Universal CMS: The next generation of content management systems

Session Category Sessions off the "Drupal Island" Audience All Attendees

At its core, content is about people.

Despite what sometimes overzealous JavaScript developers and architectural purists say, the content management system remains unique as a nexus of collaboration between disparate content and technical personas, all with their own prerogatives and goals—and for most, headless CMSs aren't the right choice.

The fact is that the CMS has stood alone in its ecological niche in the software world, bringing together people across the back office to work together to push the end user experience forward. Neither headless and composable CMSs, with their focus on developers, and hybrid-headless and monolithic CMSs, with their focus on editors, have an entirely clear answer for what the CMS's future holds.

That's where the Universal CMS comes in.

The Universal CMS paradigm restores the grand compromise that characterized the static web CMS era, with its excellent stories for developers and content editors as first-class citizens. The CMS of the future is universally editable, universally developable, and universally deployable, irrespective of the presentation layer—whether that means Vue.js or Vision Pro, Next.js or native mobile, Amazon Alexa or Angular, WebXR or WebAssembly.

Let's build the Universal CMS that honors the people at the center of all content. Are you in?

About the Speaker

Preston So

VP Product at dotCMS

New York, NY

Preston So (he/they) is a product executive with 20 years in software and 9 years leading product, design, engineering, and developer relations functions at organizations such as Oracle, Acquia, dotCMS, Time Inc., and Gatsby. He is Vice President, Product at dotCMS and the author of Immersive Content and Usability (A Book Apart, 2023), Gatsby: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly, 2021), Voice Content and Usability (A Book Apart, 2021), and Decoupled Drupal in Practice (Apress, 2018).

Named “the smartest guy in the field” by Content Strategy for Mobile author Karen McGrane in 2024 and “probably the smartest person working in this industry right now” by Web Content Management author Deane Barker in 2020, Preston is a globally recognized authority on the intersections of content, design, and code. He is an editor at A List Apart and former top-read columnist at CMSWire. Preston is a frequent presenter with 17 years of speaking engagements spanning over 50 conferences, including SXSW Interactive (2017, 2017 encore, 2018) and An Event Apart (2020–22) and keynotes in three languages. He is based in New York City, where he can often be found immersing himself in languages that are endangered or underserved.