Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Content Management and Portal Intergration

One of the biggest headaches for any reporting unit like institutional research, is maintaining web sites that push out information to constituents. On a bigger scale, the whole institution has a similar problem. Nowadays a content management system (CMS) is pretty much required to maintain sanity. These packages, like drupal or joomla (both open source), will help separate design from content--a big step in the right direction. But that still leaves the problem of generating reports (often dynamically) and getting them on web pages in a suitable format.

In the past I've relied on custom code for this sort of thing, but that is not maintainable past a certain scale. So I was interested to read an article in Campus Technology about a product called bluenog that integrates a CMS with reporting functions (they call it business intelligence, but it looks more like reporting to me) and a portal designer to boot, all integrated. The demo videos look interesting, but don't give a lot of detail. I found a review here (which led me off to read about other interesting web 2.o worksavers like this). The Bluenog company has an interesting business model--they sell you the software, but then give you the source code. I'm downloading it to give it a spin tonight. It's over 700mb for the full (trial) version.

Update: After installing the trial version of their ICE (integrated system), and playing with it for a while, I think it's more complicated than what I'm looking for. I can see using this in a very large installation, but my head is swimming at the development complexity of the thing. Maybe I've misjudged it, however, and will continue to play around with it for a few days.

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