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Simple CMS For Mixed Mac/Windows Team? 119

Quasar Sera writes "I am looking for a content and/or project management solution for a marketing research team using both Macs and PCs. Ideally it would support document sharing, metadata/tags, search capabilities, revision control, and the ability to share documents easily with people from outside the team without any software installation or login required. It may be tricky to configure (since I will be doing that) but must be dead simple to use for the rest of the team. We rely mostly on Word, Powerpoint, and Excel (all in their native file formats) for our work, so it would be a large number of fairly small files. Any and all advice would be appreciated."
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Simple CMS For Mixed Mac/Windows Team?

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  • Have you considered Alfresco [alfresco.com]?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mattz0r ( 1320797 )
      We use Alfresco Enterprise and it should do exactly what you want. The free Community version is just as good and several of the engineers actively participate in the user forums on their website.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mrjohnson ( 538567 )

      Oi, I tried it. I didn't like that one. In fact, I've tried every major CMS out there.

      I'd suggest also looking at dotCMS -- it's fantastic. I ported a medium-sized financial site to it almost a year ago now and couldn't be happier. It's been very stable and supports multiple themes. It's based on velocity, which isn't my favorite thing, but it's easy enough.

      • by Kz ( 4332 )

        dotCMS is (like most other 'CMS's out there) a WebCMS, while Alfresco is a Document manager (which can publish to web, but it's not the main use).

        It's a big difference, in fact i don't know why they're called the same. The functionality intersection is very thin.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kenbob.sh ( 762061 )
      +1 on Alfresco (specifically Alfresco Share). Very nice "social" interface. I used to work for Alfresco maintaining their own Alfresco instances - and it meets all those requirements.
  • Trac + some extensions should do the trick.

    Activestate offers a great setup for a relative bargain that seems to do everything you're looking for.
    http://www.activestate.com/firefly/ [activestate.com]

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Trac + some extensions should do the trick.

      Would a restricted MediaWiki instance (with anonymous viewing restricted to Main Page and Special:Userlogin) work?


      Bang bang [youtube.com].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You're looking for groupware.

  • Sharepoint (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward


    • Ooh! Beat me to it!
    • Re:Sharepoint (Score:5, Informative)

      by toastar ( 573882 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:33PM (#31928092)

      I don't have any problem suggesting sharepoint, As long as it's not somewhere I have to work.
      Technically it's designed to be a CMS for Office docs, which is what the poster is looking for.
      But god after going through designing one I'll never take a job again that requires me to admin it.

      • Re:Sharepoint (Score:5, Informative)

        by DdJ ( 10790 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:57PM (#31928692) Homepage Journal

        I don't have any problem suggesting sharepoint, As long as it's not somewhere I have to work.

        I do, if it's a mixed windows/mac shop. The problem is, while many basic features work in a cross-platform way, the more sophisticated features don't.

        And I'm not just talking about "sophisticated" in terms of "power user". I'm talking about stuff like, if you're on Windows and in an AD domain, having single sign-on from your desktop "just work", while the MacOS folks have to type their username/password into the browser as if they were using basic auth (they're using SPNEGO-negotiated-NTLM, but the user experience is the same). And I'm talking about Windows users clicking on a Word document to have Word open the file in-place via WebDAV and save it back there without a separate upload step, while MacOS users have to do explicit "download, edit, save, upload" steps (which is one of the things a good CMS should help reduce, since in practice that inevitably results in multiple versions scattered all over and loss of control of which version is "master", for example when someone decides "oh, I already downloaded that, I don't need to again, let me just add another edit", and does an upload that trashes someone else's work).

        Technically you can get by with SharePoint in a shop that's not 100% Windows. But don't try.

        • by toastar ( 573882 )

          going from a windows server to OSX... I've done it with both webdav and samba, and samba was by far the superior method.
          I'm not sure why we didn't do it before. I think it had something to do with an update in 10.5 regarding only having to enter the password once rather then over and over again.
          Granted Webdav was more seemless, but it didn't do well with performance.

          This is before the fact the as you mentioned you need to use samba to get the file to right to the database correctly. But this is theory as I

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Technically you can get by with SharePoint in a shop that's not 100% Windows. But don't try.

