Forum OpenACS CMS: Using BCMS to run a University site

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We're investigating several solutions for a University-wide CMS-type application.  Using OpenACS 5 along with whatever content management-type applications are available would be desirable because it would allow us to slowly transition away from our existing ACS 3 installation, which we use for a community site.

However, I'm finding OACS a hard sell because (and I've tried to be a good investigator and look at lots of docs and bboard posts) I can't get a good idea of what stage the CMS features are in development.  I understand that there is some wonder and beauty associated with CR, but I don't really see any docs that outline the current scope and features of BCMS.  All I can find are discussions of moving forward, lots of promises, and the ACS 4 CMS docs.

So, are there any documents I should be looking at that can give me a good idea of where OACS is in terms of CMS tools and whether it would be feasible for four part-time programmers with some understanding of ACS 3 to launch something usable for our University in two months?  I can't get a test site setup and devote a lof time to figuring out OACS 5 until I have an understanding of whether this is possible.

Posted by Bart Teeuwisse on

just to be clear, have you taken a look at .LRN?


Posted by Caroline Meeks on
Hi Danny,

Here are a few resources.

There is a demo of BCMS up at

UMass launched a site on CMS Classic a few months ago:

We are both less then 10 miles from you.

Posted by Danny Silverman on
Oh yeah, absolutely.  Sorry for being a bit unclear, I guess that comes from CMS meaning so many things these days.  I'm looking to create a system that allows for the rapid deployment and maintenance of templated web sites for things like academic and administrative departments.  We need to be able to quickly create a site structure, give users access to add content (web pages, images, etc.) through a web interface, and track revisions.  We need to be able to preview pages before they go "live" and to schedule content to appear and disappear.  We also need to be able to somehow call [TCL] functions to do additional things, like output group calendar displays or whatever.
Posted by Dave Bauer on
There is yet another content management UI now available for preview.

It does not support scheduled publishing yet, or complex publishing workflows.

6: BCMS or XCMS?? :o| (response to 1)
Posted by Rocael Hernández Rizzardini on
Then, which one to use?
I've seen BCMS on Caroline's site, and *seems* that has more functionalities than XCMS (Dave's site), but which one to use?
(can the authors mention the main differences...)

And why are 2 of them? any specifics...?

Will be helpful to know which one will remain supported on the long term ... since Galileo might use it, and we'll put effort on the choosen tool.

8: Re: BCMS or XCMS?? :o| (response to 6)
Posted by Caroline Meeks on
Hi Roc,

I had a conversation with Dave to be sure we are on the same page and here is where we are.

Both XCMS and the version of BCMS that Aristoi developed use the BCMS base package that is in contrib.  Jun's design concept was that the underlying CMS functions should be separate from the UI. He infact put up a BCMS-UI and a Wizard UI as part of his original package.  XCMS is another UI and extension.

Dave is working on moving much of BCMS back into the CR as tcl api for the Content Repository.

So all of us have the vision of a common functionality package and a choice of many UI packages.

The current reality is not there yet, and you may have to pick fucntionality from what different people have done until you get what you need for your project.

The demo on Aristoi is based on several client projects where we needed functiionality as easy to use as Edit-This-Page but expandable. We actualy comment out large sections of the UI on each client project so they only get the links they need for thier requirements.

Dave started at a similar time and did other work for his client. So depending on what you need you may need to take pieces from both. But they are both based on BCMS base package so that should not be that hard.

Posted by Dave Bauer on

Basically the same thing Caroline said :)

I think originally the plan was to merge them back together. The code came out of client projects. The main reason XCMS is seperate is that I did not want to break anything in BCMS-UI-BASE that people were already using.

Last time I checked, XCMS uses the cr templating features more  completely than BCMS-UI-Base. Besides that I simplified the handling of the administration forms. XCMS also uses the site-wide categories package.

XCMS also (last time I looked) integrates better with the default subsite templates. It does not define it's own form or list templates. This makes BCMS-UI-Base more flexible in presenting the UI, and make XCMS fit in with the rest of the Admin UI.

Both pakcages use the content repository in a similar way, so switching is a possibility.

THe key is that no user interface for content management is going to meet all your needs. Customization will always be required. Overall goals are to make the customization easier by defining clear points to change it. This can be accomplished by making it easier to define content types, generate forms automatically, and possibly define workflows for authoring and publishing. .

Posted by Rocael Hernández Rizzardini on
Thanks Caroline & Dave, this makes the things more clear, I'll have a closer look on both. BTW, does BCMS-UI-BASE on CVS is the latest code?

Dave, seems that XCMS has not htmlarea enabled in your demo...?

Posted by Dave Bauer on
Rocael, that is correct. I asked Caroline and she said it was not to difficult to add that feature. I personally hate it, but most folks like it so it should definitely be an option.
Posted by Jun Yamog on

Let me put it out this way, a small time line of bcms, etc.

bcms -> bcms + lars changes -> bcms + more people -> some bcms tcl api moving to CR

In a way bcms (the service package) has linear development, we are currently somewhere going to the last event.

For the UI packages:


bcms-ui-wizard -> steve changes

I have not yet have time to apply steve's changes since it touches some bcms changes.

bcms-ui-base -> bcms-ui-base (deds/caroline)
        \-> xcms (dave)
        \-> bcms-ui-base (head)

Essentially Dave started with xcms with the hopes that it be the next ui-base.  Unfortunately by the time Deds needed something to work xcms was not ready.  Deds then extended bcms-ui-base, I then asked Deds his copy which contained some fixes which is now in the head.  Deds continued on with his customization, while Dave worked on xcms.

The plan is merge the features of Deds bcms-ui-base and Dave's xcms if possible.  The bcms-ui-base on head is stable enough for you to do your own UI.

I hope this pretty much clears things up.