Nothing shocking here, just reality. There are a lot of unique problems in the world and we don't have time to solve them all perfectly. I'll be the first to aknowlege that a Content Management company using something like WordPress to blog about their adventures is somewhat ironic. We do have a blog component in Concrete today, and it works well if you need to incorporate a blog into a larger more design centric site. For this problem, I did not. I just needed something I could setup quickly and use well from anywhere without having to take my developers away from building a CMS that serves our client's needs… So in addition to WordPress, here are some other 3rd party tools we enjoy around the office…

UPDATE: We moved all this content into our own concrete5.org site with a nice blog UI on the top end. So while aspects of this post remain true (blogs are about writing, concrete5 is about managing) the bulk of it is way out of date.

Intervals – we used to use a timetracking app called Harvest and a bug tracking app called Unfuddled. Intervals does a great job combining the two into a single tool we can use to keep track of what needs to be done and how long it took. It's all hosted of course, ajaxy web2.0 lovin. good product, reasonable rates.

gMail – there is a corporate version that is way buried in google's site where you can point your MX records to google and use the gmail interface for all your mail. It's free if you want, or pretty cheap to kill the ads and get more storage. You also get the calendar thing thrown in. This replaces exchange for us, it's accessible via an iPhone (well the calendar only kinda, but doable) and it's really just the best thing since sliced bread. I love the labels instead of folders, I love the threading, I can even download mail via imap to my iphone and mac mail client and organize it when i'm waiting for someone in the rain or with a slightly better interface in mac mail when on a plane. Did I mention its free? Microsoft charges thousands of bucks for this kinda stuff… hmmmmmmmm?

MailChimp – we don't do bulk emails, we hate spam issues, we do our own newsletters and council our clients to do their blasts with a 3rd party service. I've heard good things about constant contact and some others, but i like mail chimp. Being able to track open rates and see where people clicked is huge. If anyone knows of a service like this that offer an API so we can do custom mail merge stuff I'd love to hear about it.

So just to re-iterate: Concrete CMS is a full site management tool. It websites for small to mid sized organizations that need complete control over their site's presentation and content. The latest version will have some cool starting points so one could get started "in three easy steps!" but it's not a blog, won't ever be just a blog, and given the choice of spending my money on building a better CMS to give away, or recreating tools that already exists… well makes sense now, eh?