          I work in a company that is mixed Macs and Windows. I'm the Mac admin. The heads of the IT department decided to use Sharepoint. While the experience is much better for the Windows users, it *DOES* work for the Mac users as well. Yes, they have to sign in to use it, as our Macs aren't on the AD domain. Sometimes it doesn't like Safari (but we also have Firefox available for our Mac users, and it seems to get along with that). Now that the users are used to it, it's not much of a problem. In a compan

        • by galego ( 110613 )
          >>while many basic features work in a cross-platform way, the more sophisticated features don't. translation: sophisticated >> *useful* Why ??? because no IE/active-X
        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          SharePoint 2007 didn't work all that well with macs, but we've been testing SharePoint 2010 with macs and it works really well. Pretty much everything work with firefox on the mac and nearly everything works with safari.

        • That's funny, I get an authentication prompt from IE to view the folder, then opening a file gives me another prompt because Word does not share IE's authenticated session. I always complained about IE not using the normal download-and-ShellExecute() method, then found out via Microsoft's KB that it's WebDAV asking for the additional authentication.

          When looking for the article to include here, I instead found this, "Authentication and security in the WebDAV environment" from the "Microsoft Office 2008 for

          • by DdJ ( 10790 )

            That's funny...

            Ah, see, if you were "correctly" set up in the same AD realm as the SharePoint server, when IIS said "hey, you, authenticate via SPNEGO please", your clients would say "okay, here's my kerberos ticket, go to town". Regardless of how many times they asked for it.

            But if you're not in the right realm or don't have a kerberos ticket or whatever, the SPNEGO falls back from Kerberos to NTLM (almost the same as "digest auth" in theory, just completely incompatible with it in practice). So, you're getting the non

        • "basic features work in a cross-platform way, the more sophisticated features don't"

          Microsoft has a strong motive to make sure the non-Windows experience sucks. Their business model implies that they must discourage anyone using Macs (or Linux).

          Low standards of interoperability help them isolate and destroy marginal populations of other platforms in heterogeneous environments.

          Refuse SharePoint, Windows, and all Microsoft products.

  • Document volumes? Are the sites geographically dispersed? It sounds like you can get away with something lightweight like one of the open source options (e.g. simpleCMS, Joomla, Alfresco) or maybe Sharepoint if that interface is more intuitive for more of your users. You might end up asking your users to standardize on a single browser, but there should be no need for software installation.

    As for your "no login" requirement, do you mean you want something like LDAP integration, or are you just planning to r

    • by kent_eh ( 543303 )

      As for your "no login" requirement, do you mean you want something like LDAP integration, or are you just planning to run the whole thing wide open with no access control?

      From the submitter's post:

      share documents easily with people from outside the team without any software installation or login required

      Sounds like he wants the read-only users to have no login.
      Obviously read/write users need to login. Otherwise how could you track changes properly?

  • Confluence. (Score:4, Informative)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:31PM (#31928036) Homepage

    I spoke to some fellow higher education IT people last week who were putting all of their documentation into Confluence. I haven't used it myself, but they were very happy with it as a cross-platform solution.


    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Em Emalb ( 452530 )

      Confluence is what we use. Works very well for what we use it for. Check in/check out, revision history, tracking, etc. Good stuff.

      • Re:Confluence. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:34PM (#31929562) Journal

        I'm still waiting on the day when there's a CMS without check in/out interaction. It's hard enough getting our designers to use a CMS let along making them actually check out what they want to work on (Since it's right there on their hard drive... they don't need to get it!) Some of our developers are the same way. If only someone created a "file system" hook or a special folder that automatically handled all this in the background like DropBox on steroids, it would go a long way to solving this. Computers are supposed to make lives easier, not add steps to the workflow, right?

  • Redmine or Basecamp (Score:3, Informative)

    by irishfury ( 1430201 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:32PM (#31928052)
    Redmine is a free open source project. It can be very difficult to get up an running. 37Signal has a awesome product line to check out. It's all hosted, so no setup is required. http://37signals.com/ [37signals.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dave562 ( 969951 )

      Stay FAR away from Basecamp. We used it at my organization for about six months before running far, far away from it. 37Signals was very unprofessional. They would push major project changes out without any heads up and end up breaking all sorts of functionality. Any requests for improvements or new features were met with an attitude of, "If you don't like the way we designed the software, fuck off and go use something else. We don't care."

