Blogs
Jason Smith
Chief User Experience Officer

7 Benefits of a Java CMS (and How to Choose Your Own)

Aug 28, 2019

By: Jason Smith

When building your best-of-breed digital experience platform (DXP), choosing a CMS that lays a solid foundation is crucial. The enterprise CMS market, however, is vast and overwhelming. That’s why you need to narrow the options down to specific technologies that are well-suited to content management today, as well as in the future.

In 2019, Java is still the second most popular programming language, second only to JavaScript, and that means a large talent pool of developers, a wealth of community knowledge, and a multitude of quality tooling. A Java based CMS, therefore, is ideal for enterprises seeking scalability at lower costs and familiar technologies. Let’s look at what a Java CMS is, the primary benefits to a Java-based CMS, and how to choose the best Java CMS.

What is a Java CMS?

A Java CMS is a content management system that’s built using the Java language and its vast ecosystem of libraries and tooling. Most Java-based CMS platforms take advantage of open source frameworks like Spring to deliver high quality software.

When it comes to enterprises in particular, a Java-based CMS is ideal because the Java language has a long history of being used for enterprise-grade software due to its reliability and stability.

7 Benefits of a Java-based CMS

There are many benefits to choosing a Java-based CMS for organizations building out their digital experience platform (DXP). Here are the 7 main advantages we see:

1. Java Technology Stack

A significant benefit with a Java CMS is the underlying technologies. Java has been used at the enterprise level for a long time, so the development platform is stable. There’s also a large community and ecosystem with many libraries, frameworks, and tools that make Java development faster and more affordable. This means Java CMSs are ready to fit into an enterprise tech stack.

2. Familiarity

At the enterprise level, companies are likely using some Java-based software already. That means their development teams will already be familiar with the language and its tooling. Even if your company isn’t using Java, there’s a larger availability of developers to hire than other, less popular programming languages. The familiarity of Java, therefore, can reduce the time to market and overall total cost of ownership for implementing a Java-based CMS.

3. Integrations

For most companies, integrating their CMS with other applications like CRMs, ERPs, and marketing automation tools is critical. Luckily, the Java community has specified a standard for modularized software called the Open Services Gateway initiative (OSGi). A Java-based CMS, therefore, can take advantage of standards within the Java ecosystem to make integrations with other enterprise software more straightforward for developers.

4. Security

Java - with its Java Virtual Machine (JVM) - is generally more secure than other programming environments. That’s because Java code is compiled into bytecode and runs on the JVM in a sandbox-like environment instead of directly on the server. Java also handles memory management for developers and other low-level tasks. These factors reduce the opportunities for exploitation when Java software is deployed into production.

5. Platform Independence

The Java language, and in turn, a Java-based CMS has the flexibility of being compatible with any server that can run the JVM. This means a Java-based CMS can be deployed on Linux or Windows machines - both of which are commonly used for enterprise infrastructure. The cross-platform nature of Java, therefore, saves the cost of investing in specific hardware to run a particular CMS.

6. Easy Deployment

Along with platform independence from a hardware and operating system standpoint, most Java-based CMSs can run on a variety of application servers. That’s because most Java CMSs can be deployed as a WAR file that’s compatible with application servers that most enterprises use like Tomcat, WebLogic, and JBoss. This lets companies deploy the software within their existing Java environments.

7. Scalability

Scalability is critical at the enterprise level, and that’s why many Java-based CMSs leverage J2EE stack. The J2EE architecture makes scaling horizontally and distributing workloads across clusters of servers easier. The flexible deployment options for Java-based CMSs also means they can be deployed in the cloud for even greater scaling capabilities. With cloud services like Amazon EC2, new CMS instances can quickly and automatically be deployed when necessary.

How to Choose a Java CMS 

When it comes to choosing a Java CMS as the foundation for your DXP, you need to consider the platform’s interoperability, flexibility, and marketer-friendly features.

Look for Interoperability

At an enterprise level, connecting many business systems is crucial for building an effective digital experience platform. That’s why you need to choose a CMS with high interoperability. This means robust integration features available out of the box.

At dotCMS, we have an “everything as service” philosophy that means the out of the box REST APIs are highly robust. Using these REST APIs - or the latest GraphQL API - it’s easier than ever to connect and interact with other applications. Developers and even non-technical users can even create additional endpoints using lightweight Velocity scripting. If there are deeper integrations necessary, or the third-party system doesn't expose APIs, then developers can use OSGi plugins.

Don’t Budge on Flexibility

A DXP is only effective if it’s highly customized to meet your specific business requirements. That means it should have features and tools that your marketers need to deliver exceptional digital experiences to your customers. For most enterprises, that means developing additional functionality.

With dotCMS, developers can use OSGi plugins to build new functionality. OSGi plugins run in isolation, so there’s a reduced risk at impacting the dotCMS core when they’re deployed. Furthermore, if there are highly specific business requirements, then the dotCMS source code can be modified because it’s open-source.

Ensure Marketer-friendliness

While choosing a Java-based CMS from a technical standpoint is essential, it’s also crucial to consider the end-users of the software - digital marketing teams. The CMS needs to have features that make it straightforward for marketers to create, manage, and publish content across a variety of digital channels. The CMS should enable business users to work efficiently without technical knowledge or coding experience.  Content publishers should have complete flexibility to create customized content that adheres to any/all branding options, move content and adjust page layouts for targeted device types, audiences, languages, etc. - all without having to know a single line of code. Moreover, in a truly hybrid CMS platform, the content publisher should be able to do these things in the CMS, or in any app they create that communicates with the CMS via APIs.

At dotCMS, we’ve embraced this sentiment under our NoCode philosophy and provide a variety of features like Edit Mode Anywhere and Advanced Workflows that are marketer-friendly.

Java and Enterprise Web Content Management: The Perfect Match

Java has been the language of choice for enterprise software for a long time - and with good reason. It’s more reliable, secure, and has an excellent ecosystem of tools and libraries that Java developers are familiar with. For these reasons, we at dotCMS believe enterprises looking for a foundation to build their DXP foundation should look to a Java-based CMS.

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