There’s a big divide that exists in information technology. One that we’re not supposed to talk about. One that we pretend doesn’t exist, but in fact gets wider with each passing year — it’s the divide between data and content.
Data is a first-class citizen in the IT world. Data has a nice home. It lives in databases that offer control, consistency, security, backup/recovery, indexing, and a query mechanism.
Most content, on the other hand, is homeless, relegated to the file system. If you’re lucky you’re using a search engine to index content, so you can find files containing certain words or phrases. Or, with some additional setup, you can index a few XML tags, if present, and run fielded searches against them. But for most content, the full benefits of living in a database — such as powerful, fined-grained queries, transaction consistency, and immediate availability — just aren’t available.
As a result, our understanding of content has become comparatively impoverished, our expectations for what is possible with content are reduced, and a myth gets perpetuated that content can and should be managed with the same tools and approaches as data.