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eZ Publish

Web Design & Development Guide

eZ Publish

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eZ Publish
Developer: eZ Systems
Latest release: 3.9.2 / May 4, 2007
OS: Cross-platform
Platform: PHP
Genre: Content management system
License: GNU General Public License
Website: http://ez.no/

eZ Publish is an open source enterprise content management system. It is developed by the Norwegian company eZ Systems and a growing number of users and developers worldwide. eZ Publish is available for free download under the GPL licence, as well as under proprietary licences with commercial support. eZ Publish aims to support the development of professional web applications in PHP.

The name eZ Publish is pronounced as "easy publish".

Areas of use

eZ Publish supports the development of professional, customized web applications. Typical applications range from a personal homepage to a multilingual corporate website including role-based multi-user access, e-commerce functions and online communities.[1]

According to eZ Systems, eZ Publish is used for tens of thousands of web applications of varying type and size worldwide, among them MIT (specifically the controller's office), Vogue magazine, NASA, the US Navy DASN and the Swiss public broadcasting organisation Schweizer Fernsehen.[2][3] Further examples eZ Publish-based projects are listed on the eZ Publish reference page.

Handling

eZ Publish is managed via a Web browser, thus additional local software is not necessary. It also features a rich text editor that allows formatting content similar to a word processor (e.g. Word). This enables content editing and contribution without HTML skills. Content management can also be done through the eZ Publish frontend.

Business model

By providing the software for free, eZ Systems follows an approach called "best of both worlds".[4] eZ Publish may be used and modified according to the GPL. In addition, for-fee professional support is available, which includes an automatic maintenance service (eZ Network) and a bugfix guarantee. Furthermore, a "Professional Licence" is available, granting the right to use eZ Publish under licence conditions different from the GPL. With this model, eZ Systems strives to combine the advantages of commercial and free software. The company has received several awards for this business model, including the "Norwegian Prize for promoting Free Software"[5] and was named by EContent as one of the 100 most influental companies in the IT industry.[6]

eZ Systems has a network of certified partner companies that perform application implementations. Currently there are approximately 170 partners worldwide (as of February 2007, list). The company employs about 80 people in Norway, Ukraine, France, Canada and Germany.[7] According to eZ Systems, its developer community includes tens of thousands of programmers.[8]

Functional range

The eZ Publish functional range targets the quick, professional and secure realization of web applications. Functional criteria are (besides standards such as sitemaps, search and printing function):

  • a logic for content versioning;
  • a media library; and
  • role-based rights management.

Furthermore, custom changes can be made to eZ Publish. For this, the system's architecture provides "Extensions", which are meant to contain individual functions. This allows for the upgrading of the kernel even after customizing new versions. Finally, there are several hundred contributions provided by the community. eZ Systems integrates such contributions into the kernel on a continuous basis. This is done especially to avoid mixed installations of the kernel and custom plugins, which could lead to serious problems (e.g. for migrating an existing installation to new versions of PHP, as such plugins are usually supported unpredictably).

Technology

As a LAMP application, eZ Publish is based on PHP. The recommended webserver is Apache. This makes the software independent from the operation system. eZ Publish can be run on Windows as well as on different UNIX derivatives.

One of the strictly applied development principles is a clean implementation of the database abstraction layer, which enables the use of nearly any common database by using drivers, thus rendering changes to the kernel unnecessary. eZ Systems recommends MySQL, but drivers for PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle are also available. As eZ Publish supports open standards such as XML and SOAP, it can be flexibly integrated into existing IT infrastructures.

eZ Publish is cluster-ready and enforces the strict separation of information and design through XML storage of all content. This eases media-neutral design in terms of accessibility, e.g. for Braille devices or serving WAP browsers and mobile phones.

eZ Components

Future versions of eZ Publish will be based on eZ Components.[9] eZ Components is a library of standardized modules for speeding up application development. Among others, there are functions for compressing binary files, optimizing performance through caching, connecting to several databases, debugging, RSS, generating graphs for analysis, converting images, supporting email and validating user input.

eZ Components are conceptualized as an alternative for the PEAR project. They are published under the BSD licence. Nevertheless, commercial support is available from eZ Systems. In addition, eZ Systems is developing "eZ Platform", which will be a development environment for PHP 6.[10]

Criticism

eZ Publish has been criticized for the lack of a built-in WYSIWYG editor and rather complicated licensing [1]. With its Online Editor being included by default since version 3.8.1 (June 22, 2006), this has addressed the WYSIWYG editor concern.

References

  • Paul Borgermans, Tony Wood, Paul Forsyth, Martin Bauer, Björn Dieding, Ben Pirt: Learning eZ Publish 3: Building Content Management Solutions, Packt Publishing 2004, ISBN 1904811019
  • Balazs Halasy, eZ publish basics, eZ press 2006, ISBN 82-92797-00-9 (Description and contents)

External links, references

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Kraemer, Kai, Web 2.0 for the Enterprise, 8.10.2006]
  2. ^ The MIT controller's office
  3. ^ eZ case studies
  4. ^ eZ Systems, press release 10/6/2005 concerning the survey Blue Chips in the ECM sector
  5. ^ newsforge.com, [http://newsvac.newsforge.com/newsvac/05/10/05/145206.shtml press release on the Norwegian Prize for promoting Free Software], 5/10/2005
  6. ^ Manafy, Michelle, Introduction: 2006 EContent 100, 15/11/2006
  7. ^ profile of eZ Systems
  8. ^ reference missing
  9. ^ Interview with members of the eZ Systems board, 16/3/2006
  10. ^ eZ Systems, press release on eZ Platform, 22/6/2006

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