Plain Black improves site management tools

Company is trying to make content management simple with its WebGUI 7.6 release, which includes comparison charts, an iPhone application, and iPhoto upload options.

Note: This article originally incorrectly stated the pricing for Rockstar support and the version number that has been released. Rockstar Support is actually a one-year agreement and starts at $850 per month. (or $10,200 a year). These changes are reflected below.

There are thousands of open-source content management systems, from Alfresco to Drupal to Joomla, but one that gets less attention yet still delivers great functionality for Intranets and other smaller Web sites is WebGUI, developed by Plain Black.

Plain Black just released WebGUI 7.6 with a host of new functionality, including:

  • An enhanced survey engine that allows users to easily create multiple choice, rating scale, and open-response questions;
  • Comparison charts (i.e., for putting competitive product or feature matrices, service comparisons, etc. online);
  • iPhone application that allows Web administrators to upload images directly to the site from their iPhone;
  • iPhoto (and soon-to-be-release Google Picasa) capability to upload directly from a desktop photo application to the Web site;
  • And more.

Some of the new functionality seems destined for small to mid-size enterprises, and, indeed, this seems to be the staple of Plain Black's customer base, though it indicates that WebGUI is in use within Fortune 1000 Intranets.

At $850 per year month for "Rockstar Support," or $10,200 per year (annual contract), it can fit within the budgets of the small-business market. Even so, WebGUI 7.6's enhanced ease of use should be attractive to organizations of all sizes.

It's difficult to stand out in the crowded open-source content management system market, but WebGUI 7.6 may make it easier to manage a Web site on a limited budget and limited CMS expertise. It may not be ideal for every organization, but since it's free of charge and licensed under the General Public License, why not give it a try?

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