Tech Industry

Updated content manager meets the Web

Software maker Merant releases its new version of Collage, its package for managing Web site content and application code.

Software maker Merant announced Monday the release of a new version of Collage, its package for managing Web site content and application code.

Merant is largely known for products that help software development teams manage the code they're working on, so multiple developers can work on the same piece of code without bumping into each other.

The company expanded into the booming content management market earlier this year with Collage, which manages Web content by centralizing control of Web applications that are increasingly tied to content.

"One of the difficulties companies face on the Web when they mix application code and content is maintaining consistency between those two very disparate groups," said Bill Piwonka, senior director of product marketing for Merant.

Piwonka cited glitches such as an airline site accidentally offering $50 airfares to Europe as an example of content and code not working together. "With the correct use of management software, that wouldn't happen," he said.

Improvements in the new Collage 3.1 include enhanced performance and extended support for third-party software such as Oracle's 9i application server, BEA Systems' WebLogic application server and Microsoft's Windows XP operating system.

Nick Wilcox, an analyst for Forrester Research, said information technology departments have pretty much woken up to the benefits of content management software, a category that's shown significant growth this year despite a brutal economic climate.

"It's the centralization of IT--one of the things that's been brought in with that trend is content management," he said. "Companies are realizing the volume and complexity of the content they have, and the IT people are looking for solutions that address that."

Merant's position is more difficult, however, because the company is focusing on Web content rather than on business documents and is trying to mix content management with software management.

"The demand for the combination of content management and code management is pretty weak," Wilcox said. "It takes some time to understand the relationship between the two and the advantage from blending them."