Magnolia (CMS)

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Magnolia (CMS)
Original author(s) Boris Kraft & Pascal Mangold
Developer(s) Magnolia International Ltd
Initial release 15 November 2003 (2003-11-15)
Stable release 5.4.2 / 9 September 2015; 17 days ago (2015-09-09)
Written in Java
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Content management system
License Enterprise Edition: proprietary EULA,
Community Edition: GPL

Magnolia is an open-source content management system (CMS) developed by Magnolia International Ltd., based in Basel, Switzerland. It is based on Content repository API for Java (JSR-283).

Major releases[edit]

Version Date Features
5.0 2013-06-20 New UI based on HTML5 and Vaadin. Framework for creating task-oriented apps.[1]
4.5.1 2012-03-13 New templating API, multichannel publishing, JCR 2.0 [2]
4.1 2009-06-12 Digital asset management, image generation, commenting.[3]
4.0.1 2009-03-06 Standard templating kit.[4]
3.0 2006-11-15 Enterprise edition with features such as LDAP authentication.[5]
2.0 2004-11-15 Usability improvements.[6]
1.0 2003-11-20 Initial release.[7]


Magnolia CMS is Java-based content management system that uses a JCR repository to store, retrieve and search data. In this respect Magnolia is similar to Adobe Experience Manager, Hippo CMS and Jahia which also use JCR. Magnolia uses Apache Jackrabbit, the JCR reference implementation by default. It is possible to use another JSR-170 certified repository implementation such as Modeshape.

Persistent storage[edit]

In Magnolia, Jackrabbit persists data to a Derby database by default. A light-weight embedded Derby database contains the Magnolia software, configuration, and two demonstration websites in a single download for trying out the system. Production environments commonly replace Derby with an enterprise-scale database such as MySQL, PostgreSQL or Oracle.


Magnolia CMS is distributed as two web applications: an author instance and a public instance. Editors work on the author instance which typically resides in a secure location behind a firewall, inaccessible from the Internet. Editors publish content to a public instance which serves the content to visitors on the Web. The public instance resides in a location that can be reached from the Internet or an intranet.[8] A typical Magnolia CMS production setup consists of at least two public instances. More instances can be created to meet site load and availability needs.


Magnolia CMS has a modular architecture. The system core and features such as the page editor, digital asset management and cache are packaged into separate modules. The module mechanism is also used to package and deploy websites built with Magnolia CMS. The templates, themes and functionality used on a website are split into separate modules.[9]

Modularity allows site administrators to install and uninstall functionality according to a project's requirements. Encapsulating functionality into discrete modules also promotes separation of concerns: one team can work on website templates while another team develops apps, for example.

At the file system level a Magnolia module is a JAR, a Java file format used to package Java class files and resources (images, CSS, JavaScript) into one file. Deploying a Magnolia module involves copying the JAR file into the Java application server and restarting the Magnolia instance. Magnolia CMS recognizes the JAR file during the startup process and installs the module.

Magnolia International Ltd. provides commonly used feature modules such as Commenting and Personalization. The user community has developed further modules for specific tasks such as for checking broken links.[10]


Magnolia clients[11] come primarily from financial services, government and media. The system is best suited for organizations that have complex integration requirements and sufficient IT resources to customize the product to their needs. Significant Java expertise is needed to take advantage of Magnolia's open-source architecture and to integrate the CMS with existing systems. The company has indicated that a file-system based development approach[12] makes the product less demanding of Java skills.


Magnolia Conference is an annual event for CMS developers and digital marketing users. The conference is a place to meet other users, share best practices, and learn about product updates. A technical presentation track targets software developers, focusing on integrations and CMS implementation cases. In 2015, Magnolia added a digital business presentation track where talks focus on content challenges that businesses are facing and how they are using the product build their brands on the Web.

The conference also includes a community unconference where attendees themselves are responsible for proposing, voting for and presenting talks which everyone is free to choose to attend.


  1. ^ Hietala, Antti (2013-06-20). "Release notes for Magnolia 5.0". Magnolia Documentation. Magnolia International Ltd. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Hietala, Antti (2012-03-13). "Release notes for Magnolia 4.5.1". Magnolia Documentation. Magnolia International Ltd. Retrieved 2014-11-05. 
  3. ^ Joseph, Grégory (2009-06-12). "Release notes for Magnolia 4.1". Magnolia Documentation. Magnolia International Ltd. Retrieved 2014-11-05. 
  4. ^ Joseph, Grégory (2009-03-06). "Release notes for Magnolia 4.0.1". Magnolia Documentation. Magnolia International Ltd. Retrieved 2014-11-05. 
  5. ^ Natividad, Angela (2006-11-15). "Magnolia Turns 3, Updates Web CMS". CMSWire (Simpler Media Group). Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  6. ^ Dunwoodie, Brice (2004-11-16). "Magnolia 2.0 Released, J2EE Open-Source CMS". CMSWire (Simpler Media Group). Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  7. ^ "Obinary Releases Free Java-based Enterprise CMS". CMSWire (Simpler Media Group). 2003-11-20. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  8. ^ Hietala, Antti. "Instances". Magnolia Documentation. Magnolia International Ltd. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Meier, Christoph. "Modules". Magnolia Documentation. Magnolia International Ltd. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  10. ^ Kerkhoff, Marvin. "Deadlink App". Magnolia Community Wiki. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "References". Magnolia International Ltd. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Meier, Christoph (2015-07-03). "Release notes for Magnolia 5.4". Magnolia Documentation. Magnolia International Ltd. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 

External links[edit]