Will intranet software eliminate the webmaster?

File management systems can be limited, but intranet software can serve as a repository as well as a disseminator of data

'You don't really need a webmaster.' 'IntraNet Solutions' Glenn Pulling

Document management used to be a mix-and-match systems integration project.

In the late 1990s, as government organizations started to move into Web document access, the webmaster arrived on the scene as a new kind of information technology employee.

Now software vendors are eliminating the webmaster by making management and publication of Web content easy enough for subject-matter experts to handle themselves.

'You want to get content to the Web quickly and eliminate having to have so many developers,' said Glenn Pulling, federal director for Web content management at IntraNet Solutions Inc. of Minneapolis.

'The author contributes, and the system is set up to automatically publish to the Web. You don't really need a webmaster,' Pulling said.

File translator

IntraNet Solutions' content management suite, Xpedio 5.0, uses several components acquired from other vendors. It can dynamically convert 225 different file formats to make them viewable in Hypertext Markup Language, Extensible Markup Language or Wireless Markup Language.

Document authors can continue working in whatever tool they're accustomed to, such as Microsoft Office applications, Autodesk Inc.'s AutoCAD or other formats. The output is automatically published to the Web and attributed to the author.

'You build a taxonomy engine with the language that you want to determine the categories of particular content,' Pulling said. 'There's automatic generation of metadata for that content. The authors can contribute in any file format they choose.'

A workflow process routes the contributions for approval. An abstraction feature determines headings, body text and so on in the variously formatted contributions. A categorization feature searches through the content and identifies it by attributes.

Xpedio 5.0 runs on a server and requires Enterprise JavaBeans and Microsoft Component Object Model support. It integrates with Microsoft Windows NT domains and application programming interfaces for use with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol and Active Directory security frameworks.

Each user can have different access privileges.

Storing and sharing

Pulling said he believes organizations are turning away from file management systems running under network operating systems because they are too limited. Intranet-based software, he said, can serve as a knowledge repository and a means of sharing all the available information via browser.

'You don't have to cut and paste into templates, which is a laborious task,' he said. 'The market has come to realize there are ways you can automate that. People can take reports out of legacy databases'all that knowledge that's sitting idle'and have them automatically published to the Web. When they come to that realization, they get really excited.'


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