Open Text unveils Web Solutions v10 with RIA

Waterloo, Ont.-based enterprise content management vendor Open Text Corp released Wednesday version 10 of its Web Solutions tool built with rich internet application (RIA) technology that allows for fewer pop-up windows and browser refreshes, and drag-and-drop page creation among others features.

The latest version of the Web content management software offers these RIA capabilities in SmartEdit, whereby users can customize their experience with capabilities like individual saved searches for a personal dashboard, and take advantage of context menus, zero-click content, drag and drop page creation and editing.

The RIA-based features are one of the larger parts of this release, said Marci Maddox, Open Text product manager. “There are certainly natural tendencies to want to have content in the context of where they are,” said Maddox.

According to Stephen Powers, senior analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., WCMs are definitely taking the route of becoming increasingly RIA-based “and that’s something that everybody has to do to keep up with the Jones essentially.”

“WCM is not the silo anymore … you have a lot of content that is going to be repurposed on the Web and in other systems,” said Stephen Powers.

During a recent comparison of WCM demos, Powers said the one that stood out for him was by ECM vendor Day Software AG, by virtue of the fact that it was very RIA-based in functionality and user interface.

Actually, the RIA features in version 10 very much reflect the traditional creation, publishing, and modification stages of content management, said Maddox.

There is a new dashboard serving as a homepage for content editors that mimics an iGoogle or My Yahoo page where third-party applications can be added. Content editors can manage the process with features like preview and edit panes. And, when content is to be re-used or modified, editors have a more “natural” way of searching for it, given the tagging, without having to resort to remembering titles or subject lines. “So if you know the ID of the page or the URL of the page, you can get to it quickly,” said Maddox.

Also as part of search, Open Text has collaborated with other companies like Google Inc. or Fast Search & Transfer ASA to allow API access so users can index out content to other search engines.

Besides RIA features, there is tighter integration, in the form of a repository connector, between version 10 and other of Open Text’s enterprise content management systems like Artesia Digital Asset Management so users can access videos, music and other types of rich media.

The integration with Artesia DAM would allow, for instance, a third-party user of a portal to see references to related digital media and perform search queries through the Artesia DAM repository. While viewing video is currently read-only, Maddox said the next step is to allow users to write into the Artesia repository. “Imagine YouTube type videos by those end users,” she said.

Version 10’s SmartEdit has extended integration with SAP’s NetWeaver Portal for those companies that have standardized their infrastructure on SAP, such that there is “one less step for them to take to embrace this more configurable, more content rich editing environment in a portal environment.”

In September, Web Solutions will offer integration with Microsoft SharePoint.

The importance of integration in Open Text’s WCM, said Maddox, is a reflection that companies maintain multiple content sources that feed into user-facing portals.

Powers said that while most ECM vendors don’t have particularly strong WCM, Open Text does. And to add to that, Open Text is working on interacting with other components that house content. “WCM is not the silo anymore … you have a lot of content that is going to be repurposed on the Web and in other systems,” said Powers. 

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