But for most IBM i users, the emphasis on document content is hard to escape if you're looking at apps that run directly on the i.
Content management as a product type across IT in general is conceptually divisible into two main categories: document content management and Web content management. When it comes to focusing on that product type more specifically in the IBM i market, though, content management takes on a more sharply document-centric tone.
Nearly all content management applications that run on the IBM i are at heart document management apps. The most commonly used Web content management applications, on the other hand, are generally native to Windows and other platforms. This situation lends a more ambiguous feel to drawing the lines between content and document management in the i market space, a paradox that's well highlighted by comments from two representatives of the content-management vendor community.
Content Management vs. Document Management
"To me, content management usually refers to website generation of edited articles, product data, forums, blog posts, and other informational content rather than structured secure access to internal business documents," notes Richard J. Schoen, recently named director of document management technologies at HelpSystems.
"Content management is all about collaboration—sharing and editing documents," counterpoints Dan Forster, president of inFORM Decisions. "A content management solution would be used by writers, editors, videographers, etc. working on the same document—almost like a programming change-management tool for writers."
"There is some crossover in that content management systems (CMSs) such as SharePoint, Drupal, Joomla, and others can store and serve documents as well," Schoen notes, but he points out the contrast that "the management of documents is just one of many services that a CMS provides, making a CMS a little bit too much of a Swiss army knife in terms of being a document management system with its simplified approach to hosting documents."
" 'Content management' and 'document management' terms are often misused," Forster explains. "In our definition, document management is an all-encompassing term that could be anything from imaging, to laser forms processing, to workflow. It's a term we use to describe the whole business and solutions we provide, but then we start to drill down with questions to address the specific need—barcoding, variable print merging, workflow, document capture, etc. In my opinion, [our company] and many of our competitors are in the document management business, not the content management business."
Document Management as an IBM i Specialty
"There are only a few of us committed to and continuing to develop solutions that are IBM i–native," Forster elaborates. "Many of our competitors have developed Windows server–based products, which force the user to download their spool or DB data to a PC to process. Regarding why not Web vs. a server-based product, I believe most of us are rapidly developing more applications that take advantage of the Web."
"Document management has changed in our world because a new project…often starts from a need to take an existing paper-based form and turn it into an online process," Schoen points out. "Capturing and archiving scanned documents, system reports, and other documents are still important, but not always the primary driver. Another significant thing we're seeing is the types of documents customers want to manage. It's no longer just scanned documents and reports, but email messages, Word and Excel documents, photos, video, and more. Pretty much any document that can be created in a PC file format can be captured and archived, thus making all types of documents fair game to be properly managed. The term document management can often be seen as too generic…because it describes everything from generation and printing to archiving and purging of documents."
Applications for Managing Your Content
The upshot of this situation is that, if you're an IBM i shop, your choices in "content management" systems that run natively are largely going to consist of document management applications. If you want a true CMS on your i, you'll need to be looking at products that run under Windows or Java and that may not be as feature-rich.
Whichever type of content management suits your enterprise needs, below are listings with links to vendor Web sites for server-based content or document management applications. That's followed by selected listings of more Web-oriented CMS products that run under Java or Windows on the i, or on other platforms.
Please note that the product descriptions only touch on some of the features available. Please consult each of the vendor Web sites for more complete information on each product's capabilities.
Content Management Solutions for IBM i
ACOM's EZContentManager helps users build secure electronic document libraries and manage document content. Designed to interface with ACOM's EZeDocs and EZPayManager, EZContentManager includes content from documents and checks produced by those two applications and also provides workflow features.
EZeDocs is an electronic-forms design and document-delivery system that helps users create invoices, purchase orders, reports, checks, forms, and other business documents without requiring preprinted forms or custom programming. Documents produced can be printed or distributed electronically as fax or email messages.
Content Central is a browser-based solution for capturing documents, emails, and other files in a central repository; automating approval processes and document workflow, and managing all content via the Internet.
Although designed primarily as a Web-portal solution, Nexus' focus is on assembly and organization of business information gathered from documents and applications. Nexus includes a content-management application that handles all aspects of document storage and retrieval and supports document formats that include those of MS Office, Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), and graphics.
GEMKO Information Group
GEMKO's product is a document-imaging and spool-file-capture solution. Document content typically managed through paper records in file cabinets can be captured, indexed, and managed easily using the platform you already have. Entries are converted into digitized records for later retrieval.
Content Manager OnDemand runs on IBM i and other servers running AIX, Linux, and Windows. The product's middleware manages formatted computer output and reports and provides instant electronic access to files, statements, invoices, and check images. It includes IBM Content Navigator, which organizes collaborative and mobile content, and integrates with other IBM filing and archiving solutions.
IBM WebSphere Adapter for Enterprise Content Management works with WebSphere to let users create integrated processes that include the exchange of information with a Content Management Repository, without special coding. It also lets users create new documents or folders within a repository, enables users to receive event notifications from the server, and creates a standard interface to repository data that doesn't require users to understand application implementation or data structures.
IBM's Lotus Web Content Management is designed for managing website content that's delivered via Internet, portal, intranet, or extranet. The product lets users create, publish, and manage Web content from virtually any desktop but runs on IBM i servers using i5/OS, AIX, Linux, or Windows.
XDMS is available for IBM i servers running AIX or Linux. It helps users manage, share, and distribute eXtensible Markup Language (XML) documents of any type with each other or across applications.
The iDocs suite is concentrated on helping users design and produce forms, checks, and documents from IBM i spooled output. Suite members help users format documents, filter and distribute them, and index and archive them in a Web-based repository.
