Sophora CMS: A New Take on Content Management

Fast. Powerful. Flexible. Easy to use. Comfortable. We built our CMS Sophora with these key challenges in mind.

Sophora is a dynamic multi channel content management system, built for professional, 24/7 use. Sophora was developed in cooperation with one of Europe’s most relied-on news websites, Sophora puts the fun back into writing and editing content by using state of art Java Technology. Sophora is built with respect of the need for a straight forward and useable content management system so that every day tasks are simplified. Our CMS is quicker, easier and do not sacrifice function or form. Take a look at Sophora's unique combination of features and see for yourself.

Sophora CMS Editor

How is Sophora Different?

  • Desktop editing client with excellent usability.
  • Multichannel capability with no restrictions on editor creativity.
  • Robust, standards-based architecture with independent delivery servers to ensure greater performance, scalability and fail-safe operation with reduced risk.
  • Rapid implementation thanks to comprehensive straight-out-of-the-box functions for simple and flexible configuration.
  • Optimal price/performance ratio due to a simple licensing model without processor lock-in and with minimal infrastructure requirements.


“The technical standardization within the WDR is crucial for the development of our online publications. Sophora is the basis for the coordination of the entire WDR online presence, as it can integrate various digital formats, and is very user friendly (Translated).” Stefan Moll, Director of Online Programming, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)

 “subshell developed Sophora in 2006 upon our request and therefore it was developed to directly suit our needs. The system is easy to use for our editors and, due to its inherent flexibility, was smoothly integrated into our existing infrastructure (Translated).” Niels Rasmussen, Director of Online and Multimedia Programming, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), September 2011

 “Radio Bremen has been working with Sophora since 2009 and we are very satisfied with the CMS. Sophora fulfilled our desire for an easy implementation; the content management system is user-friendly and simplifies our editorial process (Translated).“ Loretta Findeisen, Departmental Management Online, BREMEDIA PRODUKTION GmbH

"The transition at to the content management system Sophora was smooth. Sophora functioned perfectly even during the critical launch phase. In terms of our technology, we are optimally positioned for the future (Translated).” Stephan Ressel, IT-Project Manager MDR

“Sophora’s multiple out of the box functions met our expectations for a modern and efficient intranet. In a short time, the intuitive interface and built-in search function proved themselves as exceptional (Translated).” Kerstin Post, Head of hr inline

Eight Content Management Successes

1. Create The Most Successful and Controversial German News App

Tagesschau’s app was downloaded over 4,8 million times (as of November 2012) and held the lead for most downloaded apps for several weeks. Thanks to Sophora, content for mobile device users is published without further editorial overhead.

2. Keep Your Editors (Almost) Happy

If you content really is “king”, then you must give your editors a tool to support them in efficiently creating good content. As the features are similar among all high-end CMS, it is becoming increasingly important how these features are implemented. For more and more professional editors, Sophora is therefore the first choice due to its user-friendly structure.

3. Reach More Than 100 Million Page Views A Month With Pure News Content 

Sophora meets the high standards of, including timeliness, quality, and reach – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

4. Run A Succesful Olympic Website Without An Expensive CDN

The MDR covered the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver for the ARD. With Sophora’s slim, high-performance structure, the MDR was able to handle 55 million page hits over a 2-week period with multiple standard Linux serves, without the usage of an external Content Distribution Network (CDN).

5. Consolidate The Online Infrastructure Of Your Organizations

At the WDR, there was an entire zoo of content management systems, including TeamSite, Typo3, and a proprietary CMS. With the introduction of Sophora, as the central CMS, the structures were more clearly defined, reducing costs and awakening the dormant potential synergies of their editorial teams.

6. Keeping The Focus On The Content

Sophora brings a proven editorial concept that was developed in collaboration with some of the most successful Germany online editors. Furthermore the program is in a constant state of development and improvement to meet new marketplace demands. Why waste time and money with endless management, design, and development requirements for a custom CMS? With Sophora, the Hessische Rundfunk successfully implemented ourCMS without a single change to its code.

