Review: CMS300 2.6

 
 
By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2003-06-09
 
 
 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
CMS300 2.6
For corporate Web sites that need tight content management but dont need a lot of high-end features, Ektrons CMS300 provides quick deployment and high usability at a price that wont even get you in the door at most content management companies.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
USABILITY EXCELLENT
CAPABILITY GOOD
PERFORMANCE GOOD
INTEROPERABILITY GOOD
MANAGEABILITY GOOD
SCALABILITY FAIR
SECURITY FAIR
  • PRO: SVery good usability; good XML support.

  • CON: Runs only on Windows servers; RSS syndication feature could be easier to implement.

  • EVALUATION SHORT LIST
    Infosquare.coms OpenShare PHPNuke Plone
    For a few years, Ektron has been the flag bearer for effective, low-cost content management applications, and Ektrons eWebEditPro has become almost a de facto standard for browser-based rich editing. However, the company has also been steadily adding more enterprise-related features to its line of content management products.

    At the top of this line is CMS300, which is Ektrons most enterprise-oriented product. Among the new features in CMS300 2.6, which was released last month, are much greater Web services support; more capable approval and roles options; and support for multiple databases, including Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server and Oracle Corp.s databases.

    In addition, while lower-end Ektron applications such as Empower are based on Macromedia Inc.s Cold Fusion, CMS300 is based on Microsofts Active Server Pages and .Net Framework. But even though CMS300 represents the high end for Ektron, it still has a decidedly low-end price. At $4,999 for one URL and 10 users, its about the cost of one line of code in the big high-end content management systems.

    CMS300 also makes much better use of XML than did previous versions, integrating it well throughout the system for enforcing layout and templates. And although the system is Microsoft-based, it will still support systems using Cold Fusion or PHP.

    For end users contributing content, CMS300 will seem very similar to other Ektron offerings. Most of the major changes in this release are on the developer and administration side.

    One of the biggest new features that Ektron is touting is support for content syndication using RSS (which can stand for Rich Site Summary, Really Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary). With this feature, sites can define portions of their content that can be easily syndicated to other sites or delivered to RSS newsreaders.

    In CMS300, this is done through specialized ASP code. While this wasnt difficult, it was a lot more work than in other content management systems, including some free open-source ones, where creating RSS syndication sometimes involved only selecting a check box.

    If the content being syndicated is dynamic, the ASP method is the best way to go. If the syndicated content is relatively static, however, site developers will probably find it easier to create the RSS file themselves.

    Because of the increased use of XML in CMS300, developers will be able to integrate Web services into their site or define content within their site for use as Web services.

    As in past releases, administration of CMS300 is very intuitive, and we had little trouble figuring out how to do most tasks. In this version, it was also easier to link file directories on the server with the structure within the content management system.

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