A presentation layer displays the content to Web-site visitors based on a set of templates. The templates are sometimes XSLT files.
Most systems use server side caching boosting performance. This works best when the WCMS is not changed often but visits happen on a regular basis.
Administration is typically done through browser-based interfaces, but some systems require the use of a fat client.
Unlike Web-site builders, a WCMS allows non-technical users to make changes to a website with little training. A WCMS typically requires an experienced coder to set up and add features, but is primarily a Web-site maintenance tool for non-technical administrators.
A WCMS is a software system used to control a dynamic collection of Web material (HTML documents, images and other forms of media). A CMS facilitates document control, auditing, editing, and timeline management. A WCMS typically has:
Create standard output templates (usually HTML and XML) that can be automatically applied to new and existing content, allowing the appearance of all content to be changed from one central place.
Available in most modern WCMSs is the ability to expand a single implementation (one installation on one server) across multiple domains.
Easily editable content
Once content is separated from the visual presentation of a site, it usually becomes much easier and quicker to edit and manipulate. Most WCMS software includes WYSIWYG editing tools allowing non-technical individuals to create and edit content.
Scalable feature sets
Most WCMS software includes plug-ins or modules that can be easily installed to extend an existing site's functionality.
Web standards upgrades
Active WCMS software usually receives regular updates that include new feature sets and keep the system up to current web standards.
Workflow is the process of creating cycles of sequential and parallel tasks that must be accomplished in the CMS. For example, a content creator can submit a story, but it is not published until the copy editor cleans it up and the editor-in-chief approves it.
Some CMS software allows for various user groups to have limited privileges over specific content on the website, spreading out the responsibility of content management.
CMS software may provide a means of managing the life cycle of a document from initial creation time, through revisions, publication, archive, and document destruction.
CMS software may provide a means of allowing each user to work within a virtual copy of the entire Web site, document set, and/or code base. This enables changes to multiple interdependent resources to be viewed and/or executed in-context prior to submission.
CMS software often assists in content distribution by generating RSS and Atom data feeds to other systems. They may also e-mail users when updates are available as part of the workflow process.
Ability to display content in multiple languages.