By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2005-01-31 Print this article Print

In our review in 2003 of Rhythmyx 5.0, we said the traditionally midtier product had been overhauled to the point where it could be considered a high-end Web content management solution without sacrificing the usability features it had from its midtier days. With Rhythmyx 5.5, which was released in November, the product continues to add more enterprise-friendly features and capabilities.

Several boosts to the products document management capabilities increase the ability to add, track, and find documents and content in the Rhythmyx system. Percussion Software has also made it easier for companies to quickly get up and running with Rhythmyx. The products handy new FastForward option provides a prebuilt configuration that lets companies quickly get started with a new content management platform, and we found the useful sample content included to be a good way to get familiar with many application features.

Rhythmyx 5.5 also supports WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning) for easily adding documents to the content management system, a feature that was long overdue for a product of this type. With this capability, it is now possible to add content from standard network folders and let users deploy content using standard desktop tools. The WebDAV support also makes it possible to deliver content to the content management system directly from a wide variety of applications, including Microsoft Corp.s Office, Macromedia Inc.s Dreamweaver and Adobe Systems Inc.s Photoshop.

The product features tight integration with Convera Corp.s RetrievalWare. With RetrievalWare enabled, we had access to deep, detailed content searching throughout our site and management deployments. We could find content in the site based on various parameters and details, and we could obtain results based on similar words or even concepts, such as "finances" and "money."

In addition, the integrated RetrievalWare features made it much easier for a site to more effectively leverage legacy site content or integrate content from another source. Using the text-extraction features, we could map to pertinent data in the legacy content and map it to the metadata in our site.

As in previous versions, Rhythmyx has good standards support, solid workflow and content revision tracking capabilities, and extensive customization options. Improved directory integration options made it possible to connect to LDAP servers for additional authentication and user notification capabilities. However, these settings must be done in a separate application GUI, which means finding the system with the GUI application loaded whenever these types of changes need to be made. Wed prefer to be able to do this through the browser-based interface.

The content authoring interface is intuitive and powerful, providing lots of capabilities for basic users adding content and more advanced users approving and editing it. The rich-text editor in Rhythmyx is based on Ektron Inc.s eWebEditPro, and a new addition made it possible to do basic in-line image editing directly within the site.

The rich-text editing options have also been extended beyond Internet Explorer. It is now possible to use these features in Mozilla-based browsers, but the product does this through a plug-in that enables ActiveX on these browsers, which isnt an ideal solution to use. This also means that the rich-text editing options are still limited to Windows systems.

As in the previous versions of Rhythmyx, Version 5.5 is fully based on Java Server technology and has broad platform support, working on Linux, Unix and Windows servers, and supporting any Web server, most databases and most Java application servers.

As with many midtier and high-end Web content management products, pricing for Rhythmyx is based on multiple deployment and size factors. According to Percussion representatives, the Rhythmyx Web content management system is typically priced at $150,000, which is competitive with other midtier and high-end products.

Percussion also offers a $50,000 starter edition for smaller sites or those starting off with Rhythmyx.

Click here to read Labs review of Magnolia 2.0. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

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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