Atomz Publish

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2003-01-13 Print this article Print

Atomz Publish

When eWeek Labs reviewed it two years ago, Atomz Publish was one of the first ASPs for Web content management we had seen. The product has progressed nicely since then in most areas, although we would still like to see a more robust user-roles option.

One of the first steps to take when implementing any content management system is to create the templates that will control the look and feel of your site. To do this with Atomz Publish, we simply took a standard HTML page and defined editable areas using a set of defined Atomz tags (which anyone familiar with HTML code could easily handle). Site developers who use Macromedia Inc.s Dreamweaver can download the Atomz extensions for Dreamweaver, making template creation even easier.

One of Atomz Publishs strongest draws is its ability to tightly integrate with Atomzs flagship search product. We could easily link our test site to an Atomz Search account, which ensured that all search indexes were updated whenever the site was published.

One of the weakest aspects of Atomz Publish is how it handles user rights and permissions. Atomz Publish does not let site administrators create custom roles with various rights and permissions; rather, it allows for only two roles, Administrator and Editor. This limits the services ability to work in sites that have many contributors or have complex access requirements.

Administrators can create groups with pre-defined permissions, then assign users to one or more of those groups. These permissions, combined with the capable task workflow in Atomz Publish, allowed us to define how content made its way through our site and who had permission to do what. However, without the ability to create specific roles beyond Administrator and Editor, we had to give, for example, template developers full administrator rights rather than limit them to just the rights they needed.

Contributing and editing site content using Atomz Publish will be a simple task for even novice users. When viewing a Web page in edit mode, editable sections of the page are denoted by a small icon. After clicking on one of the icons, users are brought to a form where they can add or edit content. Other icons display a menu that makes it possible to edit, move or add content within a specific area. Atomz Publish supports full check-in/check-out capabilities for content being edited.

Atomz Publish keeps a complete history of all changes made to pages in the system and has excellent versioning capabilities. In tests, we could view all versions of a page, compare side by side a previous version of a page with the current one and easily revert to older versions.

To publish content to the live Web server, Atomz Publish uses standard FTP. (Atomz also offers a completely hosted option.) There is no support for secure FTP or other secure mechanisms, so companies requiring secure transmission will need to set up a virtual private network arrangement with Atomz. We could also define publishing to a staging server and could configure Atomz to publish to the live site on a preset schedule.

Atomz Publish offers a set of pre-defined reports that make it possible for administrators to view activity within the system. Using these reports, we could see all recent page changes and view when and how users were working in the application.

At a yearly subscription cost starting at $20,000 for a single site with as many as five users, Atomz Publish is priced on par with most midrange self-hosted content management applications, including Microsoft Corp.s Content Management Server.

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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