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The Adobe CQ5 Content Management System

Published on 03 November 17
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Over the past four months, I have been involved in a project using Day's (now owned by Adobe) Comminique 5 (CQ5) Content Management System. In the past, I've used several off-the-shelf and custom Content Management System. CQ5 is most comparable to Magnolia, a product that I used last year. CQ5 uses the Java Content Repository and Apache Sling to create a powerful tool. This Content Management System is being used by General Motors, McDonalds, Volkswagen, and Audi (1).

When installed, the application comes with a default project to base ideas on. CQ5 also allows marketing campaigns and the ability to serve up content across multiple channels, such as mobile. It also comes with social networking aspects, including blogs and forums and the ability to set up custom workflows for publishing and approval of various aspects (2).

Here are a few of my thoughts about Adobe CQ5 over the past three months:

1) I think the tool could be a powerful one, but there is a steep learning curve involved, and I've had to pick this up myself, without any training or guidance. (The same happened last year when I learned Magnolia.) Unfortunately, there's little of documentation available and a lack of a support group; there is a Google forum and an API.

2) Lack of consistency with the code.

3) Stability issues with the environment.

4) Lack of up-to-date and correct documentation available. On the Day website, there are tutorials to help you get started, but these tutorials were out-dated and simply did not work when followed. This was not due to user error as it was also reported by all of my colleagues. (At least there is an API to help guide you, but a lot of the comments are out-of-date or non-descriptive.)

5) The development environment that you need to use to develop is CRXDE, which is based on Eclipse, but it is buggy and adding a file manager (Vault) to the process causes even more complications. I was also getting many crashes using this, and a lot of Java "Out of Memory" errors. (This mainly seems to have been solved with a new machine, however.)

6) Ability to make content editing easier. Despite the product's downfalls, I think that the finished product can be customised enough to give more freedom to the content editors. They will still need training, but the ability to drag and drop components around a page and copy and paste them to a new area is more flexible and quicker. However, there are areas where it can be just as slow; for example, I am not quite happy with table management aspect. It does not give the content editor enough freedom to copy and paste multiple rows/columns and apply styles across multiple rows/columns.

7) Extending components is fiddly.

8) Incomplete and incorrect code. For example, I wanted to create an Accordion-style layout by using a Multifield component that takes a CompositeField, consisting of a 'richtext' component and a 'text' component. Although this is meant to work, it didn't. A quick look into Day's code showed that this feature had areas commented out with "//TODO" comments to get the multifield working with other combinations. (I decided to find another way to accomplish the task, and I must have tried three other ways before brainstorming with a colleague to come up with a completely different solution that wasn't as user-friendly for the content editor, but it worked.)

9) A lot of patience is needed as well as a lot of fiddling around and trial and error.

10) There's generally been a lack of support from Adobe or a lack of training/consultants available from Adobe to get started or fix issues initially.













Over the past four months, I have been involved in a project using Day's (now owned by Adobe) Comminique 5 (CQ5) Content Management System. In the past, I've used several off-the-shelf and custom Content Management System. CQ5 is most comparable to Magnolia, a product that I used last year. CQ5 uses the Java Content Repository and Apache Sling to create a powerful tool. This Content Management System is being used by General Motors, McDonalds, Volkswagen, and Audi (1).

When installed, the application comes with a default project to base ideas on. CQ5 also allows marketing campaigns and the ability to serve up content across multiple channels, such as mobile. It also comes with social networking aspects, including blogs and forums and the ability to set up custom workflows for publishing and approval of various aspects (2).

Here are a few of my thoughts about Adobe CQ5 over the past three months:

1) I think the tool could be a powerful one, but there is a steep learning curve involved, and I've had to pick this up myself, without any training or guidance. (The same happened last year when I learned Magnolia.) Unfortunately, there's little of documentation available and a lack of a support group; there is a Google forum and an API.

2) Lack of consistency with the code.

3) Stability issues with the environment.

4) Lack of up-to-date and correct documentation available. On the Day website, there are tutorials to help you get started, but these tutorials were out-dated and simply did not work when followed. This was not due to user error as it was also reported by all of my colleagues. (At least there is an API to help guide you, but a lot of the comments are out-of-date or non-descriptive.)

5) The development environment that you need to use to develop is CRXDE, which is based on Eclipse, but it is buggy and adding a file manager (Vault) to the process causes even more complications. I was also getting many crashes using this, and a lot of Java "Out of Memory" errors. (This mainly seems to have been solved with a new machine, however.)

6) Ability to make content editing easier. Despite the product's downfalls, I think that the finished product can be customised enough to give more freedom to the content editors. They will still need training, but the ability to drag and drop components around a page and copy and paste them to a new area is more flexible and quicker. However, there are areas where it can be just as slow; for example, I am not quite happy with table management aspect. It does not give the content editor enough freedom to copy and paste multiple rows/columns and apply styles across multiple rows/columns.

7) Extending components is fiddly.

8) Incomplete and incorrect code. For example, I wanted to create an Accordion-style layout by using a Multifield component that takes a CompositeField, consisting of a 'richtext' component and a 'text' component. Although this is meant to work, it didn't. A quick look into Day's code showed that this feature had areas commented out with "//TODO" comments to get the multifield working with other combinations. (I decided to find another way to accomplish the task, and I must have tried three other ways before brainstorming with a colleague to come up with a completely different solution that wasn't as user-friendly for the content editor, but it worked.)

9) A lot of patience is needed as well as a lot of fiddling around and trial and error.

10) There's generally been a lack of support from Adobe or a lack of training/consultants available from Adobe to get started or fix issues initially.

This blog is listed under Development & Implementations and Digital Media & Games Community

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