Jamesr on Column Two sets the bar pretty high when he observes that it costs $5 million to write a CMS. On the face of it, I can’t argue with it. The temptation with writing one from scratch is that it so easy, and tempting, to have something functional with a pretty minimal investment (say less than $100k, heck, one marathon coding weekend of a halfway talented/dangerous programmer. If the $5 million is to write an a CMS that "just works right" CMS, I wonder what the price tage for a CMS that handles the majority of the features actually needed by most web sites. I expect the Pareto principle to be in full effect, in that 20% of the features will account for 80% of the cost. Given that rough estimate, you can write a usable CMS for $1 million invested, or can you? I haven’t convinced myself but now since its written on the Interwebs, it must be true.
This is real money (cash) that needs to be found and spent by vendors, to produce an acceptably good mid-market solution. This isn’t a all-singing-all-dancing product we’re talking about here, but rather a CMS that just "works right", and meets the expectations of most purchasers.
What are the difficult 20% features? Workflow, Full Internationalization/Localization of content. ContentHere has a full list of the hard stuff.