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Making Sense of Site Management Software

By Scott Clark

Over the past two years, Web sites have gone from being something that you were assigned to do in your spare time to being a full-time, complicated task. Sites can be comprised of an almost infinite number of individual pages, each with its own set of links to more pages. Each of these pages can contain graphics, sounds, Java applets, video, or other files.

If a development team is working on the site, then project management software makes perfect sense. After all, a Web site is a project, and team members may find themselves working on the same section at the same time, or they may need to know what the site looked like during a particular period or phase, like when it was working. In this issue, Web Developer® takes a look at several higher-end Web/project management software tools, and helps you decide which is best suited for your purposes.

Each of these tools can help make your job easier by managing all the files and phases of Web development from design to deployment. They allow you to check HTML pages, graphics or any other part of the project out remotely via the Web, make changes, and check the file back in. The file can be locked so that no one else can make changes to it until it is unlocked, or it can be unlocked so others can edit it. StarBase's Web Connect allows Webmasters and members of a development team to connect to the Web server or Web Connect server, download files from their StarTeam project, work on them remotely and send them back to the server. This is all done via the Web, with name and password verification.

MKS' Web Integrity also has the ability to remotely access project files via the Web. Using the Integrity Engine that MKS is known for, Web Integrity allows the developer to access their Web site by using a Web browser or Sidecar, MKS' graphical client-side product.

EBT's DynaBase uses a plug-in for Netscape's FastTrack or Enterprise Web servers. Through the use of this Web server plug-in, distributed Web publishing teams can design, manage, and publish corporate Web sites more easily and effectively, with remote access. After "checking out" a file from a project, developers are free to choose the tools they wish to use to work on the file. When they are finished with the file, it is "checked in" and a copy of the old version is kept in an archive.

I tested the software on a 686 120 MHz PC with 16 MB of RAM running Microsoft Windows 95, and on a 686 150 MHz PC with 32 MB of RAM running Microsoft Windows NT 3.51.

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