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When I first encoutered Fusion, it was like a relevation to me! And when I first saw the concept of the Authoring Server - a Client/Server site management and creation tool - I couldn't believe to foresight od NetObjects! Still today, I have NOT seen a tool offering the flexibility which the Auhtoring Server has for collaborative web development.
The story continues rather sad: NetObjects sold the Authoring server to Merant who got rid of a superior competitor that way and got a lot of core technology and humans ressources in return. After a while, the standalone NetObjects Fusion was sold to WebSitePros and is conentrating more and more on home-users.
Merant has immediately stomped the Auhtoring Server, trying to convice its previous users to switch to Merants own product.
Life has become hard for users of the Authoring server. No support. The softwares technology base is over 3 years old, and neither Merant nor WebSitePros is able to generate new license codes for additional client licenses - even though both of them claim the other should be able to do so.
My question is: am I the only person still using the Authoring Server? Are there others out there? What are your migration plans, and have you managed to compensate for different shortcomings?
I'd very much look forward to a lively discussion which MAY end in the creation of a user-group or forum for us.
I'm looking forward to hear from you!
Fusion in general - and the Authoring Server is no execption - has a design-centric approach towards web page creation. It reminds more to a layout program like Freehand or CorelDraw with image- and text-objects which can be moved freely around on the page. Usually, Fusion hides the HTML part completely, however you can influence it to a certain extent. To get the layout as much WYSIWYG as possible, Fusion uses nested tables and/or stylesheets.
Internally, Fusion uses a database for all the elements on the pages/site. Only when you publish the site, the actual HTML is generated. Therefore, all your (internal) links and references are always up to date.
Up to now this was nothing special compared to other HTML-generators.
What makes the NetObjects Authoring Server special is that it actually is a multi-user system! The Authoring Server installs itself on a Windows NT Server and brings its own user management. The Authoring Server uses specialized Clients, which can be installed on as many Windows PC's as you like. Those clients more or less look like a regular standalone Fusion, but they communicate with the Authoring Server. So different users can work SIMULTANEOUSLY on the same site-project, and with limitations even on the same page! This means that e.g. user A can change the klayout of one page, where user B changes content on the site! You can even define areas where content is submitted via a browser.
Again, only when you publish the actual HTML is generated.
What differentiates the NetObjects Fusion Auhtoring Server from other Content-Managemnt-Systems is, that the Auhtoring Server not only focuses on CONTENT, but also on DESIGN!
A content management system as I understand it, needs a design prepared in form of HTML templates from an external source. So in "normal" CMS, an (external) artist design the page-layout, and internal editors merely fill (textual) content in.
In the NetObjects Fusion Authoring Server, content an design is all integrated and done from WITHIN the system. So if I see that my general layout simply does not work for one page - I simply change it WITHOUT the need to change genral templates or anything else as well.
So you get all the deisgn fucntionality which makes Fusion (in general) a superb layout tool, PLUS the collaborative features to work on a site structure in a true team.
To answer your question is that we are currently looking for another tool to possible go to. Dreamweaver is one, Macromedia new Contributor is another. It is still the very early stages of this so we are not sure where or what we are going to do. So far we are managing alright with our current tool but since I took over recently for my departed co-worker I need to get better acclimated with this product. I usually work with Cold Fusion so this WYSIWYG is new to me. So hopefully we can help each other.