eZ Publish Web Content Management
Just out the door, eZ Systems announces the latest version of their flagship web content management product -- eZ Publish v4.0. Can you hear the cheers from the Open Source community now? Or how about from the online publishers, who eZ Systems' execs assert they are "200% focused on."The eZ Publish web cms solution is a freely downloadable bundle that enables a range of web publishing and social media operations. The product is based on open source PHP technology and offers a development framework for web publishing, media portals, intranets, extranets and e-commerce websites. This release marks the first stable release of the 4.0 version. eZ Publish v4.0 offers the following enhancements: * Compatibility with PHP 5: Full compatibility with PHP 5, including a new PHP enterprise components library. * Improved UI: An updated website interface that includes a new graphical design interface and other enhancements. * Performance Improvements: Increased performance and memory reduction with an improved internal XML handler. Improved clustering performance. * Other enhancements: Enhanced ISBN and multi-option data type handling. The scope of the 4.0 release is not overwhelmingly large. But this is a tradition with eZ Systems -- they (wisely) seek to have measured transitions from release to release, thereby easing the potential pain and lowering the migration risks for end clients. Good thinking, we say.

More Coming Soon, and Now

The company has some notable core changes in the pipeline for the product. eZ Components, a free, high quality bundle of PHP application building blocks, is a big part of this. And the 4.0 release takes incremental steps towards further integration and reliance on eZ Components. But for the big stuff -- such as a new settings engine, a new template engine and a replacement of the original, native workflow engine with the eZ Components Workflow module -- the fans must wait. These things are still down the road a little ways. In conversation today with CMSWire, Roland Benedetti, eZ System's Managing Director for Western EU, informed us that the new workflow engine is still undergoing some functional enhancements and is currently slated for the 4.0.1 release; time frame TDB. Your thirst for progress will not, however, be left unsated. For the Norwegians have been busy.

eZ Find - Better Searching with Lucene

Also released is an updated search module called eZ Find. This is a new extension for eZ Publish 3.x and 4.x providing capabilities such as relevance ranking, keyword highlighting, native support for eZ Publish access rights and the ability to search sites that contain millions of objects. The eZ Find add-on is based on the Apache Lucene project, which is, in our opinion, a fine choice of technologies. eZ Find can be configured to search multiple eZ Publish sites and for the technical tinkerers, may be extended to search external sites, remote repositories, or whatever you can convert to a Lucene document. Sky's the limit if you can code (details here).

eZ Flow for the Media Minded

Also officially released is eZ Flow 1.0, an optional commercial extension to the eZ Publish system. eZ Flow is named well. It targets organizations who handle rapidly changing web publishing properties and who need to carefully plan the content flows of key entry points over the course of a business day. eZ Flow provides the following functionality: * Ability to pre-plan the content publication schedule * Support for revenue streams with advertising and paid content * Support for rich multimedia content * Ability to send content to mobile devices, including the iPhone The eZ Flow module is indeed sexy stuff for the right crowd (see a video intro here, to determine if that is you). It is open source, but it's not free, provided you want support. Commercial eZ customers know the ropes. They are entitled to a fully supported version in accordance with their eZ Premium service tier -- Flow is just an incremental price increase on the base package.

Go West Young Developers

Overall we're impressed by the direction and momentum of eZ Systems. We're not the only ones either. At the recent cmf2007 event in Denmark, eZ's CTO, Bård Farstad, delivered a daring performance through yet another Web Idol showdown. For the second year in a row eZ walked out the winner. Though, with plans for two new offices in the U.S. in 2008, we fear the spotlight may have gone to their heads. But with a four foot high trophy in hand, I suppose we must ask, how could it not?