Web site content-management systems have matured greatly over the past few years. They’re now easier to manage, easier to implement, and a lot cheaper to buy. There’s a wide range of off-the-shelf products to choose from. Some are customizable, and some are created using programming languages such as ASP, PHP, CFML or JSP, and can be supported by such products as Adobe GoLive or Macromedia Dreamweaver to make additional development simpler.
The problem was mainly that most of the major industry-standard Web-development-programming languages also needed to be able to work alongside Web-server and database programs. For the Mac, until recently, this was limited to FileMaker, or lesser-used-but-versatile products such as Tango and Lasso.
The advantage in implementing a CMS (Content Management System) in the first place on a Web site is to enable non-HTML programmers to update content without ever having to see or edit the underlying code of the Web pages, or worry about how the information is stored in the database. This means that content producers can get on with their day-to-day jobs without the need for training in a completely new skill.
Astarte is already well-known in the Macintosh world for being the original brains behind Astarte (now Roxio) Toast CD-ROM. Now, having acquired in-depth online experience over the years, Astarte released its CMS product in November 2001, and has just released an English version (the original being in German).
Most CMSs are incorporated into an existing Web site, giving you a significant level of control over content and layout. Content is added, edited and deleted by accessing a private, password-protected Web page. Images can be easily uploaded to a site. Resizing can be automated. No specialist software is required, as all the content can be added and arranged through a browser interface which is usually a password-protected administration section. Web-page-content updates can be performed by any authorized personnel, from any Internet-connected computer, from anywhere in the world. Different admin levels can be granted permission to edit pages that are relevant to them.
WebEdition has been built with PHP4, a high-end programming language already used by many CMSs and ISPs (Internet Service Providers). The advantage of PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is that it can be accessed by any browser on any server with PHP and MySQL capabilities. WebEditon is a tag-based CMS, so can be modified to the users needs with a little knowledge of the custom tags.
There are four levels of packages, which can be bought depending on the size of your business and individual requirements. From a one-domain private individual or small business, to large enterprises running up to 20 Web sites.
You can start off with just the basic package of WebEdition, then continue to buy additional modules from the range when you start developing new functionality for your sites. The basic version of WebEdition is aimed at small- to medium-sized businesses with one domain to manage. Its features include templates, add, edit and delete functions, the import of existing pages, a browser-based WYSIWYG editor, and dynamically controlled navigation via the editor with DHTML support. Summary pages and link-lists creation, and image and file upload via the browser are supported, so no additional FTP client is needed.
The basic suite includes 5 modules, plus WebEdition, and a Pro Suite is also available for those who wish to customize and use the coding and database language. You need to purchase a separate copy of WebEditon for every domain or Web site it’s used on.
As WebEdition is a tag-based CMS, the template content can be managed using the
Extra modules can be purchased separately and added when needed. There is also a selection of packages to buy.
The module-based system includes User Management, which separates the Web-site content from the site design and navigation templates. This makes sure the editor’s work is separated from the administrators jobs. The administrator can assign editor access to all or just selected documents, and set authorization privileges and verification of changes to certain users.
Scheduler lets you set advance publishing times, or set the start and end dates so that news – or some other time-based document – is available to read online, for example, at the weekend, or in the middle of the night. The Editor module allows the page-templates designer to work from the Web-layout product of their choice, such as GoLive or Dreamweaver; while still maintaining the integrity of the WebEdition template pages.
The Customer Management plug-in is for administering external registered users of a site to allow specific information only to users you have contact details for, and to personalize the Web site for each individual.
An expandable online-shop module, including a cart plus an open interface to payment system, can be modified to suit whichever online payment system you prefer to offer. Other modules to choose from range from User management to Workflow modules.
To make the most of WebEdition, you‘ll need someone who has knowledge and experience of setting up and running a Web site – if only to act as part-time administrator initially. If you have lots of updates and information to get online for your customers, and only limited HTML programmers, WebEdition provides a well thought out solution. Because of the module-based features and scalable pricing, it can fulfil the requirements of businesses from the very basic to the very complex. It can grow to meet your needs. Minimum specs: Mac OS X