Review: Vignette Application Portal 4.5

Vignette Application Portal provides open and flexible configuration and development options, ease of administration, and strong user management.

Vignette Application Portal 4.5

Vignette has pulled off the rare trick of acquiring an excellent product (the Epicentric EIP) and actually improving it. Vignette Application Portal provides open and flexible configuration and development options, ease of administration, and strong user management. Excellent management interface; good Web services integration; allows creation of personalized content based on user rules. User interface lacks some interactivity.
















Starts at $75,000, $50,000 for the Builder development environment.

Although Vignette as a company is new to the EIP market, Vignettes EIP is not. Vignette Application Portal 4.5 is based on the Epicentric EIP, which Vignette gained through its acquisition of Epicentric.

A 2002 eWEEK Excellence Awards winner in the portal category, the Epicentric portal had a reputation as one of the most open and flexible EIPs available. When we first heard that Vignette had acquired the Epicentric portal, we feared that it would end up being tied exclusively to Vignettes content management platform and lose that flexibility.

But that hasnt happened. In fact, if anything, Vignette Application Portal is even more open and flexible than Epicentric was, with excellent and well-integrated support for Web services standards. And, like most Java server-based portals, Vignette Application Portal supports a wide variety of platforms and application servers.

Although Vignette Application Portal should definitely be considered by any company already using the Vignette content management platform, the portal will also be a good fit for non-Vignette shops because it can easily integrate with nearly any enterprise application (including non-Vignette content management systems).

Vignette Application Portals administration interface includes the best combination of streamlined simplicity and interactive capability of all the portals we tested. The location of tasks and settings always made sense, and each option provided a wide variety of customization settings and parameters. The Vignette portal also provided excellent user, groups, roles and rights management features, which are centrally managed and very configurable.

The Vignette EIP has good portlet and application development options and includes a solid set of sample portlets. We especially liked the new Web Services Manager, which made it easy to create and consume Web services and customize them to fit our portal.

One new feature that has Vignette written all over it is content personalization. During tests, we could define groups of users that were created dynamically through certain criteria (for example, those logged in to our sales site from the Eastern time zone). Using these dynamic groups, we could create rules to send personalized content to these users through a specialized portlet.

The main user interface is improved over the Epicentric interface, including more dynamic content options. However, while the Vignette interface is highly capable, it is not the portals strongest selling point, lacking some of the interactivity found in other portals.

Pricing for Vignette Application Portal starts at $75,000; the Builder development environment starts at $50,000. Prices increase based on project size and integrations.