By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2004-08-02 Print this article Print

PaperThins CommonSpot Content Server has a long-established position as one of the leaders in affordable low- and midrange Web content management. The product has always done a good job of combining extensive customization and administrative capabilities with seamless and intuitive user content editing features.

With the release in April of CommonSpot Content Server 4.0, PaperThin has added a host of features that improve site performance and make life easier for site developers and content contributors.

As in the past, CommonSpot runs on Macromedias ColdFusion, one of the best dynamic Web application servers weve seen. ColdFusion brings easy development and templating capabilities to CommonSpot, but for some enterprises, the fact that CommonSpot doesnt offer a Java server option is probably a strike against it.

Click here to read eWEEK Labs review of ColdFusion. By running as a ColdFusion application, CommonSpot also gains ColdFusions extremely broad platform support. However, client-side support isnt as good—to manage a site or contribute content, IE must be used. As in the case of CrownPeaks Advantage CMS, this could be a serious limitation. PaperThin officials said Version 4.1 of CommonSpot Content Server, due in the fall, will be standards-based and support all browsers.

PaperThin has added many welcome new features for users who contribute and edit content. As we often type in a rather quick-and-dirty fashion, we especially appreciated the well-implemented spell-checking capabilities that seem to work in every dialog box and editing window. CommonSpot also now has the ability to compare different versions of content.

For administrators, the improvements to the product are even more significant: While CommonSpot doesnt equal higher-end products in some areas—namely, workflow—it provides, for the most part, extremely detailed and extensive management options, including a welcome feature for enforcing accessibility requirements.

With this version, it is now easy to copy the settings from one site to assist in creating new sites. Administrators also are able to control what content contributors can read and manipulate within the site.

Pricing for CommonSpot Content Server 4.0 starts at $19,500.

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Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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