Our hearts are thumping and adrenalin levels are high as we tell you about the just-released Day's CQ5 WCM. To get as close as possible to a real-life experience, we went ahead and installed the software from scratch and played with it for a couple of days. It was a fun ride.
Without further due, let’s jump in and see what Day came up with after three years of WCM silence.
CQ5 in a Nutshell
This release is a major rewrite of CQ WCM. It is actually a point release — CQ5.1. The major release — CQ5.0 — was distributed to some of Day’s customers this summer. Following their feedback, it morphed into a point release that is making the news today.
Day’s new Web CMS offering introduces an upgraded content repository infrastructure based on modern open source technologies and standards. CQ5’s core is an updated version of Day’s CRX repository, a commercially-licensed version of Day Software based on Apache Jackrabbit and Apache Sling projects.
CRX is the Content Repository for Java technology API (JCR) standard, which is defined by the Java Specification Request 170 (JSR 170). In its new version, it incorporates new RESTful content application architecture.
CQ5 builds on this updated infrastructure with new end user applications for Web Content Management, Digital Asset Management and Social Collaboration.
CQ5.1 offers a rich-text, WYSIWYG user experience and an elegant, Macintosh-inspired, AJAX-powered GUI.
CQ5 Main Features
It is clear that a lot of work poured into CQ5. We’ll tell you about its main features. Be sure to check out your DayCare site or dev.day.com for more information and hidden gems.
Focus on Web 2.0
While some CMS vendors shy away from Web 2.0, thinking the Web 2.0 implosion is imminent; Day focuses on it big time.
Some Social Collaboration-related developments are still in beta and will be released in Q1 2009, including forum, blog and calendaring functionalities.
CQ5.1 ships with pre-built widgets for site enhancement: posts and comments, categorization and RSS feeds, tagging, slideshows, forms and enterprise wiki.
A floating Sidekick is, essentially, a widgets and components toolbar. You can drag-and-drop items from Sidekick into pages.
In the Tagging Manager, tagging and specific targeting rules are based on your user permissions. But any user can suggest tags, which later can be included in the overall taxonomy based on, for example, the number of times the tag was suggested. This allows for flexible taxonomy management.
CQ5.1 Tagging on a Page Level
One thing we’ve noticed with the newly created tags is that they seem to be going through the workflow as any other content item, but they’re nowhere to be found in the workflow’s list of active items.
There is a potential for users can create and manage very complex taxonomies in CQ5’s tagging environment.
Digital Assets Management
CQ5.1 offers decent DAM for Web CMS scenarios. Some of the main features of managing digital assets include:
- Full image rendering
- Audio and video
- PowerPoint, Word, Excel, PDF file formats’ management
- Transparent file-server replacement
- DRM and metadata Management
- Format transcoding
One of the nicest things about CQ5.1 from an end user perspective is image editing. Unlike many other vendors, Day offers good image cropping functionality that is not Flash, but browser-based. You can crop (and not squash), rotate, map and flush images.
CQ5 Image Editing Tools
Web Analytics and Reporting
Managed from the Page Properties level, CQ5’s analytics and reporting capabilities are quite basic and allow users to see real-time reports for a page or a content item. The number of impressions for each page is displayed in the Site Admin mode. A graphical representation of the number of visits over preset periods of time is available in the Page Properties view.
CQ5.1 is said to be shipped out-of-the-box with Omniture and Google Analytics integration. In our evaluation, we were only able to identify Google Analytics capability present.
As far as WebTrends integration goes, it needs to be custom-built based on the ability to query all data on all Web pages from the CRX. So far, it hasn’t been implemented by any customers. Other external analytics providers’ integration is also possible we were told.
Clustering, Backup and Disaster Recovery
CQ5.1 shines when it comes to such crucial functionality as backup and recovery. Backup has been greatly simplified. The CRX repository now offers a hot backup utility that creates a backup file of the entire system, including content, configuration, components and scripts. Restoring your entire CQ5 instance is as easy as extracting the backup zip file and restarting the system.
This functionality is a great accomplishment that should save organizations considerable amounts of time, money and resources. One click and all changes (even those currently being made) make it into a Quickstart-packaged file for disaster recovery, and your environment can be back up and running within minutes.
Clustering was also improved. A CQ5 WCM cluster can be now set up much easier. A new cluster node is added by installing an empty CRX on a new machine and pointing it to the running CQ5 WCM cluster. It will hot join without you having to lift your finger. The full synchronization with the slave machine is done automatically. It sounds great and, as all things great, active clustering is an optional module and requires a separate license
What we found especially compelling is a totally new way of working with customer support, should there be a problem with your CQ5 instance. Forget the never-ending chains of e-mails and exhausting phone calls, where customer support is almost blindly trying to navigate its way through your system. All you need to do is export (as a Quickstart image) your entire CQ5 image, send it to CS and have them unpack it and figure out what the problem is. No more sending log files and worrying about setting up VPN access.
Workflow and User Management
CQ5 WCM comes with a new workflow engine and a new http interface for creating and maintaining workflows based on the Java API and REST.
Day’s workflow was in a dire need of a facelift, and we are glad to see a major rework here. Any business user with proper permissions can now create a custom workflow. While we think there’s a little too much freedom in this approach, it could be beneficial in the right hands.
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