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


Many companies will never use—or have use for—complicated workflows and detailed rights permissions. For them, the main goal is to keep the corporate Web site up-to-date, probably with just a few content contributors.

In these cases, a service such as SurfMaps iUpload is a very good fit. iUpload focuses on ease of implementation and ease of use, at a yearly cost well below that of other services and comparable to low-end content management applications such as Ektron Inc.s CMS 200. Although we wouldnt recommend iUpload for a large, complex site that updates content several times a day, it could be a good solution for informational company sites where the main goal is updating press releases and company announcements.

As with Atomz Publish, creating and editing templates in iUpload is a simple matter of adding HTML tags to a Web page. iUpload also provides extensions for Dreamweaver and Microsofts FrontPage.

Also like Atomz Publish, iUpload lacks a robust user-role and permissions model. iUpload grants permissions to folders and files based on individual users and groups, a process that can quickly become a problem in large and complex sites but that will work for smaller sites with few content contributors.

The workflow model in iUpload isnt a true workflow as in Advantage CMS, but it is a very capable approval path tool. Using it, we could easily define the users through whom content would have to pass through before it reached final approval.

iUpload has one of the nicest and most intuitive interfaces weve seen for adding content to a site. The main interface is very clean, making it easy to find all the content a user is working on and/or is responsible for.

Once the template for a section of the site has been completed, we simply clicked New Entry to add content. From here, we were taken to a view of the page where we could enter content directly. Fields such as author, body and images are clearly marked, and we got instant feedback on how the content would look on the live site.

iUpload does not support versioning, however, so users need to be careful when making changes. We recommend backing up content on the server side, so older versions of content will still be available.

iUpload provides a number of publishing options. We especially liked the ability to individually schedule publishing times for any single piece of content, especially nice for press releases or other time-sensitive documents.

Although iUpload doesnt support Secure FTP, it does provide a secure publishing option. The SecureConnect application, which needs to be installed on customers servers, lets businesses choose to transmit content in a secure channel.

iUpload also gives customers the option to use WebSideStory Inc.s HitBox to analyze how a site is being used by visitors. However, iUpload lacks any internal reporting or analysis capabilities to show how the content management system itself is being used. This is not a problem if less than, say, five people are using the system, but it presents management problems when more users enter the picture.

iUploads price is appealing: Starting at $400 per month and $50 per user per month, a company can expect to pay less than $10,000 a year for a relatively small implementation. This makes iUpload extremely cost-effective compared with anything except free open-source 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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