Fatwire announces Content Integration Platform

When I read about this here, I initially thought that it’s yet another incarnation of what Fatwire used to call Integration Centre. But then I noticed that as part of this platform, they have included an EMC Documentum connector with plans of more such connectors.

I recently heard about an Alfreco Drupal case study  and from my blog’s access logs, I’ve noticed people searching for “Filenet Drupal” and “Documentum Joomla” integration. There are numerous cases of “Sharepoint + Documentum” as well.

This clearly shows that Site Management and Content Management are increasingly becoming niche disciplines. Site Management is more about managing the end user experience while Content Management is more about the back end efficiencies. Business people need more control in the way the content is delivered to the end users – they want the look and feel to be flexible, want the ability to run campaigns, add functionality (Polls, Voting etc) and this trend seems to be catching up. The ease of use and simplicity that Site Management focused products like Drupal provide to create end user applications is simply not matched by more heavy weight products like Documentum and FileNet. Alfresco, though is trying to make improvements in this area.

There are obvious overlaps but vendors are also using these terms to  differentiate from competition in this crowded market. So for example, Fatwire does not sell Content Management, it instead sells what it calls “Web Experience Management”.

From Fatwire’s perspective, I think it’s a good move.  Instead of trying to build Document Management features, they are building connecters to Documentum (and possibly others) and targeting to become the site management software of choice. They already have strong WCM capabilities and  features like Blogs and Wikis, some of which came as a result of Infostoria acquisition.

Alfreco Partners with Adobe

Alfresco and Adobe announced a new partnership in which Adobe will embed Alfresco’s ECM in its LiveCycle ES. This will create an offering that provides a more complete solution integrating Content Management with Document Composition (or Document Output Management), something about which I have written before. EMC’s acquisition late last year of Document Sciences’ xPression was another news that brought the two – ECM and Document Composition together.

This announcement though is an OEM deal. Here’s a nice post by Alan on what it means and what could be the future of this deal 🙂

There are lots of use cases where such an integration could be very useful, especially for customers of Adobe. When one creates a dynamic document using a product like this, one needs to manage both the raw data as well as output documents. So there are aspects like workflows, library services, metadata, search, version management, storage and archival. So if you are an insurance company that generates insurance policies or a Telecom provider that generates electronic bills, you need to be able to manage these and this is where a CMS is required. Most Document Composition products lack these features and hence often integrate with ECM products.

Apart from this, LiveCycle did not have a robust rules engine which is a essential requirement to dynamically generate documents based on certain rules. It can now use Alfresco’s rules engine (Alfresco rules or the bundled Jboss).

Alfresco  will also probably get a nice flex based front end which can also take advantage of its features (tagging, web scripts, blogs) and provide more compelling offering to build web 2.0 applications. But that again would be useful more for Adobe’s customers.

Now Everyone can create Mobile Web Sites

If you ever wanted to have a web presence for yourself or your business, there was never any dearth of choices. There are many service providers which let you create web sites quickly using templates and wizards. Google Sites, Google Pages, Yahoo/Tripod/Geocities all let you create such web sites. However, if you wanted to create a site that could be viewed on a PDA or mobile, it was not that easy. You either needed specialized products or at the very minimum had to create a different template (or theme) that was optimized for mobile delivery.

Volantis now brings its well regarded Mobility Server (which it had open sourced recently) to power Ubik.com, a service that enables individuals and small businesses create sites for mobiles just like they are used to creating web sites. Volantis has a device library of more than 5100 devices and as a result, the site that is created is automatically “adapted” for viewing on a wide variety of handsets.

volantis
Once you create an account, you will be given a choice of many themes and templates. Unlike similar services for web, a template here is actually more than just about look & feel – it is actually a sample starter site with pre-built pages that can be used as a starting point for your site. While you are creating the site, you can do a mobile preview as well. It also provides the ability to upload images and multimedia files using MMS and/or email. When you are ready, the site can be published at http://sitename.ubik.net.

I also see that if there is a hyperlink to another page which itself is not on this site, it automatically tries to adapt it for mobile display. This probably means that there is a way to convert external, existing sites to be proxied via this service for mobile delivery. However, I was not able to find a straight forward way. I assume it requires the external site to have its output in some specified format (xdime?) but then i’m not sure.

This is a beta version and i’m hoping they will add some more useful features in future:

  1. The site I create is only a mobile site. So I actually still need to create another one for the web using one of the other services. I would think that it should be easy to create a site for web and mobiles using ubik.com.
  2. Ability to use my own domain name
  3. Some dynamic templates would be very useful. Right now, I can only create a static site. As an example, a blogging template would be very nice to have.

Services such as these will indeed help in making the mobile internet much more popular. Now every one will be able to create a mobile site (and hopefully applications as well).