7. Publish A Fresh Website On The Weekend – Even With A Small Editorial Staff

Radio Bremen works with small teams; Sophora’s Publishing Planner helps the team to plan and publish teasers and to keep content fresh, regardless of low staff coverage.

8. Successfully Implement A New Brand Strategy

Since the NDR consolidated from 11 websites to 1 with Sophora, viewer traffic has only increased.

Content Management & Delivery Features

Find it Fast

Scan your database. With Sophora, you can identify the precise content you are looking for from among millions of documents. For ease of use, the search function is fully integrated into your working process and provides results in fractions of a second in a readable form. Of course, search results can be further filtered according to specific users, document types, keywords or publishing states. You can then edit search results in Sophora directly by rapidly opening documents, adding articles to home pages via drag & drop or placing images in texts. Naturally, Sophora saves your favorite searches and history.


Easy Writer

Sophora's editor offers exactly what you need, no more and no less. Copy & paste, paragraph and text formatting, lists, links to other sites and an integrated, upgradeable global spell check are standard features with Sophora. Our table editor ensures barrier-free table generation. You can simply drag & drop other Sophora content into your text, no matter whether images, picture galleries, video or audio. All commands can be initiated via a menu or by using familiar shortcuts.

Working with CMS Sophora's text editor


Integrated Image Editing

Editing images in Sophora is child’s play. Sophora automatically extracts the IPTC metadata from an uploaded image and generates all image versions required from large banners to small teasers. In addition, you can select the appropriate detail, image quality, and sharpness for each version.

Integrated Image Editing in Sophora CMS

Image Placement, Simplified

No time lost while adding and positioning images into texts. With Sophora, you can simply combine the two. Each image can be dragged and dropped to the selected paragraph; the document structure is retained. With Sophora, the shortcomings of conventional CMS and word processing programs are a thing of the past.

Simple Image Placement in Sophora CMS

Compiling Content

DIY! Creating Pages with Drag & Drop

With an innovated drag & drop function, Sophora allows you to compile a home page from available documents faster than ever before. The process is streamlined: open an article, start a search, and drag the relevant content to the “Components” section. Finished! You can also use this method to create slide shows or add related content to your articles. Sophora ensures that all changes to a source document are passed on to each reference – no matter whether you have reworked the teaser text or completely removed the document. Leads and news in Sophora are always up to date and “dead” links are a thing of the past.

Homepages, Automated

Not enough time to manually compile a home page? Don’t worry; you can create a filter in Sophora with a range of search parameters. This filter is then used to find the latest relevant articles and to display them on a home or feature page.

Override: The Perfect Fit

Can your content be adapted to the context? Of course it can – with Sophora. Shorten a teaser for a specific home page, customize its tone with a few changes for a different target group… you decide which fields of the original document to override.
Sophora helps by highlighting the altered content, keeping everything clear and simple. Of course, you can revert to the original content at any time.

Overriding in Sophora CMS

Ultimate Flexibility – Dynamic Tables

With Sophora’s dynamic tables you can manage data tables with speed and flexibility. Producing interactive features, including saving elections results and systematizing sales figures has never been this straightforward. Even processing data sheets and displaying poll findings are quick and easy processes. Sophora simplifies your work by offering mandatory fields, values for selection, validations and link creation via drag & drop. Structured saving of table data allows information to be flexibly evaluated and dynamically displayed. All tables are of course fully compatible with imports so you can also easily use content from external sources.

Dynamic Tables in Sophora CMS

Teamwork: A More Intelligent Way to Work

Sophora's innovative task view facilitates your workflow. Drag & drop content to the appropriate section. Your document, with or without a brief comment, can then be reviewed by all editors who have access to the specified task section. They can then integrate the document into their pages using drag & drop, or reply with a comment. The Sophora task view is flexible. It allows you to pitch stories to your editors-in-chief, map internal workflows and to monitor news feeds and imports.

How to edit proposals

Breaking New Ground! Intuitive Web Site Configuration

Sophora’s “Structure” view makes configuring structure and navigation for your Web site effortless. Start by identifying the menu items before linking them to the corresponding pages via drag & drop. You can also assign a document to entire sections of your Web site – the document' s content can then be used each time any page in the section is displayed. This allows you to adapt section banners, boxes and layouts. Another plus is that the structure and filename also define your Web site’s search engine friendly URLs. Nothing could be easier.

