As the Web applications market becomes more crowded and therefore more competitive, vendors strive to either occupy a niche or dominate a category. These days, dominance requires product depth and breadth demanding that serious contenders produce huge, sophisticated products. Such is ContentServer from FatWire Software (see links below), whose product Spark pCM was discussed in a 2002 issue of this newsletter.
ContentServer offers workflow (pitched, of course, as "enterprise-class") for the publishing of static or dynamic multilingual content as well as multiple languages per installation. Designed for J2EE application servers including BEA, IBM, and Sun, Content Server can be extended to support customer's own content-driven applications.
To improve end user delivery performance ContentServer can be intelligently fronted by one or more Satellite Servers. The Satellite Server product provides caching of pagelets (page components including articles, headers, footers, images and other rich media) or whole pages and handles delivery of Binary Large Objects (BLOB).
Satellite Server combines cached pagelets and, depending on their expiration date and where required, new un-cached information from the Content Server to compose page content which the Satellite Server then delivers to users.
To complete the offering, FatWire also provides analytical tools. The first such is FatWire Engage, a wizard-driven tool for business users to segment site visitors into meaningful groups and determine which types of content are most suitable for those segments. FatWire Engage also includes a Rules Engine that can be used to automatically create special content for promotions offered to particular segments. This process can also be driven manually.
The other part of FatWire's analytical tools is FatWire Analytics Bridge. This is designed to gather "granular, tailored information" on site visitors without impacting site performance. Data collection can be specified to meet organizational needs and Analytics Bridge also formats and transfers captured data to third-party analytics tools.
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In the previous newsletter discussing FatWire's Spark pCM product, I mentioned that I thought it ridiculous that some companies require lots of information from Web site users BEFORE they let them see their sales literature. And that FatWire was guilty of this sin. Well, FatWire is still doing this. Click on any of the "Download Product Info Sheet" links and you'll be asked to provide your details in exchange for a PDF version of the information on the Web site, not as you might suspect, a detailed technical paper. It is a shame to have such powerful software and such poor marketing.
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Network World Web Applications Newsletter, 04/03/02