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Australian OpenText Web Solutions User Day Brisbane 2009 – Part 1


On Monday 25th May I attended the Brisbane RedDot OpenText Web Solutions User Group meeting. There was a good mix of partners, customers, freelancers. On the APAC OpenText Web Solutions team side there was a balanced combination of technical and sales staff ready to put on a good presentation and answer any questions that came up. The day consisted of the following topics:

  • keynote address,
  • roadmap discussion,
  • management server (RedDot cms) version 10 preview.
  • new customer showcase
  • Artesia DAM integration (for management server)
  • Microsoft Sharepoint integration
  • Opentext edocs (hummingbird) integration
  • introduction to OpenText Bloom.

I’m going to focus this article on the new version 10 of the web solutions product suite (please comment below on what you’d like to see more info on). The version of management server on display was 10.0.0.15, according to the login header, and was described in QA and scheduled for release in late June. The improvement and changes highlighted today were:

.net page builder rewrite.

It appears that the incremental refactoring of the RedDot cms product from classic asp across to .net is still in progress. From memory the product roadmap indicated that the .net refactoring will be continuing until at least until version 11 tentatively to be released in april next year. (Unfortunately my 3 megapixel HTC Dream mobile photo of the roadmap from the back of the room didn’t cut the mustard in picking up the detail). Getting back to the .page builder the migration to .net is being touted as improving publication and scalability via parallel tasks and optimised memory management. According to Opentext their internal benchmarks have led to publication and response rates in the user editing environment increasing as follows:

  • 10% over 1 language or project variant on a 100 page project
  • 51% on 4 language or project variantss over 8000 page project
  • 80% on 27 language or project variants 1000 page project

The figures look good on paper and I look forward to running it up on existing clients with publication and response time issues. What I failed to ask but am hopeful of is that with the refactored pagebuilder is that we will having a more granular ability to benchmark, debug and test performance for problematic pages within projects.

Authoring environment enhancements

The end user environment for version 10 has been completely redesigned from the pre-version 10 smartedit environment. The authoring environment focuses around a new “widget” based start page and a standard outlook style 3 panel layout. Overall it is a more streamlined and thankfully removes the permanent left hand module menu that has been there since i’ve been working with the product. Expect a more modern look and feel more consistent with Web 2.0y type applications..

End user configurable “widgets” included in our demo were:

  • pages saved as draft
  • recent modified pages
  • pages waiting for correction
  • saved search
  • website preview pane

It appears that the end user can change the properties of these “widgets” (such as what is returned by the saved search) as well as reposition them as required (similar to igoogle, facebook et. al.). Something I forgot to ask in the demo but am hopeful is the ability to create 3rd party “widgets” an example of this could be server status information for RedDot administrators such as current publication tasks, active user lists, page in draft/waiting for release summary info and/or cpu load/memory usages etc.

The new SmartEdit

The new editing environment is now a two pane web page with resizable frames ( I hope it remembers those resize settings when you click away). The left pane is a navigation manager based navigation structure tree. (I’m not sure what this is going to do for target container based projects but I guess we’ll have to wait for the documentation) with the right hand side dedicated to the web site.

There’s also lots of right click enabled context based action menus (ajax driven) and drag and drop content classes selection from right hand side pane. The pop-out right hand panel for selecting the content classes didn’t seem to match the new interface but as long as it works I don’t think anyone will be complaining as it’s a big improvement over the old multi pop-up menu.

The telerik editor, which was introduced in version 9 and whos quirks discussed earlier here has had a new darker skin applied as well as an enhanced table creation wizard with improved accessibility options. I’m not sure if this is a reddot customisation or just a new version of telerik.

The outstanding tasks as well as the search options have now been given there own dedicated pages similar in style to the three pane verion of the new smartedit environment with a Microsoft Outlook like appeararce. The tasks page also includes a status bar pop-up for outstanding tasks (similar to the gmail chat or facebook chat popups).

With all this new ajaxy jscript being thrown around OpenText indicated the there will be new reserved fucntion names and id’s for jscript and css which will be contained in a dedicated version 10 upgrade guide..

Delivery Server version 10?

What was missing though was any demonstration of the new delivery server (LiveServer) functionality indicated in the product roadmap as follows:

  • Database migration tool
  • Password validation
  • SEO friendly urls
  • Context dynament
  • Search engine connector api (this was described as being a hook in for external non-verity search engines and what OT will be using for a Microsoft FAST enterprise search integration that is being worked on.)
  • Event calendar (I assume being delivered as a web component)
  • Reference list (I should have got a little more detail on this)

We’ll just have to wait for the release notes to get more detail on the above.

Conclusion

The APAC OpenText Web Solutions team put on a great day and i’m certain that the Sydney, Melbourne and Perth guys can look forward to there Customer Days (and the lunches!). The technical preview of version 10 of the RedDot OpenText Management Server was refreshing and I was very happy to see a vm driven demonstration of the new features on an instance of the software and not a powerpoint presentation of photoshop mock-ups. Now it’s just a matter of twiddling our thumbs until the end of June when Version 10 hopefully escapes QA and we can all sink our teeth in to some ajaxy cms goodness.

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About the author:

Morgan Ritchings is the Web Solutions lead for StoneBridge Systems and as part of his role has a keen focus on the Open Text Web Solutions suite (formerly RedDot CMS/LS). Keep an eye out for him at domestic airports around Australia as he flies across the continent offering his skills and services. You can find his profile on linkedIn here

Discussion

2 comments for “Australian OpenText Web Solutions User Day Brisbane 2009 – Part 1”

  1. Nice post Morgan! We had a sneak preview inhouse two days ago. The new version 10 looks pretty good for authors. Open Text said, that they had usability consultants there during the development process, I guess that was worth it!
    The template editor still looks the same, though. Unfortunately there are no big steps for us developers in this release but the customers might get much more out of their system with the new release.

    Posted by Markus Giesen | May 27, 2009, 5:17 pm
  2. We had a preview in the UK a few weeks back too. The one “interesting” choice in the new user interface is their choice to not use the new tree view in smartEdit for navigation manager roles (i.e. page creation, deletion or moves). You still need to go and open navigation manager to do these things.

    The reason they gave was that they didn’t feel people would want to be able to do these tasks from smartEdit(?!). The RedDot Usergroup all seemed very confused as to why they didn’t just use permissions to limit these options instead.

    The codename for version 11 caused some sniggering in our presentation too… who calls a system that is having lots of speed improvements done to it after a huge, lumbering whale? “Orca”. :)

    Posted by Paul Smith | May 28, 2009, 11:36 am

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