DTM, the IBM-designated successor to OfficeVision/400, is an XML-based system for incorporating information from databases into electronic documents for display and distribution via the web, email, and fax. It also facilitates document generation and display between IBM i and MS Office applications. DTM comes with a choice of user interfaces: native 5250 (or green-screen) or MS Word. The MS Word user interface can be used on Microsoft Windows computer systems running MS Word.
LiveDocs is a Web-based document-editing environment that lets users add numerous document elements to any document, enforce content guidelines enterprisewide, capture information via input fields, and personalize communications in a controlled environment.
Scriptura Engage is designed primarily for use in customer-relationship-management scenarios. It provides centralized content storage, document creation, design and production of customer communications, and control of output processes. It also features security, regulatory compliance tools, and the ability to handle multiple languages and business logic in the same document template.
The inFusion suite of products, designed for use with IBM's Lotus Notes/Domino, includes inFusion eForms, which is a workflow solution for creating and routing of electronic forms, and PDF inFusion eReview, which supports online, real-time collaborative review of documents and graphics in files using the PDF format.
Lennox Hill's isoTracker is a cloud-based content-management service that can access and open any document reachable via browser, lets users edit and save those documents, and channels the results via workflow tools, all in a secure environment.
The OpenText Content Suite Platform includes capture technology for entering text and data and indexing information, a Web-based document-management system for building a shared and secure document repository, workflow and automation tools, records management features for handling documents throughout their lifecycle, development tools, and intelligent archiving that optimizes storage based on metadata and business context.
Formtastic is a document automation solution that enables you to custom design forms, checks, and barcode labels from a desktop-based interface designer. From there, Formtastic extracts spooled data from your IBM i and inserts it into a new business form. You can then automatically fax, email, print, or store the newly formatted electronic document within a network.
Real Vision Software
RVI Complete is a document-imaging and report-capture solution that digitizes documents and other files (e.g., photos, spooled files, emails, spreadsheets) to make them available for distribution, indexing, and Web access. The product includes workflow tools, PC integration options, and security features.
Enterprise Workflow automates the handling of existing documents by managing and routing documents in a Web environment. It also lets users build workflows, enables control of user access, and generates audit trails of all activities.
WebDocs is a browser-based document-management system that lets users digitally manage, store, and distribute all business content. Available either as a licensed application or as a cloud-hosted service, WebDocs handles PC- and server-generated content, email, e-forms, invoices, and other document types.
XaitPorter is a cloud-based service that enables collaboration on documents by users anywhere in the world, via browser. XaitPorter lets users reuse content, control versions, generate audit reports of all document changes, compare revisions, access workflow features, export documents, add graphics, and customize layout in a secure environment.
Major Web Content-Management Systems
Drupal is open-source freeware for Web servers running Apache, Nginx, or Microsoft IIS. It lets users manage all Web content on their sites and includes basic community features like blogging, forums, and contact forms. The product is extendible by downloading other contributed modules and themes.
ExprssionEngine offers numerous Web-publishing tools, a template engine with built-in versioning, multiprotocol support for moving content to other platforms, a search engine, a spam deterrent and other security features, membership management, tracking of users and hits, and numerous add-on features.
Cascade Server runs on Linux, Mac, Solaris, and Windows servers. It's a Java-based app that comes packaged with Apache Tomcat. Features include WYSIWYG editing, single-click content creation, multilingual support, an Ajax-enhanced interface, and site-preview tools.
Joomla! is a community-based software project that provides a website builder and content management application. Its features include a user-registration system with authentication, international language support, a configurable MIME setting that can handle any type of file, and tools for managing web links, content, menus, templates, data and file importing, syndication and newsfeeds, and web services.
Kentico Web Content Management is designed to run under ASP.NET and offers support for web content management, e-commerce, online marketing, online communities, intranets, and online collaborations. Product features include WYSIWYG editing, a workflow designer, an image editor, multilingual content, page templates, versioning, archiving, and widgets.
Magnolia CMS is a Java-based, open-source web content management application available in three versions with escalating features. Some available features include version controls, backup utilities, website customization tools, instant inline editing, and compatibility with JBoss, Tomcat, and WebSphere.
MediaWiki is open-sourced freeware written in PHP that controls and services Wiki-based websites. Designed to be run on larger servers for sites getting up to millions of hits per day, MediaWiki processes and displays data stored in databases such as MySQL. It lets nontechnical users edit pages without knowing XHTML or CSS, can manage image and multimedia files, retains a copy of all versions of web pages, and includes security features.
LightCMS provides website management, output design templates and options, direct access to code for advanced users, color-coded HTML and Java editing, calendaring, form-building, SEO optimization, and security features.
Percussion CMS is designed for marketers who want to publish web content quickly without requiring much technical knowledge. The product provides web design, content management, SEO optimization, and integration with other application features. It automatically creates a library or reusable content and files and can manage multiple websites concurrently.
Percussion's rhythmyx is a content-management system for websites that offers workflow capabilities, open and custom APIs, taxonomy and metadata services, staged publishing, web analytics, security features, and versioning support. Its multichannel publishing capability lets users export content to websites, web applications, social-media sites, databases, and RSS.
Textpattern CMS is an open-source content manager that features a flexible engine for all kinds of websites, a browser-based template and CSS editing, time-stamping of content, password protection of content, automatic conversion of plain text to XHTML, support for plug-ins, and unlimited role privileges for users, as well as obvious access to the product's source code.
Although known primarily as a blogging aid, WordPress offers content management tools for full-featured websites as well. It includes a multilingual control dashboard, popularity-tracking features, interfaces for mobile devices and social-networking sites, more than 280 themes, and the ability to add images, video, and audio to site content.