Vignette VCM 8 is Here

It’s been 7 years since the last major release of Vignette Content Management (7.0). If you wondered about the fate of the promised last year VCM V8 in the light of Vignette’s (news, site) various tribulations and the Open Text acquisition, worry not. It is officially here.

Using descriptives like “ergonomic design,” “engaging web experience” and “ultra modern personalized workspaces,” Open Text and Vignette are hoping it would have a much better installed base response than VCM 7 seemed to have when it came out.

What Changed From VCM 7 to 8

The looks is one of them. As Vignette told us before they became part of OTEX, UI has undergone a major rework in this version.

GUI Changes and New Functionalities

There are two main views in VCM 8:

  1. Preview environment for page-centric, in-context management approach
  2. Work spaces for content-centric and bulk operations

vcm 8 interface.jpg

Content workspaces in VCM 8 where content is managed independently from the presentation.

vcm 8 sample site.jpg

 Personalized floating menu on the right to manipulate content at the page level. Sample sites are shipped with out-of-the-box content type, workflow and presentation assets.

Users will see multiple productivity enhancements like smart lists, last used, quick actions, search and filter, shortcuts, AJAX-enabled no full page refreshes, minimization of pop-ups, etc.

In VCM V8, drag and drop is enabled in multiple places. The interface got more user-friendly action label names (e.g., save and close) and easier way of getting to most common tasks via tabs and menus, with easier access to system metadata.

vcm 8 reorder items.jpg

Re-order and add items, browse content in contextual, multidimensional workspaces by site, content type, folder, category or explorer views.

For marketers, a new concept of vanity URLs allows to explicitly add a new URL to any page for marketing campaigns and landing pages.

In-context management is one of major improvements with the ability to add new content in the preview environment and create new pages based on default layouts with default content that can be kept as is or changed.

Publishing and workflow have turned into more of a couple of clicks operations without users being exposed to multiple technical concepts.

Site Cloning and Presentation

On the presentation and site management side, more functionality like site creation and site cloning has been exposed to non-technical users allowing for shorter time to market and (after it’s all set up) not having to go to IT. The new presentation management capabilities include theme management, page by page, or template by template management.

vcm 8 changing layouts.jpg

Changing page layout from in-context view

This approach for layout management is based on default templates or preregistered CSS and XHTML.

VCM 8’s themes concept allows to keep the content the same, but change the look and feel.

New sites can be created (or existing sites can be cloned) using one of the existing implementations as a template.

vcm 8 create new site.jpg

Upgrading From VCM 7 to 8

Knowing that migrations and upgrades can be cumbersome and learning from Microsoft’s Office ribbon failure, Open Text decided to take a different approach this time. The vendor introduced a compatibility mode, where customers can run V8 in either the new or the v7 GUI, while keeping their old extensions with the old V7 look and feel.

VCM 8 compatibility mode

When installing the new product, customers can choose to upgrade to the new GUI, or completely skip it for now and introduce it at a later stage in the upgrade. Might be a bit confusing at times to see different portions of the system looking different, but makes sense for those looking to do a progressive upgrade and adapt to the new interface at their own pace, without much investment in retraining everyone.

As far as upgrade efforts go, Open Text says the most optimistic scenario is that it may take a day max to run the upgrade from backup to install to launch. Depending on the number of customizations and the level of implementation complexity, it may take months to upgrade to V8.

All is Well That Ends Well

So, despite some concern, Open Text Vignette Content Management V8 (with a video and all) is live and brings considerable improvements and welcome additions. One wonders though whether VCM V8 will be the turning point for Vignette as a long-standing, veteran product on its own, or as part of the Open Text ECM suite. Will we see magical revival, or milking of the installed base cash cow? Is it the very last release of Vignette Content Management in the days of our lives?