Octane8 is a web-based content management and site building system, suitable
for either Internet or intranet sites. In brief, this "webtop" application
combines two pieces of functionality. First, there's an HTML editor that
runs directly within your copy of Internet Explorer. In addition to editing,
there is also support for other functionality, notably check-in/check-out
to allow multiple designers to work on a site without trampling each others'
work. It also has little touches that make you more productive, like automatic
menu recreation as you shift pages around. You can also drag and drop
graphics from the content management library to any page, edit your site
from any web browser around the world (of course there is a security mechanism
to protect this), or manage page permissions so that selected users can
see selected parts of your intranet.
Second, there are Octane8 applications. An application is a set of pages
and code already pre-built for a specific purpose. Some of the dozens
of available applications include an auction site, classified ads, an
employee directory, discussion forums, a survey manager, and a press release
application. These are for the most part database-backed, and you can
either work with them directly as a user or (if you're more the developer
type) tweak their code. The code is well-commented ASP pages using VBScript,
so it's easy for many developers to work with.
Many of the applications (for example, the policy manual) are targeted
at the intranet, but others will serve for full Internet sites. For example,
there's a shopping cart available to handle your e-business needs. I found
the Octane8 environment easy to work in, though a bit slow over my ISDN-speed
link to Octigon's demo server; you'll definitely want to be on a fast
LAN link for most work on your Web site. I didn't have any problems editing
pages or working with the code, and the structure of the webtop is well
thought-out and reasonably intuitive.
Octane8 starts around $20,000, which may sound high but is actually quite
reasonable for the level of content management that it offers, without
even counting the applications. If you'd like to learn more, you can sign
up for a Web seminar at the Octigon site and see it in action yourself.
[This review originally appeared in Developer Central 1.12.—Editor]
Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.