Respected IT site (formerly magazine) InfoWorld recently packaged up many of its more positive product reviews from 2007 into a "2008 Technology of the Year" awards compilation. The reviews of some of the vendors we cover made me pause a bit.
Now, trade publications tend to emphasize what a product can do rather than what it cannot do, and that's useful. In fact, we could get better at describing product strengths ourselves. At the same time, if you rely exclusively on one-off reviews, you can miss some potentially very important product details, as well as nuances about the vendor itself.
So let's begin with the July, 2007 review of SDL Tridion's R5 Web CMS. The review was informative, if uniformly glowing, but we'd balance it with some other observations about Tridion you should know. For example...
- ...that underneath the covers R5 is actually a kaleidoscope of COM, .NET, and Java technologies
- That, as my colleague Kas Thomas puts it, you typically need two developer-years' effort to get a full site up and running
- That Tridion-experienced developers remain in very short supply around the globe
- That the R5 user interface is famously difficult to customize, as well as very IE-dependent
I could go on. To be clear, I'm not arguing that Tridion sucks. The company and product surely have their merits, and InfoWorld uncovered most of them. But in software, as in life, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you're going to implement complex technology, take the time to really get to know it before you commit.