Saturday, March 17, 2007

Minisite Wizard

We have been having some very interesting discussions with some customers about what would really promote adoption of WCM in their organization. The business is not forced to use the IT department which means that the value statement presented by the IT department has to be very strong. Add this to the bad reputation Content Management had gained over the last 5 years means we really have to come up with a compelling solution.

We have an active role with 2 pilot projects with Alfresco. We are looking at this question to see if the product can be extended or adapted to provide
a wizard–like user interface to simplify the process of building a small and relatively simple website on top of Alfresco. Non-technical users would be led through a configuration process that would result in a new website in simply a matter of minutes.

Using the tool, the user would be able to choose from a limited set of options such as menu style, content contributor(s), css, headers/footers, presentation templates, etc. In addition, users would choose from a list of Widgets offering various display functionality such as sitemap, calendar RSS, etc.

Structurally, the Configuration Tool would be a plugin that sits on top of alfresco and does not replace any core functionality with the WCM product. It should also be configurable such that an enterprise could modify and add-to the components.

If succesful this would provide a solution to the enterprise that maintains some form of control and structure within the production web environment while at the same time offer the business customer and experience similar to the dozens of consumer products available online.

The initial investigation is gathering interest. Eye Street is hoping to enlist the support of Alfresco and the customer to investigate further. My believe is that we could really promote the use of WCM to create simple websites quickly - maybe even change some of the bad opinion Content Management products have gained of the years?

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