Live with Rhythmyx 5

If too many cooks spoil the broth of online content management, Rhythmyx 5 can keep all the ingredients in one place and add them to the mix as directed.

The hardest part about Rhythmyx 5 was setting it up properly. IT staff members will need a good understanding of how their organization works and who is responsible for what content. Mapping this out on a large scale would be a huge task in itself.

To test Rhythmyx in the GCN Lab, I set up a fairly simple workflow for passing new content through editors and approvers, then automatically posting the content in the proper places on a dynamic Web page.

The content managers in my imaginary organization edited documents and then saved them in the correct folder. Rhythmyx took care of posting them in the right locations depending on document type.

With the program, I could assign administrators to manage groups of employees and determine how much access each employee had. Ideally, they would get full privileges only for the areas for which they were responsible, plus perhaps read-only privileges for completed projects or other projects that affected their own.

Rhythmyx stored the content efficiently'not in multiple locations on a server, which would require that it be reconstituted for later use. For example, say an article was used in one internal project and in another that would be made public at a later date, or perhaps translated into Spanish. If the employee responsible for the original document decided to modify it, the program would modify all the subsequent documents based on the original.

Follow the rules

Of course, the organization's rules would have to allow such modifications. Rhythmyx would not change documents based on the original or send the changes for managerial approval unless the rules permitted.

There were no broken links in my tests because Rhythmyx scanned for them before letting a project proceed and, if it found a broken link, notified whoever was responsible for the content. Other content management products I have seen couldn't do this, although it should be one of the primary benefits of such software.

The graphical interface was fairly easy to use. I could move content around as needed, but I had to follow the rules. For example, I couldn't move certain types of documents into the top spot on a page unless it was reserved for such things.

I could output content in various formats, including Adobe Portable Document Format and Extensible Markup Language. I didn't test Rhythmyx with legacy systems, but it should be able to handle their file formats.

Rhythmyx sits between users and their Oracle or SQL Server databases, completely decoupled from the live server. That means an enterprise portal, Web server, personalization server or application server can deliver managed content without requiring an active connection to the content management system. Updates can be set to go live at once, passed on to other authorities or posted without further intervention at a later date.

But Rhythmyx 5 requires a huge investment in both money and setup time, so an organization really has to need to manage its content to justify the investment.

It took me about a week to set up my simple test, working a good six hours each day. After that, however, chores that would otherwise have taken several people about four hours a day took only about 20 minutes.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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