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fusiongyro ( 55524 )

        They definitely have that attitude, but I used them for a number of years without having them break anything. Stopped about a year ago because it didn't make business sense--we weren't using it enough. The product was fine (in my experience), but the company is definitely what you'd expect from the schmucks who invented Rails.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by drumcat ( 1659893 )
        And just for balance, I'll tell you that my company would never have adopted a system if not for what has been a dead-simple, cloud-based solution that is very solid. Do they do things a little differently? Yep. But they bust their collective asses for their customers. I'll take some imperfections that way. But to be clear, they have never lost one bit of our data. KISS.
    • by pwnies ( 1034518 )
      Another vote for Redmine. Great product, only takes a second to get running if you're familiar with rails applications.
    • Which is simple to setup and use, and on paper does everything in the summary.

      But it seems more of a job for a dedicated wiki - maybe Foswiki? [foswiki.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by micheas ( 231635 )

      Redmine on RedHat was a nightmare for a colleague of mine.

      On FreeBSD it was cd /usr/ports/www/redmine ; make install ; make clean ; vi /usr/local/etc/rc.d/redmine #edit to allow startup and then follow the instructions at http://www.redmine.org/wiki/redmine/RedmineInstall [redmine.org] from step 2 on.

      The only problem with redmine has been figuring out which extensions to install. Which isn't that bad of a problem.

  • Sounds like using Google's web services would work very well for what you are trying to do. Google Docs would give you strong cross platform compatibility with the document editing plus revision control. Tagging I am not sure on, but seems like everything else is there.
  • I like alfresco because it can be quite simple to setup and get going yet very powerful if you need it to.

    I used it's workflows, versioning and access controls a couple of years ago, very simple to setup and worked as advertised.

  • Google Docs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baricom ( 763970 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:34PM (#31928100)

    I think Google Docs meets every one of your requirements.

  • Documentum works well, but requires user login. It's got all the features you're asking for, but it does cost quite a bit, and support is rather slim. Actually, I am having a hard time imagining why you wouldn't want a user to log in. If you don't, then anyone can get access to whatever they want.
    • I am almost 100% certain that Documentum is massive overkill for this particular request.
    • by kent_eh ( 543303 )
      And it requires IE. At least the version we use does.
      Yes, I've tried IE-tab in Firefox. Something Documentum does crashes Firefox (tried with several different versions of FF) when you try.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Documentum is WAY TOO EXPENSIVE. If you're looking at Documentum, then you need to look at Alfresco and customization - you'll still end up costing 50% less or more.

      Out of all the DMS I've used, installed, trialed, Xerox/DocuShare is by far the most intuitive, least hassle, just works solution. Alfresco would be my 2nd choice.

  • Try Plone (Score:3, Informative)

    by zr-rifle ( 677585 ) <zedrNO@SPAMzedr.com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @02:46PM (#31928420) Homepage
    Try Plone [plone.org]: it's cross-platform, open source and quite mature.

    I recently helped implement an intranet document sharing portal for a big bank in my country and it works remarkably well. Just make sure you use iw.fss or zope blobs to store those big files. With a vanilla Plone site you get fully indexed PDF, Microsoft Word and Openoffice documents indexed right out of the box. You can access your Plone site through WebDAV and define some fine grained ACLs to set group and user permissions. Also, versioning and some great workflow functionality is there.

    Ok, some may argue that Plone is actually a big and complex system, but the core functionality works straight away once it's installed and the Plone community is full of very helpful people. Worth a look.
    • by Domini ( 103836 )

      This is obviously a new meaning of 'simple' we were not previously aware of.

      No... Google Docs is "simple". MediaWiki is "simple". Plone (and Zope) is a forklift swinging a sledgehammer.

      • by Macka ( 9388 )

        This is obviously a new meaning of 'simple' I was not previously aware of

        There, fixed it for you.

        No... Google Docs is "simple". MediaWiki is "simple". Plone (and Zope) is a forklift swinging a sledgehammer

        From the point of view of an admin or a user? As a user, using Plone is no more difficult than using Google Docs, and it has the extra features on his tick list. You create folders and pages; edit the page content in a WYSIWYG editor; upload files for common use and (if required) embed links to them in

      • Funny, but unfair.

        To get it up and running you just need to run the unified installer [launchpad.net] (also for Mac [plone.org]) and then point your browser to your chosen port. Administration is done with a simple and friendly GUI.

