Two ancient (in internet time) resources for web developers recently relaunched, both after long hiatuses. A List Apart and Evolt.
A List Apart’s being backed by a custom CMS, written in the latest darling of the language/framework crowd, Ruby on Rails. Evolt is being backed by the open source Drupal CMS.
Both projects should be praised for successfully launching. Completely reworking sites that have years and years of content is an arduous task.
That said, the Evolt “redesign” really shows the limitations of using an existing, pre-written CMS for your site. I put redesign in quotes, because there really isn’t any design to speak of. The Evolt site looks like a Drupal site. Any identity the old site had is gone, and the small strip up top doesn’t make up for it.
By creating their own CMS, A List Apart was afforded more flexibility in the look, feel, branding, etc. of their site. Evolt now looks like any other random result from a google search, which I think is going to hurt the project in the long term.