Web content management vendors turn to open source search

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Web content management vendors turn to open source search

Web content management (WCM) vendors are increasingly bundling open source site search functionality into their products, rather than recommending third-party alternatives, according to the Web CMS Report 2009 from CMS Watch.

The analyst firm analysed 42 WCM solutions on the market and found that around 40 per cent now embed the Apache-based Lucene open source engine into their offerings, and that several others are considering it for future versions.

"When we first covered WCM tools a decade ago, vendors typically embedded site search engines, often ones they built themselves," said CMS Watch founder Tony Byrne.

"Then the pendulum swung the other way, as vendors who recognised the limits of their simple search tools encouraged customers to purchase 'best of breed' alternatives, such as Google Search Appliance."

However, vendors have now returned to embedding site search in their products, primarily because the technology can access more relevant data and deliver richer results more easily than a third-party solution, according to the analyst.

Guided navigation is also possible with an embedded site search engine, which allows users to drill down into results to find the information they need. Lucene also offers modules which can extend the product to provide advanced functionality such as stemming, spell-checking and file filters, Byrne said.

However, CMS Watch analyst Adriaan Bloem warned that some versions of Lucene are more "productised" than others, and customers should test the maturity and the level of integration of Lucene into the WCM product before buying.

"Integrating advanced features, like file filters for Office documents, takes work, and not all WCM vendors embedding Lucene have taken the necessary steps to put their solution on a par with Google's appliance," he said.

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