Vignette VCM V8

ACE is the internal code name for the upcoming release of Vignette Content Management (VCM) product, which will see its better-than--V7.x light this summer.

Within an ace of the VCM V8 launch, we're giving you exclusive sneak peek into what to expect from Vignette.

Vignette has been thoroughly scolded for poor usability and outdated technology, among other things. But it does look like some positive changes are coming.

The mantra for this release is “It is all about experience.” And when Vignette says experience, they mean better end-user experience for anyone doing enterprise content management tasks -- from IT to marketing to content editors.

VCM GUI Overhaul

VCM V8 will bring a major (and long overdue) overhaul of the GUI. If you have ever worked with Vignette CMS, you’re probably jumping from joy at this very minute.

As all things CMS sexy, the new GUI is AJAXified, simplified and prettified. Vignette says that major changes were implemented for the console UI to allow users to be more productive. AJAX should also indicate better UI performance in the Vignette content management system with, hopefully, less point-click-wait (repeated times N).

The vendor also promises “virtually zero pop-ups in the UI,” which on its own is a huge leap forward.

The new GUI took the largest part of R&D resources for this release, including all lessons learned from V7 in the past 7 years.

New AJAXy In-Context Editing

Vignette's in-context editing is another improvement in V8. Many existing Vignette users should find refreshing. Instead of working from the console (which, typically, is more compelling to technical users), users can utilize the much improved feature.

According to Vignette, extensive UI research was conducted to improve the less-appealing existing in-context editing, which is wordy and menu-based. As a result, things were removed, tweaked, simplified; and users should see an icon-based approach with better terminology that is more suitable for this age.

Some minor bug fixes related to HTML inconsistencies with final visual experience were also fixed in VMC v8.

If you decided you’ve given up on the current visually and functionally awkward in-context editing from Vignette, you may want to give it another try.

Take a look:

vcm v8 inline editing.jpg

VCM V8 In-Context Editing

You will be able to:

  • Create an entirely new page (in earlier versions, you must go to the console to do that)
  • Navigate site tree
  • Edit pages, layout, themes and components
  • Control properties
  • Approve, publish content

Compliance and some web governance are part of the package, as users will only be able to perform certain content actions and use only what is defined by the organization as appropriate for this content type.

Faster, Better, Stronger?

In VCM V8, we should expect to have websites functionally up and running faster than in the past. The vendor says “in minutes,” actually -- which may in fact be the case, depending on your site and many other variables.

Some new speed-it-up functionality for developers will include:

  • Copy other sites and use them as templates going forward
  • Template wizard to pick layouts and build pages quicker
  • Improved backend configurations
  • More templates out of the box
  • Reduced code snippets not being used actively

V8 will have the same underlying architecture as V7, only somewhat refined.

There’s no magical installer though, if you decide to upgrade to VCM V8. It will still require work on your end. Upgrade from V7 to V8 should be similar to that one from V7.5 to V7.6, where you install the product, but still have to apply all your customizations, extensions, etc. If no customizations were made, it’s a matter of installation and content migration (which, as we know, are big tasks on their own).

Other performance enhancements include support for:

  • Java 6
  • 64bit operating systems
  • Virtual environments, e.g. VMWare

VCM V8 Coming Soon to a VMWare Image Near You

What Vignette doing with V8 this time around is pretty interesting. The company will offer VCM V8 sandbox environments to select customers before it goes GA.

This “Early Adopter Program” is about using Vignette in a virtual environment. It’s almost like hosted/SaaS CMS, only on a limited basis.

Think of it as a beta version of the CMS that is fully accessible for you to play with, explore, test release candidates, report bugs, import your content to, employ APIs, test your own customizations and extensions. The only difference is that you don’t have to pay to use the software. Plus, you've already paid for a previous version, anyway.

Vignette says it will host it and provide secure access to it. From the technical perspective, they plan to have a VMWare image with a running install of V8 with firewalled access sliced up for several customers.

Once a customer is done with the V8 sandbox, the image is wiped clean.

More VCM V8 News Soon

VCM V8 is still in the works with most of code complete. General availability is not scheduled until later this year. However, the product will be soft-launched on July 1.

Since this is a very early announcement, some functionality and designs described above may change. What we showed you today doesn’t encompass everything that will go into the new version of Vignette Content Management.

It's too early to draw any conclusions, but we’ll definitely keep you posted on VCM V8 soon, as we get a chance to check it out in more detail. One thing we wonder about is whether V8 will really give that so-needed extra boost to Vignette.