TerminalFour Site Manger Review

TerminalFour Site Manger Review

Introduction

Vendor History

TerminalFour was founded in 1996 by the then-Dublin City University student Piero Tintori. What started off as a few one-off projects in Ireland gradually developed into solution that is now known as Site Manager. This development was done in collaboration with two of TerminalFour’s customers.
With the initial focus on the Healthcare sector, TerminalFour soon found it’s nice in the Higher Education (#1 in Ireland and UK) and Public Sector eGovernment (#1 in Ireland). TerminalFour has now started penetrating in finance and retail sector too. Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland; TerminalFour had expanded to Europe, North America, the Middle-East and Australia, TerminalFour is headquartered in Ireland with offices in Slough, Berkshire (UK); Sydney, Australia and Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA).
An aggressive marketer, the company targets customers of WCM tool (like RedDot, Vignette, and Interwoven) which have acquired by other vendors; and claims to generate a significant part of its revenues (over 50%) from these migrations projects.

Product Summary

Site Manager from TerminalFour is a Java based Web Content Management (WCM) tool that offers a web browser based interface only for its users. Being able to perform all tasks (design, development, administration and content contribution) from the thin client itself – with no additional client installation requirement is a big plus for the industry segments where TerminalFour is the strongest – Higher Education and Public Sector / Government.
Site manager offers static content publishing (bake and push) and content transformation capabilities that allows the same content to be re-purposed (and not reused) for publishing across multiple output channels like web browser, mobile, XML and RSS. Site Manager also supports server side scripting that allows for partial dynamic content publishing. Site Manager is well suited for scenarios that primarily involve information sharing through large websites, several microsites and even multilingual websites.
Be advised that unless you have prior experience with the tool, you will find yourself struggling a bit at first – it takes time to discover and understand the product capacities. In addition Site Manager development also requires significant HTML and CSS knowledge. Like most customer, it is highly likely that you will go with the TerminalFour Professional Services or a services partner to get yourself started.

Technology

Architecture

TerminalFour Site Manager is Java based Web Content Management solution that offers a browser base thin client interface for all its users – site administrators, content designers & contributors. Site Manager is primarily a J2EE application that runs on top of an applications server like Oracle Application Server, Apache Tomcat and JBoss. All content except for the large binary files are stored in the database that also serves as it repository. Each Site Manager content type is directly mapped to a table in the database and each element is mapped is mapped to a column in the table. With a straightforward design to data mapping, you can conveniently access the site content from the database..
Site Manager supports dynamic as well as static site generation, however publishing is only static (explained in Publishing section). It also support server side scripting like PHP, ASP, JSP, Perl, Python and ColdFusion that can dynamically server part of site content during runtime. Site Manager supports HTML5, Web Services and WebDAV.

Security

By default Site Manager uses its in-built authentication mechanism and stores user credentials in its database repository. You can however choose to authenticating users against your existing NTLM and LDAP servers.
TerminalFour Site Manager Review - Figure 01
Figure 1: Site Manager’s authentication model support
Site Manager’s security model is defined around Roles, Right and Sections. Roles are defined for the overall site structure (root), whereas rights are defined for individual sections and sub-sections. Site Manager has five predefined roles – Administrator, Power User, Moderator, Contributor and Visitor.
TerminalFour Site Manager Review - Figure 02
Figure 2 User roles supported in Site Manager
Roles only define the actions a user can perform in a given Site Manager deployment – like add content, approve content and generate report. A user can be assigned only one role and is done based on his primary function in the site management – e.g. an Administrator role for site administration and a contributor role for content contributors of the site.
Rights on the other hand define the user’s authority to perform an action on a given site section. A user can be granted access to multiple sections in the site structure however it is important to note that his role will remain the same across all sections. Thus if you have been assigned a Contributor Role, you can’t be a contributor to one site section and a power user for other.
This security model would typically meet most higher education requirements, but can be quite a limitation for enterprises that have granular and complex security requirements.
TerminalFour Site Manager Review - Figure 03
Figure 3 Users can be granted access to an individual section in the site structure

 

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One thought on “TerminalFour Site Manger Review

  1. Keith Frampton

    Thanks Sanjeev for this report. The topics and information contents are very helpful and the balanced coverage of positives and potential restrictions/limitations is nice to see. It is certainly assisting us in our content activities.

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