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Twelve months, €900,000 in research and a whole lot of feedback from its partners through its recently launched extranet and Irish-based TERMINALFOUR (news, site)  has a completely new edition of its enterprise grade web content management system.

Site Manger 7.0, the company says is its most ambitious piece of technology to date, and represents a major upgrade to v6.2, which was released in November 2008.

Site Manager 7.0

With Site Manager 7.0, the company says they are now at the forefront of content management provision for the university sector, which is no small claim given that the company moved State-side in March with the opening of their Boston HQ and is already competing with other Web CMS providers for attention.

When v6.2 was launched last year it came with no less than 79 different upgrades or new features. This time around even TERMINALFOUR seems unwilling to guess at how many upgrades they have included.

With feedback from web developers across 50 third-level institutions around the world, v7.0 offers multi-platform support and enables thousands -- as opposed to hundreds -- of content creators around the world to collaborate on projects by enabling web content management servers talk to each other. It is also supported across all browsers, the company says.

Site Manager 7 Features

That's all very general though, let’s look at some of the specifics.

User Interface

One of the things that is really making TERMINALFOUR just about bust with pride this time around is the new user interface.

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TERMINALFOUR's Direct Edit
 

While they didn't dump the old one, they have upgraded it quite considerably using Ajax functionality that effectively reduces the number of clicks needed per page and consequently the number of page refreshes needed to make a page.

Although there are a number of improvements that are immediately obvious, there are hundreds of others in menus, labels and features that are not and which are the result of direct feedback from their community. 

Shared Folders via WebDav

For a Web CMS working across numerous locations, the ability for users to share folders is critical. Site Manager v7.0 has been upgraded to allow users access to content repositories and media libraries, either partially, or entirely, depending on the level of permissions assigned.

Apart from the obvious advantage of being able to see all necessary content to complete a task, this feature also enables users to publish content from common desktop applications using the
‘save as’ function’.

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TERMINALFOUR Media Library
 

Another element of the ‘shared’ functions is it enables web developers to share other assets such as JavaScript files, stylesheets and images from software like Dreamweaver or Microsoft Visual Studio.

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TERMINALFOUR's site structure enables easy file sharing
 

And behind all this is the upgraded WebDav which can operate efficiently and speedily even with a large number of users accessing it at the same time. All changes to documents are controlled through versioning throughout their entire life cycle.

Pluggable Widgets

One other upgrade that we might mention is the pluggable widget feature that enables companies to customize their administrative interface using widgets that can be simply dragged and dropped. While this enables you to customize your view of your entire system, it also allows for the inclusion of third party widgets.

The bottom line with this is that from a single interface, users can view content from across the entire system including analytics, or server performance. However, it's not all work and no play as you can also incorporate widgets like the weather, or iGoogle widgets.

Browser Support

One other thing that TERMINALFOUR is doing a lot of talking about is that Site Manager 7.0 is accessible on any browser and on any computer. It says that the new system will work not only with IE and Firefox, but also Safari, Opera and Google Chrome, whether you happen to be using Windows, Apple or Linux.

This is probably not that new in that previous versions worked with all the major browsers, but what the company is saying is that it will also work with browsers that we don’t yet know about.

Finally, one final thing we might mention is that Site Manager 7.0 connects to over 80 commonly used systems, including some proprietary ones, as a result of using open standard interfaces.

There are a lot more upgrades than we can mention in v7.0 but it is worth checking out, especially if you’re working in the university sector in the US and are in the market for something new from one of the the new European kids on the American block.