Microsoft Content Manager Gets Upgrade

Microsoft unveils beta version of Content Management Server 2002, with key enhancements in authoring and administration tools, interoperability and the developers' environment.

Microsoft Corp. Tuesday announced the availability of the beta version of its Content Management Server (CMS) 2002.

The software giant said CMS 2002 offers significant enhancements over Content Management Server 2001, with key enhancements in authoring and administration tools, interoperability, and the developers environment, said Chris Ramsey, lead product manager for Microsoft Content Management Server.

CMS 2002 is part of the Microsoft .Net Enterprise Server family, which includes BizTalk Server, SharePoint Portal Server and Commerce Server, and will offer support for XML Web services, enhanced content authoring and site deployment capabilities and will provide developer support through integration with Visual Studio .Net and support for ASP .Net.

Ramsey said while the beta is available Tuesday, the product will not be generally available until this fall.

The new version features integration with Office XP for authoring and publishing content and integration with Microsoft Application Center or deploying content using a single console. Additionally, the product features a new distributed administration role, allowing users to delegate administrative capabilities, Ramsey said. The product also offers direct publishing from Word. And the new Authoring Connector for Microsoft Office enables Content Management users to contribute Web content from familiar Office applications.

CMS 2002 also features native support for XML content and includes an XML Placeholder control, which enables users to manage content in a standards-based manner.

The product also supports XML Web services and enables users "to quickly create Web services around any of the content theyre exposing," Ramsey said. He added that the XML support means content from the Microsoft environment could be exchanged with content in a Java-based application.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has souped up the development environment for CMS by integrating it with the companys Visual Studio .Net development platform. Ramsey said developers could go to the Visual Studio .Net file menu and select a Content Management Server control and then get to work.

"Weve built a RAD [rapid application development] environment" for building out Web sites and delivering content, Ramsey said. Integration with Visual Studio .Net not only enhances the design and development process but also "sets developers up in an environment that offers rich debugging," he said.

Microsoft also upgraded the CMS 2002 architecture to support ASP .net from Active Server Pages (ASP), upon which CMS 2001 is based, Ramsey said.

Also new in the 2002 version is the notion of Control Management Server controls, Ramsey said. CMS controls are a set of development objects that encapsulate highly used functions that developers have to write themselves. The controls save developers time by eliminating the need to write code repetitively. The new controls include HTML and XML Placeholder control, image control, video control and dynamic website controls. With these controls, Microsoft also is providing a software developers kit, Ramsey said.

"Todays companies no longer have the time or resources to develop complicated, multimillion-dollar content management solutions," said David Kiker, general manager for e-business servers at Microsoft, in a statement. "Instead, they are asking for solutions that will bring down their total cost of ownership and accelerate their return on investment. Content Management Server 2002 delivers against these requirements with even quicker deployment times and increased employee productivity through its integration with Visual Studio .NET and Microsoft Word. Those improvements alone can offer customers the ability to deploy a mission-critical solution in a matter of weeks and transform business users into strategic Web content contributors."

In addition to the content management server controls, CMS 2002 supports source code management through Microsofts Visual SourceSafe source code management product, Ramsey said. This enables developers to quickly and easily build Web sites with managed content and code.

Developers and customers can download the beta version of Content Management Server 2002 at . Content Management Server 2002 is scheduled for release by the end of this year.

Ramsey said CMS 2002 comes on the heels of CMS 2001, which "had a great year." He said revenue grew more than 100 percent and the products customer base increased 300 percent from the previous year, with 50 percent of the increase coming from outside of North America. In addition, he said 50 percent of the customers use the product in enterprise-wide implementations. Meanwhile, 10 independent software vendor (ISV) product integrations were delivered and over 500 system integrators have been trained on Content Management Server, he said.

ISV integrated solutions for Content Management Server customers include Digital asset management from Equilibrium Technologies Inc. and MediaBin Inc., which provide digital asset management applications for customers seeking robust dynamic digital content solutions. For portals, users of CoreChange Inc. or Plumtree Software Inc. portal products can easily integrate their deployments with Content Management Server. For search capabilities, Content Management Server can be integrated with search technology from Inktomi Inc. and others. And for workflow, Uniscape Inc. (which is merging with TRADOS Inc.) provides multilingual support and translation workflow capabilities to Content Management Server for the efficient management of multilingual Web sites.

In addition, new complementary technologies for workflow and XML authoring are expected from the growing Content Management Server 2002 ISV community.

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