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Web Content Management (CMS) platforms have increasingly evolved into frameworks for pluggable services and applications, and more product-oriented CMS tools have sought to offer "website-in-a-box" functionality through add-on services. This has given rise to new kinds of "app stores," with modules designed to extend CMS offerings from various third-party providers. This trend has pervaded both the commercial and open source communities.
CMS vendors and open source community leaders frequently brag about the growing volume of such add-on modules, but this landscape can be confusing and ultimately quite disappointing. In many ways, CMS modules mimic the "portlet" (Java) "Web Part" (.NET) phenomenon in the portal world. For you, they bring many of the same opportunities -- as well as a number of recurring problems. Fortunately, there are strategies you can pursue to minimize risks.