        You don't need to install a LAMP stack and setup a database, so it's fast and pretty easy to get running; it's not the brutish beast you are depicting, so please don't spread FUD about a great piece of free software.

        If this guy knows his way around a command-line, he might want to try installing it the "
        • Plone has anything but a friendly GUI, it's a nightmare to customize, its a HUGE resource hog and doesn't scale well at all.. among other things.
          • Citations? I've been deploying Plone sites for 8 years now. Plone was a giant step forward from doing it all in Zope CMS. I'm also not sure what you consider are huge resource hog? The only time I ever see even the slightest hesitation is when loading portal_view_customizations.

            Customization is simple and these days doesn't require much if any modifications of the templates. It appears that you have not taken the time to use the product correctly or you wouldn't be slinging fud like that.
    • some may argue that Plone is actually a big and complex system

      There are plenty of big and complex CMS's out there that aren't total pieces of crap. Plone isn't one of them. Run as far and as fast as you can from Plone, my friend.

  • Like dokuwiki, for example. It's simple to set up and configure, and is pretty powerful (especially through the use of plugins). I'm fairly certain it fits your criteria.
  • Cyanide capsules ought to do the trick.

  • Another option might be to use a SaaS-based CMS tool like bitsybox: http://www.bitsybox.com/ [bitsybox.com]

    Some mentioned Google Docs and that is a good starting point. If you need more features you can always use the Google App Engine and their cloud hosting. Every install comes with Django and you can use other CMS tools (python and java support)

    I'm sure there are others but my main point was this might be a use-case for software as a service. It's not right for every situation, but it might be something to look at. It

  • Liferay (Score:2, Informative)

    by kf6zql ( 1066814 )
    Have you considered Liferay at all (http://www.liferay.com)? MIT License, open source, java based. You can download it on tomcat and run it without any configuration (using hypersonic) or configure your own database for it (mysql, oracle, postresql, whatever) pretty easily. Free as in beer and speech. In the interest of openness, I am a Liferay employee. I also use Windows, OS X, and Kubuntu with it on a daily basis. It has wikis, message boards, a document repository, web content management, basically any
    • this.

      I use liferay, and it sounds like what the TS is looking for. extremely easy to get set up, especially if you use the Social Office variant.

    • by drison ( 1794906 )
      Yeah, +1 on the ease of use and setup. You can have it up and running quickly and it comes with a lot of features out of the box, including the availability of many community created plugins. It is written in Java so for Java haters it may not be what you want but it's pretty slick and chock-full of features. The social office might be exactly what you're looking for.
  • In the past I've used Plone [plone.org] to do what you're asking. There are kits for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and *BSD and its open source.

    Like anything there's a small learning curve but once you're past that creating new content is easy. Any uploaded files (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDF, etc) are fully indexed for searching. It can integrate with Active Directory, LDAP, etc. It's extensible, skin-able and if the online documentation isn't enough there have been several books written about it (user guides and profe

  • Title says it all: Subversion [apache.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Go to toys r us and purchase several buckets of blocks with letters on them, acquire a desk in the middle of your office and post your messages. Or just grab an old workstation from the closet and toss linux and joomla! on it

    • Feng, Google Docs (both simple and really work well), Alfresco (for deeper enterprise needs) even MODx or WordPress (for a more "CMS" approach), but for heaven's sake NOT Joomla! Between its rigidity and security issues it will drive you to the brink (or drink).
  • Despair (Score:4, Insightful)

    by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @03:57PM (#31929978) Journal
    I would say if it is a requirement that it be dead simple for the end user, your only recourse is to despair. No CMS system on the planet is dead simple to use. Easy doesn't exist, either. Moderately difficult can be found if you look around. The problem is that, while most reasonably competent people understand a hierarchical file structure (files, folders, drives, etc.), adding the extra dimension of time/versioning/check-in/check-out makes the average user crawl into a ball in the corner and weep. The publishers of such software, while they obviously understand this extra dimension, seem to have gone out of their way to obfuscate it. Most of these programs have some centralized database structure for storing the information, then present that as a hierarchical folder structure to the end user. The paradigm just doesn't quite work.

    And don't get me started on what to do if you have inter-file dependencies, such as you have in CAD or software development! I have used several such systems as a necessary evil of being a practicing engineer, and every one of them is a kludge that should never have made it out of beta testing.
    • When did we abandon the idea of including training in system implementation? If you're considering a system like this you need to also be prepared to sit down each user (or groups of same) and teach them how to use it most effectively.

