Central information system
Therefore we have to make it even easier for users to structure and store their information in a granular way in a corporate ‘information pool’ as well as describe it with meta-data and so enable other employees to reuse this content. On top of that structured content it is possible to apply workflows and corporate rules.
- Handling should be possible by means of a single media.
- This media should be accessible to the user from any location.
- The presentation and configuration of this information should be highly customizable to meet the demands of the user.
Separation of content and layout
Most of today’s information containers – word-processor files, spreadsheets and files generated by presentation applications, as well as static web pages – mix up content with layout. As a result, employees cannot reuse this information contained within them without copying its content and re-formatting it as required for their purposes. But making a copy of content doubles the maintenance effort in the future. And, because of limited time, and – to be honest – because doing the same thing twice is boring, the user will not keep all copies of the content up-to-date.
Separating layout from content enables employees to reuse the same content for different purposes in different styles and layouts.
However, splitting layout from content is often not enough. If content is to be reused properly, its container must automatically ‘understand’ the content and how this content relates to other content. In reality, with today’s technology, a system cannot do this automatically for us. However, it performs admirably when the content author defines the structure of his or her information.
For example, if a user writes an invoice in a word-processing application, the system cannot later process automatically details such as the invoice number, the invoice total or VAT.
The system has to provide the structure relevant to the type of content that is to be processed. A content management system splits the object, whether it is an invoice, manual, book, presentation or whatever, into reusable pieces.
Integration of media
Alas, managing content is not enough. The user must handle various media e-mail, file services, web servers, schedulers, etc. By means of our knowledge management system (kBASE), we attempt to wrap a layer of understandable, customizable and unified access to these information systems and groupware.
Flexibility and time to market
With a typical content management system, the structure, and perhaps also its working processes, are predefined by the system designer. As a result, users cannot easily change the way that they structure their information. This is no longer acceptable; it is now absolutely mandatory that the system is capable of reacting to changes in demands instantly. Our Web Development Platform fulfills exactly this requirement using a simple-to-learn macro language for fast development of simple components. It also supports the full integration of Java to solve even the most complex problem.