Ektron CMS200

Let Users Manage Their Own Content

asp:review

Ektron CMS200

Let Users Manage Their Own Content

 

Ektron CMS200 is a Web-content-management solution for the Microsoft ASP platform that makes it easy for users at nearly any technical level to write and publish their own Web content. Rather than send documents to the Webmaster or Web team and then wait for those documents to be loaded onto the Web server, CMS200 users can manage their own content on the company Web site. This makes it easier to keep the site up-to-date, and it frees members of the Web team for other tasks. Complete administrative control and functionality of the Web site remains in the hands of the Webmaster and the Web team.

 

CMS200 is easy to use. All its capabilities are accessed through a Web browser, via a simple and intuitive interface based on folders and icons. After users log onto CMS200, they can see their personal work area. There are content folders to hold content for the site, and library folders to organize images, hyperlinks, and files. Users can check out and check in content. Icons show the current status. FIGURE 1 shows key features of the CMS200 user interface.

 


FIGURE 1: CMS200 offers browser-based administration and content editing.

 

Easy to Use and Configure

CMS200 supports approval chains. Once a user finishes editing content, he or she can press a Submit button and send the content on for approval. If the user has sufficient rights, he or she can press the Publish button so the content goes live to the Web server. Users also can schedule content changes to keep changes consistent and synchronized.

 

The security model in Ektron CMS200 is very similar to the Windows NT/2000 security model. Every user must belong to a user group, and a user can be in more than one group. Be aware of one point, however: CMS200 does not integrate with NT authentication.

 

CMS200 uses templates to preserve the look and feel of the Web site. The templates are standard ASP pages, so they are easy to customize. All you have to do is add two lines of code to any page where you want content management.

 

Ektron bundles its browser-based, WYSIWYG editor, eWebEditPro, into CMS200. Users can easily create and edit Web content, upload images, format tables, and so on with eWebEditPro. CMS200 also ships with Dreamweaver and UltraDev extensions, so you can use them if you prefer not to use eWebEditPro. This makes it easy to use Dreamweaver or UltraDev to add, position, and configure CMS200 templates and ASP functions.

 

My test drive showed CMS200 functioned as described. It was easy for an administrator to configure, and it was easy for a user to manage content. Performance was excellent. Although the browser-based tools use ASP for their user interface, CMS200 is a three-tiered application. COM objects provide all the functionality in the business-rules and data-management tiers.

 

CMS200 is not supplied on disks. Instead, the software is available as a download from Ektron's Web site. CMS200 is priced to be affordable for corporate intranets and small-business Web sites. A license for one URL and up to 10 named users is $2,999. Enterprise pricing ($12,999) is still limited to one URL, although the number of users is unlimited. FIGURE 2 shows the system requirements for CMS200.

 

Server operating system

Windows NT (SP6 or later)

Windows 2000

Application server

Microsoft ASP 2.0 or later

Browsers for editing and publishing

Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 or later

Netscape Navigator 4.x

(Netscape Navigator 6.x not supported)

Browsers for administration

Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 or later

Netscape Navigator 4.x

(Netscape Navigator 6.x not supported)

Supported databases

Microsoft Access

Microsoft SQL Server

FIGURE 2: CMS200 system requirements.

 

CMS200 was engineered according to Microsoft's Distributed Network Architecture (DNA) specification. The presentation layer is a series of ASP pages. COM components are used for the business-rule layer and the data-management layer. As a consequence, CMS200 does not work with ASP.NET or on top of Microsoft's .NET Framework. Work is already under way to port CMS200 to ASP.NET. Because it was built according to the DNA specification, porting will occur in phases, with the initial phase converting the existing ASP pages to ASPX pages. Company representatives at Ektron also said they are working to convert the company's bundled WYSIWYG editor, eWebEditPro, to ASP.NET and expect to complete the conversion sometime this year.

 

Conclusion

If you're looking for an out-of-the-box system for Web authoring and publishing, so users can author their own Web content, Ektron CMS200 delivers a robust yet affordable content-management solution for small and mid-sized organizations.

 

Glenn E. Mitchell II, Ph.D. (Mitch) is president of .Com Consulting Group, a consulting firm in Tallahassee, FL that specializes in Microsoft enterprise solutions. In addition to consulting, he speaks and writes about enterprise application development. Readers may reach Mitch at mailto:[email protected].

 

asp:factfile

Ektron CMS200 is an affordable content-management solution for the Microsoft ASP platform that makes it easy for users at nearly any technical level to publish their own content to the Web.

 

Ektron Inc.

5 Northern Blvd., Bldg. 6

Amherst, NH 03031

 

Phone: (603) 594-0249

E-Mail: mailto:[email protected] and mailto:[email protected]

Web Site: http://www.ektron.com

Price: US$2,999 for a single-URL license with up to 10 named users; US$12,999 for enterprise use (still limited to one URL).

 

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