Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson, Daniel Kaar

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

NQcontent V2 from NetQuest

NQcontent V2 from NetQuest

Every day it seems as if another content management system (CMS) is popping up on the horizon, many of them built using ColdFusion.

Typically, these CMSs contain the same type of functionality. They:

  • Allow users who don't know HTML to add and edit content easily
  • Display content using a template system and integrated style sheets
  • Create user accounts and assign security permissions allowing certain users to perform only certain tasks
  • Allow content to be indexed and subsequently searched by the user
  • Modify system settings that control certain functionality of the site
  • Perform workflow and/or versioning control over content

    Covering the Basics
    NQcontent performs all this functionality with aplomb. The Articles Management content is displayed in a hierarchical tree format, with unlimited nodes and levels. Available options are displayed with DHTML - which only works properly in Internet Explorer - making selections quick and easy. The navigation within multi-page forms could be a little clearer, especially when required fields are on another page.

    At review time, the only form validation within the administrator uses ColdFusion's built-in server-side validation, but that will change soon. As with most CMSs, content can be edited using the popular Ektron editor that allows a text area field in Internet Explorer to act as an HTML authoring tool.

    The security permissions are pretty granular, assigning individual users to one or more groups, and permissions are assigned on a group basis. Groups can be assigned permissions to one of dozens of available actions, allowing for fine-tuned security settings.

    The Systems section of the administrator allows for management of application variables, content types, search indexes, and system settings.

    Above and Beyond
    While NQcontent is similar to other CMSs, it is the additional features that really set it apart. Like ColdFusion, NQcontent runs not only on Windows NT, but also on Unix and Linux. It supports Oracle as well as Microsoft SQL Server, making NQcontent a viable solution for enterprises that have not jumped on the Microsoft bandwagon.

    Both the Professional and Enterprise editions of NQcontent will run on the Professional editions of both ColdFusion 5 and ColdFusion MX. If you are using Oracle, however, you will need ColdFusion Enterprise.

    NQcontent also comes with several modules that allow developers and administrators alike the ability to manage files, data, and forms via the administrator interface.

    Manage Files Remotely
    Often, the only access you have to a Web site you are developing is via ColdFusion's Remote Development Services (RDS). Anyone who has ever tried to perform file operations over RDS or tried to copy multiple or large files knows how limiting it can be. NQcontent's built-in File Manager resembles a Web-based version of Windows Explorer. From it you can create, rename, and delete directories and create, rename, edit, delete, and upload files. Since the back end of the manager uses CFDIRECTORY and CFFILE tags, certain operations are not available, such as deleting a directory before deleting the files within it.

    This is a simple, yet useful tool that will allow you to more easily manage your Web site. The only directories and files that are accessible by this tool are within the default Web root, however, so virtual directories and file stores outside of your Web root will not be accessible.

    Manage Your Data
    The backbone of any ColdFusion Web site is certainly its database. Typically, database management is completely separate from your development environment, using tools such as those that come with Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. If you want to have a graphical interface to the database you don't have many other options. NQcontent's database administration module contains graphical interfaces to database tables and records that are similar to those provided by Quest software in their Oracle database tool TOAD, one of the best on the market.

    The database and table data is stored by NQcontent as metadata. You add a table to NQcontent by specifying the data source and table name. NQcontent will then import the column names, and you can modify attributes as well as view, edit, update, and delete rows from tables. You can also specify advanced information such as permissions, triggers, and SQL scripts that should be run at specified times.

    The import functionality does not determine table keys and identities, so they must be set separately. One drawback with the tool is that it does not allow the metadata to store more than one primary key column for any table, making workarounds necessary for tables that use combination keys - one or more columns that, combined, create a unique row identifier.

    When tables are added to NQcontent, their columns are available to use when creating content such as articles and forms. User-friendly aliases can be assigned to table and column names and these aliases will be displayed throughout the NQcontent administrator. This allows administrators unfamiliar with the database-naming convention to be able to tell what data they are working with.

    Advanced developers, or those with good database skills, might find the interface a bit cumbersome. It is certainly quicker and easier to use a database management application as opposed to using one built within a Web page. If you do not include your Web site's tables in the administrator, those tables and fields will not be available to use in the content administrator. However, if you want nontechnical administrators to access database data, using this tool will certainly save you a lot of time and effort. Most CMS systems do not even offer this flexibility.

    Build Forms Effortlessly
    Many companies that offer solutions based around CMSs will often charge the client extra to build basic forms, such as Contact Us or Comments. NQcontent comes with a forms administrator module that allows junior ColdFusion developers and even power users to create forms whose submission results can be e-mailed and/or inserted into a database, all without touching any code.

    Form fields can be created from scratch or imported from an existing database table defined in the database module. When you add a field to a form, you can specify attributes such as the field type (text box, text area, checkbox, etc.), specify values for multiple options, and set default values. You can even set design options such as where the field labels display and the width of the fields. This functionality will save the time of advanced developers and save money on labor costs.

    By using just the GUI forms interface, the form validation is a little limiting. At review time, the only included form validation was performed by ColdFusion's built-in server-side processing, using hidden form fields with suffixes such as _required to ensure that required fields are filled in. Patches have since been applied to include basic JavaScript form-field validation and more advanced JavaScript validation support will be included in version 3.0.

    Intermediate and advanced ColdFusion developers can enhance the server-side form validation with their own code using some of the included NQcontent custom tags. This allows more in-depth forms to be created and validated and also allows forms built using the interface to update database records as well as create them.

    But Wait, There's More
    The Professional edition comes with all of the functionality listed above, as well as some additional administration and management features. The Enterprise edition also contains workflow, content versioning, and a more granular security model that assigns roles as well as groups to specific users. NQcontent also offers add-on products such as Forums, E-commerce extensions, Visitors Guest Book, Forms, and Banner and Polls Managers.

    Overall, this is a good CMS that will be used by all levels of users, from nontechnical administrators who are only editing content, to advanced developers managing databases and customized forms. If you are thinking about working with a CMS system, NQcontent is definitely one to take a closer look at.

    SIDEBAR

    Vitals: NQcontent V2
    NetQuest
    8 Duncannon Street, Strand
    London WC2N 4JF
    Tel: +44 20 7484 5028
    Fax: +44 20 7484 5128
    [email protected]
    www.nqcontent.com

    Test Environment:
    HP Pavillon zt1180, 1.2GHz P-III, ColdFusion MX, 512MB RAM, Windows XP Professional, MS SQL Server 2000
    Pricing: NQcontent pricing is based on the number of Content Contributors, and starts from $25,000 or $40,000 for the Enterprise Version; both include unlimited database connectors.

    Product Snapshot
    Target audience: Medium to large organizations looking to create corporate Web sites, portals, content syndication, or e-commerce sites.

    Pros:

  • Multiple platform support
  • Simple to install and deploy
  • Easy for nontechnical administrators to modify content
  • Advanced features for developer use
  • The ability to create forms and manage files and data

    Cons:

  • Lack of JavaScript or advanced form error validation (at review time)

    Client platform:
    System operators must use IE 5.x + on PC
    Server OS: Windows 2000, Red Hat Linux 7.2, Sun Solaris 8
    ColdFusion: Versions 5.0 or MX
    Database support: MS SQL Server, Oracle

  • More Stories By Selene Bainum

    Selene Bainum is a software architect at INPUT.  She has been a ColdFusion and SQL developer for over 10 years and runs www.webtricks.com.

    Comments (3) View Comments

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    Most Recent Comments
    Dave Harrison 02/20/03 12:33:00 PM EST

    I've just downloaded NQcontent from www.nqcontent.com, I like it! Great for managing data as well as content, its going to save me hours of coding. Nice use of dynamic menus and easy to configure. I created a new site section with three mouse clicks! Seems all to be very robust, can't get it to fall over!!! I'll keep trying....

    Dave Harrison, Senior CF Developer

    Julian George 02/14/03 03:28:00 AM EST

    Hi,

    I've reviewed NQcontent recently and it rocks! I've developed with Spectra and know what it takes to develop enterprise solns. If you know Spectra, check out NQ, its a good CMS.

    Julian

    Developer 02/06/03 11:04:00 AM EST

    This is mereley a sales pitch - total fluff. I have reviewed this system and it is good if not a little limited to simple CMS operations. Articles like this do not belong in a developers journal - save them for ZDnet or something 'salesy'

    @ThingsExpo Stories
    The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
    Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
    SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
    Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
    Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
    In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
    How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
    The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
    IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
    Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
    The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
    The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
    "People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
    Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
    In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the technology industry and how do they see opportunities for other women in their area of expertise.
    DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
    Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
    The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
    The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.