Review: Website Publisher
 
Published: 28 Aug 2008
Abstract
Nowadays, article management systems are available in plenty. Each product has its own unique features. Anand recently tested out a powerful script with which ads enabled sites can be created with limited manual intervention from the part of site owners. In this review, he records his observations regarding the product by analyzing each step from the installation stage.
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Introduction

Managing an article based website is a difficult task for webmasters. It is difficult to create and update static pages for every article posted by different authors. Hence, effective software is essential to create and maintain a dynamic website. There are plenty of scripts which are available to build a multi user article based web site. Website Publisher, previously known as ArticleLive, enables you to create article or blog enabled websites by incorporating plenty of features. The software has been developed by a leading Australia based software vendor Interspire.

Installation

First, the review assumes that you are the administrator of a web site powered with Website Publisher. As soon as you complete the order process, you will receive an email from the vendor with the required information to download the product. It can then be installed by following the instructions in the step-by-step wizard either in Linux or in Windows server. The wizard prompts you to enter database related information such as database name, username and password. As soon as the installation is completed the site will be loaded with a default template which comes with the product.

Figure 1

The site can be managed by logging into the system by using the administration username and password which you gave at the time of installation. If the supplied credentials are correct then a dashboard will be displayed as shown below.

Figure 2

While administrators have the rights to perform all the tasks associated with the creation and management of articles, users can register as authors and post articles to the system. I found that the registration process is pretty simple and also Ajax and CAPTCHA enabled to prevent unauthorized registrations. Even though you have registered, your account will become active only after the approval by the administrator. But administrators can enable auto approval of new registrations from the secured area although it is not recommended. Authors will be able to login to the system immediately and the management area will look like the one below.

Figure 3

 

I noticed that the article submission process is simple, but the form and the links on the right hand side overlapped each other when I switched the text editor to complete mode. I feel that this is a CSS problem with the template and not that of the product, which I hope will be resolved in the next development cycle. The vendor also provides excellent support and provides an immediate fix for problems.

The published article can be edited at any time by the author after logging into the system and selecting the My Submissions link. It will be visible on the site only after the approval by the administrator.

I found it very easy to navigate through the administrator dashboard. The functions for each module have been given inside the drop down menus. You can easily monetize your site by simply specifying the Google publisher ID by selecting the Adsense tab from the settings menu on the top of the page. The resulting page will look like the figure below.

Figure 4

You can pick the pages on which the Ads should be displayed and the system will automatically display them on the site. It is also possible to customize the font, color and other related settings. Even though Google Adsense is used by the majority of users, I would prefer to see the implementation of other Ads such as Lakequincy and Widgetbucks into the site from the administration area.

An interesting feature which I noticed is that you can create a logo for your site without using any other tool from the administrator area within two minutes very easily by specifying the required text. I would suggest the vendor to provide more design options especially that of Web 2.0 styled logos.

Customization

I was bit surprised when I was unable to find any link to download the templates. But the vendor provides templates in a different manner than other similar products. I was able to directly download the different color combinations of various templates from the administrator area without any need to upload them individually through FTP, which I hope will help site owners a lot.

I would suggest the vendor provides Magazine style templates similar to that of the CNN website so that users can easily create and manage news based sites using the product. You can also develop your own templates by going through the instructions specified in the template customization guide if you are familiar with PHP.

The product enables administrators to employ drag and drop the panels provided the design mode is enabled from the dashboard. You can also view a one minute video before enabling this feature. From my point of view, the product contains lot of powerful features not found in many other competing products. The vendor is scheduled to release a new version of the product soon with which you can create any type of website (Press Releases, Book Reviews) rather than just Articles and Blogs.

I feel that the vendor should remove the blog option from the product as there are many open source softwares available for the purpose of blogging. I do not think any user will use the product for creating blogs. The product generates search engine friendly URL's automatically and supports German, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian languages. Moreover, users can post comments for each article and are secured by the CAPTCHA.

A complete list of all the features along with relevant screenshots can be viewed at http://www.interspire.com/articlelive/features.php. You can also view a demo of both the administration and front-end system at http://www.interspire.com/articlelive/demo.php.

Conclusion

It is difficult to mention all the features included with the product in a review and I would suggest you try it for one of your website. I feel that product is bit pricey when compared to competing products, but can be justified since there are many features bundled with the product. However, it is up to you to decide which script to use for your dynamic website. As I mentioned above, the vendor provides excellent support and you should also take into account this aspect as well before investing your hard earned money for an article script.



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