 Intuitive Web Site Configuration with CMS Sophora

Publish Faster

Content must now be published faster than ever. Online readers expect immediate information. Sophora ensures your web pages are always up to date. The ergonomic Sophora editor has no unnecessary details to slow you down. Your documents are created without delay and posted by clicking “Publish” – and our state-of-the-art technology ensures their immediate online availability. Nor do we waste time in generating pages. Each participating Sophora server uses an internal database to access all live content locally. Additionally, only those Web page fragments that have actually been changed are regenerated. Sophora’s efficient caching then ensures pages can be accessed immediately. Even static web pages don’t get faster than this!

Ready For The Enterprise

Robust Architecture for Rapid & Fail Safe Publishing

The CMS divides tasks between a content master server for editing work and the delivery servers for content delivery. The master sends the content to all connected delivery servers. You can connect as many delivery servers as necessary; all are fail-safe. Each server saves the live content locally in its own repository and delivers it even if other servers fail. Each delivery server in the default configuration uses a fully encapsulated Java database. This reduces the administrative workload and means additional servers can be deployed rapidly. Sophora also has a reliable fallback concept for the master server. Fallback servers can be connected to the master server and can be constantly provided with all content in all versions. A fallback server is readily available in an emergency. At the same time, Sophora has only minimal infrastructure requirements. Our CMS is compatible with free software and needs neither an application server nor a database cluster nor an operating system cluster.

Sophoras Architektur für rasantes Publizieren auf allen Kanälen

One Editor for All Platforms

Sophora provides editors with a platform-independent desktop environment. Regardless if you use a Mac or PC, you are always fast. And there’s another key advantage: Sophora is one of the first CMS in the world to offer a rich client based on Eclipse RCP technology. Eclipse RCP runs more smoothly than classic Java applications and includes many important standard functions. In addition, the editor does not affect the “inside” of your operating system. If required, it automatically updates itself and connects via HTTP(S) to the editing server. A further advantage is that Eclipse RCP is completely plug-in-based; you can expand Sophora whenever you want.

Easy to Customize

Customize Sophora to meet your needs. Document types can be flexibly configured in the DeskClient; the corresponding editing interface is generated automatically. The plug-in concept from Eclipse RCP allows you to expand the DeskClient with standard technologies. An integrated browser component enables seamless integration of web-based applications into the DeskClient. The Sophora DeskClient allows developers to save scripts with which they access Sophora workflows. Sophora supports lightweight scripting (Groovy and BeanShell scripting language and others) in accordance with standard JSR 223. All developers have full access to a development repository with Sophora’s client API and delivery API. This allows them to develop individual clients, connect external systems and add delivery functions. All Sophora components come with a JMX interface (Java Management Extensions) to adapt Sophora's monitoring to individual needs and to integrate with existing monitoring systems.

Your Way. Convenient User Interface and Document Type Configuration

You define individual document types and the corresponding editing interfaces directly in the Sophora administration view; no need to program or to process cryptic XML files. Instead, you use select values, regular expressions for validation, and mandatory fields in order to define the form and structure of document types. Inheritance can be used to reuse definitions and namespaces can be used to organize them. You can then define in detail the features of the corresponding user interface that is automatically generated by Sophora.

Sophora CMS - Konfiguration von Benutzeroberflächen und Dokumenttypen

Flexible Document Tabs

Sophora uses document tabs to structure each document's content into easily digestible chunks. Typically, basic content is separated from meta data. In Sophora you can configure per document type the tabs that you need, how your tabs are labeled and how the document's entry fields should be placed on these tabs. Another benefit: you can easily connect a tab with an external website or online-application, e.g. web analytics or a forum thread related to the document at hand.

Want More? Sophora is Upgradable

Sophora grows with your requirements. You can rapidly connect additional delivery servers in response to a rise in hits on your Web site. An internal database enables each individual server to play out your Web site separately. Each additional delivery server therefore makes the maximum contribution to performance. Sophora’s technical infrastructure requirements are, incidentally, minimal.