Commentary: Why is there such a lack of importing tools for CMS?

I've often wondered why new content management system developers do not first look at how to import from the various popular systems on the market in order to make transitions easier between systems. As an example, let's say you are creating a new CMS that is primarily aimed at the blogging market. Would it not seem like an intelligent first step to figure out how you can make importing from popular platforms a first priority?

Take a recent endeavour where a colleague of mine was attempting to migrate from his WordPress based website to Joomla! in order to make use of some different options. Try as he may, he could not find a reasonably easy way to move his content from one to the other.

Some may argue that WordPress and Joomla! are two platforms designed for separate purposes but that's not necessarily true. Both are content management platforms (whether naysayers agree or not, WP is definitely powerful enough to be classified as a CMS). Yet moving content between the two is frustrating and requires third party unsupported applications and even then, is not foolproof.

Joomla! isn't the only culprit either. Don't assume that we're out to get the Joomla! folks, they've done a great job on their system and it shows in it's wide spread adoption but, like everything, it has it's flaws. Look at most content management platforms today and you'll see importing is normally not an easy feat.

Why is that?

Shouldn't it be a first step in attempting to gain wide spread adoption? Wouldn't it make sense to work on enabling people to quickly and efficiently move their content to your new platform in order to take advantage of new or unique features?

The argument that it's “too difficult” or “time consuming” to develop an importer doesn't fly with me either and to be honest, seems like an excuse to simply not implement something that has an obvious need. While it's true that there are a number of different formats that are used to store data, there has to be a happy medium somewhere.

So we raise the question.. why is this so often excluded?

In this day and age, making it easy for a customer to adopt your system should be a primary first target followed by making it easy to use. Making it easy to mport data just seems like a logical first step.