Company brings the whole eGrail into the open-source community

Company brings the whole eGrail into the open-source community

By Kevin Jonah

Special to GCN

Open-source technology has been a boon to agencies with readily available technical skills and tight budgets'look at the fervor with which some administrators have embraced Linux and the Apache Web server.

Now, the open-source movement has found its way into the content management market, where implementing even the most focused point solution can take a big chunk of an information technology manager's discretionary budget.

The Bethesda, Md., company eGrail on Aug. 14 released the kernel of its commercial software product, eGrail Source, to the open-source development community. The release coincided with the LinuxWorld conference in San Jose, Calif., where the eGrail announced its membership in the newly formed Open Source Development Network.

Wide open

The eGrail system is focused on delivering content management in as much of an open-source platform environment as possible. It is a server-based application, with all user interaction driven through a Web browser.

Currently, it runs on most versions of Unix, including SunSoft Solaris, Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X Server, and requires Apache 1.2 or higher Web server versions, Perl 5.0, PHP (Personal Home Page) 4, and the open-source MySQL database or Oracle 8.1. Under development is support for Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000, as well as for Open Database Connectivity-compliant databases such as Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase. And its source code is freely redistributable under the terms of the Mozilla Public License.

Though eGrail plans to sell a commercial version of its content management tools, the open-source eGrail Source is fairly complete.

It provides revision control, making use of the Concurrent Versions System technology so popular with Linux developers.

It supports nearly all types of content, which can be uploaded by non-technical users via Web forms. The system provides administrative scripts, tools and utilities, and supports management of not just standard content types, but of forums and frequently asked questions as well.

It provides template management, wizard-driven page construction, a search engine, a project calendar and other key pieces of functionality you'd expect from a commercial content management platform.

Getting an open-source application of any kind installed and operational isn't for the squeamish. Deploying eGrail means downloading source through CVS and essentially becoming an extension of the eGrail developer team's source-code management system. Do not assign the task to someone new to the open-source environment.

But the advantages to the technically adept are clear'the code for the platform is completely exposed for customization, extension and tuning. And with any luck, someone else may be contributing the very pieces of code you're looking to add yourself. Once the software is up and running, users don't even need to have HTML knowledge to use the software.

Those same benefits extend to the commercial version of the product'without the blunt-force trauma of entering into the world of code compiles. Version 2.0 of the eGrail commercial product, released in January, uses the same open-source kernel, but it runs on NT as well as Unix, and works with Oracle, Sybase and other commercial databases.

Contact eGrail at www.egrail.org.

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