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OASIS Versus Open Source

Once a decision has been made to craft an intranet or website (whether for the first time or as a redevelopment), you will be faced with a very significant decision: which technology framework or Content Management System should be used?
This decision warrants careful evaluation of your goals/expectations for your project (i.e., what it must/should/may/can’t do), and an evaluation of the fit of the various technologies available to help you achieve that. You likely will need an implementation partner (as technology partner, digital agency, or even just “content rationalist”) to help you set the stage for a technology choice. And be aware – there is no definitive solution to determining which CMS will be suit you.

The OASIS web CMS, developed for websites, intranets and portals by Sandbox Software Solutions, is a powerful, easy-to-use and secure web content management system with a 10 year track record. Now in version 7, OASIS has been developed in the well-supported Java programming language, and incorporates a broad range of current modern technologies, including support for responsive design, print stylesheets, analytics and e-commerce integration and accessibility compliance. OASIS, a so-called proprietary CMS (because the source code is not freely available for use by anyone) and has an affordable licensing approach that grants organizations rights while avoiding any per-person usage charges.

When evaluating a CMS for a website, intranet or portal, it is critical to cross both technical compliance and pricing bridges. In addressing pricing, open source solutions come without an inherent price tag for code use, but do rely on costs associated with configuration to achieve desired goals.

For a proprietary CMS like OASIS, here are the pros and cons:


  • Robustness Coming From Conscious Development
    Most proprietary web CMS, including the OASIS web CMS, were carefully architected by technologists working on a team from a careful product plan. Because a closed group worked on the CMS from “blueprints”, the system is often more stable, delivers better speed of response to queries and requests, and has code meeting certain constraints and standards.
  • Updates Integration Typically Available
    For most proprietary web CMS like OASIS, the software provider will roll out updates on a regular basis. These updates were again “consciously created” and well tested prior to distribution.
  • Peace of Mind Through Enhanced Security
    Since the software code that underlies the CMS isn’t available to the general public, many proprietary web CMS like OASIS are more secure. (For CMS with broad access to the software code, malicious savvy programmers can hack in to these solutions and either bring the portal/intranet down or steal sensitive corporate data.)
  • Consistent Service and Support
    A proprietary web CMS, like the OASIS web CMS, is supported by the team that owns the code. This support means that you know who to call – and when the owning organization has a reliable business satisfaction approach and a track record, you know you’ll be supported when you need it.
  • Customization That Works
    When you opt for a proprietary web CMS like OASIS, you can be assured that the software team behind the product can create functionality that works specifically to your requirements, and that seamlessly integrates into the CMS. This can prove problematic for developers trying to create seamless integrations with open source CMS.



  • Contracts & CMS Leasing
    Cost of use of a proprietary web CMS (through licensing fees) definitely exceed direct cost of ownership of an open source CMS platform. 
  • Vendor Handcuffing
    When you select a proprietary CMS, you will be supported by the team responsible for its creation, or a partner. Should that relationship be unsatisfactory, there is often no easy way to move to another vendor short of switching platforms. (So, be sure that you perform due diligence on your vendor, because it is a long-term relationship!)
  • Lack of Customization
    Since you’ll essentially be leasing a CMS with a goal of fitting the needs of many within your industry, you may struggle to get complex customizations in cases where a vendor issues their CMS as a fixed product. (Note that with the OASIS web CMS, the team at Sandbox Software Solutions offers complete customization services – so that you can build unique functionality from scratch or have an existing functional component customized. There are no limits to what can be achieved within the OASIS web CMS.)
  • Reliance on Vendor To Keep the CMS Updated
    Some vendors with proprietary web CMS offerings don’t keep investing in the system’s evolution and incorporation of new best methods or security protocols. Ask to see an updated change log and request multiple references to determine whether the proprietary CMS is a priority of the organization that created it.

Open source web CMS solutions can be used to create intranets and portals. Many of these have achieved a degree of popularity, in part because the software code is available without charge to any interested party. Many of these platforms are continually worked on and developed for, with large developer reach. As a consequence, platform enhancement is constantly occurring, albeit by a disparate group of developers with differing skills and interests.\


Here are some of the pros and cons of using an open source CMS for a website, portal or intranet:


  • Affordability
    You can’t beat free as the cost for your portal or intranet code.
  • Large Pool of Developers
    When many thousands of websites have been built on open source CMS frameworks, you do get the advantages that come from a large group of developers who know how to intervene with the code.
  • Availability of Extensions and Plugins
    Many extensions or plugins to the core functionality of the website code are available to those brave enough to search for them. In some cases, a functionality that you seek or a problem you wish to resolve has already been resolved by someone else – and costs to secure that solution can be lower than the price tag attached to custom coding.
  • Regularly Updated Code
    Open source CMS platforms are frequently “managed” by a committee that has taken responsibility for incorporating new features and adjusting security as code it hacked. This can mean a frequency of upgrades that exceeds that of proprietary web CMS platforms.
  • Vendor Portability
    If you’ve chosen an open-source solution, you enjoy the luxury of being able to find alternative technology vendors (qualified in that platform, of course!) to take over the maintenance and upgrade of your portal or intranet



  • Attacks
    When you use a code base that is literally in the hands of thousands of developers, you run risks that those with malicious intent can corrupt your portal or intranet, or hack into it and steal sensitive corporate data. 
  • Not All Platforms Provide Similar Quality/Features
    Some open-sourced platforms can be quite hard to use, reflecting the many cooks who have been in the kitchen. Many others have fairly limited use, and therefore, a very small group of developers. Always review videos and user guides to make sure the user experience is one you can live with.
  • Functional Deficits
    For many websites, portals and intranets, functionalities are tweaked and adjusted to get just what is needed. In as many cases, nothing currently available in the extensions and plug-ins libraries does what you need done – so you wind up investing in software development anyway, negating any pricing advantages. And in many cases, the web CMS wasn’t even designed to be used for portals or intranets – and fails to provide some of the rich feature set that are needed to support multiple users and collaboration. 
  • Upgrade Compromises
    If your website, portal or intranet does require custom functionality to be coded by developers, you may find yourself closing the door to future core system upgrades, because the changes made may not be compatible with the trajectory and changes planned for future releases of the open source CMS.
  • Custom Functionality Might Break the Bank
    Should custom coding be required to create for you a unique and tailored extension or CMS change, this could come with a significant price tag, in some cases at least comparable to, if not greater than, the cost of similar coding in a proprietary CMS.
  • Sketchy Support That Could Fail
    While many reputable vendors do justice in their use of open source CMS platforms for portals and intranets, you may find yourself stymied when your internal team, or an outside tech team not that familiar with the solution, encounters a significant problem or bug. Without dedicated programmers who know the code and its extensions inside and out, you can wind up with a rough ride.


Choosing a between a proprietary web CMS vs an open source CMS is an ongoing challenge, and it is particularly critical when an intranet or web portal are in play. The OASIS web CMS offers affordability, security, ease of use, data exportability, and a collection of features (with feature expandability) to enable the creation and management of remarkable websites, intranets and portals.