      And to provide hand-holding and support for some period afterwards, and to provide user friendly (not "man pages") documentation for the moments when they forget how to do something.
      • by barzok ( 26681 )

        Because most people don't want to be trained, and when they are put into a training class they don't absorb anything that they're taught.

        Sitting in training is tantamount to being told how to do your job, and people don't want to be told how to do things.

        • by rueger ( 210566 )
          Most people want to know how to do things better. It's just that a lot of people are really lousy trainers. And a lot of managers think that training is money wasted.
    • I wonder if something like CVS would satisfy the OP's requirements:

      "Ideally it would support document sharing, metadata/tags, search capabilities, revision control, and the ability to share documents easily with people from outside the team without any software installation or login required."

      There's cross-platform cvs clients. It supports all the listed requirements including tags. And you can put a document in a public folder and email out a URL to that file which can be accessed without login.
    • Seriously, that may be the best solution. It's what I ended up doing in a similar situation recently, because everything I could find was either 1: too expensive, 2: not cross-environment compatible (Sharepoint), 3: not stable/secure/reliable (many open source projects), and/or 4: difficult to use (just about everything -- in fact, they had used Sharepoint for a while and were desperate for anything else).

      People like to talk about the virtues of software reuse, but they rarely mention the downside of accum

  • OneNote as a desktop app, linked as a shared notebook on Sharepoint.

    Everything dropped into OneNote can be easily managed through drag+drop. Works offline with synchronization when online. Auto-merges most things at the paragraph level (and has ability to manually merge other stuff). Sharepoint can handle the version control and you can fish older versions of each document out of there if needed.

    Much content can be thrown in there (text, emails, screenshots dumped from clipboard, whatever), annotated
  • What you're after is called "wiki". There are many free software packages available.
  • Simple group ware is, simple (ie don't expect complicated features), but it is really nice.

    http://www.simple-groupware.de/cms/ [simple-groupware.de]

    DocMgr is also very good.

    http://www.docmgr.org/ [docmgr.org]

    Both have webdav support and versioning.

  • Open Atrium [openatrium.com] is a multipurpose intranet/project management system built with the open source CMS Drupal. It's easy on the eyes and since it's just a fancy distribution of Drupal it can potentially be extended in almost any direction. Worth a look, sounds like it could address all your needs.

    But then again it also sounds like Microsoft Office Live Workspace [officelive.com] could also meet your needs. I'm not sure how complicated you want to get.

  • Hi, I suggest you go for the complete Novell Teaming package, its has exactly all the feature you request. IFolder lets you share documents across mac, linux and windows. Its very much like dropbox. And Teaming lets you collaborate with collegues and people on the outside (like alfresco and sharepoint but better for collaboration). And its opensource. Se this demo: http://www.novell.com/products/teaming/demo.html [novell.com] http://www.kablink.org/ [kablink.org] The software is availeble on VMWARE images so you can have a demo r
  • Hi, I'm part of the team working on Qarks AVS (google it). It's a configuration management tool that is actually a hosted java web-application. What does that mean? Well, it'll work on any OS that supports java (i.e. all of them). All the users need to do is open a webpage with the browser of their choice.It'll then open the application for them, and display their workspace. It's built on Tomcat and Postgresql, which makes it very easy to set up on the server side too: The server can be on any OS - we hav
  • Just share a folder, and use a tool like Desktop Google http://desktop.google.com/ [google.com], so that it will index your files.

    If I remember correctly, you can access to a distant Desktop Google with your browser.

    This way, you can fine tune the rights for every folder without having to use a complex web interface.

  • Our company has been developing client-server cross-platform document management systems since 1988. We support native Mac and PC as well as thin clients and can store and index any desktop file as well as handle scanning from either client platform. All of the biggie commercial DBs are supported and we run with Unix, Linux, OS X and Windows servers. Install and train at your site in a week. Can also include sophisticated workflow and text search if needed. Check us out at mindwrap.com

  • I'm sure it is too minimalistic for you, but I have friends using it in their companies intranets: werc [cat-v.org].

    It is implementing the rc shell [cat-v.org] and is very simple and designed for extremely lazy people like me that wants to do as little work as possible.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson