CMS vendors quickly adapt to the rapid developments in web technology. This can be a hurdle when you want to upgrade an older CMS version to a more recent one.
Most CMS vendors claim to have an upgrade path for existing customers. In our experience, a clean upgrade of your environment to the latest release is often impossible.
This inconvenience is the logical result of these simultaneous processes:
- Your organization’s content diversifies over time due to custom functionality and creative use of the CMS’s possibilities.
- Web technology changes quickly. CMS vendors adapt, meaning their products are subject to rapid change.
- Your own idea of how content should be modeled changes over time.
Smart Design in 2007
For example in Tridion R5, the design of templates is embedded within the components that use them. At the time (2007), this was a smart design which allowed for template changes without “breaking” old content.
Hundreds of Templates Now
Years later, you have a content management system with not just a handful of unique templates, but literally hundreds of them. The moment you want to upgrade you need to bring this number down drastically.
Years Between Upgrades
We see this type of issue not just with Tridion, but with virtually every CMS (and DMS for that matter) we encounter. Upgrades work fine if your system is only a year old, but later on they get more and more difficult.
Questions to Ask
If you are at the brink of a CMS upgrade, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my current content model still suit me?
- Do I want to port all custom functionality to the new system?
- Does the quality of my content rate B+ at minimum?
Upgrade = Platform Migration
If the answer to one or more of the above questions is ‘no’, then the factory upgrade path won’t work as well as expected. The solution is to qualify your upgrade as a platform migration, which in fact it is, and act accordingly.