Product Review: qlWebDS Pro
 
Published: 26 Jan 2010
Abstract
There are many products available for creating directory style web sites, but web masters prefer simple ones that contain features relevant to them. In this review, Anand puts the Pro version of qlWebDS software to the test. He examines the various features and provides suggestions for improving the quality of the product.
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Introduction

The World Wide Web is scattered with extensive Information for all subjects in the form of articles, reviews, tips, tricks, whitepapers and much more. It is very essential to fetch and club them to a single resource hut so that visitors can easily locate them as and when required. It is possible to develop the required directory style software which performs the above mentioned task, but it requires effort and time. However, many leading companies have developed products with numerous features with which visitors can easily submit the resources. I had previously reviewed a product named IndexU, but it was bit complicated to customize and templates were expensive as well. I was constantly searching for new products and found qlWebDS, which attracted my attention at the first impression itself.

Features

Developed by a New York based Contact USA Inc, qlWebDS not only looks simple and clean but also contains lot of features not found in other competing applications. The software package can be downloaded immediately after the order process is completed in ZIP format. The whole installation process takes around 10 minutes to finish as you have to upload the files, set permissions and complete the remaining task using the wizard. The product works best in Linux based servers, but it can also be installed in Windows servers.

The product enables visitors to submit listings with or without a website address (URL). I need not find any usefulness in having a listing without a web address, but it helps in some instances when there is no URL associated with the listing. Hence, you can also make use of the product to create an online telephone directory or yellow pages. It also contains optional directory fields like Name, Company Name, Address, Business Type, Phone Number and Fax Number and facilitates visitors to submit the listings without registration.

The product automatically displays thumbnails along with the listings and allows users to upgrade an existing listing to a featured listing. It also includes a powerful mail engine which delivers emails as and when a listing is submitted, approved and updated. A key feature of the product is that it enables you to add logo and up to 12 banners with URL with the ability to generate deep links. It also ships with 21 professional templates which can be activated from the administrator control panel. I found that the product is flexible as administrators can create a new template and integrate into the web site very easily if you have little knowledge of PHP. The panel also contains a link to the home page so that you can quickly view the site after changing the template, as you can see in Figure 1.

Figure 1 - A View of the Control Panel

 

Figure 2 - Pick a Template

The software includes built-in Captcha support for catching Spams, Mod Rewrite for Search Engine Friendly URL's and also includes filter mechanism, which helps to avoid listings with bad words. It also displays a Google page rank for each listing.

Figure 3 - Manage Settings

Figure 4 - Manage Directory Related Options

Figure 5 - Filter Words

Moreover, you can add the required advertising code, such as that of Google Adsense, very easily without editing the template file directly from within the control panel. Even if you change the template after a while, the ad codes need not be modified and will work as usual.

Figure 6 - Monetize your Website

I prefer to moderate each listing, but as an administrator you can enable instant approvals so that listings are added to the relevant category as soon as it is submitted. A core feature of the product is that it has the ability to automatically fetch meta data, such as title, description and keywords, from the URL by default. I feel that this is a most wanted feature as it enables visitors to submit an unlimited number of listings without spending too much time.

I would suggest the vendor improve the layout of the admin control panel and also implement AJAX functionality into the product. Moreover, the documentation should be provided in PDF format along with downloadable video tutorials so that beginners can quickly learn the usage of one of the powerful directory application available in the market.

Conclusion

I have thus far tested a few directory creation products and I found that qlWebDS is one of the simplest and lightest weight application with all the features a web master needs to create a directory style site. I would suggest you visit http://www.qlwebdemo.com/ if you have any doubts since you can completely test drive the software in a real world scenario. I hope the vendor will release a new version of the product with more features in the near future.

About the Product

Title

QlWebDS Pro

Price

US $139

Rating

****

URL

http://www.qlweb.com/

 

About the Author

Anand Narayanaswamy is a Microsoft MVP who works as an independent consultant based in Trivandrum, India. He is the author of Community Server Quickly (Packt Publishing) and runs www.learnxpress.com and www.dotnetalbum.com.



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