Media Management: Still a Hard Problem

I’ve spent the last couple of months working on evaluating CMS solutions for a large intranet project I’m a developer on. I think our goal is fairly straightforward: let web publishers edit the content of their pages without having to worry about knowing any HTML. However, what seems like it should be a simple problem is surprisingly complex.

We are close to standardizing on ExpressionEngine since it gets us 85% of the way there. It gives us the flexibility of defining forms to allow complex data sets to be represented cleanly, but there’s no WYSIWYG editor built in.

But by far, the most conspicuous absence has been an open-source, comprehensive image asset manager. I’ve searched long and hard for a system that makes it easy for a media organization to handle images flexibly, with no success. I’ve looked at Gallery and Coppermine, as well as the built-in media managers in WordPress, Movable Type, Joomla, and more.

Here are the basic requirements:

  • Open source
  • Preferably built in PHP (that’s what the rest of our code base is)
  • Web-based UI when it’s feasible to do so
  • Importers from the variety of packages our photographers use
  • Extensive metadata support
  • Derived images that are linked to a master original
  • Automated scaling and crops according to a specified image size, using focal points to automatically crop a picture off-center
  • Version control
  • Easy exporters to integrate with a variety of CMS packages.

Am I missing something obvious? Why hasn’t a tool like this achieved greater market share?