As the US slowly shakes off the bed heads after Thanksgiving weekend, Norwegian Web content management vendor eZ has just announced the release of a major upgrade to its platform in the shape of v5, or ‘Kilimanjaro’, which it says take a leap into customer experience management.
eZ says that the concepts behind this system have been years in the making, and that the release of v5 pulls together all the technologies that will enable it to provide full life-cycle management for digital business.
Just about every company in the web content management space over the past year has described its major point releases as a coming together of technologies, and at the moment that is indeed happening with many platforms now carrying functionalities that would never have been imagined in the early versions.
Keeping in mind that eZ Publish 5 is an open source platform -- and eZ makes much of the fact that it has stuck to its open source principles in this release -- Kilimanjaro is the culmination of not just work by eZ, but also the community.
Generally speaking, eZ says that improvements come in the shape of recommendation systems, personalization, analytics, marketing automation and direct-to-customer interaction, all of which adds up to better customer experience management capabilities.
Web Content Management technology and Portal technology are merging and evolving towards user experience platforms (UXP). These so called “systems of engagement” are the foundation for sustainable digital business models. eZ Publish 5 is one of the first platforms of this kind and delivers the architecture for real digital experience management,” Chief Product Officer Christof Zahneissen said.
One of the big, new deals -- eZ describes it as a concept -- is the new API functionality. According to Ralph Hünermann, CTP for eZ, the API in v5 consists of multiple layers that include: Public API, REST API and Persistence API.
eZ's Layered APIs
The new API is currently available in preview mode within the eZ Community. With it, migrating existing projects to v5 will be simplified with users able to update their implementations freely between v4.x serious and v5, depending on project needs.
And it is really in terms of the architecture that eZ has made changes in the v5 version. Its design is conceived along the same lines of the eZ business concept, which is to provide a multichannel web content platform, which eZ says, is where web content management is going.
Orange components are part of the Software Platform. The green components are part of the Service Platform.
eZ says it has been working on the redesigned architecture since 2010 with the dual objectives of making it more agile, and to improve the functionality across the platform by making it better performing, more secure and easy to use.
With the new API concept it also aims to future-proof it so that it can manage not just legacy systems, but also future digital systems for business.
The result is that you will be able to use your current projects based on your current database, while at the same time using new functionality within the existing database model. Furthermore, enterprises will also be able to add multiple databases -- with new database models -- for improved performance.
1. Public API
In order to provide users with a consistent and agile experience, eZ says it has developed a Public API that comes with a PHP interface enabling users to create extensions and customize the platform.
However, this also enables users take advantage of future upgrades and the reduced infrastructure maintenance costs that come with these versions.
On top of the more obvious benefits of the Public API, training times in the modules and extensions of v5 have been reduced significantly.
2. REST API
Everyone is talking up mobile now, even in the content management space and eZ has dealt with this by providing an open development environment through the REST API.
With it, users can build connectors and applications that can be hosted either externally or internally and enables enterprises provide content across the entire enterprise ecosystem.
From a mobile perspective this means providing a better content experience through all mobile channels through user-centric product development.
3. Persistence API
One of the other buzz words in the information management space at the moment is Big Data, and v5 also addresses that through the Persistence Layer.
This is an API that provides a flexible integration layer and new set of interfaces that are specifically designed to deal with Big Data. The result is the ability to integrate multiple repositories through a single access point that enables users access to relevant information on the same subject from a number of different repositories through a single point.
The result, eZ says, is a flexible high-performance database environment that is scalable for companies of all sizes.
However, it not all about APIs, there are literally dozens of upgrades here worth a look. Ez has, for example, improved the capabilities in mobile and multichannel experience delivery.
The result is new iOS SDK that offer a native mobile application for iPad and iPhone and can be used as the starting block for building customized applications. The SDK comes with:
- More responsive design interface
- Improved application generator
- Optimized REST API for mobile development
It also has a new modern template engine that is easier to use for both designers and developers and comes with a sandbox mode to test untested template code. This is on top of the ability to pare templates down to optimized PHP code.
New eZ Market extensions
Finally there are a number of new extensions that connect eZ 5 to a number of different technologies to help improve the customer experience management concept running behind the entire upgrade. While marketing cannot be fully automated, eZ says, connection to marketing automation software offers significant gains on existing technologies.
It focuses on pushing marketing leads through to the sales department along with marketing scores based on activities through email and social channels.
The new Lekane Dialogue extension, for example, identifies the most valuable prospects from all web visitors and turns them into customers. It offers companies the capability to have real time person-to-person voice conversations. (see video).
eZARender is an integration of ARender, the universal multi-format web-based document viewer, for eZ Publish Enterprise. It works on any document, on any device and without any plug-in. And then there is also an extension for IBM FileNet.
This a major point release, so there is a lot more to it that this that is worth following up.