Review: Tridion R5 Web content management shines
R5 trumps other WCM software with outstanding usability, depth
SiteEdit offers an alternate way to maintain Web content. Less-experienced editors merely navigate to the appropriate Web page on your staging server and edit content in-place. This saves users from hunting around using Content Manager, while ensuring that only the master copy of a file is changed, which is especially important if pages or individual elements are reused in other parts of your site.
Simplicity is also very evident in the workflow engine. Using Tridion's customized interface to Microsoft Visio, I placed graphical objects (that related to specific items in Content Manager) and connected them in the desired order. R5 then performed all the hard work, such as sending e-mails notifications to those in the approval chain. Workflow can get almost as sophisticated as you want. For example, it's possible to route approved content to the external server of a vendor you use to translate text into different languages.
Tridion's Content Delivery modules (which are J2EE based) show the same flexibility. Once pages were approved, I published them in various static forms. including HTML, JSP, ASP, and ASP.Net, to different Web servers. Alternately, R5 Dynamic Content Broker takes published content fragments and assembles Web pages at request time based on personalization settings or SQL queries. This gives you the choice of static pages for speed, while being able to deliver interactive pages when necessary.
Let's get personal
I was especially pleased with how Tridion R5 handles personalization, which was very competitive with top-rated personalization products such as ATG Adaptive Scenario Engine. In my first test, R5's implicit profile management watched how anonymous visitors clicked through my site and then it generated content based on this behavior. For example, I created a section of my site for financial products. When the system noticed users clicking links in this area, I easily had a list of case history articles on my home page reordered so clients in the financial sector appeared at the top of the list.
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The WebForms module is very helpful for both personalization and streamlining business processes. First, forms are easily designed by dragging and dropping predefined field types and saved directly to Content Manager. In that way, forms can be reused throughout your site. On the back end, collected information can be used right away to personalize pages, which can be submitted to other enterprise systems (this will admittedly take some help from your IT group), or used as part of other Tridion processes. One such process is Outbound E-mail. This R5 module let me create customized e-mails based on each person's content interests. I had no trouble creating these e-mail templates using Adobe InDesign CS3 and reusing images that were previously published as part of Web sites.