Rational Emphasizes Web Site Development Content Management

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Rational Emphasizes Web Site Development Content Management
C. Lisle - December 12, 2000

Event Summary

Rational Software (NASDAQ: RATL) announced Rational Suite ContentStudio to address the needs of e-businesses challenged with managing content and code. ContentStudio includes content management technology from Vignette Corp. (NASDAQ: VIGN).

ContentStudio is designed for e-business development teams that include content contributors who write, design, edit or approve the information that will be on the site, and software developers who design, build, and test the code that powers the e-business system. ContentStudio manages content, code and other software artifacts in a common, software configuration management foundation. The company claims that the user of ContentStudio will unify e-business teams so they can build and deploy sophisticated e-business sites faster without any loss of quality.

"Every e-business site contains a combination of code and content, and if that code and content are not managed in unison the site will fail," said Eric Schurr, senior vice president of Marketing and Suite Products for Rational. "By combining Rational's market-leading e-development tools and best practices with Vignette's market-leading content management technology, we're providing customers with a complete set of integrated products for developing the highest quality e-business sites."

Market Impact

Rational is responding a real need in the world of e-business for coordinated control of both the code and the content of large complex web sites. E-businesses today require the same level of change control management for both the web site code and content that IT managers have employed in testing and implementing application software development.

IT managers use software configuration management systems to keep software development teams coordinated. These systems make it practical for a single release to incorporate the results of the simultaneous processes of fixing bugs and adding features by different development groups. With web sites, the product that must be controlled contains both code and site content.

Content gets created and modified according to a procedure that is quite different from the way that software is built. Thus while software configuration management tools can be used with content they don't typically reflect the processes that content goes through. Rational's attempt to address this should be welcomed by the market, and lead to some modest competition. However, any attempt to manage things leads to changes in the way that people work. It remains to be seen whether ContentStudio, once purchased, becomes part of a website's arsenal, or just another piece of software on the shelves.

User Recommendations

If you are developing or have a web site that is key to your business survival, you should be investigating what tools are available to support your web site infrastructure. Managing both the code and content of that site requires a disciplined process, even if the content is highly creative and involves innovative elements. Tools are being adapted and developed to help you.

Keep in mind that just as your business is adapting to being an e-business, the vendors who support you are also exploring and learning how to support e-business infrastructures. Take the time to spell out what you need the tools to do for you before you begin evaluating the tools on the market. Do not simply jump for a tool that was designed for software, even if it's an old favorite. Make sure that the people who are part of the writing process have a chance to try the products, and talk to people who use them. Ultimately, it's your job to encourage them to reject products that they don't feel comfortable about.

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