"Count what is countable. Measure what is measureable. What is not measureable, make measureable." -- Galileo

Sunday, June 22, 2008

June Amazon Stats

Its time for my quarterly analysis of Amazon stats for Plone books. Of particular interest is that Aspeli has "dropped" from around 50,000 to well over 200,000. Remember that increasing Amazon rank means decreased sales volume.

With this sudden up-turn, I'd be inclined to think that six months after the Plone 3.0 release and the publication of Professional Plone Development everyone who needed the book has bought it.

Come back in Sept. and we'll see if this is a fluke or a continuing trend. For prospective authors, now is the time to hit the market since there's room at the top. Better still, how 'bout a second edition, Martin? Geared to 3.2?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Simpson's Paradox -- CMS Matrix Revisited

I've recently run up against Simpson's paradox at work and thought I'd look at some CMS stats through that lens. Its been awhile since I dug in at CMS Matrix, so let's begin there.

If you click on their internal link to the detailed statistics (thank you CMS Matrix), you'll be able to dig down into the specific ratings reported on each category from Security to Built-In Applications. With a little help of cutting, pasting, and rearranging in a simple database, one can generate a table such as the following for any CMS of the 517 or so that they have listed. (Is everyone building CMSs these days?!)

The count is just the number of responses that make up the rating. Remember, this is a self-selected, self-reporting rating system. Don't fall in love with the numbers.

Category DrupalPlone
Ease of Use 6.20 6.73
Management 6.49 6.62
Flexibility 6.76 7.03
Commerce 5.67 5.09
Sys Req 6.70 5.77
Support 6.37 6.25
Performance 6.43 6.00
Interop 6.27 6.50
Apps 6.40 6.51
Sum 13.38 12.47
Count 215 101
Rating 4/10 6/10

At first glance one would look at the sums (Drupal = 13.38; Plone 12.47) and conclude that Drupal is the winner. But Simpson's Paradox tells us to look into the underlying data and make sure that there aren't confounding parameters. In this case, there are--the categories themselves.

If we look at the individual categories, we see that Plone outranks Drupal in 6 of 10 categories. By this reckoning, one could say that Plone is the superior CMS.

But again, to harp on my theme of requirements-driven decision making, one should consider "what you need your CMS to do" in your particular and probably unique circumstances.

Are security and flexibility your top concerns? They are at the national laboratory where I work. Commerce and system requirements rank very low in our situation--we don't "sell" anything and we have complete control over our servers--we can create any required system environment. Interoperability is a big one for us, since we develop on Windows testbeds and deploy on UNIX machines. Plone makes perfect sense.

If you are weak on Python, heavy on PHP, and can't get your ISP to install a Zope instance, you will likely find Drupal the preferred product. Of course, I'd argue that your PHP programmers could learn Python in a flash and its a far better language in terms of code maintenance and scalability, but that's a discussion for the Pythonistas to hold.

Bottom line: Requirements, requirements, requirements!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Source Forge 2008 Community Choice Awards

OK, I know Plone has moved from SourceForge to LaunchPad.net, but its that time of year--the time when every Plonista needs to hop over to SourceForge and nominate their favorite open-source projects for the Community Choice Awards. I personally nominated Plone for Best Project, Best for Educators, and Most Likely to Change the World. Perhaps the Plone for Educators buildout should be used for the Best for Educators nomination, so feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts and nominations can be coordinated.

Friday, June 6, 2008

NTEN Report

As Jon Stahl pointed out over at Nabble, the Nonprofit Technology Network published its 2008 CMS Satisfaction Survey (see the link at the bottom of his post--thanks, Jon). Today I'm going to look at their CMS Adoption data (pg. 9).

Please don't take this too seriously, since the sample size isn't terrifically large (but congrats to NTEN for getting so much data). As Jon pointed out, this is a self-reporting survey, so it is anything but random.

Here are the columns for all organizations irrespective of size (measured by budget):

Count Percent
Other 216 29%
Drupal 114 15%
Plone 62 8%
Joomla! 59 8%
Convio_CMS 52 7%
Antharia 49 7%
Blackbaud 47 6%
iMIS 26 4%
Kintera_Sphere_CMS 26 4%
ImpressCMS 20 3%
WordPress 18 2%
Ektron 14 2%
Custom 14 2%
XOOPS 13 2%
Convio_PageBuilder 12 2%
CrownPeak 11 2%

"Other" comes out clearly at the head of the pack with Drupal a distant second and Plone/Joomla! leading the peloton at 8%. Let's now look at the values for small organizations (budgets under $500K):

Count Percent
Other 43 21%
Drupal 40 19%
Joomla! 31 15%
Plone 31 15%
Antharia 16 8%
WordPress 10 5%
XOOPS 10 5%
ImpressCMS 9 4%
Blackbaud 4 2%
Convio_CMS 2 1%
Custom 2 1%
Kintera_Sphere_CMS 2 1%
Convio_PageBuilder 1 1%
CrownPeak 0 0%
Ektron 0 0%
iMIS 0 0%

"Other" is still on top with 21% and Drupal is still seated in second, but both Plone and Joomla! at 15% have pulled away from the peloton (<9%).

For large organizations we find:

Count Percent
Other 87 31%
Convio_CMS 35 12%
Blackbaud 26 9%
Drupal 20 7%
iMIS 14 5%
Plone 13 5%
Antharia 13 5%
Kintera_Sphere_CMS 12 4%
Joomla! 11 4%
Convio_PageBuilder 9 3%
CrownPeak 9 3%
Ektron 7 3%
ImpressCMS 6 2%
Custom 4 1%
WordPress 1 0%
XOOPS 1 0%

If one looks at medium-sized organizations (no need for another chart, trust me) ,"Other" once again tops the list with everyone else far below in the pack. Drupal is now fourth, Plone sixth, and Joomla! sinking to ninth.

What can we conclude from this? Here's the graph of all the data, including the medium-sized organizations:

Among large, well funded nonprofits, "other" (which may frequently mean home-built), far and away is reported more often that any of the other titles.

At small nonprofits, "other" along with Plone, Drupal, and Joomla! fare roughly equally well.

In between, at medium-sized organizations, "other" and Drupal top the ranks.

Another way to look at this is to combine large and medium org percents (M+L) and compare that score against the small org number.

Small minus M+L

Count Percent Percent
Joomla! 25 5% 9%
Plone 28 6% 9%
Drupal 65 14% 5%
XOOPS 1 0% 5%
WordPress 6 1% 4%
Antharia 23 5% 3%
ImpressCMS 11 2% 2%
Custom 10 2% -1%
Convio_PageBuilder 9 2% -1%
CrownPeak 10 2% -2%
Ektron 12 3% -3%
Kintera_Sphere_CMS 21 5% -4%
iMIS 24 5% -5%
Blackbaud 34 7% -5%
Convio_CMS 42 9% -8%
Other 142 31% -10%

Now Plone and Joomla! move to the top of the list, which is to say their numbers fell off most sharply as one moved from small to medium and large organizations. One might conclude that Plone and Joomla! are best suited for situations where there is little money to spare, whether for installation, licenses, training, customization, or IT in general. Drupal and "other" are then favored when there is a larger org with presumably more disposable income to spare on CMS.

But without a doubt, the biggest lesson from all this is that open source is very strong within the not-for-profit community.