dotcms Java Web CMS
The latest dotCMS (news, site) Web Content Management (WCM) system release enhances the project's self-proclaimed "super hero" status with version compare red-lining, added language packs, full site search via Lucene and Nutch, and more. Let's have a quick look.

A Point Release with Punch

We took a look at the dotCMS v1.9 release back in July, just seven weeks down the road and we get a neat update bump to the open source Web CMS with v1.9.1. The latest version offers some solid improvements as well as the expected bug squashing, and some more subtle tweaks.

For those looking for a Java-based Web CMS to rival the PHP "big three" of Drupal, Joomla and WordPress -- and this is a quest that has been going on for some years -- dotCMS, is increasingly looking like a contender with big-name users and an ever-expanding feature set.

Headline Acts

At the top of the update list is multilingual support on the back-end for Spanish, French, German and Conversational Chinese translations. It goes without saying that this will widen the market for dotCMS, particularly in the massive Chinese-speaking sector.

Add to that, Lucene-based site search that can index almost all types of files including .ZIPs, .PDFs, Office documents, JavaScript, RSS feeds and you have a neat boost in functionality for those with content-rich or heavy sites. Lucene was part of the previous dotCMS picture, but that was only for content searching. In other words, the previous Lucene index was built via querying the content database and post v1.9.1 Lucene/Nutch spiders the published website and indexes all the content found therein.

Nutch is an Apache Software Foundation project that builds on the Lucene full text search engine, the base search engine, and Solr, a wrapper around Lucene that adds nifty features like suggestions and facets. Nutch goes further, adding web-specific functionality like an HTML parser and a web spider that can build Lucene search indexes. The Lucene / Solr combination has essentially become the default solution for search in the Web CMS market.

Red-Lining for Enterprise Editors' Pleasure

dotCMS comes in both Community (open source GPL v2.0 licensed) and Enterprise (pay to play) versions. Red-lining is a feature that has been added to the enterprise version, while the other additions mentioned are also available in the community version. The red-lining feature enhances change tracking in dotCMS, similar to Word showing you additions and deletions made before the page or content is committed to publishing. This is invaluable for editors if the CMS is your primary editing platform. Red-lining not only adds sanity to your content world, but is an indispensable training tool.

New or inexperienced users will appreciate the improved "starter site" kit that offers extra features like Google Maps, calendar and analytics integrations to get that first site off to an impressive start. Power users get a boost from improved disk caching that boosts throughout and delivery of pages. Alas, there are no claims of any particular percentage boost for performance, so let us know if it works for you.

Community Bolt-ons Too

Additional features have come from the dotCMS community, including a server-side JSON tool for data access, an email tool for Velocity users and more. Add in those other fixes and tweaks and you have a notable upgrade for both enterprise and community users.

As an aside, if you want to get involved in discussing dotCMS, a new forum has just been launched that looks the like place to get gabbing. For those interested in getting started with dotCMS, it is available as a 90-day trial (for both versions), the community edition can be downloaded here, or you can log on to the demo site.