Review: Ektron CMS300

Ektron CMS300 4.1
starting at $5500/10 users for 1 URL
Amherst, New Hampshire
(603) 594-0249

Ektron CMS300 offers a completely browser-based environment for managing the content of your Web site. The whole thing is anchored by their own eWebEditPro+XML editing control, which is one of the best browser-based editors that I've seen. They even tackle the difficult jobs of creating and editing XML in an editor very well, making it possible to use the system to maintain data in XML form and pour it into templates.

There are lots of other features here; this is clearly a very mature product. A few of the thing

  • Features to import Microsoft Word content with formatting but without extra junk tags
  • Integration with Web services, SharePoint Portal Server, and other systems
  • User and group security for your content (a nice touch for extranets)
  • Workflow features that integrate with Active Directory. This includes a "virtual staging server" that lets you run everything through an approval process without requiring a separate physical server.
  • An add-on module to enable indexing XML content
  • Support for ASP, ASP.NET, ColdFusion, and PHP
  • Database support for Access, SQL Server, Oracle, and MySQL

The system is fairly easy to use, though the sheer number of available choices make for a bit of a learning curve. And of course browser-based applications trade cross-platform compatability for power; I always find myself right-clicking and wondering why I don't get any useful menu choices. One nice thing is that CMS300 does not insist on taking over the entire site; you can use whatever files you already have as the basis for your managed site.

Overall, I really like the slick support for XML/XSLT here, without any need for people to be completely familiar with those standards. Between that and using an open database, CMS300 avoids one of the prime traps for content management systems: it does not clutch your data and refuse to give it up to other applications. That may be the extra amount of future-proofing that some organizations need to take a look at this. To learn more, check out Ektron's site for an online demonstration.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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